2019 budget approaches $9.5 million

City of Oneonta

Oneonta city councilors adopted their proposed 2019 budget with only slight changes from the previously considered Sept. 11 work session proposal. The most significant change entailed adjusting the street light expenditure figure from an apparently erroneous $30,000 to $130,000. Street light expenses shown over the past seven budgets had averaged in excess of $140,000 each year.

Attempting to cover that $100,000 increase, city manager/economic developer Ed Lowe confirmed additional relatively small anticipated increases in several accounts. He asserted that city finances had an additional tenth month from current sources for the 2019 estimates.

The most significant increases in revenue streams came from a $15,000 increase in anticipated gasoline and one-cent sales taxes and $14,000 in the Blount County road and education tax. The approved budget also reflects anticipated revenue increases in municipal court fines ($10,000); state shared revenues and motor vehicle tag fees ($8,000 each); rental taxes ($6,000); utility board franchise fees, business licenses, and building permits ($5,000 each); and $3,000 to $4,000 increases each in various liquor taxes, cable franchise fees, and motor vehicle sales taxes.

The approved budget anticipates $9,438,373 in revenue and expenditures. That budget is an increase of over $1.275 million or 15 percent from the 2018 budget of $8,158,900. As covered in previous articles, the plan provides three percent wage increases to hourly workers and conditional four percent raises to department heads as well as over $250,000 in capital outlays which did not appear in the first proposal.

In the regular meeting, the council also acknowledged an emergency debris removal agreement with the county and surplused some items from its public works department for bidding. Beautification board chair Marlene Stroud recognized monthly award winners, Tommy and Ruby Weaver (residential) and attorney Ed Berry and his Servant Law, LLC, (commercial).

All members (Mayor Ross Norris and councilors Hal Blackwood, Nathaniel Butler, Richard Phillips, Danny Robinson, and Tonya Rogers) attended the Sept. 25 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.