West Point City Council unanimously approves its 2020 budget

Published 5:52 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The West Point City Council unanimously approved its 2020 budget during a brief business meeting Monday night. Over the last few weeks, the council held two open work sessions for anyone in the community to comment on or ask questions about the budget. No changes were made to the budget during the work sessions. 

This budget will begin in January, the first month of the city’s fiscal year. 

The grand total for the 2020 budget is $19,367,071. The total includes $6,115,264 for the general fund, $6,354,000 for electric, $3,689,127 for water and sewer, $1,430,700 for gas, $332,780 for E-911, $526,900 for sanitation and $918,300 from SPLOST.

The general fund total of $6,115,264 is further broken down into expenses for police at $1,767,700, fire at $1,615,500, public works at $840,750, the Virginia Cook Center at $20,800, recreation/parks at $98,000, planning and zoning at $326,400, economic development at $224,850, the Depot at $42,000, youth services at $92,900, the training center at $78,200 and general government expenses of $1,008,164.

Employees received a 2 percent cost of living adjustment, which was a budget increase of $80,000.

The budget also included an increase in trash pickup fees for residents. The cost will increase from $4.32 to $5. 

The increase is not enough to completely cover projected sanitation expenses of $526,900. Even with the increase, sanitation revenue will only be at $355,341.

To balance this part of the budget, individual trash pickup would need to be around $12, City Manager Ed Moon said in the past. Instead, the city will transfer funds from the electric fund to the general fund to cover these costs, Moon said. 

Utility budgets have held steady the past for years. No rate increases are on the books for 

electric, water/sewage, or natural gas in 2020.

Closing out the meeting, Councilwoman Sandra Thornton announced that toy bags for children will be filled Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Beechwood Furniture in LaGrange. Volunteers are needed to fill 32 bags. The group will work until the bags are filled. 

Thornton said Salvation Army bell ringing is going well, and she thanked Johnny’s Pizza for its participation, allowing ringers out in front of their restaurant. 

Next week is the annual Christmas dinner at the West Point senior center. It starts with bingo and other activities at 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch at noon.