LaGrange to Make Cuts to Avoid Gas Rate Increase
During their annual budget work session, the La-Grange City Council agreed to a number of budget cuts in order to eliminate the need for an increase to municipal gas rates.
Over the last two years the cost of the natural gas that the city purchases to redistribute to residents and local businesses has more than doubled in cost. In 2020, the city paid around $7.5 million for its natural gas. The next year it nearly doubled to $13,459,607. The 2022-2013 budget estimates costs at around $17.9 million.
In order to avoid an increase to gas rates of 6.1 percent to residential
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customers and 4.5 percent for commercial customers, the council has agreed to drop curbside recycling and to significant cuts to previously funded agencies.
The city began an effort to increase recycling participation with a curbside recycling in 2016 as a free program, but the program costs the city around $158,000 per year. Council members considered charging a fee for curbside recycling, but with current participation in the program and the likelihood that many would drop the service if it wasn’t free, it’s believed that the rate would be cost prohibitive.
The city isn’t getting out of recycling altogether. Residents can still bring their recyclables to the Recycling Center on South Davis Road just off Lafayette Parkway.
The current curbside recycling truck will go into service for residential sanitation. The blue recycling bins will also be repurposed for trash pickup.
All outside agency funding allotments were also cut by 50 percent across the board and no new funding requests were approved. Outside agencies that were previously receiving city money will a have the funding halved.
Under the proposed budget Harmony House, LaGrange Personal Aid, LaGrange Art Museum, La-Grange Memorial Library, West Georgia Star, and Communities in Schools will receive $12,500 each. Chattahoochee Riverkeepers will receive $7,750. La-Grange Symphony Orchestra and Lafayette Society for the Performing Arts will receive $7,500 each. Troup County Senior Corps will receive $7,000. Red Cross will receive $6,330. Troup Cares and the Salvation Army will receive $10,000 each.
Funding for Communities for Tomorrow was dropped entirely due to accounting irregularities. Funding for Women of the Church was also dropped, though the city will continue to pay for their utilities.
Funding for DASH was also eliminated from agency funding and moved to Community Development to be approved on a project by project basis.
Previously funded agencies, Ark Refuge and Adaptive Growth for Cultural Advancement, were also dropped as the city did not receive funding requests.
The city has previously notified the agencies that the cuts were coming and to expect them, as it is their intention to have the agencies to become self-sufficient. All agency funding is expected to be dropped next year.
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