Taylor presents budget to commission

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- City Manager James Taylor unveiled the city's $108.2 million Fiscal Year 2012 budget Tuesday, which affords city employees a cost-of-living pay increase but also takes $3.6 million out of reserves to balance the budget.

The proposed budget is built around the millage rate -- the basis for property taxes -- staying the same as the current fiscal year.

The budget also includes $275,000 in funding for the Flint RiverQuarium and $50,000 for the Albany Civil Rights Institute -- both of which are on the last year of a three-year contract with the city that Taylor said he will recommend not renewing next year.

According to figures provided by the city manager's office, 72 percent of the budget, or roughly $77.6 million, is the city's major operating fund --the General Fund -- and its special fund.

The remaining 38 percent is the city's enterprise funds -- the Civic Center, the Airport, Solid Waste Fund, the Municipal Auditorium, Sanitary Sewer Fund and the Transit Fund.

The largest three revenue streams for the city have remained constant.

Property taxes are expected to generate $14.3 million, or 25 percent of the total General Fund budget.

Sales Tax is next highest contributer at $8.5 million, or 15 percent, and profits from the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission will be $8.3 million, or 15 percent.

The budget also includes funding for three fireworks shows -- Christmas, Independence Day and New Year's Eve.

To balance the budget, Taylor is proposing a 2 percent increase in both the solid waste and sanitary sewer fees, which were planned before this year's budget process.

The budget "unfunds," or eliminates, nine general fund positions, including the GIS manager position, a building inspector position and an electrical inspector.

Seven positions within the city's enterprise fund will be cut as well, including six solid waste collector positions and one facilities and grounds maintenance supervisor for the Civic Center.

The budget also adds two new positions in the top tier of the city government.

A marketing position will be created within the city manager's office, and an administrative secretary will be created in the city's legislative department.