The budget introduced this week projects revenues and expenses to be balanced at $73.37 million, about 3.4 percent higher than last year’s $70.94 million. The current property tax rate of 8.99 mills would remain unchanged, as it has since 1991.
A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.
The Smyrna City Council will conduct a second and final public hearing and then vote on the budget at 7:30 p.m. June 4.
The main reason behind the increased budget is a $3.2 million project to upgrade the sewer line at Belmont Hills, according to the city.
The proposal includes a $38.54 million general fund, which constitutes 52 percent of the budget. The remainder is funded by $21.9 million in water-sewer revenue and $12.93 million in special revenue.
For the past five years, the general fund budget has declined by 12.3 percent. That includes a 7 percent drop from Fiscal Year 2012 because the city dipped into reserves to pay off a bond associated with the sale of the now-defunct Smyrna Commons apartment complex, according to the city.
“The general fund truly hasn’t changed a whole lot, and that’s good and bad,” said Monica Jones, the city’s budget manager who will be leaving today after four years for a new job in Dayton, Ohio. “The city is doing a really great job of holding its own and being fiscally responsible. But there’s no extra, additional money to start new things.”
Jones said there are no cuts in programs and services in the proposed budget.
The city’s capital improvements budget will remain at $500,000, which will pay for new police cars, a first responder vehicle, construction equipment, citywide carpet replacement and software.
Revenue for the general fund comes mostly through property taxes, which raise $15.39 million, or 40 percent of the fund. Other taxes, along with sales and service charges, account for another 41 percent.
While fuel expenses have increased by $135,833, the city plans to eliminate a $1 fuel surcharge for residents, which raised $140,124, because it was no longer needed for revenue, Jones said. However, residential sanitation rates have increased from $20.50 to $21.50, generating $138,000.
Fewer people have been using the Smyrna Community Center, Wolfe Center and Brawner Hall, which drove parks activity and program fee collections down to $751,375 from $836,040, Jones said.
The city reported that there was a 4 percent increase in utility expenses due to Georgia Power rate increases.
With a change in the state’s annual ad valorem tax — which will no longer have to be paid by people buying cars after March 1, 2013 — the city is projecting a decline in vehicle tax revenue that it received from the so-called birthday tax. The revenue amount has been lowered to $105,340.
The city’s health care costs have largely remained the same, Jones said. There has even been a decrease in city-funded employee benefit costs totaling $294,476 from Fiscal Year 2012.
There are no plans for employee layoffs or furlough days, though changes within city departments are expected.
Special revenue funds have reportedly decreased by $1.9 million, or 13 percent.
Smyrna’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.