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City may see budget surplus
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The City of Conyers found a pleasant surprise with its budget, with revenues unexpectedly up by 4.5 percent and a projected surplus of $618,000 halfway through the fiscal year.

"Overall, it's a much brighter picture than there has been in the past," said Isabel Rogers, the city's chief financial officer, reporting the new numbers at the city's annual Winter Retreat last month in Stone Mountain.

Mayor Randy Mills said the surplus could make possible recently requested raises for Conyers Police Department officers. That was before recent winter storms walloped the area, which might eat into the budget.

Rogers reported on the revenue numbers as of Dec. 31. That is the midway point of the city's fiscal year, which begins in July.

Conyers originally expected its Fiscal Year 2013-14 general fund to be $13,350,070, and budgeted to spend every penny of that. But, Rogers reported, the fund is now expected to be $13,968,070.

Revenues increased in several major categories.

Revenue from all forms of taxes is now projected at $10.085 million, up from the expected $9.955 million. A new motor vehicle tax was a big piece of that, but property tax revenue was also about $25,000 higher than expected.

Property values and taxes in Conyers are on the rise. The expected 2013 property tax revenue of roughly $6.5 million is more than $1 million higher than 2012's number. The collection rate is nearly 97 percent.

Rogers said that city officials are "hoping and praying" that property value assessments won't decrease in the coming year.

Fees for licenses and permits were projected at $143,000, but are now $166,000. The hotel-motel fund was projected at $600,000, now increased to $700,000. The city also saw a $15,000 boost in "charges for services" to $735,000.

A "miscellaneous" revenue category was projected at $353,870, but is now $803,870. That big jump was largely a one-time income from selling city sanitation equipment to Pratt Industries as privatization of that service.

Several of the city's revenue streams are showing increases over last fiscal year, and all have high collection rates of 91 percent or better.

Conyers Security Alert, the private security system offering direct response from Conyers Police Department, has revenue of $600,032, up from $508,840 in 2012.

Stormwater service revenue is $476,969, up from $475,506. Residential sanitation is $792,432, up from $786,144. And commercial sanitation is $435,806, up from $420,531.