The Powder Springs City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on a fiscal 2020 budget with a general fund of just over $9 million.
Following last summer’s 1-mill property tax increase passed by the city, the proposed 2020 budget is based on keeping the rate at 9.5 mills. With the average market value for homestead property in Powder Springs being $175,000, such a homeowner would see a tax bill of $665 at the 9.5-mill rate and without exemptions, City Manager Pam Conner said.
Even with the maintained rate, some residents could see their property tax bills increase as the likelihood of an increased county tax digest and higher property values that often accompany such a trend would lead many property owners to pay more in taxes that do not fall under the city’s homestead exemptions. Commercial properties do not qualify for homestead exemptions and would feel the full effects of higher property valuations.
The proposed $9,078,210 general fund budget is 10.6% or $873,525 higher than the adopted fiscal 2019 general fund budget of $8,204,685, while the city’s overall major funds budget for 2020 is $11,512,710, up $790,856 or 7.4% over the fiscal 2019 amount.
Though the fiscal 2020 budget would allow for the hire of eight new employees — two in public safety, two in finance, two in community and economic development and one each in parks administration — its 87 authorized positions represents a decrease of 1.5 full-time positions over fiscal 2019, according to City Clerk Kelly Axt. The city’s sale earlier this year of its water and sewer infrastructure to Cobb County for $5.5 million resulted in the drop in overall employees.
City staff, with the exception of Conner, could receive a proposed 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment in January 2020 if approved by the City Council. Council members’ pay would not be affected by the increase.
The budget would maintain an operating reserve between $4 million and $4.9 million, equivalent to 45 to 55% of the expenditures in the upcoming fiscal year, consistent with the city’s long-term practice, Conner said.
Full-time police officers funded in the budget total 33, which is two more than the existing budget, though the police department’s $2.6 million budget is down just over $4,600 from fiscal 2019. The slight downswing, Conner said, is the result of the overall budget’s consolidation of certain line items previously in departmental budgets, such as allocated utility costs, liability insurance and worker’s compensation. Line items for police department-managed expenses, however, have not been reduced in the proposed fiscal 2020 budget.
Powder Springs council members could approve the budget at their 7 p.m. meeting Monday.