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Lula approves budget with a few cuts due to COVID-19

Update, June 29: The Lula City Council unanimously approved this budget Monday, June 29. 

Lula’s budget, like other local governments’, has seen some adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and community members will can comment on the proposed budget for the next fiscal year at a hearing Monday, June 22.

The city’s fiscal year restarts July 1. The 6 p.m. hearing Monday will be held online over Zoom, with login information available on the city website about 24 hours in advance.

The proposed budget is $1,116,551, about $73,000 lower than the current year’s budget of $1,190,310. The cuts are about 7%.

Expenses have been lowered by making smaller cuts in several areas, including $3,500 less in City Hall maintenance and improvements, $2,600 less in administration training, $5,000 less in sidewalk repair and $8,000 less in street repair and maintenance. The proposed budget also includes $4,000 less for travel and $7,100 less for Mayor and City Council reimbursements, changes made possible by the cancelation of some statewide events, City Manager Dennis Bergin said.

Lula is also projecting some losses in tax revenues, including about a 34% decline in Hall County motor vehicle taxes and about 10% less in Hall local option sales tax revenue. While Lula is projecting that its revenue from Banks County motor vehicle taxes will be cut in half, The city of Lula does not collect property taxes.

But Bergin said Lula had seen less of a negative financial impact from COVID-19 than cities in some other regions.

“Some communities, the Atlanta market as an example, are getting hit a lot harder with retail sales being down, sales tax figures being affected, hotel motel tax, alcohol tax collections. Those types of things are affecting a lot of communities differently than they are in Hall County and our region, and we’re fortunate in that respect,” Bergin said. “I think that has a lot to do with the diversity in Hall County and the diversity of our region.”

Lula’s proposed budget is available on the city website. People can also go to Lula City Hall at 6055 Main Street between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays, call 770-869-3801 when they arrive, and a city staff member will bring them a paper copy. There is a drop box on the door of City Hall where people can leave written comments about the budget with their name and phone number for follow-up.

The Lula City Council will vote on the budget at a 6 p.m. online meeting Monday, June 29.



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