The city’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget and millage rate will be officially adopted at the council’s September regular meeting after they have been published in the county legal organ.
The council set a tentative millage rate of 7.365 for the 2012 tax digest, which will go into effect for the city’s FY 2013 operating budget. According to the city’s 5-year history, this is only a slight increase from previous years. In 2011, the millage was set at 7.348, in 2010 it was 7.27, in 2009 it was set at 7.268, in 2008 it was 7.27, and in 2007 it was 7.3.
“This is right on par with what we’ve had over the past few years,” said Tallapoosa Mayor William “Pete” Bridges.
Despite the fact the millage rate has risen slightly since 2008, actual revenue for the city has decreased from $798,186 in 2008 to $740,533 in 2011.
The city also approved a motion to increase the minimum payment on water bills outside the city limits. The minimum payment has been risen from $11.25 to $11.75 in order to be in line with a 2008 increase on water bills for residents inside the city limits.
The council also discussed increasing the cost of reconnect fees for gas and water services.
“This is not for people who regularly pay their bills on time,” said Bridges. “This is for people who we have consistently not paid their bills and we have to go out several times to cut off their water or gas and then turn it back on.”
According to Bridges and City Manager Phillip Eidson, the current fee of $10 simply does not cover the cost of paying a city employee overtime to turn someone’s water or gas on. A fee increase to $20 was requested, with a fee of $40 for the second reconnect.
The council approved the request, along with a new policy on late notifications. Now, instead of receiving three notices to pay a late fee, water and gas customers will receive only one.
Bridges noted that this new policy was directly related to the city’s uncollectable debt, which amounted to more than $16,000 this year. Uncollectable debt includes fees owed to the city in the categories of water, sanitation, sewer, golf and gas.
“We would like to get this number lower, which is why we are increasing the reconnect fees,” Bridges said. “The motions we’re making now will help our bottom line with the new budget.”
In other business, the council renewed their agreement with the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, which compensates the city on some of the cost for its senior citizen transportation program.
The city also approved an ordinance handed down by the state to create the office of a prosecuting attorney of the municipal court. The council then approved a resolution naming Michael L. Hubbard as the prosecuting attorney of the municipal court for the city of Tallapoosa.
The council also confirmed the addition of two members to the West Georgia Museum of Tallapoosa: Jane Wright and Jimmy Thrower.
The city also approved the terms of Tallapoosa Downtown Development Authority board members Midge Baxley, Randy Sanders, Joyce Davis, Ken Mugg, Tommy Allen, John Daniel and Laurie Hutcheson.
A motion to move forward with a state-mandated city audit was also approved, at a cost of $22,000 to the city. The audit, once complete, will be submitted to the state.
Under informational items, the mayor and Eidson reminded residents that while the city is working on a golf cart ordinance, one has yet to be set in place. Also, once an ordinance is in place that allows residents to drive their golf carts on the streets, anyone operating such a vehicle must have a drivers license to do so.
“Once this ordinance is in place,” Bridges said, “anyone driving a golf cart must have a license or have a learner’s permit and be supervised. They still have to follow driving laws.”