The city of Conyers proposed a $17.4 million budget for 2010-2011 — about $900,000 less than the previous year’s budget — which would not require tax increases, furloughs or layoffs.
"The reason we were able to reduce was, basically, every department head reduced expenses to make that a reality without going into reserves," said Chief Financial Officer Isabel Rogers, who presented the proposed budget at the Wednesday night city council meeting in the first of three required readings.
The proposed 2010-2011 budget was about $889,000 from the revised general fund level of the previous year. It also saw a slight increase in funding for capital projects, funded by SPLOST dollars, of about $232,000, and in enterprise funds, about $31,000.
Rogers said the savings came from a variety of places, including restricting non-mandated travel, having grant-funded positions and a few employees choosing not to sign up for benefits or taking benefits from a spouse, and freezing open positions.
There are currently six open positions – one in communications, two in court services, one in landscaping, one in sanitation, and one at the horse park – with two of the positions frozen for the current fiscal year. For next year, they have been funded.
The cuts also came despite projections that revenue from property taxes would drop about 4 percent from $9 million in 2009 to in 2010 to about $8.66 million.
The millage rate, or property tax rate, is projected to stay the same at 9.41. The previous year, the rate had been lowered slightly from 9.52.
Out of the $17.4 million of expenses, about 59 percent is in personnel costs. Public safety takes up 34 percent of the expenses, public works and transportation about 31 percent, general government about 19 percent, parks and recreation 11 percent and debt service about 5 percent.
The council commended the work of the city staff and city council.
Mayor Randy Mills said "You’ve been very proactive the last 2 or 3 years on being on the front end of what we’ve seen as the worse recession in our lifetime. You have a lot of governments reacting, and you’ve been very proactive."
"If you nickel and dime ‘em to death, you can actually save $900,000," quipped Councilman Marty Jones.
He added, "The planning that we did as a group has got us to the point where we’re not anywhere near as bad a position as other folks are… You cannot do it effectively thinking about one year at a time. You have to do it thinking about the bigger picture."
Copies of the proposed budget are available at the city hall during office hours. For more information, contact Rogers at 770-785-5042.
The next city council meeting is on June 16, 7 p.m. at the Conyers City Complex at 1184 Scott Street.