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Proposal cuts Gainesville's budget, raises fee for trash collection
Property tax rates would remain same
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Gainesville residents likely will not see an increase in their property taxes from the city government this year.

But if a $25.8 million proposed budget for fiscal year 2010 passes, residents will pay $1.25 more a month for trash collection starting in July.

Gainesville City Manager Kip Padgett presented on Thursday a final draft of the city’s spending plan for July 2009 to June 2010 to the City Council that is nearly $2 million less than this year’s budget.

Without a tax increase, the savings have come at a cost. The budget Padgett presented eliminates 52 full-time and nine part-time positions. Most of the eliminated positions were vacant or will become vacant in July, but the city laid off seven employees in an effort to cut costs, Padgett said.

City employees not affected by the layoffs will not receive merit or longevity pay increases this year either, Padgett said. City employees were notified of the changes in meetings with department heads that were held simultaneously with Thursday’s council work session.

Lagging sales tax and permitting revenues have forced the city to continually shave its budget throughout the last fiscal year.

Slowing revenues also forced city officials to cut funding to some of its auxiliary services. The city’s Solid Waste division no longer will be reliant on any funding from the general fund, the city’s main funding source. The impact on city residents will be a $1.25 a month increase in trash collection fees, which amounts to an extra $15 a year.

Agencies who receive money from the city such as Main Street Gainesville and the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau also will see cuts in funding.

The proposed budget cuts $14,000 from Main Street Gainesville’s budget and $33,300 from the convention and visitors bureau’s budget. Padgett said the city will require that the two agencies adjust to the loss in funding much like city departments have: by cutting personnel costs instead of services.

"The general fund took some substantial cuts that came from the personnel services side of the budget," Padgett said. "Their (agencies) cuts should come from there as well."

The City Council is expected to vote on the proposed spending plan in June.

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