Cedar­town look­ing at $8.3 mil­lion bud­get for FY 2019

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­nal.net

Cedar­town Com­mis­sion­ers will be de­cid­ing in De­cem­ber the fi­nal fig­ures are com­ing to­gether for the FY 2019 bud­get.

City Man­ager Bill Fann pre­sented the board with a pre­lim­i­nary list of what the ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­quest­ing for the com­ing year start­ing in Jan­uary, and ex­pected that num­bers are likely to ad­just slightly once more be­fore they give a fi­nal seal of ap­proval.

“It was a tight bud­get this year, and it will be a tight bud­get again for the com­ing year,” Fann told com­mis­sion­ers.

He wasn’t kid­ding. The pre­lim­i­nary bud­get num­bers al­ready shared with the city com­mis­sion seeks to gen­er­ate $8,320,250 in rev­enue for the gen­eral fund, with a tight list of ex­pen­di­tures tal­lied up to $8,314116 on the year. It would still leave the city with a slight in­crease in their sur­plus, with fig­ures likely to jump from an end­ing bal­ance in 2018 at $3,365,091 to a 2019 end­ing bal­ance of $3,371,225.

The ex­pen­di­tures break down to a re­quested cost of $160,350 for the city com­mis­sion, $127,370 for the city man­ager, $1,461,600 for the city clerk and ad­min­is­tra­tion costs, and $212,615 for fi­nance depart­ment costs to take care of the ad­min­is­tra­tive day-to-day tasks of run­ning Cedar­town’s mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment. The pre­lim­i­nary bud­get also re­quests $198,206 for the cost of build­ing main­te­nance, $881,060 for the streets and pub­lic works depart­ment, $207,155 on up­keep of the ceme­ter­ies and $425,920 for Parks and Recre­ation.

The largest ex­pen­di­tures re­main in the city’s fund­ing of pub­lic safety, with $38,000 for the mu­nic­i­pal court, $2,625,667 for the po­lice depart­ment, $1,398,828 for the Fire Depart­ment, and $76,300 for code en­force­ment. Some of those num­bers have fluc­tu­ated up and down depend­ing on the needs of the depart­ment an­nu­ally.

For in­stance, the adopted bud­get in 2018 gave the Cedar­town Po­lice Depart­ment slightly less funds as ex­pen­di­tures were set at $2,447,145 for the year com­pared to the $2,656,220 adopted in 2017.

The re­quested bud­get for the Cedar­town Po­lice is back up for the com­ing year, but might move back down slightly depend­ing on the on­go­ing work ahead of ap­proval needed dur­ing the De­cem­ber ses­sion.

The City’s new tourism and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment depart­ment is a cost that com­bines sev­eral po­si­tions into one group within Cedar­town govern­ment, and the first year bud­get is set at $340,285.

It bun­dles down­town de­vel­op­ment and the au­di­to­rium costs un­der one line item for the pro­posed 2019 bud­get.

The only other cost to the city are for trans­porta­tion at $71,060 to run the se­nior bus ser­vice, and for $88,900 for the Cedar­town Pub­lic Li­brary.

The city also in­cluded fig­ures for the forth­com­ing wa­ter and waste­water rev­enues and costs for 2019, ex­pect­ing around $3,324,399 on wa­ter and sewer pay­ments, and around $3,081,751 in ex­pen­di­tures to run the sys­tem.

Some of those costs are ex­pected to de­crease with forth­com­ing waste­water up­grades as the city seeks to find some re­lief through equip­ment up­grades on main­te­nance costs on older pumps and lines.

For the over­all fig­ures for 2019, Fann gives a lot of the credit to the city’s head of Fi­nance, Amy Ore­baugh.

Fann said he be­lieved the work he and Ore­baugh put in on the bud­get – along with help from depart­ment heads who are still seek­ing to keep within a 3 to 5 per­cent mar­gin of spend­ing based on what they asked for in the 2018 bud­get – make the job eas­ier of putting to­gether the fig­ures all the eas­ier, even if there are dif­fer­ences of opin­ion about where the city’s pri­or­i­ties might be at any given time, or over what is really avail­able to uti­lize from year to year.

“We’re in good shape, and we in­tend to stay there. It takes a lot of ef­fort. It takes team work,” Fann said.

He added that be­cause the gen­eral fund bud­get is only for op­er­at­ing ex­penses and doesn’t in­clude cap­i­tal out­lay projects, it is “work­able” and does give the city some wig­gle room should emer­gen­cies arise.

Fol­low­ing bud­get dis­cus­sions at the Novem­ber work ses­sion, the city man­ager also got to bring up an­other bit of happy news for com­mis­sion­ers and em­ploy­ees alike: health in­sur­ance group pre­mi­ums are likely go­ing down.

He at­trib­uted some of the sav­ings to a pro­gram in place with Pri­mary Health­care to re­duce the num­ber of claims for doc­tor’s vis­its by pay­ing for ser­vices to em­ploy­ees and their im­me­di­ate fam­ily up front, but said he wasn’t sure if that was the only con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the 2.6 per­cent de­crease for the com­ing year.

The news came just in time for the city to hold an an­nual re­quired meet­ing for em­ploy­ees to re­new their health­care ben­e­fits held on Wed­nes­day, with ad­di­tional news about the city’s an­nual one-time salary en­hance­ment also ap­proved.

Fann said that em­ploy­ees across the board are get­ting a 3.5 per­cent one-time pay­ment ahead of the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son, an an­nual tra­di­tion within the city. Com­mis­sion­ers gave their sup­port with­out any is­sue.

City of­fi­cials also dis­cussed next year’s paving list, which in­cludes a num­ber of sec­tions in dire need of re­pair which in­cludes the stretch 10th street in the West­side In­dus­trial Park, which is heav­ily used by truck traf­fic on a daily ba­sis com­ing and go­ing from The HON Com­pany. Fann said it was one of the stretches of paving the com­pany specif­i­cally re­quested.

Noyes from Philpot to Main Street is also on the list in the down­town area as well, along with Cedar Street, Ge­or­gia Av­enue, East Queen Street, West Queen Street, Ge­or­gia Lane, Val­ley Drive and Col­lege Cir­cle.

2018’s LMIG paving re­cently fin­ished up dur­ing the fall months in­cluded a stretch of West Gi­rard Av­enue be­tween 10th and 6th street, a por­tion of Philpot Street, Blanche Road, Sec­ond Street, LaDue Street, Slusser Street, Stubbs Street, Third Street, Cleo Street and Jones Street. Costs for that to­taled up to $175,808.

The City also is look­ing at changes to their re­tire­ment plan re­quested by GMEBS, or the Ge­or­gia Mu­nic­i­pal Em­ployee Ben­e­fit Sys­tem. They’ll be look­ing to in­sti­tute an al­ter­na­tive 80-rule, where em­ploy­ees who haven’t reached re­tire­ment age will have the op­tion if their years of ser­vice and their cur­rent age equal out to 80 or greater. It would have no ef­fect on ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees and how the city pays out ben­e­fits an­nu­ally, but those who come on board af­ter the change will have to fall within the new rules.

“This will be for those who re­place all of us and are go­ing away in 20 years, which is most ev­ery­one here,” Fann said. “That will change their for­mula.”

Those changes are ex­pected in the weeks and months to come.

/ Kevin Myrick

City Man­ager Bill Fann dis­cussed the FY 2019 bud­get dur­ing the Novem­ber work ses­sion as fig­ures are fi­nal­ized for the com­ing De­cem­ber ap­proval ahead of the new year.

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