PTC looks at 4% budget increase, quarter mill tax rate drop

The Peachtree City Council on July 11 discussed the upcoming budget. Pictured, from left, are City Manager Jon Rorie, Councilman Mike King, Mayor Vanessa Fleisch, and council members Terry Ernst, Kim Learnard and Phil Prebor. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Council to hold public hearing July 20

The July 11 meeting of the Peachtree City Council provided another look at the Fiscal Year 2018 budget that totals $34.88 million in revenues and will be followed by a property tax rate reduction totaling .25 mills.

The proposed new budget — to begin Oct. 1 this year — represents an increase of $1.4 million over the current budget of $33.48 million, or about a 4 percent hike.

Presented by City Manager Jon Rorie and city staff, the budget is proposed to include approximately $34.878 million in revenues and approximately $34.466 million in expenditures. The budget would result in a projected surplus of $411,343.

If approved, the proposal would result in a projected millage rate of 6.811 mills, representing a decrease of .254 mills over the current 7.065 rate.

Finance Director Paul Salvatore said revenues are expected to be up 4.03 percent for the coming year while expenditures are expected to increase 2.94 percent.

Noting that city employees had not received a cost-of-living adjustment since 2014, Rorie said this year he is asking for a 2 percent increase in January if budget targets are met. He will provide the council with those unaudited figures by the end of the year.

Rorie was adamant that the city needs to establish a merit increase methodology and, to that end, has included $186,000 for that purpose in the budget.

“We need a merit-based program to recognize the top performers that make a difference,” Rorie said. “Recognizing everyone equally is not merit.”

A portion of the budget presentation included taking a long-term view of city finances. Included in that discussion was the potential that the council might be able to lower the millage rate by nearly .6 mills over the next three years, and then stabilize the rate at 6.506 mills through FY 2022.

Salvatore during the discussion noted that the 2018 projected surplus, and that of the following two years, is essentially a ramp-up for the construction of the westside fire station in 2021. The cost of the new station is expected to be $1 million.

The council will conduct a public hearing on the budget on July 20.

The budget is expected to be adopted in August after tax digest figures are in. Tax collections will reflect higher property value assessments this year — 12 percent higher on average over the previous year.

The budget becomes effective in October.