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August 21, 2013

Higher taxes?

City to hold another public hearing Monday

Athens — The proposed City of Athens tax increase cruised through a public hearing on Wednesday with only one comment from an audience member. A second hearing on the tax increase is set for Monday at 5:30 p.m., along with a public hearing on the budget.

City Administrator Pam Burton’s response to the question of why the city is proposing a tax-rate increase was brief.

“The tax rate is about a (1.25 cents) more than the previous year,” Burton said. “It was needed for the general operation of the city. There are not any substantial changes in the general operation, but it’s to maintain the current level of service.”

The proposed rate of .645140 is as high as the city can go without being subject to a possible rollback election. It is about 2.5 cents above the effective tax rate. The effective tax rate of .620186 is the number that would raise roughly the same amount of revenue as last year’s rate of .63087.

City Director of Finance David Hopkins said city revenues are keeping pace with expenditures in the current budget, which runs through Sept. 30.

“I do believe at this point that the budget will probably come in as a positive,” Hopkins said. “We were budgeted to overspend by about $480,000, but with an increase in sales tax and less money spent in on expenditures in some areas, I don’t think its going to be that high.”

Hopkins said although the sales-tax allocation was down in August, the city is still on-track to exceed the budgeted amount.

“I can’t say what’s going to happen in the last month (September), but I don’t think it’s going to be that drastic.”

The 2012-2013 General Fund budgeted expenditures totaled $9,468,429, compared to projected revenues of $8,988,368.

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