PTC Council seeks budget input at public hearing

A public hearing will be conducted Thursday night to get citizens’ input on the proposed 2013-2014 budget for the city of Peachtree City.

The hearing will commence during the regular City Council meeting which begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The $29.58 million budget proposed by city staff will not require a property tax increase and actually will result in a decrease in the millage rate by one-tenth of a mill as the bond portion of the millage rate has shrunk.

The budget calls for the use of $794,000 in unrestricted cash reserves, although the city will still have more than 34 percent of its annual budget in that category, whereas city policy dictates a minimum of 20 percent.

The reasoning for using the cash reserves is to provide funding for street and cart path resurfacing, officials said. Funding for those projects for the past seven-plus years came from the city’s proceeds from the countywide 2004 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, but those funds have been completely exhausted.

If the city did not add $958,000 in street and cart path repaving, the general fund budget would have decreased by about 1.5 percent compared to last year, according to city Finance Director Paul Salvatore. With those funds being paid for from the general fund for the first time in years thanks to the dried-up sales tax, the proposed general fund budget is up 1.74 percent from last year’s total, Salvatore has said.

As for future funding of road and cart path repair, the city is planning to use a projected $12-13 million from a proposed two-year countywide sales tax that will be up for voter approval this November. If that vote fails, council could ask city voters to approve a general obligation bond to pay for the work, which would necessitate a property tax rate increase of about .6 mills. Alternatively, council could look at simply raising the property tax millage rate or making further cuts to the budget.

The budget also includes a second proposed facilities bond to be used to upgrade deteriorating infrastructure in the city. That bond, which staff has suggested should be for $2.5 million, would not require a tax increase either because the city can use debt service capacity freed up by the recent paying off of the airport authority bonds, officials said.

The debt service on such a bond would be about $298,000 a year over 10 years, according to Finance Director Paul Salvatore, who projected it would go to market early next year presuming it is approved by council.

The budget includes a proposed 2 percent cost of living salary increase for city employees, who haven’t received such since the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Last year council granted the 2 percent figure as a one-time payment to prevent salary increases from affecting the budget.

Also planned for funding is a comprehensive pay/classification study that has not been undertaken since 2001.

The staff-proposed budget also includes one new civilian position for the fire department: a logistics specialist to keep track of and place orders for needed tools, supplies and equipment, Salvatore said. Beyond that position, there are no recommended staff reductions and/or departmental reorganizations planned, Salvatore said.

tunnelmotor99
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Joined: 06/28/2006
I definitely support fixing

I definitely support fixing the cart paths, a vast majority are in major disrepair and some of the routes were just poorly thought out to begin with...

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