By way of resolution, Claxton City Council approved an operating budget for fiscal year 2018 at their bi-monthly meeting Monday night. The budget reflects $5,783,811 in revenues and $5,722,028 in expenditures for a positive bottom line of $61,700, but the excess funds are SPLOST monies restricted for capital projects.
The council voted to cancel their next meeting on Monday, July 3. City offices will also be closed July 3-4.
Budget as published in the June 14 edition of The Claxton Enterprise
The City of Claxton held a public budget hearing Monday evening, June 5, ahead of the regularly scheduled council meeting, but no one from the public attended to question the proposed operating budget totaling $5.7 million for fiscal year 2018.
Budget revenues are broken down by the following funds:
- General fund – $1.89 million
- Sanitation – $411,800
- Water/sewer fund – $1.28 million
- Natural gas – $1.9 million
- Special transportation fund – $61,358
- 2011 SPLOST – $158,282
- 2017 SPLOST – $46,500
Proposed general fund revenues for FY18 are conservative compared to actual revenues for 2017. This fiscal year to date, Claxton has recognized over $2 million in revenues and projected revenue collections are $1.89 million for the coming year.
General fund budget expenditures by department include:
- Police – $1,047,827, a decrease of $73,616.
- Highways and streets – $392,541, a decrease of $12,473.
- Fire – $183,599, an increase of $10,013.
- Financial administration – $105,711, an increase of $3,458.
- Governing body – $88,149, an increase of $9,700.
- Other government services (Library, Emergency Management Agency, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) – $44,364, a decrease of $19,150.
- Airport Authority – $15,000, a decrease of $435.
- Veterans Community Center – $8,150, a decrease of $1,900.
- Animal Control – $6,834 (new fund).
- Building inspection – $3,800, an increase of $1,300.
- Memorial Park – $1,500, a decrease of $500.
Budgeted general fund expenditures balance with anticipated revenues for next year. Overall expenditures are reduced by $419,481 from the 2017 budget.
Water/Sewer: Expenditures balance with anticipated revenues. The FY18 budget is increased from 2017 by $128,200.
Natural Gas: Expenditures balance with anticipated revenues. The FY18 budget is decreased from 2017 by $181,060.
Sanitation Fund: Expenditures balance with anticipated revenues. For yard waste, expenditures are reduced by $40,102 from 2017. For solid waste, expenditures are increased over 2017 by $115,600.
Although no one from the public attended to review the budget, council members reviewed the proposals again, asking a few questions of City Consultant Carter Crawford.
Crawford reminded the council that a budget is a planning document and not every issue will have been determined prior to its preparation and adoption. The proposed FY18 budget makes assumptions to include:
- Ad valorem tax millage rate will not increase
- Residential sanitation fees will decrease by $1.25/month
- Commercial dumpster fees will increase by approximately 10 percent per month.
- Water/sewer rates will not increase
- Natural gas rates will follow market pricing
- An Utility Account Establishment Fee in the amount of $15 will be charged for establishing a new utility customer account. (The council approved that fee in the meeting following the budget hearing).
- The City fire fee rate will not increase.
- $61,358 will be budgeted for TIA (Transportation Investment Act) and LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) projects.
- $143,000 of SPLOST funds will be used for capital equipment purchases and utility structure repairs.
- LOST fund (local option sales tax) collections will be below 2017 budget.
- Capital purchases will equal $143,000
- $8,900 has been added to the budget to update the City Code of Ordinances.
- An animal control budget in the amount of $6,834 is included in the budget.
- The following new funds have been added to the budget:
- Sanitation Fund
- 2011 SPLOST Fund
- 2017 SPLOST Fund
- TIA/LMIG Fund
- A $73,424 repayment will be paid toward the 20 year GEFA (Georgia Environmental Finance Authority) loan. The city secured a GEFA loan with partial grant for water and and sewer system upgrades.
- The city will follow adopted sound financial policies.
- All proprietary funds will be self supporting.
- The City’s full-time employee staff will increase by two positions – accounting/purchasing specialist and utility laborer. The budget reflects 10 months of salary for these two new employees. Crawford anticipates hiring in September.
- A 1.25 percent performance pay increase will be given to qualified full-time city employees beginning January 1, 2018.
- $8,000 is added to the fire department budget to pay for state-mandated cancer insurance for all firefighters.
- Funds have been included to promote current Assistant City Clerk Diane Parker to city clerk, effective July 1.
- The City’s 2018 budget will be adopted and accounted for using generally accepted accounting principals
- The City’s 2018 budget will balance as required by law.
By Sarah Gove, Enterprise Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org