Citizens comment on proposed city budgetPublished 11:38am Friday, September 7, 2012
Although two citizens spoke during a public hearing on the City of Bainbridge’s proposed 2012-2013 fiscal year budget, members of the City Council were quiet on the topic.
The Council held a public hearing on the proposed budget at its Tuesday meeting. It will consider adoption of the finalized budget at its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Citizen Bob Lane was first to speak during last Tuesday’s public hearing. Lane asked why the budget called for an additional position to be created as a result of the Downtown Development Authority being “spun off” as an independent agency that would still be funded by the City Council.
Amanda Glover, who formerly served as director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Division, has been appointed executive director of the DDA.
City Manager Chris Hobby said the city “was not expanding its staff.” Hobby said Roy Oliver, who was recently hired to replace Glover in her former position, would also be taking on some of the duties of “assistant city manager.”
Dustin Dowdy, who resigned in July to pursue other employment, held the position of “deputy city manager” when he left city government. Dowdy had originally been hired as the city planner and zoning administrator. He was later promoted “assistant to the city manager,” then to “assistant city manager” and then “deputy city manager,” the latter of which coincided with Dowdy completing his master’s degree.
Hobby said the reason why DDA was being separated from city government was so it could become eligible for state and federal government grants and have more access to tax credits for various activities.
“The DDA has certain powers, some statutory and some constitutional, including managing loan pools and downtown revolving loans,” Hobby said. “[The move] will let the DDA be more flexible and have more leeway in getting funds.”
Citizen Ted Snell brought up Hobby’s statement at a previous meeting that the proposed increases to city water and sewer rates would result in the average customer paying $68.87 more per year on their utility bill.
In Snell’s opinion, the higher rates would negatively affect senior citizens who are on a fixed income. He said he believed that people who had less disposable income would spend less, thereby affecting the revenue of local businesses. Snell asked the council to conserve money and save up to keep the city’s budget as lean as possible.
After the public hearing was closed, Mayor Edward Reynolds asked if any council members had any comments on the budget, but there were none.
The city’s proposed budget is viewable on its website, www.bainbridgecity.com, and at the Decatur County Library on S. Monroe St.