F’ville budget, tax rate, water bills headed up
After years of static taxes and reduced city budgets, living in Fayetteville is about to get a little more expensive.
As part of that, those planning to attend the June 19 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council might want to prepare for an extended session. A sampling of the items up for discussion or a vote include the city’s 2015 budget that begins in August, the proposed Lafayette Square apartments, an increase in the hotel/motel tax and proposed water and sewer rate increases.
As for the 2015 general fund budget, the recent idea by some that council members would have to increase the millage rate significantly to offset expenses proved to be incorrect. The proposed budget shows an increase in the general fund millage rate of .25 mills and an increase in the capital projects millage rate of .5 mills.
The current general fund millage rate is 3.11 mills. The increase would raise the rate to 3.36 mills. The capital projects rate is .81 mills. The increase would raise the rate to 1.3 mills.
General fund revenues total $9.72 million and include a 2.39 percent increase in the property tax millage rate, a 3 percent increase in sales taxes, a 2 percent increase in business taxes and a 1 percent increase in franchise taxes. Expenses for 2015 total $8.54 million, with $1.17 million in net balance and a $2.36 million unassigned fund balance.
The overall assumptions for the budget include adding 11 new positions, including seven in public safety, maintaining appropriate levels of both restricted and unassigned fund balance, increasing employees salary rates by 2.4 percent, funding the Ga. Highway 92/Hood Avenue project additional cost from the unassigned fund balance, increasing building permit fees, increasing the water and sewer rate by 2.4 percent, securing a Ga. Municipal Association loan for the new West Fayetteville fire station, creating 10 new staff positions during the 2015-2018 period and phasing out management part-time positions over the next five years.
The council on Thursday will also hold a second public hearing in the Lafayette Square apartment proposal. The Charter Companies is proposing 210 luxury apartments in a gated community along Ga. Highway 54 West near downtown.
The council on June 19 will also hold a second public hearing and likely vote to increase the hotel/motel tax to 8 percent, following neighboring cities such as Peachtree City, McDonough and Stockbridge. The city has maintained the current rate of 5 percent since 2001.
The council will consider a proposed amendment to the water and sewer rate structure which would increase the average residential water and sewer bill by $1.32 and the minimum residential water and sewer cost by 76 cents. The proposal includes increasing the minimum senior rate by 35 cents.
The proposed increase follows information provided by staff at the annual retreat which noted the need to meet required debt service obligations included in the 2010 and 2013 Series Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds and to refinance existing debt.