Members of the Emerson City Council voted unanimously to adopt the local government’s fiscal year 2021 budget at a special-called meeting Monday evening.
Overall, the FY ’21 budget contains a 21% decrease in both general fund revenues and expenditures compared to the FY ’20 budget. About $984,450 is expected in total tax collections, with local option sales tax and current year property taxes anticipated to generate $390,000 and $225,000, respectively, for the City.
The two largest general fund expenditures in the budget are associated with the City’s police department ($792,725) and public works department ($348,840.)
McBurnett said about $400,000 in reserve funding will be used, representing about 35% of the total reserves the local government has on hand.
He said the City also plans on using $100,000 in fund balance to shore up Emerson’s water department fund. That fund’s total budget, tabbed at a little over $1 million, represents a 12% decrease compared to FY ’20.
The FY ’21 budget lists $333,000 in 2014 SPLOST revenues, of which $175,000 is allocated for paving projects. The budget also includes $500,000 in 2020 SPLOST revenue, with about $130,000 set aside for transportation improvements and about $120,000 reserved for utility system improvements.
Members of the council also voted to approve a resolution modifying a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) promissory note agreement.
“The wastewater treatment plant improvements that we did back in 2016, we took a GEFA loan out for those,” McBurnett said. “We paid, approximately, somewhere around $6,500 a month on that note.”
He noted that GEFA is offering a six-month forgiveness period from July to December.
“There’s no penalties to it, there’s no cost to it, they’re doing it because of COVID,” he continued. “It would be a total of about $40,000 towards our budget in the water fund.”
With no other voting items on the agenda, Councilman Vincent Wiley proposed honoring three Emerson residents who tended to two children who were seriously injured in a recent four-wheeler accident prior to the arrival of emergency personnel.
“Two of the young ladies, I think they’re nurses, and then there was an older gentleman, I think he’s a former fireman,” he recounted, “and they came before the first responders and everybody came.”
Councilman Charles Lowry made a motion to pursue a formal commendation ceremony for those individuals. The rest of the council voted unanimously to move forward with the recognition.
“In the event of very newsworthy events like we just had across the street, when you can — and I understand the investigations and everything else — just a little heads up before the phone calls start coming in,” he suggested to McBurnett. “I know you can’t give us details, you can just say ‘Hey, bad accident, further information coming.’”