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City reviews $17 million budget

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor 

The Madison Mayor and City Council reviewed the latest iteration of the proposed budget for the upcoming Fiscal Year. The proposed budget, which is about $2 million more than this year’s budget, will be voted on this June. The council also fully expects to adopt the rollback millage rate later this summer. 

Karen Stapp, the city’s chief finance officer, review the proposed budget with some minor changes from the last presentation at a public hearing meeting last Friday morning. 

“It looks like a large number for an increase,” said Stapp of the proposed budget.

According to Stapp, the 2020 Fiscal Year budget will come in at $16.8 million, a more than $2 million increase from last year’s budget which came in at about $14.6 million. Under the new budget, the city’s fund balance is expected to decrease by 5 percent, bringing the fund balance ratio to about 20 percent.  The fund balance is unassigned monies reserved for a “rainy day.” State law requires a fund balance ratio to stay between 15-30 percent of a municipality’s operating costs. The recommended percentage for the City of Madison is between 20-23 percent. 

The proposed budget’s $2 million increase is due to higher anticipated revenue collections from the new Special Project Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), which began on April 1, and the newly passed Transportation Special Project Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST). According to Stapp, sales tax projections are up by  7 percent and the Hotel/Motel Tax projections are up by 9 percent.  

“Those are the two major changes this year that will cause an increase to our general fund,” explained Stapp. “We fully expect to take the rollback rate after our budget is adopted.”

The new SPLOST and TSPLOST funds will be used to complete a variety of project. SPLOST funds will be used to cover the cost of road maintenance, sidewalk repair and installation, and the renovation of the Smith Building,  which is the cottage on the other side of Madison’s fire station. Once renovations are complete, Madison’s Planning and Zoning department is expected to take up residence there. 

The proposed budget also proposes the purchase of a new limb and leaf truck for the Street Department and some renovations for the new Madison-Morgan Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

“Those are some of the main expenses and projects we will be focusing on this year,” said Stapp. “This is still a conservative budget as the city continues to be better stewards of taxpayer money.”

The next budget work session will be held on on Friday, May 31 at 8:30 a.m. This meeting will be a public hearing for citizens to ask questions or voice concerns. The budget adoption is slated for the Madison Mayor and City Council regular meeting on Monday, June 10.

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