Oxford's city council received a snapshot of the city's funds and cash on hand during a council work session Monday in preparation for an upcoming budget season.
Councilman George Holt presented a summary of the city's investment funds with BB&T and Bank of North Georgia, about $2.6 million and $1 million respectively, and estimates of future capital needs, including the new city hall and utility projects.
Holt said budgeting would be done a little differently in this upcoming budget season. The goal would be to budget numbers as accurately as possible, instead of allotting far more than might be needed.
"We're going to budget like we should budget it, hopefully," he said.
Councilman James Windham pointed out there were always expenses that couldn't be predicted.
Mayor Jerry Roseberry emphasized that council members should be prepared to bring numbers to the table to back up their budget proposals.
Councilmember Terry Smith said the city was through with transfers.
"We're not going to rob Peter to pay Paul," he said, adding that this would give a better idea of the performance of city programs.
Holt also clarified some terms that the council had previously used incorrectly, causing some confusion.
"Restricted" funds were monies with rules on how they should be spent placed by outside authorities, such as state or federal laws, he explained. "Limited" meant funds dictated by city ordinances. "Assigned" simply referred to money that had been named in certain categories by the city council but weren't bound by law or ordinance, and "unassigned" meant money that had no category or requirements.
In other business:
Planning council liaison Hoyt Oliver reported that the planning council strongly recommended granting a development permit for the new football field at the Cousins Center. The field, which would be used for Newton County Recreation Department programs and includes a concession stand and bathroom building, sits just within the Oxford city limits.
Councilman Frank Davis reported on attending the Department of Transportation meeting in Greensboro and also discussed the placement of a concrete traffic island at the intersection of Haygood Avenue and Stone Street in order to place a stop sign in a safe and viewable place.
Oxford's new court solicitor, Qader Baig, was introduced to the city council by City Attorney David Strickland. Baig, a graduate of the University of Chicago and Emory University School of Law, also serves as solicitor for Porterdale and Covington and has a private practice in Conyers.
Resident Charles Clark expressed his dissatisfaction with not being allowed to ride a battery-powered golf cart on the Newton County walking trail. Mayor Jerry Roseberry replied that the city would check with the Department of Transportation as to the reason it differentiated between a motorized wheelchair, which is allowed, and a battery-powered vehicle.
Resident Claude Sitton recommended planting firs and cedars on the north and west side of the new city hall building and deciduous trees on the south and east side to reduce the heating and cooling costs.