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City of Hogansville Proposed Budget

The City of Hogansville released its proposed budget for July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019. The City notes that generating enough revenue to cover necessary costs remains a problem and that it has “collective work to do.”

In an effort to reduce costs, the City has proposed an elimination of almost all capital purchases over $5,000 unless they meet one of the following three criteria: 1. Tied to revenue generation; 2. Funded by a grant; 3. Funded by SPLOST dollars.

The City has also proposed an elimination of overtime dollars that are not related to public safety. The City expects a 10% increase in utility revenues for electric and a 5% increase in each for Sanitation, Water, Wastewater, and Natural Gas. The City has yet to determine final utility rates, but as with the City of LaGrange, rates are expected to go up.

The heightened rates come from a $600,000 fixed increase from the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG).

This may prove to be a challenge for Hogansville where utility rates are already seen as being too high. The mayor has denied that utilities are higher than city’s of a comparable size and contributed much of the high utility fees to older homes with poor insulation during his run for re-election last year.

Whatever the reason, for disgruntled Hogansville residents, any type of rate increase is sure to stir ire. This puts the city in a tough spot, as the rate increase appears inevitable. Even the City of LaGrange expects to raise rates for the first time since 2014 despite its record of having the lowest rates in the county.

City of Hogansville staff pay raises were calculated at three percent in the new budget, and the City reports that their new insurance broker has looked into providing better employee benefits at a minimal cost to tax payers. The proposed elimination of two general maintenance positions will help in this calculation.

Though it has been estimated that the City will generate $423,755 from property taxes, exemptions excluded, the City expects to receive less than this, as it was only able to book 87% of the 2017 final tax digest. The amount of tax revenue the City expects to receive is currently unknown.

Several measures didn’t receive funding because of a lack of revenue. According to the proposed budget outlined on the City webpage, these include, Phase II of the fire hydrant replacement project, purchase of vehicle replacements, the chlorine injection water treatment project, standpipe maintenance and repairs, and the purchase of backhoe to replace rental unit, etc.

The 2018-2019 proposed city budget shows a 2.3% increase over the budget finally adopted for the last fiscal year, but the City notes this is because this includes increased grant revenues and expenses. The General Fund revenues and expenses are down by a proposed 14.7%.

It’s important to note that this is only a proposed budget and has not yet been adopted. The budget is still subject to change.

The author of this article can be reached at [email protected] troupcountynews. net.