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Gainesville departments turn in budget wish lists

POSTED: April 14, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Tom Reed/The Times

Eddie Marvin puts yard trash in a Gainesville garbage truck while Willie Pratt rides along.

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The Gainesville City Council on Wednesday heard the budget wish lists of several city departments and divisions.

Gainesville is expecting less money in its general fund than in past years because of a slow economy and uncertainty over revenue. City department heads have been advised to request smaller budgets than in the past. Here’s a look at what these departments want and why they need it:

Georgia Mountains Center

How it gets money: 60 percent, revenue; 17 percent, hotel/motel tax; and 22 percent, transfers from the city’s general fund

What it wants: The mountains center has asked for $25,000 more from the general fund for fiscal year 2009 than the $227,000 it received this fiscal year. The center needs the money to help fund some of the repairs the 28-year-old building needs.

What the council says: Council discussed reducing the amount of money the center receives to prevent raising property taxes. One option is to increase its revenues.

Solid waste fund

How it gets money: Trash collection fees, with 12 percent from the general fund.

What it wants: The division asked for $266,000 from the general fund in fiscal year 2009. It’s $12,000 less than what the division received this fiscal year.

What the council says: Council discussed raising trash collection fees to cut the amount of money it needs from the general fund.

Engineering services

How it gets money: Fully funded by the city’s general fund, sales tax dollars and some funds from the Department of Transportation

What it wants: Public Works is requesting $847,011 — about $60,000 more than its current budget — to fund the planning, design and construction of all public improvements. The division needs to plan for the upgrade of Midtown’s storm water drainage system and create a master plan for all the maintenance and upgrades that are needed in the city’s storm water drainage system.

Traffic engineering

How it gets money: Fully funded by the city’s general fund, but occasionally receives federal grants.

What it wants: Public Works has requested $1.32 million from the general fund. The request is a more than $100,000 increase from the department’s current budget. The department wants to install pedestrian signals at the intersection of Shallowford Road and Plaza Drive, and fiber optic cables to improve the timing of traffic signals along Dawsonville Highway.

Street maintenance

How it gets money: The Public Works division is fully funded by the general fund and receives some sales tax dollars.

What it wants: Street maintenance currently runs on a $2.19 million budget. The department has requested $2.16 million from the fiscal year 2009 budget. The money would fund the resurfacing of the city’s streets, installation of curb and gutters and the sweeping of city streets. Also, the department wants to replace and build new sidewalks on four city streets.

Vehicle services

How it gets money: Charges for services, fuel sales and transfers from the general fund

What it wants: The division has requested $28,000 from the general fund for fiscal year 2009. The division is one of the only departments in the city requesting an additional employee, and wants to hire another auto mechanic. Still, the division’s request is nearly half of what the division received from the general fund this fiscal year.

Public lands & buildings

How it gets money: General fund and city property leases

What it wants: Public Works is requesting $491,594 to fund the upkeep of city property. The request is $4,300 more than what the department received for the current fiscal year. It wants to make improvements on the Henry Ward Building and make the city’s administration building wheelchair accessible.

Cemetery

How it gets money: The two city cemeteries are funded by plot sales and the city’s general fund.

What it wants: The cemetery plans to decrease its expenses in fiscal year 2009 by reducing part-time labor costs, and has asked for $375,337 — $3,500 less than what the cemetery received from the general fund this fiscal year.

Lee Gilmer airport fund

How it gets money: About 80 percent, hangar rentals; 20 percent, industrial park space rentals, fuel sales, facility leases and federal grants.

What it wants: The airport receives no money from the city’s general fund, and therefore has made no request. However, the City Council still has to approve its fiscal year 2009 budget. The airport expects to transfer $45,000 of its revenues into the general fund for fiscal year 2009.



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