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Flowery Branch City Council puts off streetlight charges
Issue may be discussed again for 2012-13 budget
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Flowery Branch residents won't have to worry about streetlight charges this year.

The City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to postpone the issue until the first regularly scheduled meeting in April.

Councilman Joe Anglin, who pushed for the delay, said after the meeting he wanted to take up the issue in the spring because that's when the council will start discussing the 2012-2013 budget, which takes effect July 1.

"I think that's the best time to bring this back up," Anglin said.

The council has been discussing possible streetlight charges for most of this year, including as part of the process to approve the 2011-2012 budget, which took effect July 1.

The particular concern was that the city has subsidized the utility for some residents but not for others.

Council members approved this year's budget expecting residents to cover some $27,000 in streetlight charges from November — or when tax bills go out — through the rest of the fiscal year.

Proposals varied from splitting costs among property owners throughout the city to charging residents based on the number and type of streetlights in the area where they live.

City officials seemed to settle on at least establishing streetlight assessment districts for subdivisions where lights are covered by the city.

The sticking point was whether to create a "general district for the entire city."

The proposed charges ranged from $29 to $39 for the subdivision residents and a $9 assessment plus $1 administrative charge for all property owners.

City officials indicated they needed to know by the council's second regularly scheduled meeting in October, or Oct. 20, whether to put the charges on property tax bills going out later in the month.

At the Oct. 20 meeting, the council voted 3-2 to postpone the matter to Tuesday night, with members Chris Fetterman and Amanda Swafford in opposition.

Anglin, Councilwoman Tara Richards and Mayor Mike Miller supported the delay.

Tax bills went out the following week, but the possibility still loomed that the city could send out a supplemental tax bill.

That possibility was shot down Thursday night.

"Mr. Andrew, I sure hope we can find (the $27,000) in our budget," Fetterman told City Manager Bill Andrew. "Even though you say we have this money going forward, there is no guarantee."

Andrew had just given the council a report about city finances that showed the city ahead on revenue and behind on expenses at this point in the fiscal year.

The exact date of the April meeting isn't known yet, as the council will set a meeting calendar for 2012 in January.


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