City officials work on details of new budget

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 27, 2001

Brookhaven aldermen Friday continued to work on new yearspending plans, but a number of budget holes remain as officialsawait cost estimates on several city projects.

During the work session, City Clerk Iris Rudman presented alitany of questions for City Engineer Carl Ray Furr. On the listwere next year’s revenue and expenditure estimates for the proposedmulti-modal facility, annexation, an arts school-related watersystem improvement project and installation of lights on theIndustrial Park Road overpass.

“I’ve not seen anything on that at all,” Rudman said aboutlighting plans that were discussed for the first time Friday.

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Rudman also said she needed information from Furr on a newcommercial user water rate study related to last year’s sewerimprovement bond issue and spending plans on a Field Lark Lanesewer line project.

Referring to some questions about federal funding coverage ofcity department relocation expenses, Furr said he and architectshoped to have some multi-modal facility answers this week.

The city has been approved for a $1 million federal allocationfor the facility, and architect Michael Barranco was expected totravel to Atlanta this week to talk with federal transportationofficials about what the funds will cover. The facility has beenproposed for the North Railroad Avenue area currently occupied bycity street and sanitation services.

In other areas, Furr said the water rate study should to becompleted in early September. Regarding overpass lighting, cityofficials discussed splitting those costs with the county.

Regarding new “fire loop” water system improvements related tothe new arts school on the Whitworth campus, Furr said the city canexpect to use all of a $1 million federal appropriation for thatproject.

The project involves installation of new and larger water linesfrom State Bank on West Cherokee Street to Brookway Boulevard andback to Monticello Street to North Jackson Street. The project istargeted to be done in the near future, but Alderman-at-large LesBumgarner expressed concerns about doing the street work duringholiday shopping months.

“Try not to shut downtown down during those months,” saidBumgarner, who owns a West Cherokee Street business.

In other action, preliminary budget totals are forecastingapproximately $7.95 million in revenue for new year. Thatrepresents an increase over this year’s $6.58 million budget, withmuch of the new year difference coming from federal funds for theWhitworth project and a First and Second Street paving project.

Budget revenue totals are also using the maximum-allowed 10percent increase from property taxes. Due to higher property valuesfollowing a reappraisal, Rudman earlier indicated a tax levymillage rate decrease would still allow the city to bring in moremoney.

With revenue expectations more definite, aldermen must decidewhat items to fund and still stay within the budget for the newyear that starts Oct. 1. A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 4,and aldermen must adopt a budget by Sept. 14.

Budget totals presented Friday included no pay raises foremployees. Funds for pay raises could come from reducing oreliminating $225,000 in funding for four new tennis courts.

“I don’t think we need to put in there until we look at raises,”said Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates.

Mayor Bill Godbold suggested reducing plans from four new tenniscourts to two. Citing court usage by county schools, officials alsomentioned the possibility of seeking county funding help on the newtennis courts.

“The county people are coming in here occupying our tenniscourts,” Godbold said.

In some areas, such as machinery and vehicle purchases,officials trimmed some from proposed spending plans.

At the airport, approximately $97,000 for new hangarconstruction and a vehicle to move airplanes around was rejected.Citing desires to move the airport, Godbold said he had advisedairport officials earlier not to plan to spend a lot of money atthe current facility.

City officials have not made any final budget actions. Rudmanwas expected to incorporate spending decisions made Friday into anew budget draft and present it at a work session scheduled forMonday evening.