The budget was less than expected due to a dip in the property tax digest, with most of that decrease affecting Cartersville schools. It includes no personnel expense cuts and no salary increases, but about $174,000 in health care and pension plan costs.
Staffing numbers have not increased since last fiscal year, with the city employing 344 people -- down one from last year. In 2009, the number of employees topped out at 367 -- that was before early retirements and across-the-board 16 percent expense cuts.
Capital expenditures increased with the 2010-2011 budget, $1.1 million over last year. A new fire engine accounts for $500,000 of that, with the remainder slated to go toward smaller replacements of various equipment.
In addition to increased costs of operating the Water Department, the budget accounts for $326,000 more than last year in the purchase of commodities -- gas and electricity purchased from vendors to sell to the city's customers.
City officials say the water and sewer rate increase, which equates to $1.50 more on the average residential customer's monthly bill, is needed to fund Water Department operations. It is based on the use of 7,500 gallons per month.
Since the economic downturn, the city's finances have taken a dive, topping out at $169.5 million in 2009 after steady increases since 2005.
The budget is balanced and includes no service reductions, officials say.
The council also:
* Conducted the first reading of a zoning/annexation request to rezone 1.09 acres at 575 Old Alabama Road from R-20, single family residential with a minimum 20,000-square-foot lot, to professional services for a pediatric occupational, physical and speech therapy facility.
* Conducted an emergency first reading of and approved an amendment to the Hotel/Motel Tax Ordinance that allows the city to collect a 6-percent tax on guest rooms beginning Aug. 1. The rate is currently 5 percent.
Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell said Gov. Sonny Perdue approved the hike, allowing the extra 1 percent to fund operations of the Clarence Brown Conference Center now under construction on Ga. Highway 20.
In a public meeting Wednesday, Commissioner Clarence Brown approved a similar measure for the county.
* Renewed the Comparative Performance Measurement Program for $5,550. The program provides the city with data about other cities and governments for comparison analyses.
* Approved an agreement with Croy Engineering not to exceed $35,000 for right-of-way and easement acquisition for the Main Street Gateway Project. The services will include title searches, data book preparation, acquisitions, surveys and plats and survey stalking.
The work will be funded with 2003 Special Purpose Local Option Tax dollars.
* Approved a contract with Croft and Associates for $472,500 for architectural and engineering services for two new buildings -- a combined police and fire headquarters and fire station on Cassville Road and new fire station on MLK Jr. Drive.
The work will be funded with 2007 Special Purpose Local Option Tax dollars.
* Awarded a bid for life and disability insurance to Dearborn National for 23 cents per $1,000 of life coverage and 4 cents per $1,000 of accidental death and dismemberment coverage. Life increased by 1 cent while the other decreased by 1 cent, equating to an increase of less than $10,000 per year to the city.
* Awarded a bid to Travelers Insurance Company for property and casualty insurance. The annual premium increased by $4,386 to $319,038.
Umbrella coverage was increased from $3 million to $4 million to provide the city with a minimum of $5 million per occurrence in case of a large claim.
* Approved the purchase of roofing services from Little Joe's Construction Company at $50,000 for the city garage.
The net effect to the city is a $40,000 expenditure since it was paid a $10,000 settlement from the fabrication company that previously provided roofing. City officials say the fabrication system, which had a 10-year warranty, failed.
* Approved the purchase of 100 football helmets and 100 sets of shoulder pads for Parks and Recreation at a cost of $7,857.50 from Riddell Sports Equipment.
* Approved the purchase of a copier from Canon for customer service at a cost of $5,750.
* Approved the purchase of Integration Manager software from Cogsdale for the Finance Department at a cost of $6,042.
* Approved the purchase of two new vehicles -- an SUV for the Fire Department and half-ton pickup for the Water and Sewer Department -- from City Motors at a cost of $20,333.24 and $24,521.25, respectively.