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McDonough city council preps for hearings on budget, zoning
by Noreen Cochran
May 09, 2013 10:43 AM | 1216 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At its May 20 meeting, the McDonough City Council will hold public hearings on its proposed $11.7 million fiscal 2014 budget and rezoning for a future subdivision designed for seniors.

City Administrator Frederick Gardiner or new Finance Director Lolita Grant will guide attendees through the budget presentation, which Gardiner previewed at last week’s city council workshop.

Taxes, which make up 78 percent of city revenue, he said, are showing signs of recovering from the recession. “You’re going to be looking at close to a 1 percent increase in property value,” he said about preliminary tax digest information from Henry County. “There’s more activity based on new development at South Point Mall. You are going to see an increase in your sales tax.”

Expenses went up $400,000 over fiscal 2013. Wages and salaries rose an additional $50,000 in the municipal court department, $150,000 in the police department and $30,000 in the fire department.

“Public safety makes up the bulk of your budget at 55 percent,” Gardiner said. “That’s where the bulk of your people are.”

City Councilman Wayne Smith said a new municipal court building may help balance the scales.

“That’s a potential area for increased revenue,” he said. “When we get into the new facility, you may find yourself having more court dates. They may in turn generate some revenue.”

Bonds and fines in connection with nearly 9,000 cases brought in nearly $1 million in fiscal 2012.

Also at the workshop, applicant Dean McDonald presented his case for rezoning a 7-acre lot at 155 and 169 College St., which has been recommended for approval by the planning and zoning board.

He said his plan is to build 25 houses, each measuring about 1,5000 square feet, to appeal to the “55 and older” homebuyer.

“There are a lot of people who want to downsize,” he said.

Features of the construction will include no-maintenance siding and other amenities.

“We want to eliminate stairs. The door openings are wider,” McDonald said about wheelchair access.

City Councilwoman Gail Notti expressed concern about nearby real estate values, but McDonald said he expected no negative impact.

“This was what we felt would improve the neighborhood,” he said.

What's next?
The budget and zoning hearings are May 20 at 6 p.m. at city hall, 136 Keys Ferry St.

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