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Council Holds First of Two City Budget Hearings Monday

The Roswell City Council will go over the FY 2013 Mayor's Budget, Monday, May 14.

Outsourcing city jobs has been a consideration for several years; but now Roswell may actually move forward with the money-saving idea, says Mayor Jere Wood.

The Roswell City Council convenes tonight for its regular meeting, which includes the first of two budget hearings concerning the FY 2013 Mayor's Budget, . It's a chance for local residents to listen to details about the financial document and ask their own questions of council and city staff.

One of the biggest differences in this year's budget is the proposed outsourcing of jobs.

"I had asked that we look into this a couple of years ago," Wood said.

According to Wood, the city looked at how local cities like Johns Creek, Milton and Sandy Springs were saving money by outsourcing. Roswell's own city departments were evaluated for potential outsourcing opportunities. Through job consolidation and outsourcing, the city was able to figure out a way to hire 10 new police officers and three new heavy maintenance positions with the Stormwater Utility, while still cutting 14 jobs overall.

If passed, the city's proposed budget is set to decrease employees from 608 currently to 594. 

When asked if city leaders had already identified the positions - and employees - that will be let go, Wood said, "Yes; but the city will have to pass the budget prior to any movement on it."

In order to cut jobs at the Roswell Detention Center, the city will only hold inmates for 72 hours. They will send those with longer sentences to a jail in Pelham, Ga.

If the city council should indeed pass the proposed budget, Wood wasn't sure of the procedures for choosing where outsourced positions in the administrative and community development departments would go, but he was confident that city staff will follow required policies.

The outsourcing is projected to save the city money in the long haul, which is good considering projected revenue is down from FY 2012.

Several have already been critical of the city's decreased property tax revenue projections, calling the little over three percent decrease a too-low figure conjured without the aid of Fulton County tax assessors. However, city leaders have maintained that the projection is accurate.

Wood told Roswell Patch that, while he wasn't in meetings, he knows that city staff did have "numerous conversations" with Fulton County on the projections.

"We were very conservative in our projections. Staff used the best information available," he said. "Twenty-five percent of our revenue comes from property taxes, so we pay close attention."

The council meets tonight, Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m. in council chambers on the second floor of Roswell City Hall, 38 Hill Street.

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