New Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker, who campaigned on promises to trim the city’s budget back significantly, is inviting citizens to attend a budget review meeting Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m.
The meeting, which will be held at City Hall, will allow him to accept comment from the public “without the intimidation factor of being in a room with the entire city council and budget folks of the city,” Imker said in a letter to The Citizen.
“Everything will be on the table. No ideas will be summarily dismissed,” Imker said in the letter. “We’re looking for ideas on how to reduce city government and make it as efficient as possible.”
Imker said the city needs to make changes to the current budget mid-year instead of waiting to cut back in next year’s budget. He notes that the city is projecting a property tax rate increase in future years.
Imker said he is prepared to propose a “workable” budget for next year that would forego a tax increase. That will most likely involved significant deep cuts in each department as the city is projecting a shortfall for next years budget of $3 million.
Imker cautioned that his proposal would have to be refined over the coming months but he teased that it is “elegantly simple” and can be implemented for the next fiscal year.
He added, however, that he is hoping to encourage citizens to participate by promising them their input will make a difference.
“Our city councilpersons have the authority and will make the decisions that make a difference,” Imker said. “Failure to come to terms with not only today’s budget but outyear budgets will lead to citizen dissatisfaction and distrust.”
Imker noted that the city needs to get away from basing budgets on past experience and assumptions.
“We need to change the mindset and begin looking at things as if they were our personal household budget,” Imker said. “We decide what services we want/need. We decide how many employees it takes to run the city government. We decide what our tax rate will be. We need to start thinking of ways to streamline and simplify. We need to get rid of no value added work.”