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City proposes $700K in budget cuts
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The city of Conyers is bracing for budget cuts in almost every department, in anticipation of a large decrease in revenues over the next year, in order to adopt a balanced budget for the 2013 fiscal year.

Forecasting a revenue decrease of almost $700,000, city officials plan to remedy the shortfall by opting to forego the annual five percent performance increase for employees in addition to "freezing" the 12 positions currently vacant throughout City departments. By doing so, the city anticipates receiving and spending an estimated $12,880,729 between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

"This has been one of the hardest years to come to a balanced budget," Conyers Chief Financial Officer Isabel Rogers told the Council Wednesday night.  "It has taken numerous meetings with department heads to come to a balanced budget."

While the Police Department will suffer the largest budget cuts at $133,275 less than was spent over the past year, other departments that will see a significant decrease in funding include Technology, Administration, Planning and Development and Georgia International Horse Park events.

"Re-assessments alone on property in the city we are down over $800,000,"City Manager Tony Lucas explained. "Commercial property owners have been appealing their assessments and many of them are getting reduced values, and that translates straight over to the budget." He also said both permit applications and municipal court revenue is down, all of which left the City needing to make up about $1 million in revenue shortfalls.

The Board of Education and Rockdale County are also facing similar budget constraints in the coming year.   
The official budget will be adopted at the council's regular monthly meeting June 13.

In other city council business:

- The council also approved a contract with Pratt Industries to take over the city's waste management services and recycling collection beginning June 1. City Manager Lucas said city residents should expect the transition to be seamless - rates will remain the same along with collection days.

By outsourcing the garbage collection service, the city avoided an inevitable increase in collection fees due to rising fuel costs and vehicle maintenance. The city will continue to pickup limbs, leaves and other items left on the curb while Pratt will handle recyclables and solid waste.

- The council also recognized the Conyers Police Department for recently achieving the State of Georgia Law Enforcement Certification by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. The certification establishes the police department as one of the top agencies in Georgia, with less than 15 percent of law enforcement agencies having achieved the certification.