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In 6-1 Vote City Council Approves Budget

Thursday night Peachtree Corners city leaders approved controversial $2.7 million budget without the support of one of its council members.

Updated: July 1, 2012

The amendments proposed by council member Jeanne Aulbach have been added to this article.

After three meetings and two public hearings the Peachtree Corners City Council approved its FY 2013 budget at Thursday's (June 28) Special Called Meeting held at the YMCA.

The $2.7 million budget had been a subject of controversy since it was first introduced. Many residents were aghast that a city that was to provide only three services would need that much to operate.

The final vote was 6-1 with Post 3 council member, Alex Wright, voting against the budget explaining, "I think we could have accomplished our goals with a little lower number than the $2.7 million."

Post 4 council member Jeanne Aulbach offered an amendment to the budget, that while did not reduce the bottom line, did soften the blow by recommending the reduction of several line items and moving the funds to the city's reserve fund.

The Council passed the amendment which reduced the budget in the following categories:

  • Call Center: Original budget $100,000, reduced to $60,000
  • Comprehensive Plan: Original budget: $100,000, reduced to $75,000
  • Website, Branding, etc: Original budget: $70,000, reduced to $60,000
  • Servers, Computers, etc: Original budget: $100,000, reduced to $75,000

"I wanted to put in place controls in the budget that would allow the reserve to be built up quickly but allow some flexibility for emergencies," she explained.

"We want to reassure the citizens of Peachtree Corners that we take our responsibility seriously that their money is spent wisely," she added.

Mayor Mike Mason also announced that after recalculating the expected property tax revenue, the millage rate, first expected to be at the full 1 millage rate would be reduced to .85 mils.

That translates that for a $250,000 home the reduction in millage rate lowers the property taxes from $10.00 to $8.50 per month.

Below is the amendments to the budget proposed by council member Jeanne Aulbach which were approved by the City Council.

Mid-Year Budget Review. In January of 2013, the City Council shall conduct a mid-year review of revenues and expenditures to date. The purpose of this review is to make any needed adjustments to the budget based on the best information available. At that time, any unused budget balances where the cost is knowable and is exceeded by the budgeted amount will be transferred to the Undesignated Reserve.

Zero-Based Budget for FY2014. When formulating the FY2014 Budget, the City Council will utilize a zero-based budgeting process.

Fund Balance Reserve. The City Council recognizes that best financial practices call for the creation of an undesignated fund balance reserve. The purpose of the fund balance reserve is  
to:

  1. Cover expenditures caused by unforeseen emergencies
  2. Provide an offset to shortfalls caused by a decline in revenues
  3. Eliminate short-term borrowing for cash flow purposes
  4. Serve as the basis for establishing a future rating by the credit agencies
  5. Utilized for other legitimate purposes determined by the City Council

Any funds not expended during the fiscal year shall automatically transfer to the fund balance reserve. Such funds shall be utilized for the purposes designated above only by a majority vote of the City Council.

Millage Rate Reset. When formulating the FY2014 Budget, the City Council will review the balance in reserves, the amount of revenue from property taxes and other revenue streams as well as expected expenses. If possible, the City Council will reduce the millage rate to reflect the amount necessary to make make up the difference between the other revenue streams, expected expenses and any contribution needed for reserves.

Ed Stiles July 07, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Mike, The difference in numbers is the result of the difference in Property Tax revenues as reported by Gwinnett County. Initially Gwinnett estimated 1.7 million in revenue to the city, now they are estimating 2.3 million. As a result, Mayor Mike believes he can fund the City of UPCCA at .85 mils instead of 1 mil as originally estimated. Personally, I'm surprised at the change in revenue numbers, I would have believed the values went down, rather than up, within the city boundaries. And remember, this are estimates, who knows what the real numbers will be....
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew July 07, 2012 at 07:55 PM
By percentage, fewer property owners challenged assessments this time around, hence the slight uptick in available tax revenue.
Mike Smith July 08, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Ed, I understand your point but you missed my point. He changed the value of the example home. .85mil on a $300K home is going to be higher then .85mil on a $250K home.
Ed Stiles July 08, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Yes, I missed that.... Remember, you are dealing with an accounting professional, a CPA. They are capable of manipulating numbers as needed to meet their needs :) Too bad they didn't look at the Carl Vinson Report numbers and compare them with a real city, or maybe they did and decided the numbers didn't meet their political needs......
Judy Putnam July 08, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Mr. Styles and Mr. Smith: Please allow me to set the record straight regarding the example on the home values. I chose to use $250,000 as an average home value in writing the story. I was not quoting the mayor.

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