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Oakwood City Council approves 2014 budget

POSTED: November 12, 2013 12:17 a.m.

Oakwood City Council voted Monday to approve its 2014 spending plan.

The planned $6.8 million budget would continue city services without increasing staff. It also would pay debt obligations for various items, including a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loan and the city’s sewer fund, which it pulled from to pay for emergency repairs related to May 19 floods.

The council voted in June on a resolution calling for the city to reimburse the sewer fund from its general fund, which is supported partially by property taxes, in the amount of $163,444 by Dec. 31 and the balance of $326,889 by Dec. 31, 2014.

The newly approved budget has the city paying itself back $155,611 by Dec. 31, 2014, and $167,361 installments in 2015 and 2016.

The city replaced a culvert on Mud Creek at McEver Road, near the city’s border with Flowery Branch, reopening that stretch of road on Aug. 1, a day earlier than expected.

Oakwood’s budget would continue several capital programs, including a sewer project with Braselton, vehicle and equipment replacement, Oakwood Industrial Park development and a downtown sewer project supported by special purpose local option sales tax revenue.

City employees also would get a 1.4 percent cost-of-living raise and a step increase based on performance.

The budget breaks down into three major categories: $3.72 million, general fund; $410,000, SPLOST; and $2.67 million, sewer fund.

The good news for residents is the council has voted to keep the tax rate the same at 2.658 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 per $1,000 in assessed property value.

The budget, which takes effect Jan. 1, does call for a first-time user fee for the South Hall city’s sewer customers.

To help shore up the fund, some $245,000 in fees would need to be raised, officials have said.

Under the plan, Oakwood customers on Gainesville sewer would pay an additional $2 per month on their base rate, raising it to $10.40 per hundred cubic feet, or 748 gallons, from $8.40.

The Oakwood add-on for Flowery Branch customers would be based on usage.

Businesses that use up to 7,000 gallons of Flowery Branch sewer would see a base rate of $97.30, up from $40.53; and businesses that use more than 7,000 gallons would see their rate increase to $13.90 per 1,000 gallons, from $5.79.

The add-on would be as high as $22 per month for residential customers using between 2,501 and 4,500 gallons per month.

The city’s tax base, however, is mostly commercial.

The city plans to mail out tax bills on Dec. 2.


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