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The Local Agenda: Gainesville set to approve budget tonight
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Little debate, and no opposition from officials, is likely when Gainesville City Council meets today to vote on the $30.3 million 2015 fiscal year budget.

City officials have agreed to keep the tax rate at $3.06 per $1,000 of taxable property.

Of that total, $1.77 will be used to fund general government expenses, including administration and public safety. Parks and recreation operations will be supported with $0.79 while $0.50 will go toward covering government debt.

Meanwhile, the tax rate for the Gainesville Board of Education will remain fixed at $7.59 per $1,000 of taxable property, and no amount will be spent on debt service.

The city’s portion of the budget includes additional investments in capital spending, such as a $3 million transfer from the general fund to help support road improvements and begin implementing the city’s transportation plan.

Additionally, $325,000 will be transferred from the city’s hotel/motel tax fund to support capital costs.

Public safety services once again account for more than half the general fund budget, totaling about $15.5 million in spending.

Meanwhile, total employee benefits are projected to cost about $9.2 million next year, up from about $7.52 million.

City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. today in the municipal courtroom of the Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway.

Last SPLOST VII public input meetings this week

Two meetings seeking public input on what capital projects should be funded by a new five-year round of special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII, will be held this week.

The first is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at the Clermont Chattahoochee Center, at 639 Main St. in Clermont.

Clermont will receive about $600,000 from the current SPLOST VI, which ends next year. But Mayor James Nix said he is unsure just how much funding the town will receive from SPLOST VII.

Revenue projections for SPLOST VII currently stand at $158 million. Hall County has identified $223 million worth of capital projects, which includes about $43 million in municipal distributions.

Nix said any funding would likely be directed to streets, sidewalks, parks and building renovations.

The final public input meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Gainesville Civic Center, at 830 Green St. in Gainesville.

As reported in The Times on Monday, Gainesville has prepared a “wish list” of public works, public safety, parks and Senior Life Center projects totaling about $43.5 million.

Joshua Silavent covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: