Without much fanfare, the Athens City Council set the budget and tax rate on Monday.

 The approved fiscal year 2020 budget for the general fund is $11,250,986. The 2019 property tax was set at 0.680221, which is a half cent below last year.

With extra revenue, the council authorized City Manager Elizabeth Borstad to increase the city's emergency reserve by $370,000. That will increase the number of days the city can operate on reserve funds from 65 to 75. The goal is to reach 90.

"That's quite an accomplishment for staff and this council by being conservative and watching every penny," Mayor Monte Montgomery said.

Borstad said the city may be able to add more in the middle of the coming budget year.

The council also adopted an ordinance ratifying a projected 6.84% increase in property tax revenue. The increase is mostly due to an increase in appraised values.

 Of the budgeted items, about $2.6 million is for fire services, $2 million for police and $1.2 million for the street department. Allocated for the park department is about $566.000.

Also at the meeting, Montgomery gave a recap of a Sept. 5 meeting city officials conducted with bidders on the Cain Center project.

"The architect was there," Montgomery said. "He made some clarifications. He gave all the prime bidders and the contractors an opportunity to look through the Cain Center."

Montgomery said he was pleased with the turnout of bidders. There were eight registered bidders for Construction Manager.

"I thought it went extremely well," Montgomery said.

In another item, Utility Director Randy Williams brought an update.

According to Williams, projects scheduled for fiscal year 2020 include:

• Critical facility emergency power evaluation  - $42,840

• SCADA sytem (Supervisory Control and Data Aquisition)- $300,000

• Water main replacement for S. Prairieville Street, Park Street and Clinton Street, $1,125,862;

• Royal Mountain Storage facility rehabilitation - $510,000

• N. Pinkerton Sewer main – $1,014,000

• Valle Vista lift station abandonment - $45,000

• Manhole rehabilitation $268,400

• Wastewater treatment plant – $75,000

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