Lula 2017-18 budget highlights
• Revenues up 2.3 percent over last year to $1,006,542
• Expenditures up 1.3 percent to $1,006,542
• Utility revenues up almost 24 percent to $788,200
• Utility expenditures up almost 24 percent to $788,200
• No property tax increase
When Mayor Milton Turner opened the floor to public comments, no one from among the handful of residents who attended Monday night’s meeting had anything to say.
City leaders believe the lack of public feedback has a lot to do with their approval of a conservative $1 million budget with no new taxes.
“We adopted a budget tonight with just a little over $1 million with no property taxes that we charge our citizens,” Turner said when the meeting concluded. “So, that’s the great thing about being here in the city where we’re able to do this, and roll back our taxes to zero.”
Mayor Pro Tem Marvin Moore was equally proud of Lula once again putting together a budget without raising taxes.
“We’re going to hold to that as long as we can,” Moore said. “We know it’s inevitable with the more services we provide, but we’re holding our own right now. We’re hoping our growth will sustain us.”
City Manager Dennis Bergin said residents should feel comfortable that the numbers have stayed steady.
“There’s not a lot of money being moved between funds,” Bergin said.
Bergin said residents will see streetscape improvements in the downtown area and the park with a scheduled extension to the city’s walking trail.
“The money is there,” Bergin said. “I think if we continue our conservative approach, we will satisfy most, maybe not all.”
Councilman Vince Evans was the only one who voted against the general fund and utility fund budgets.
“I think there’s some things that we’re not doing correctly that I’d like to see changed,” Evans told The Times. “I think our employees need a starting salary and a minimum salary. They need a job description and employee evaluation.”
Lula is one of the few local governments in Hall County that keep property taxes at zero, according to government finances reports compiled by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.