West Point City Council got its first look at the proposed 2013 budget, and residents will have at least four chances to ask questions about it before the spending plan is adopted Dec. 10.
Council will hold two public hearings, at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 and 6 p.m. Nov. 27, and two “listening sessions,” 6 p.m. Oct. 30 and noon Oct. 31. The Oct. 30 session will be at West Point Senior Center on O.G. Skinner Drive, all other public sessions are at City Hall.
The proposed budget includes no tax hikes or fee increases, and in fact the city lowered its property tax millage rate earlier this year.
“It shows the strength of the city that we continue to grow,” City Manager Ed Moon said.
The budget includes $5.07 in general fund expenses, but no cost of living increase for employees and no new capital projects. The city also doesn’t plan on hiring any full-time staff but will look at hiring another part-time employee for the youth services program.
Moon said the city adopted a pay scale for all its employees earlier this year that means raises will be based on merit. The council has the option of issuing a cost of living increase at any time, but he’d like a chance for the merit system to take root this year.
One potential change is on the horizon for the city: Moon said he will look at the possibility of outsourcing city sanitation services in 2013.
“We wanted to look at that as part of this year’s budget process,” but didn’t have time, he said.
The sanitation department has a $505,600 annual budget, but Moon had to transfer $164,000 from the electric fund to cover the cost of operations. The department, like most city sanitation departments, has always operated at a deficit.
A copy of Moon’s budget presentation, along with the proposed 2013 budget, is on the city’s website for public review, www.cityofwestpointga.com.