Politics & Government

Proposed Centerville budget includes 13 new police vehicles

CENTERVILLE -- City Council was officially presented a new $8.4 million fiscal 2016 budget this week that contains slight changes from its first budget review in May.

Changes came primarily from an agreement with Brannen Motor Co. of Unadilla to purchase rather than lease 13 new vehicles for the city’s police department, city accountant Carol Harrison told The Telegraph.

Harrison said the city planned to buy five new police vehicles and lease eight. However, the mayor and council decided to purchase all 13.

The city currently leases 13 vehicles with leases expiring at the end of June.

Harrison said the estimated split purchase/lease cost for the vehicles would have been $437,235 spread over three years.She said full purchase cost is $515,424 with anticipated financing over four years.

As opposed to a lease, the city will be able to keep or sell vehicles over time, depending on mileage and use.

Harrison said the city is buying 13 Chevrolet Tahoes outfitted for police use.

The two largest city accounts represented in the new $8.4 million budget are the general operating fund at $4.6 million and the water, sewer and sanitation enterprise fund at $3 million.

The budget was created based on a millage rate of 11.9 mills, the same rate used since 2013. The actual millage will be set when the county announces its official tax digest later this year.

The council held a public hearing on the budget Tuesday with no negative comments. A final budget vote is set for June 16.

The budget is available for review at City Hall.

In other matters, the council heard a presentation on a $12 million apartment complex potentially coming to the city.

The development is contingent on Vantage Development of Fyffe, Alabama, receiving further approvals and financing help from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Vantage’s Jordan Whiteside said the company hopes to build a 96-unit complex on 17 acres on the west side of North Houston Lake Boulevard near its intersection with Collins Avenue.

Councilman Ed Tucker said the apartments would go on never-before developed property, which he said now generates about $2,500 in property taxes for the city. He said the new development could generate about $100,000 in new tax revenues.

Both Tucker and Mayor John Harley said the complex, characterized as offering lower-income one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, looked promising because of the need for such housing and because Vantage’s apparent track record of building, keeping and maintaining its properties rather than building and selling them.

They said the latter practice often results in run-down facilities.

Though working toward development, Whiteside said it will be December before Vantage receives news concerning necessary financing.

Among other business discussed Tuesday, the council authorized signing a contract with music group The Swingin’ Medallions to headline an outdoor concert during Centerville’s Independence Day Celebration on June 30.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.