LEESBURG — Cheryl Allison, the finance manager for the city of Leesburg, presented the proposed budget for the city for Fiscal Year 2020 at Tuesday’s Leesburg City Council meeting.

“The recommended budget for the next fiscal year for all funds is a balanced budget, which means that our expenses and our revenues are the same amount,” Allison said.

The proposed budget includes:

♦ Two new funds for FY 2020 SPLOST VII and T-SPLOST;

♦ A 4% salary adjustment for employees;

♦ An estimated 4% increase in health insurance;

♦ An estimated 4% increase in workers’ comp insurance;

♦ An estimated 5% increase in liability insurance;

♦ An increase in anticipated revenues and expenditures in the general fund (not counting recreation property);

♦ An increase in anticipated revenues and expenditures in the city’s water and sewer fund.

The council will hold a public hearing Tuesday at 6 p.m. to discuss the budget, and its members plan to adopt the budget in a meeting the following Tuesday at the same time.

At Tuesday’s meeting, State Patrol Post 40 Commander Jason Ellis addressed the council. Ellis has been at this position since April of 2018, and as he explained to the council, he has been working to increase public safety in the area since that time.

“One of the things I wanted to do was cut fatalities in the whole four-county area,” Ellis said.

Ellis explained that arrests for DUI and citations are up since the same time last year, but they also finished up in 2018 with a little less than half the fatalities from the previous year.

However, to continue the State Patrol’s mission, Ellis asked the city to provide the money for one traffic laser that would cost approximately $1,500.

“One of the things that I found when I arrived at Post 40 Albany was that the equipment the troopers were using was 12-15 years old in terms of speed detection devices,” he said. “We depend on those devices greatly in order to increase public safety in the municipalities and counties that we serve in this area.”

The device will be used in Leesburg and Lee County as well as the surrounding area.

Leesburg Police Chief Christopher Prokesh said that there was money in his budget to pay for the laser, so Councilwoman Judy Powell made a motion to purchase the laser, and Councilman Bob Wilson seconded the motion.

City Manager Bob Alexander also discussed a partnership with the county in the Georgia Department of Transportation Transportation Alternatives Program and the results from a discussion he had with the Lee County Board of Commissioners at their last meeting.

The board was willing to partner with the city on the project that, if approved, would provide parking and sidewalks in downtown Leesburg.

Alexander said the project is estimated to cost about $1.5 million, with a 20% match. With the partnership between the city and county, it is estimated they would each have to match $150,000.

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I'm a Southwest Georgia native, and I have loved writing ever since I was a little girl growing up in Ashburn, Georgia. Now, I get to combine my love of writing with my love for the Southwest Georgia area by writing for the Herald.

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