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Lula looking at budget surplus, will soon open bids for depot renovation
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Lula officials are opening up bids for improvements to the city’s downtown train depot. - photo by Carlos Galarza

The Lula City Council is finalizing the city’s budget for the next fiscal year, which will begin July 1, and the city is moving forward with its plans to renovate the historic train depot for use as a community center.

The current budget plan includes a surplus of about $23,000, which the council will need to decide how to use in order to balance the general fund as required by state law. The city can save that money for use in a future year if needed, City Manager Dennis Bergin said at a Monday, June 11, work session. Councilman Vince Evans also suggested Monday that those funds could be used for downtown beautification, another option the council will consider.

The council will take final action on the budget at its Monday, June 18, meeting. The city will be hosting three public hearings on the budget at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, June 15.

Lula City Council budget hearings

When: 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, June 15

Where: Lula City Hall, 6055 Main St.

The proposed budget does not call for a property tax in Lula.

Lula is expecting to make about $1.08 million in general revenue in the upcoming fiscal year, with a significant change in profits from the city’s depot, which will be rented for group meetings and events once renovations are complete.

Expenses for the upcoming year’s general fund are projected at about $1.06 million. Increased expenses from the previous year include a budgeted $8,000 to upgrade holiday decorations with LED lights, as well as a projected $30,000 for staffing, utilities and maintenance of the renovated depot. Bergin said the city is considering hiring a part-time event coordinator for the depot.

Bids for the depot project are opening to contractors on Tuesday, June 19, Bergin said. Demolition will not start until the council has accepted a bid, and fixtures inside will be sold. The city will keep historical artifacts that were displayed in the depot.

“We are going to gut the building and start brand new … we’d like to have a big yard sale one Saturday and sell anything that isn’t nailed down,” Bergin said.

The Lula Area Betterment Association donated the facility to the city in 2017. Bergin said both residents and the council are anticipating the new space.

“Everybody in the room wants to get this project going, and so do we,” Bergin said Monday.

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