By Rebecca Gaunt
The budget is a 3 percent increase over last year’s budget with property taxes being the primary source of revenue for the city. It anticipates the millage rate remaining at 8 mills for the fifteenth year in a row. A five percent increase in property tax revenue is projected due to new development and revaluations.
Highlights of the budget include:
*$575,000 budgeted to the reserve account.
*3 percent cost of living adjustment for employees.
*COVID-19 impacted the budget via cancelled events, paused court operations and caused decreased revenues from the parks and recreation department, the Southern Museum, and Smith-Gilbert Gardens.
*adds one new police officer, a 911 shift supervisor, two part-time positions for the new recreation center, unfreezes three full-time positions: GIS technician, fleet manager and lead mechanic
The budget also reflects a 3.27 percent increase in sanitation costs. The city has absorbed recent rate increases from Republic Services, but City Manager Jeff Drobney said in a previous meeting that Council will need to consider passing costs along to customers at some point.
The $18.6 million capital improvement special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) budget for 2022 will also be up for discussion.
Funded by a 1 percent sales tax approved by voters, the 2022 budget includes $5.2 million for the new recreation center in Adams Park, $2 million for the Sardis Street extension, $2.3 million for Ben King Road improvements and $3.8 million for the Cherokee Street project.
Also on the agenda:
*Council is requested to approve the actions of the License Review Board, which suspended the alcohol license for the RaceTrac gas station at 1625 Old 41 Highway for selling alcohol to a minor during an alcohol compliance check.
*The city manager has recommended approval of the bylaws for the newly-established seven-member volunteer Sister City Commission.
The hearing will take place in Council Chambers at City Hall, 2529 J.O. Stephenson Ave. at 6:30 p.m. The final hearing and budget adoption are scheduled for the Sep. 20 council meeting.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.