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Flowery Branch council adopts '11 budget
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The Flowery Branch City Council unanimously adopted its fiscal year 2011 budget Thursday night with a 3 percent decrease.

The $3.6 million budget, which takes effect July 1, manages to include more money for road improvements, restores employee raises and does away with employee furlough days.

The tax rate will remain the same as 2010.

Councilwoman Tara Richards said the budgeting process wasn’t as easy as it looked, though.

“We’ve had a lot of internal discussions and meetings,” Richards said. “This has been many months in the making. We agreed on the priorities.”

City Manager Bill Andrew said the budget was made possible by “re-prioritizing” funds.

For example, the city stopped funding the Better Hometown Program, a Georgia Department of Community Affairs initiative designed to improve cities’ downtown areas.

The city also received three grants for a total of $504,000.

The council was pleased with the final budget.

“I’m glad we’re able to get our employees off furloughs,” Councilman Kris Yardley said.

“I’m really happy we’re able to give raises. There’s not too many municipalities giving raises this year,” Councilman Chris Fetterman said.

Fetterman also pointed out this is the first time in two years he has voted in favor of the city’s budget. Over the last two years, he did not support the budget because water and sewer rates differed based on if a resident moved into the city before or after 2000.

In the budget for 2011, there is no disparity between residential rates.

“That’s something a city shouldn’t do,” Fetterman said. “We’re here to represent the city as a whole, not individual groups or segmentations of the city.”

Interim Mayor Mike Miller said he was happy that more funding will be dedicated to roads.

“Hopefully we can keep that moving forward,” Miller said.

Yardley added it’s important for the city to have well-maintained roads to attract more homes and businesses to the city.

“It’s kind of a bottom up strategy,” Yardley said. “They’re going to look at things like infrastructure first.”

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