Oneonta approves $6.623 million 2013 budget

Unanimously and with no debate, the Oneonta City Council approved its proposed 2013 budget of $6.623 million. While the council had no discussion in the regular meeting, members had met in several work sessions and had heard from some agencies at their regular meetings concerning the budget.

The figure marks the second highest of the past six years, as reflected in material distributed to The Blount Countian by city manager Ed Lowe. The record 2011 budget listed a final figure of $6,857,100. The current budget is almost $358,000 above the 2012 plan. Only the General Government category indicated an increase, almost $500,000 to over $1.5 million. All others showed decreases: police at $1.346 million (down about $5,000); fire – $1.021 million (-$50,000); streets – $785,000 (- almost $20,000); debt services – $641,000 (-$20,000); park and recreation – $397,000 (-$18,000); (-$20,000); library – $249,000 (-$11,000), sanitation $245,000 (- $5,000); building inspection – $181,000 (-$2,000); and other – $188,000 (-$1,000). Capital outlay, with an increase of almost $535,000, accounted for the steep rise in the General Government category. [Most figures are rounded.] Responding to the request of juvenile probation advocates, “JPS” received a $10,000 appropriation not reflected in any of the past six budgets.

Sales tax leads the list of anticipated revenue sources at $3,817,000. That represents a presumed increase of almost $90,000. The four other top revenue sources are: business licenses at $830,000 (up $30,000); ad valorem taxes – $400,000 (+$25,000); sanitation collection fees – $365,000 (even); and net police fines – $303,000 (+$3,000). Anticipated alcohol beverage taxes have remained constant for five of the past seven years at $1,000.

After accepting with regret the resignation of firefighter Taylor Hancock, the council approved advertising for a firefighter and police officer. Mayor Darryl Ray set a public hearing for 5:15 p.m. before the next council meeting on the city’s proposed liquor ordinance. He indicated to The Blount Countian his intention to present the ordinance for a vote at the next regular session.

All councilmen (Hal Buckelew, Mark Gargus, Tim McNair, Ross Norris, and Danny Robinson) joined Ray for 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.