2023 Budget for the City of Americus has been approved

Published 11:06 am Friday, December 16, 2022

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Tracy K. Hall

On December 15, 2022, the Americus City Council met for the regular meeting. Kelvin Pless was not in attendance, Daryl Dowdell was present virtually and the remaining council was present in person.

After a presentation from a representative of River Valley and citizen comments, the meeting went about its regular business. A second public hearing on the budget was held. The 2023 budget is about $35.1 million, seeing a $1.3 million increase over the 2022 budget. There are three additional employee positions proposed. Garbage services will increase by 3%, all other utilities are scheduled to remain the same. The mill rate will remain at 11.12. There were no comments made on the budget by the public.

A vote was made on the municipal court judge. The only applicant was Michael Green. Dowdell mentioned wanting the request for applications to go out as soon as possible. Judge Green’s reappointment was approved unanimously.

The 2023 budget ordinance was approved unanimously.

Alcohol license renewal was addressed. The Americus Police Department has gone through several steps to make providers aware of the renewals needed to carry on business as they have. In the past, the council has approved the renewals with the understanding that the providers may still operate until December 31, 2022. However, the deadline for paying the fees has passed. There are four license holders who have not paid their renewal fees. Dowdell states he wants things “consistent and fair” for other items as they relate to grace periods on following items before council. He points out in his opinion “we almost did everything but pay it for them. If serving alcohol on December 31st is that important to them, I think they ought to pay their bill.” Wilson made the motion that all who have paid to be approved and the four who have not paid not be approved. Dowdell seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. The four who did not pay will have to reapply in January and will not be allowed to sell alcohol on December 31.

Ordinance to set 2023 fees was approved unanimously.

Georgia Department of Transportation is addressing Church and Lee and the Lee Street Bridge. The director of public works is working towards some resolutions on Mitchell Street.

Brown wanted the paper and the radio to encourage residents to come to the meetings. Dowdell stated employees have thanked him for his vote regarding giving them incentives. He also reports several people “reached out to me and tell me the dislike of article they had seen in the paper. And I’d like to tell the employees if I had to do it again, I’d still do it. The person who wrote the article in paper when they were sitting on that board, they said, ‘if the employees wanted a raise to go somewhere else and get a job.’ I don’t want that to discourage our employees, so keep doing a good job and if we see where we can give them an incentive we will as long as it’s fair across the board. I don’t want them to read that paper and get discouraged and think we did it out of anything but the goodness of our heart.” The entire council wished each other well wishes for Christmas and new year, with an emphasis on enjoying family. Christmas expressed a particular thank you to the first responders. Kinnamon also gave appreciation to various people, including Jimmy Skipper. He later said to citizens his goal has to “promote peace, harmony and unity within the community and promotion of the common good.”

Marc Arnett was chosen by Juanita Wilson to provide the invocation and serve as honorary council member. He was given a proclamation for his service in this role.

Nine board appointments were made and passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned.

The next meeting of the city council will be on January 12, 2023, at 6pm in the public safety building. This is an open meeting, and all interested are encouraged to attend.