Aragon City Council December 2018

The Aragon City Council discussed the need to set back funds during their December 2018 work session ahead of the meeting on Thursday, Dec. 20. / Sean Williams

Aragon's city council is thinking ahead and hoping to avoid future financial problems by creating a new emergency savings account.

While the plan saw approval during the group's December 20 meeting, large portions of money won't be deposited right away.

Instead, the group plans to allocate 5 percent of the city's monthly gross income to the account until it reaches a cap of $100,000.

“I want to open up a new account for emergency purposes only,” council member Judd Fee said. “We can review it periodically, but the reason (I want) to do this is because we have no safety net in place. We've got a bunch of good people working here, and they need some kind of guarantee that they're going to have money to go on every month.”

Century Bank was approved as the carrier, and the .70 percent interest the council plans to receive has been pledged to Aragon's budget. The approved bids of a garbage truck, numerous garbage containers, and a single axle trailer means the council should have approximately $15,500 to serve as a safety net until the 5 percent can be applied monthly.

According to Fee, the city would be depositing $2,000 to $2,500 each month based on their current monthly gross, but that number won't be in effect until the council works on their upcoming budget.

“If we had $50,000 in that account at the end of the year, that account would make $250,” Judd said. “now we could take that and do whatever. We could put it in special assets or general funds- whatever.”

One pitfall discussed about the idea comes in the form of future council limitations. Spending rules could be applied for the current council and mayor.

Regulations put in place now are not set in stone for future members who could choose to undo the account or spend it in their own- so long as ordinances governing spending limits were amended again.

Council members voted earlier this year to impose spending limits on department heads and Baldwin to prevent a further bleed of cash from the city’s coffers.

Fee and Mayor Garry Baldwin decided future councils wouldn't pose a threat and decided to move forward with the account.

Details are still being decided, but Aragon should continue to provide updates as they iron out the details.

They did previously have the special assets account the city used to set aside funds for a rainy day in past years after the sale of equipment from a previous SPLOST during hard times in 2013 following a long recovery, but those funds were spent during the past two years after Baldwin came into office to make upgrades and improvements in various areas.