Warner Robins council approves budget, deed transfer for veterans Gateway Center

Land to be deeded to state for veterans job center

chwright@macon.comJune 17, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- City Council approved the fiscal 2014 budget at Monday’s regular City Council meeting.

“It shows we can work together,” said Mayor Chuck Shaheen. “We wish the same in Washington… that they can balance the budget and move our country forward.”

The budget approval was part of a relatively smooth meeting night, where council signed city land over to the state for a veterans training facility.

The nearly $38.5 million general fund budget includes no tax increases and a 3-percent payroll adjustment for city employees. In order to balance the budget, $1.7 million from the water and sewer fund and $1.6 million from the natural gas fund was transferred to the general fund. Also, $450,000 from the Tourist Allocation Board was transferred to the general fund.

After the precouncil meeting and before the council meeting, council members and Shaheen seemed to be in a tizzy. Councilman Mike Brashear said he was going to add an amendment that gave the 21st Century Partnership an additional $50,000. But at the council meeting, the budget was proposed without the amendment, and council approved it unanimously.

Brashear said he’ll bring up the additional money for 21st Century Partnership at a later date.

In his comments, Shaheen noted he and council agreed on 95 to 98 percent of the budget.

Also Monday, council agreed to sign over the deed for 44 acres of land just northwest of Russell Parkway and Ga. 247. The state has accepted the donation for a $10 million Gateway Center to help veterans transition into the private workforce.

“It shows the right people in Washington this state, this city cares about our military and our veterans,” said Councilman Paul Shealy.

Fred Wilson, a resident near the land, told council he was proud of the city’s collaboration with the state to bring the project to Warner Robins. Wilson was an advocate for a sports complex that was once slated to be built on the land. The complex is now supposed to be built on land at North Houston and Elberta roads.

“This is going to make a big difference in our city and for our veterans,” Wilson said of the Gateway Center.

Also Monday, council tabled three items related to raises.

No official reason for tabling the items was given, but it was removed after council held a closed session on personnel matters.

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