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Final Budget Proposal Before the Council

The new budget is long on governmental goodies, short on services...

 

     A few weeks ago the city council was presented with a preliminary budget proposal totaling $2.87 million. The public reaction to this was predictably negative. After all, just last summer the man who would be mayor held numerous townhall meetings and sold the idea of a city-lite based on a Carl Vinson Institute feasibility study showing the new city could be run on a $761,000 budget. To give these claims more credibility, a number of local politicos were trotted out to endorse the plan. Following the incorporation vote in November, the council candidates all campaigned on that same $761,000 ‘city-lite’ budget.

 

     Last week the city council was presented with the official itemized budget proposal and it came in at a still whopping $2.72 million. So what will we get for our $2.72 million? I’ll cover a few of the highlights, but you can read all the details here: http://www.peachtreecornersfacts.com/PeachtreeCorners_budget6-12.pdf

 

     Among some necessary costs like rent for the city hall, there is over $130,000 for IT services which includes but is not limited to servers, routers, software licenses and laptops for city employees. There is $50,000 for office furniture for the new city hall and another $50,000 for signage. There is $30,000 in relocation expenses for the new city manager and another $25,000 to bolster his 401k   retirement account. There is $300,000 worth of salaries for a city manager, planning and zoning manager, accounting manager and a city clerk. And last but not least, there is $100,000 for a call center. Despite the objections of council members, and against the recommendation of the consultants, the mayor was quoted in the AJC as saying that residents want “somebody to be there at a specific location to talk with. I heard you loud and clear.” I would respectfully suggest that the mayor get out and about town more often, because I haven’t met anyone yet who thinks it is a good idea to spend more than $8000 per month to have somebody answer the phone, especially when a majority of the calls will be forwarded to the county. After all, we’re a city-lite, offering only three services. Just how many calls is he expecting the city to receive?

 

     Speaking of three services, you may notice in the laundry list of governmental goodies above there is no mention of code enforcement or trash service. Its all government infrastructure. Our budget is already at $2.72 million, the planned tax rate will be the full one mil maximum allowed by the charter, and we still have to contract out two of the three services we’re supposed to provide! Just how much more is this little ‘city-lite’ really going to cost us?

 

     The budget will be the main subject of the next two council meetings, this Tuesday June 19th and next Tuesday, June 26th at 7:30pm at the YMCA on West Jones Bridge Road. Plan to attend and let your elected representatives know what you think about this budget proposal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

UHaveGotToBeKidding June 19, 2012 at 03:41 PM
nice link to watch. Tom Rice says the 1mil rate can be changed. This is why Bob's article above is so important for people to understand. People read it and let's hold the rate to 1 mil.
Bob June 19, 2012 at 03:51 PM
What I think the mayor heard during the campaigns and what the people said are two different things. The people wanted the council and mayor to respond to their needs and to be held accountable in a public sort of way. What the mayor heard was that the people want someone to call when they have a problem. What the people want is for the city to be responsive to our problems, of which at this point the budget is. I am still looking for Alex's response concerning the budget and his "mea culpa" regarding the proposed budget. I would also like to request an explanation from Councilwoman Aulbach regarding her comment about additional services that the city may need to offer down the road. She is already promising a bait-and-switch. She baited 57% of the voting population into support of a "city-lite" and now we may be switching to a city. If these are truly my neighbors and I get to hold them accountable, then in two years we will have new councilmembers.
Harry Dorfman June 19, 2012 at 11:57 PM
It seems that Google may have figured out a solution to the difficulty in finding out who to call for a problem.
Harry Dorfman June 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM
This is a really nice article, too! http://peachtreecorners.patch.com/articles/vote-yes-with-me-on-nov-8-bd81c5fb
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew June 20, 2012 at 05:14 PM
You may wish to press for .75 mil cap during these discussions, cause its only going to get worse. When you pay 30K to move a candidate? Start fishing closer to home...

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