FY19 budget passed by City Council

Published 8:07 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday night the Bainbridge City Council adopted the fiscal year 2019 budget that will fund the city’s capital needs and return funds to the city’s reserves, according to City Manager Chris Hobby.

Throughout the past year, the local economy showed improvements, and there was also an improvement shown in the city’s revenue sources. Bainbridge is projecting a 3 percent growth from the Local Options Sales Tax from 2017, in addition to building permits, alcohol taxes and occupational taxes. Hobby expects to see these positive growth trends continue into FY19.

The positive growth is fueled by low unemployment and new business growth, Hobby reported.

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New business growth such as accommodations, construction, food services, general merchandise sales and manufacturing are all expected to see a 3-5 percent growth in this coming fiscal year as well.

However, there has been a sluggish performance in the areas of franchise taxes, fines, forfeitures and property tax digest growth, Hobby said. This performance, along with a 3 percent inflationary pressure, continues to present a challenge to the city’s current financial position.

Despite this, the budget meets all the goals that were established at the City Council’s annual retreat. The budget includes a 3 percent across-the-board cost of living adjustment for all employees, which raises the total cost to $167,191.80. Hobby said this year they also included $17,000 in funding for participation in a partnership with Georgia Power and Nexsite for retail recruitment, $31,000 for Cheney Griffin Park and Riverwalk improvements, funding to continue the partnership with Enterprise for fleet management and capital funding for a new fire truck.

Some of the improvements listed in the budget are a Cheney Griffin Dock and disc golf.

One of the biggest changes to the budget occurred within the Mayor and City Council budget, where they have included $100,000 in additional funding to the Development Authority to pay for debt associated with the Bainbridge Manufacturing building.

The Development Authority had previously been meeting the obligation without the City’s help, but has exhausted their reserves and now requires the City’s assistance.

This year the City of Bainbridge also proposed an increased rate for water and sewer base rates. They plan to raise the water base to $12.55, water per 1,000 gallons to $2.05, the sewer base to $13 and sewer per 1,000 gallons to $3.05.

This change will help the City of Bainbridge offset increased operational costs. It also calls for a 4.5 percent increase to the city’s commercial and residential solid waste rates.

After making those changes from FY18, the City adopted the budget and achieved what they set out to accomplish for FY19.