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Flowery Branch board slated to vote on budget
Property owners may not see a tax increase
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Flowery Branch budget

What: Flowery Branch City Council is set to adopt the fiscal 2012 budget, which takes effect July 1.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: City Hall, 5517 Main St.
Contact: 770-967-6371

Flowery Branch City Council is set to approve a leaner budget for fiscal 2012, which begins July 1, but with no tax increase for property owners.

The budget, which goes before the council at its Thursday night meeting, is proposed at $5 million, down from the current $5.7 million. It is divided between $3.3 million for general fund expenses and $1.7 million for water and sewer operations.

Property tax revenue is falling to $593,000 from this year's budgeted $731,500, a 19 percent drop. The city expects to end this fiscal year on June 30 having collected $685,000.

A tighter year means no pay increases or change in benefits for employees, but at least workers are spared furloughs in the coming year.

The city's budget for roads maintenance is dropping to $81,000 from $115,000, but a $30,000 budget is being created for stormwater management.

Also, to help balance the budget, the city is proposing to transfer $126,618 from its reserve fund. The city's total surplus will be about $1.15 million, with a 90-day reserve of $648,537.

The city's tax rate will remain at 2.837 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value. Property is assessed at 40 percent in the city.

However, Flowery Branch is proposing utility rate increases — 2 percent for water and 2 percent for sewer — and raising the monthly utility bill charge for both services to $2.75 from $2.50.

To help fund capital improvements, the city typically should collect water and sewer revenue that is equal to 12.5 percent over the amount of operating costs, City Manager Bill Andrew said.

That means that Flowery Branch should bring in an extra $199,904 next fiscal year. The 2 percent increase will generate an extra $108,340, leaving the city $91,564 short of its goal.

"The importance of generating capital dollars out of your operating revenue is particularly important now because we are receiving very few (utility) tap fees," Andrew said.

The city generated most of its capital revenue from tap fees "before the economic slowdown," he added.