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PTC to look at budget cuts at Tuesday workshop

A number of potential budget cuts will be discussed Tuesday night in a workshop meeting of the Peachtree City Council at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

City staff have proposed a property tax rate increase of .372 to offset declining property values, which sunk 5.13 percent from last year to this year.

The budget proposed by City Manager Jim Pennington is currently at $28.9 million, but Councilmen George Dienhart and Eric Imker have sought input in recent days on potential budget cuts in the hopes of wiping out the recommended millage rate increase altogether.

If the city avoids the property tax increase, it will receive $635,000 less in property taxes than it did last year, and that will affect future budgets, City Finance Director Paul Salvatore has noted.

In addition to the cost cuts expected to be proposed next week by Dienhart and Imker, Mayor Don Haddix is in the process of appointing a committee to conduct a needs assessment so the city can get input on which services can be cut back or eliminated entirely.

The proposed city budget includes a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for city employees that was absent from the original budget proposed by Pennington.
The salary increases are expected to cost around $280,000.

In addition to the pay raises for employees, the budget also includes a full-time civilian evidence custodian for the police department, two part-time bailiffs to free up officers for patrol during municipal court days and a second motorcycle unit in place of a patrol car purchase, Salvatore said. The budget also includes six new part-time maintenance technicians and improved capital equipment for the public works department, he added.

Also included are funds for a new police records management software program, an improved surveillance system and a new fingerprinting system, Salvatore said.

The budget uses $834,000 of the city’s reserves to balance the year-end total, but that is part of a planned three-year spending down of the reserves to the 20 percent level. The reserves in recent years had nearly doubled that mark, rising beyond 38 percent.

Once council reaches accord on the budget, it is slated to have a second special called meeting Monday, Aug. 27 at 8 a.m. at City Hall to set the millage rate.

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