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Posted: December 18, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Porterdale council passes stand-in budget at called meeting

Porterdale called a meeting for Thursday to adopt a stand-in budget for 2012 after a short public hearing last week.

State law requires that the budget, which estimated about $822,000 in revenue and expenditures, be passed by the end of the 2011 fiscal year Dec. 31 and city officials said that while hands-on budget talks can wait until Mayor-elect Arline Chapman and Councilor-elect Anita Rainey are sworn in next month, the city cannot risk losing governance certifications that could make Porterdale ineligible for grants in the future by intentionally failing to meet the state deadline.

The hearing Dec. 15 started at 6:30 p.m., with copies of the proposal that will be voted on next week available for the public, though few people attended and the meeting was adjourned after about 15 minutes.

Councilor Robert Foxworth was absent from the hearing.
The City Council will meet at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday to formally adopt the budget. Councilors agreed last week to adopt City Manager Bob Thomson's proposed budget to meet the state deadline with the explicit understanding that it would be thoroughly reviewed and amended in January.

On Dec. 12, Thomson presented a 2012 budget totaling $822,415 in revenue, a 17 percent drop from the 2011 budget approved last winter. However, city officials cut spending mid-budget year this summer when the annual county property reassessment showed a 5.2-percent fall in property value and, therefore, tax revenue.

The city eliminated positions in the Police Department and the Public Works Department, furloughed all employees for four hours per week and raised property taxes by more than two mils, to 19.892 mils, in June.

The current proposal anticipated keeping the furlough in place all year, though Thomson and City Clerk Judy Johnson included cost estimates for stopping the furlough in July and for ending it altogether.

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