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Auburn goes back and forth on street light fee

POSTED: July 27, 2014 12:00 p.m.

The first round of budget talks in Auburn included a discussion about whether residents should pay a fee for streetlights.

Auburn officials spent two hours last week hashing out details on a new budget that began with them needing to find $257,000 to balance. The meeting was the first in a series before officials will vote on the new budget Sept. 4.

The workshop began with $2.9 million of projected revenue in the general fund compared to $3.1 million in projected expenditures. That draft included the full wish list of department heads.

"I have not gone through and analyzed them as far as expenditures go," City Administrator Ron Griffith said.

Another $118,000 in projected revenue was taken out of the budget after Council members Peggy Langley and Bob Vogel said they had a problem with there being a $45 per parcel charge for street lights. They said it was unfair to have every resident expected to pay the fee.

Councilwoman Dorissa Shackelford likened the streetlight fee to school taxes in that everyone pays them whether they have a child in the system.

Vogel said he thought it was unfair since a complex such as a mobile home park is counted as one parcel, and thus other residents are covering the costs.

"I can remember when the water bill went up my phone rang off the hook," he said. "This will get you lynched."

Officials were then able to get $50,000 back when Public Works Director David Hawthorne said his department could hold off on adding a security fence. The public works building is under surveillance, but the fence would have provided an extra security measure, he said.

The revenue projected for property taxes in FY2015 is $450,000 after the current budget estimated $545,000. City officials will have to also decide if they’ll keep $75,000 in the budget for emergency road projects.

The largest jump in projected revenue comes from $227,000 for installing water meters at the new Autry Pines Senior Village. The city only received $8,000 for installing water meters for the current fiscal year.

The proposed water fund budget anticipates $1.5 million in expenses and $1.7 million in revenue. The stormwater budget projects $100,900 in revenues and expenditures.

The next budget meeting will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at the City Council Chambers.

 

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