Perry council OKs budget, promises to revisit in a few months

Council approves energy tax, $1,700 grants for home repairs

chwright@macon.comJune 19, 2013 

PERRY -- The fiscal 2014 budget has been approved for Perry without any tax increases, but also without a few original items.

“It’s not everything I want,” said Mayor Jimmy Faircloth, “But it is what it is.”

Perry City Council unanimously approved the amended budget at Tuesday’s regular meeting, where they also agreed to an ordinance relieving fees for businesses that also operate catering services and another that will provide home repair grants to low-income families.

The $23 million budget, which begins on July 1, is balanced without a tax increase. The general fund is estimated to bring in about $11.7 million, of which the city expects to save $164,000 entering the 2015 fiscal year. Enterprise funds, which includes water and fees among other revenue, make up the balance of the budget. The millage rate remains at 14.13 mills.

“We did not have to chase a deficit,” Faircloth said, contributing the financial successes to the city manager and council.

Still, City Council decided last week to postpone funding for several items -- including a purchasing agent and needed firefighters -- until the tax digest is done in September. It will tell the city how much in property taxes to expect and assure more money can be spent without dipping into what could be savings going into fiscal 2015.

“I want the public to know this is not it, so to speak,” Faircloth said. “It’s not just it’s passed one time, and we don’t see it again for another year.”

City Council also passed several local law changes.

Among them was an amendment that eliminates duplicate alcohol license fees for businesses that also operate as caterers.

Another ordinance set criteria low-income residents must meet in order to receive $1,700 for home repairs. Lee Gilmour, city manager, said about $12,500 is left in a restricted fund that originally held money for federal and state grants acquired after the 1994 flood.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council amended wording for local laws on public intoxication and resisting arrested. Police Chief Steve Lynn said the Municipal Court judge recommended the changes.

And council agreed to latch on to a Peach County decision to impose a one-cent energy tax on manufacturers and industries that would otherwise receive a state-mandated one-cent break.

Faircloth said Houston County governments agreed last month not to impose the energy tax, but since Perry is partly in Peach County, the city isn’t going to go against that county’s wishes. However, he said, none of the few properties Perry has in Peach County would be affected. Most are residential or vacant lots.

“So, really it’s moot,” he said.

To contact Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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