So­cial Cir­cle ap­proves bud­get

The Covington News - - Local news - By Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­news.com

So­cial Cir­cle will pur­chase three po­lice cars next fis­cal year, but that’s the only ma­jor pur­chase in the city’s re­cently ap­proved bud­get.

The city ap­proved a $ 3 mil­lion bud­get, an in­crease of $ 172,844 from last year’s bud­get. The pa­trol cars will be pur­chased in a lease agree­ment for $ 114,000, which ac­counts for most of the in­crease.

The other sig­nif­i­cant changes are in­creases to the city’s wa­ter and sewer rates, which will take place July 1. The rate in­creases will bring in $ 171,633 more in rev­enue, bring­ing the wa­ter bud­get to $ 2.11 mil­lion.

So­cial Cir­cle pro­duces the ma­jor­ity of its own wa­ter, and the in­crease in ex­pen­di­tures was par­tially re­lated to some new equip­ment, ex­tra con­tin­gency money and small la­bor cost in­creases. The city’s wa­ter debt re­quires it to keep its rates at cer­tain lev­els, ne­ces­si­tat­ing much of the in­crease, City Clerk Su­san Roper said.

The city’s tax di­gest, the value of all land, build­ings and mo­tor ve­hi­cles, is ex­pected to de­cline by $ 9 mil­lion, or 5.55 per­cent, and to­tal tax rev­enue for the city will drop $ 36,195.

“ We made a con­certed ef­fort last year to make cuts. This year we kept the sta­tus quo. We al­ways pre­pare a con­ser­va­tive bud­get, and we tried re­ally hard to trim all the fat off it and kept it as lean as we could,” Roper said.

In other So­cial Cir­cle news, the city con­tin­ues to work on a city by­pass road. The coun­cil ap­proved sell­ing 951 9.51 acres to the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion for $ 71,348, but the con­tract has not been signed, Roper said, as some de­tails could be chang­ing.

The road is ex­pected to con­nect East Hightower Trail on the east side of town to Ga. High­way 11 near Laurel Road.

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