By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
The City of Rutledge held the first of two public hearings for the proposed city budget on June 23. The proposed amount for the general fund was $435,530. “It’s not very different from what we have proposed in previous years,” said Debbie Kilgore, city clerk. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-2014 was only slightly higher than the proposal presented at the meeting. Last year’s budget for the general fund was $436,460. The council discussed possibly keeping the millage rate the same at 1.1 instead of rolling it back. “We want the public to know that we are not raising taxes. It’s the increased property values that are making people’s tax bills go up,” said Brenda Thompson, city council member. “We are just trying to work with what we got and do what we can with what we got, but times are tough.” Ten people from the public attended the hearing and Bob Hughes, president of the Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce, addressed the city council about the chamber’s request for Rutledge to increase their dues from $1000 annually to $1500.
“My perspective is that it is not just the Madison chamber, but the Morgan County chamber and Rutledge is part of that family,” said Hughes. We want to help them out. They supply the support to the merchants, carrying out their part and we can do our part to help promote Rutledge tourism,” explained Hughes. The city council discussed whether it’s the city’s role to support individual businesses and if it’s fair to pay the chamber dues for 10 downtown businesses, but not the other businesses throughout Rutledge. “Mr. Hughes gave us a lot to think about with this,” said Brenda Thompson, city council member.
“We will decide at the next meeting.” Some members of the public expressed various suggestions of how city monies should be allocated, specifically for the recreational department. “These are all good things,” said Thompson. “If we just had more money, we could do it all. But we have to work with what we got.” The second public hearing will be held on Monday, June 30 at Rutledge City Hall. “I don’t think there will be a ton of changes made to the budget. There were no major concerns with what we went over,” said Thompson.