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SF budget, tax rate approved on first reading

SF budget, tax rate approved on first reading
Staff Reporter
A proposed budget and property tax rate for the next fiscal year have gained approval in South Fulton.
The South Fulton City Commission unanimously approved the first reading of a budget ordinance for the city during its session Thursday evening.
Approval was granted to the first of two required readings of the ordinance — which appropriates funds, establishes a property tax rate and establishes spending limits for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The ordinance sets the General Fund revenues at $1,090,965 and expenditures at $943,754; the Utility Fund (water and sewer) revenues at $1,648,498 and expenditures at $1,314,476; and the Natural Gas Fund revenues at $802,200 and expenditures at $782,620.
No expenditure may be exceeded without ap-propriate ordinance action and must include the source of the revenue for financing, and the city manager is required to maintain a detailed financial plan and make monthly reports to the city commission.
The ordinance also establishes a levied real property and personal tax rate of $1.70 per $100 assessment to fund South Fulton’s municipal services. Under the proposed ordinance, the real property assessment ratio is set at 25 percent of appraised value for residential and farm; 40 percent of appraised value for commercial and industrial; and 30 percent of appraised value for personal property.
Approval of the first reading of the budget Thursday evening came on the heels of a final budget workshop held Monday evening for city commissioners. Several workshops have been held and many options discussed in recent weeks.
South Fulton city manager Debra Craig noted there were no rate or fee increases and she presented commissioners with two different budget options Thursday evening. One included a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for employees and the other did not. City employees did not receive a pay increase last year.
South Fulton Mayor David Crocker made the motion to approve the budget with the 3 percent cost of living adjustment, but with allowing $2,000 rather than a higher allotted amount for kennel improvements for the city’s animal control. His motion was seconded by city commissioner Jeff Vowell and approved by a 5-0 vote.
The commission then voted 5-0 to approve the first reading of the ordinance for the 2012-13 budget and setting the property tax rate. No date was set for the second required reading.
In a budget-related matter, the commission also voted to authorize the city manager to go ahead and expend the budget amount to purchase two vehicles for the police department.
In other action during Thursday evening’s 40-minute meeting, which was opened with prayer led by commissioner Tony Perry and with the Pledge of Allegiance, the city commission:
• Heard a complaint from James Phillips, who lives on Richard Street, about the city ordinance regarding city tags on vehicles allegedly not being enforced for everyone. Mrs. Craig said she will meet with the police chief and get back to him.
• Heard a complaint from Gary Brashier, who lives on Frankie Lane, in regard to a problem with a neighbor that occurs when he cleans his pool and it backwashes into the neighbor’s yard. He said the neighbor calls police and he is tired of police coming to his home, explaining his yard sits higher and there is nothing he can do about the backwash. Commissioners and city attorney Karl Ivey told Brashier the matter is a civil issue between him and his neighbor and Crocker suggested he try to talk with the neighbor to work it out.
Brashier, who has a fence around his property, also complained there is a neighbor who has a pool with no fence around it.
There was a heated exchange of words with police in the hallway outside the commission room after the complaints were made Thursday evening, and those involved were asked to leave rather than disrupt the meeting.
• Approved a two-year extension of a lease with a football league for the football field at the old school property.
• Took no action and asked for more information about a request to repay the city’s share of a bridge repair project from several years ago. Vowell said the action pre-dates the current commission and Crocker said there are no records of any contract or engineering study, and commissioners said they need to see detailed billing and other documents before they make any decision.
• Was informed by Mrs. Craig that the city is still waiting on its audit and that the matter of an excess of funds in an account designated as ambulance fund is still being investigated.
• Was reminded that rural fire subscriptions for South Fulton’s rural customers are due through July 31 without penalty. Commissioners learned that, so far, among those who have paid for the subscription service are four rural customers who previously never paid. Published in The Messenger 7.20.12

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