Hogansville discusses proposed budget

Published 5:53 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2019

HOGANSVILLE – In a Tuesday evening budget work session, the Hogansville City Council reviewed the proposed general fund budget for the upcoming 2019-20 fiscal year, which will begin July 1. 

During the budget discussion, the city council, mayor, city manager and police chief discussed the assumed police salary raises that have been included in the proposed budget, which will move salaries from $14 per hour for non-certified officers and $14.25 for certified officers to $15 per hour for non-certified officers and $15.50 for certified officers. 

“This gets us on par with West Point and Grantville,” City Manager David Milliron said. 

Police Chief Brian Harr said the city has had trouble acquiring and retaining officers at their current wages.

“The last four people that decided to leave did not want to leave. They enjoyed working here,” Harr said. “But, they have to take care of their families.”

In other areas, Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz expressed his thoughts that the proposed budget revealed conservative revenue numbers for the upcoming year, particularly in the line item reflecting assumed income from property taxes. 

The city is projecting property tax revenue in the current fiscal year to bring in a total of $480,712 and is projecting property tax revenue in the upcoming fiscal year to total $489,193, an increase of only 2 percent year-over-year. This projected increase seemed low to Stankiewicz, considering more than 1,400 parcels of land in Hogansville have recently been assessed a higher value than last year, which will lead to higher property tax payments. 

“We’re only estimating an increase of $8,000, and yet, we’ve had this monstrous increase in assessments,” Stankiewicz said. “I think that number could be higher.”

Milliron agreed the number reflected a low growth rate, which he maintained was purposefully done in an effort to budget conservatively. 

“If [more property tax revenue] is booked and doesn’t materialize, that’s not a good thing,” Milliron said. “If more revenue does book, that’s positive and helps with our fund balance. If it’s not booked, we don’t spend it, because it’s not budgeted. I’m trying to be as conservative as I can.” 

Milliron also said for the budget to materialize as expected, the city will need to see additional development take place over the course of the upcoming year. 

“The big dependent with the budget is going to center around whether or not we have development in the next 12 months,” Milliron said. “We have got to have development for a number of reasons.” 

Mayor Pro Tem Theresa Strickland inquired as to the increase in expense surrounding IT support, which is projected to spike in the coming year. Milliron said the city is in need of an IT overhaul and does not have the support it needs currently.  This will lead to a need for the city to find an IT vendor that can provide the support the city needs. 

“We do not have ample IT support for the city. We are running on a shoestring system,” Milliron said. “We’re just simply one cyberattack away from annihilation.”

The next budget work session will be held Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.