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PTC Council to talk priorities, public input during budget hearing

The next workshop meeting on the proposed $28 million budget for Peachtree City is scheduled for Monday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The big decision facing the council will be whether to increase the millage rate by close to 1 mill (.098), which would raise enough tax revenue to counteract the decrease in property tax values.

Doing so would net the city a slightly smaller amount of property taxes than the current fiscal year, though in effect it will be a tax increase on some property owners, depending on whether the value of their property increased, stayed roughly the same or decreased compared to the previous year.

This Saturday Councilman Eric Imker is inviting the public to provide him with input on the budget in a special meeting at City Hall from 10 a.m. to noon.

Imker has said the city can trim the budget to eliminate a millage rate increase, but he wanted to get public feedback before deciding the necessary course of action.

In a letter to citizens, Imker said he wants to discuss with the public a variety of budget topics including “needed city services, infrastructure repairs, employee headcount and benefits, city cash reserves, tax millage rates, etc.”

Imker also pledged to “share anything and everything about the budget.”

“If you have a question, simply ask,” Imker wrote.

The budget recommended by City Manager Jim Pennington includes a one-time 2 percent bonus for city employees as an incentive. Imker subsequently recommended the city distribute the bonuses at the same amount to each employee since all are affected by higher food, gas and other prices no matter what salary they make.

Mayor Don Haddix, at the June 20 budget workshop, suggested the city needed to take a hard look at potential service cuts. Haddix suggested looking at eliminating the use of tax dollars to fund recreation and instead fund it solely on fees.

The proposed budget will result in the reduction of five positions in the recreation department as part of a reorganization. Also, the budget proposes elimination of a vacant public works position while adding three new staff positions including a community services director, an accounting supervisor and a marketing coordinator for the Peachtree City Convention and Visitors Bureau. The latter position will be paid for with funds from the city’s hotel tax money.

A fourth hire would be for the city’s stormwater program and would be paid for with money from that separate fund, officials said.

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