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Flowery Branch finances in good shape, city manager says
City likely wont have to tap into reserves as projected
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Flowery Branch's budget is looking healthy midway thought its fiscal year.

The city has collected more property taxes than planned and saw a 180 percent jump in revenue it collects from in insurance premium taxes, City Manager Bill Andrew told City Council in a "state of the city" presentation Friday night.

"We had budgeted a transfer of the reserve account of $198,000 to make this budget whole," he said. "Because of the extra revenue that we hadn't anticipated, it's highly unlikely that we'll have to use any of the reserve account to keep the budget afloat."

As far as expenses, the city has spent $371,000 less than projected at this point in the fiscal year, which began July 1 and ends June 30.

The city's overall fund balance is $1.28 million, with about $663,000 of that designated as a 90-day emergency reserve.

The difference between those amounts, or $565,000, "are funds that we probably be wanting to look at as part of our capital improvement plan," Andrew said.

"This just means we'll have some things to talk about during the budget process and retreat," he said.

The city has many infrastructure needs, such as roads and sewer, and is looking at contracting a study on potential stormwater improvements and costs.

Also, the city has long-term plans to build a government complex on property it owns at Main and Gainesville streets.

Flowery Branch is gearing up for a new budget season.

City officials have set a schedule of dates leading up to a projected June 7 vote on the 2012-13 budget, which takes effect July 1.

City Council is slated to begin meeting with officials April 23 to review a draft of the general fund budget.

A public hearing is set May 17 on an official draft of the budget.

The city also has planned a March 17 retreat to discuss long-range issues and capital projects.

This year's budget was approved at $5.1 million, including water and sewer expenses. Last year's council kept the tax rate the same at 2.837 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value and property assessed at 40 percent.

Also, during the months ahead, the city will get fresh pairs of eyes to consider finances. A March 6 special election is set to fill the vacant Post 2 and Post 3 City Council seats.

And Councilwoman Tara Richards likely won't be around for budget talks. A U.S. Air Force Reserves captain, she is training for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan beginning in late February.

 

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