Budget breakdown and discussion for both the Calhoun City Schools and the City of Calhoun took center-stage during Monday’s meeting of the Calhoun City Council, the first of two sessions slated for June.
After the proceedings were initiated with each member of the Council relaying their respective department and committee reports, Mayor Jimmy Palmer opened the public hearing portion of the meeting, which featured presentations from Superintendent Michelle Taylor for the second hearing of the Annual Budget and Capital Plan for Calhoun City Schools, and a detailed second hearing of the Annual Budget and Capital Plan for the City of Calhoun lead by City Administrator Eddie Peterson and Utilities Administrator Larry Vickery.
Taylor shared a thorough slideshow presentation with the Council that provided a comprehensive look at how and where the school system’s school budget will be distributed, as well as a decorated list of achievements which included being named Charter System of the Year in 2016, football, softball and one act play state championships in 2017, the continuous growth and implementation of online learning courses and advanced STEM Works programs, and a high school graduation rate of over 97.7 percent.
She noted that the proposed FY19 budget is $33,166,179 and the system has endured over $19 million in austerity cuts since 2003. Taylor added that their millage rate checks in at 17.985, which is one of the lowest in the state.
Taylor also tacked on that land has been purchased and plans area in place to construct a new Board of Education office across from the Calhoun Fire Department on South Wall Street, and announced that there will be an additional school resource officer supplied by the Calhoun Police Department that will be trained and certified over the summer to serve the Calhoun campus.
“We continue to do more with less,” Taylor said. “While we have many challenges, we continue to outperform on multiple measures of success in academics, arts and athletics. Our expenditures are below the state average for students, and our performance is above the state average in several areas, so we feel like we are good stewards of the taxpayer dollar.”
The next item on the agenda was the City of Calhoun’s Operating Budget and Capital Plan, with Peterson explaining that two of the proposed changes are a property tax increase of half a mil, utility transfer reduction by half a percent. He also broke down the various types of the city’s revenue sources and expenses, and compared Calhoun’s millage rate to neighboring communities. Vickery then took the floor, breaking down specifically the expenditures and revenue amongst the various utilities.
Both the Calhoun City Schools and City of Calhoun Annual Budget and Operating Plans will be eligible for adoption on June 18.
The Council also approved a variety of other agenda listings, including taxi cab continuations for Taxi Express and North Georgia Taxi, a motion to move the July 9 meeting to July 16 in order for the Council to attend the MEAG conference, a special events request from the United Way of Gordon County Young Leaders Society and Downtown Development Authority for the event Food Trucks and Friends and a utility division charge off request for unpaid debts for fiscal year 2017, among a handful other items.