City budget ‘alarming’ council member says

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By Nick Nunn staff writer

During the second budget workshop held by the Madison City Council concerning the fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget, Madison Finance Director Karen Guinn stated that the city’s budget fund balance is currently at 15.8 percent. “We do not anticipate dropping below this,” said Guinn about the current fund balance ratio, noting that a 15 percent fund balance is generally considered to be as low as that ratio should drop to. Guinn also reported the 16 percent increase in property values that occurred during the last fiscal year, which will allow next fiscal year’s rollback rate to be less than the current rollback rate. She stated that the reduction in the rollback rate would not mean a drop in taxes but that it would simply be “allowing for growth in the digest.”

Council Member Joe DiLetto said that he felt that it was “alarming” to see the increase in the city’s budget over the last five years and that the city has “got to grab it by the throat next year.” Mayor Fred Perriman stated that several of the city’s ongoing projects are the reason for the budget increases this year, including the city’s conversion of the North Side Wastewater Treatment plant and the final build out of the city administration building. “There’s a lot of things going on,” said Perriman. Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan asked the council’s permission to apply to the Georgia Department of Community Affair’s PlanFirst program, which she described as a “carrot-stick” approach to funding, which rewards municipalities for creating and using their comprehensive plans in order to guide growth. “We are doing all the things already that would make us eligible,” said Callahan about the program.

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