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Mayor, City Council to adopt 2017 $30.8 million budget Thursday

By BETH ALSton

beth.alston@americustimesrecorder.com

AMERICUS — The Americus mayor and City Council are to adopt the 2017 budget at Thursday’s regular meeting at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Russell Thomas Jr. Public Safety Building.
Some highlights of the budget follow.
• The $30.8 million budget is approximately $600,591 more than 2016, with the increase related to salary and benefits for additional personnel, capital items and software upgrades.
• The millage rate will remain unchanged from 2016, staying at 10.32 mills.
• The base rate for water is projected to remain the same as 2016.
• The base rate for sewer is projected to remain the same; however, the method of billing sewer services has changed. The approved method is to bill sewer based on actual water consumption each month.
• The rates for garbage service will increase 3 percent in 2017, for commercial dumpster and residential hobo services. Landfill post-closure costs are estimated to be $80,000 in 2017, compared to $100,000 in 2016.
• Gas rates and storm water rates will remain the same.
• The mayor and council includes $774,078 in the budget to support various community entities: Airport Authority, $17,000; Americus Arts Council, $2,000; Americus Theater and Cultural Authority, $95,000; Americus/Sumter County Tourism, $177,619; Boys & Girls Club, $15,000; Main Street, $202,459; Lake Blackshear Regional Library, $80,000; Sumter Humane Society, $70,000; One Sumter, $50,000; Payroll Development Authority, $40,000; and Americus-Sumter Land Bank Authority, $25,000.
In addition to the final public hearing on the budget, there is also a public hearing scheduled on a rezoning request of 130 Southland Road from IN institutional to R-1 residential.
The following items are on the consent agenda for Thursday’s meeting.
• Approve a resolution for the contract of services effective Jan 1.
• Authorize the finance director to write down $73,533 in utility bills. The city also will contract with an agency to collect the amount.
• Approve a resolution designating the bank accounts and authorized check signers for 2017.
• Authorize the finance director to write down $10,652.46 in miscellaneous accounts receivable. This includes all liens placed on property for lot cleaning.
•  Authorize a resolution to approve the appropriation certificate for the GMA lease payments in 2017.
• Budget for building repairs at Oak Grove Cemetery’s historic building not to exceed $21,500. This will be funded by SPLOST revenues.
• Approve alcoholic beverage license for Ruby Tuesday under new ownership.
• Appoint the Americus Times-Recorder as the legal gazette for the City of Americus.
• Reappoint J. Michael Greene as Municipal Court Judge.
• Approve health insurance provider and coverage for 2017.
• Authorize the finance director to write down $31,714.78  in property taxes.
Items on the agenda include the following.
• Approve alcohol renewals/new licenses for 2017. As of the agenda setting meeting of Dec. 15, all had complied with required information except for seven.
• Election of a mayor pro tem for 2017.
• Consider a resolution establishing the dates and times for the agenda setting and regular meetings for 2017.
• Also, several appointments are expected to be made for various authorities, commissions, and boards.