City council authorizes about $2M for FY 20

Euharlee approves 2020 budget

Members of the Euharlee City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to adopt a proposed 2020 fiscal year budget. At $2,036,700, the amount allocated for FY 20 is slightly higher than the approved 2019 fiscal year budget of $1,977,900.

As for projected revenue sources, the City anticipates about $925,000 generated by local option sales taxes, $320,000 stemming from insurance premium taxes and $150,000 derived from property taxes.

“SPLOST funds are $615,000, [Euharlee Police Department] special budget funds are $42,192,” said Euharlee City Manager James Stephens. “And our infotech fund will be for $9,225.”

The FY 20 general fund budget is about 3% larger than last year’s budget.

“It incorporates a dollar an hour increase for the starting pay for the police department and all police officers,” Stephens said. “As well as all positions throughout the City.”

Regarding FY 20 expenditures, the City anticipates spending $101,247.50 on executive expenses — with $75,000 set aside for city manager wages — while administrative costs are tabbed are $364,316.33. That includes $132,721 for regular employee pay and $95,000 reserved for liability insurance. 

Last year, the City allocated $92,149.94 for executive expenditures, while FY 19 administrative expenses were budgeted at $309,723.81.

The budget also includes two adjustments for administrative positions, which Stephens said brings pay rates “into the range of the Department of Community Affairs' salary survey by cities with similar population.”

Municipal court expenses are tabbed at $74,919.12 for FY 20, with municipal court wages projected to be $22,320. Almost $800,000 is budgeted for law enforcement, with $315,972 authorized for police department wages and $93,600 reserved for group insurance. Under the FY 20 budget, chief of police pay is set at $69,990, while lieutenant pay is set at $58,580.

The City's police department budget in FY 19 was $792,165.03.

Total public works expenditures are projected to be $181,467.95. That includes $102,523 for regular employee pay and almost $19,000 reserved for group insurance. Meanwhile, the City anticipates spending about $231,460 on recreation services, with $75,000 set aside for employee pay and $38,000 budgeted for contract labor. 

Elsewhere the City has tabbed the FY 20 budget for the local museum at $71,132 and $26,000 for highways and streets maintenance, with $18,000 allocated for street lights. 

The FY 20 budget also includes $16,800 for maintenance and upkeep of the Euharlee Presbyterian Church, with parks expenditures set at $33,700 — of which $24,000 is reserved for electricity costs.

Stephens said the budget does move capital items to the City SPLOST fund.

“The LOST revenue is budgeted flat, I anticipate the final number for 2019 to be approximately $925,000,” he said. “I have budgeted this number as the same, without growth, because the State is preparing for an economic downturn.”

Despite the conservative budgeting approach, Stephens said he actually anticipates small growth for Euharlee in 2020. 

“By April, we will see if that number is growing or flat,” he said. “So we will know before we need to set the 2020 millage rate, and if that number grows, that will give us an opportunity to have a larger rollback of the millage rate as a revenue line item for 2020.”

Stephens said he does expect a budget amendment early next year “that may increase the headcount of the police department.”

He also said the City expects to have Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA) bonds on Joe Cowan Park paid off by March.

“I can assure you, we are looking forward to operating in 2020 after that final payment is made,” he said. “That will put us in a position to pick up some projects that we’ve been waiting patiently on.”

Elsewhere on the agenda, the council voted unanimously to approve the purchase and installation of a new heating system at Euharlee Presbyterian Church for $6,203, which will be paid via monies from a specially-designated City fund.

“That will leave an approximate balance,” Stephens said, “of about $68,000 left in that fund.” 

The council meeting also served as something of a send-off ceremony for councilman Craig Guyton, who is stepping down from the position after eight years.

“As many of you know, I said upon winning that first election that I believe in term limits and because of that belief I will not be seeking a third term,” he said at a council meeting earlier this year.

A reception was held prior to Tuesday's public meeting, with Mayor Steve Worthington presenting Guyton with a commemorative placard to open the hearing.

“It’s been an incredible eight years and it’s been an honor,” Guyton said at the end of the meeting — fittingly enough, just moments before he made the initial motion to adjourn. “I would like to thank the citizens for giving me that honor.”