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Savannah trip among planned Douglasville budget cuts
June 19, 2013 03:21 PM | 1110 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Douglasville City Council presented what was described as a “tight budget’ by Mayor Harvey Persons Monday night at its regular voting meeting.

City Finance Director Karin Callan presented a proposed budget of $21.5 million for the new fiscal year which begins July 1 to Douglasville City Council last week. No one spoke at a public hearing on the document Monday night.

If all goes according to projections, Callan anticipates holding the millage rate at 3.854.

The budget was trimmed down to reflect a 5 percent decrease over the current year’s budget.

Two proposed cuts include community project funds from which would trim $15,000 from the budget, along with discretionary ward funds allocated to the mayor and each council member totaling $2,250 each.

Also expected to be cut are elected officials expense accounts and funding to attend the Georgia Municipal Association meeting next June in Savannah.

Council members did not reach a consensus on proposed salary increases for the mayor and council.

A public hearing was to have taken place last Thursday night on the salaries, with a vote scheduled Monday night on the proposal.

Both had to be postponed because a required legal notice was inadvertently made public by the legal organ in the wrong newspaper.

According to City Manager Bill Osborne, the city has taken steps to get the legal notice advertisement run according to legal requirements, which must occur three times before a public hearing.

The new date for the public hearing on mayor and city council salaries will be June 27, with a vote expected on July 1.

The proposed budget for the salaries has been set according the council’s finance committee recommendations at $1,075 per month for the council and at $3,300 per month for the mayor.

This comes after several months of discussion and disputes over what the mayor called “a fair and equitable compensation” could be determined.

Even if the council decides to enact the salary increases for themselves and the mayor on July 1, a 22 percent decrease will result for the new fiscal year budget.

“If we were looking for a reduction in budgets, we felt like we had to set the example,” said Mayor Harvey Persons. “It was necessary and incumbent on us to set the example.”

Osborne pointed out that while the city was not proposing a reduction of staff, they will not be budgeting for any salary increases or Christmas bonuses.

Callen said that she expects a small increase in sales tax revenues this year.

She added, “We are working hard to have a balanced budget so there is no need for a tax increase.”

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