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Roswell Approves First Pass at Budget

There are things that council members want changed prior to final approval, May 30.

There were no issues expressed by Roswell City Council Monday night , but they did have a few things they'd like ironed out prior to its return May 30 for final approval.

Chief among things that could possibly change: the second draft of the budget may include a raise of $87,000 in Recreation and Parks participation fees to subsidize the department's use of General Fund monies, according to Councilman Jerry Orlans.

"It's something we're looking at," he said.

When questioned on the potential hike, City Administrator Kay Love later explained that the fees would not be raised to cover capital assets, but instead to cover program and personnel costs.

The $59.6 million General Fund budget also includes a merit raise for city staff of between one and four percent. However, some residents have called it a "cost of living" raise, since it's across the board; and asked the city to only distribute money to lower wage employees.

"I think perhaps the people who make like $90,000 and above with the city ought to forgo the merit raise. They already make enough money," said local resident Janet Russell.

Love said the raise is not considered a cost of living increase since it will be given based upon a performance evaluation.

In response to a question about the city's property tax digest figures by resident Lee Fleck, Director of Strategic Planning & Budgeting Keith Lee said preliminary numbers from Fulton County show a speculative .33 percent change, which is actually an increase from last year.

Fleck also took issue with an excess in the solid waste fund reserves, saying in an e-mail to the council and local press, "Excess reserves come from only one place - [overcharging] citizens."

But Love disputed the claim, saying the city had not made any specific capital equipment purchases for several years in order to get caught up, thus building the excess. However, when the city implemented the Stormwater Utility fee last year, they reduced costs by one ERU per household as an intentional spend down of the excess, she said.

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