“We’re keeping the millage rate the same,” McDonough City Manager Frederick Gardiner said before the June 6 meeting, at which the budget had its first reading. “We’re [estimating] the same property tax [revenue] as last year.”
That revenue may exceed $4 million.
“There’s supposed to be a slight increase based on higher valuations,” Gardiner said. “We expect there to be a bump. There are some areas where the values are growing faster. Houses are [experiencing] around a 1 to 2 percent increase in Henry County.”
Sales tax revenue has increased 13 months in a row, he said, and there are indicators of upward momentum.
“We have a new shopping center which is continuing to build and expand,” Gardiner said. “We’re also seeing commercial development around the county. We had 30 residential building permits [issued] this year, which is a huge increase over last year’s numbers.”
There’s a “slight increase” in the general fund’s expenses, which are up nearly 4 percent from fiscal 2013’s $11.3 million.
About $200,000 in higher costs resides in the $6.3 million public safety budget, which makes up 54 percent of the general fund.
“We added a couple of police officers, which was a mandate from the council,” Gardiner said. “They asked for more, but that’s but we were able to squeeze out.”
Officer salaries, benefits and training contribute to the 69 percent of the general fund spent on employees, he said.
“Our No. l expense is people,” Gardiner said. “Salaries and benefits make up the bulk of our budget. That’s typical in any organization.”