Sandy Springs city officials are proposing the first city budget over $100 million since the 2008 economic crash, a sign of slow but steady recovery, officials said at a May 3 City Hall meeting.

The $103.6 million budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1, proposes funding for new parks, sidewalks, police cars and a general manager for the forthcoming performing arts center at the City Springs project, among many other items.

A final draft of the budget goes to City Council at its May 17 meeting, followed by public hearings on June 7 and 21.

The budget projects revenues being up 5.75 percent to $90.7 million, and general fund expenditures up more than 3.4 percent to $103.6 million. The budget also includes carrying over the city’s fiscal 2016 “undesignated fund” balance of $12.9 million.

Some highlights of how the city wants to spend the money:

  • All of the firms contracted to provide the city’s outsourced public services are boosting employee pay for a total cost of $16.3 million. City Manager John McDonough said that’s due to retention and hiring issues, with building inspector and traffic engineer positions remaining difficult to fill.
  • $416,000 in operating expenses to set up the City Springs performing arts center, expected to open in 2018. That includes an estimated $140,000 per year salary for a general manager. McDonough said the city is negotiating a contract with the theater management company Spectra, a Comcast affiliate, and expects to bring the deal to the City Council in June.
  • $3.9 million for several capital projects approved by Mayor Rusty Paul and council members via balloting. In order of priority, they include: traffic signal system improvements; various intersection improvements; new sidewalks; bicycle/pedestrian plan design and implementation; and construction for the new Crooked Creek and Windsor Parkway parks (which received a tie vote and will split funding).
  • $3.2 million for more “protective buys” of residential property on Hammond Drive, where the city is considering a road widening. The city recently spent more than $1.2 million to buy three Hammond properties as placeholders for the potential project.
  • $500,000 for Lake Forrest Dam repairs. State-ordered repairs to the earthen dam under Lake Forrest Drive on the Atlanta/Sandy Springs border are slow-moving and still have no specific plan. McDonough said the city, which splits the dam costs with Atlanta, is setting aside the $500,000 out of guesswork. But it definitely won’t be enough to complete final repairs, whatever they turn out to be, probably years from now. “This could be a five-plus-million-dollar expenditure,” McDonough said.
  • About $2 million in replacing many police, fire rescue and parks vehicles.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

One reply on “Sandy Springs plans first $100 million budget since economic crash”

  1. D I S G U S T I N G !!!!

    Not a penny … even for a study of how the schools can be improved and we, the citizens, can be relieved of the burden of (HAVING TO) privately educate our children !!!

    D I S G U S T I N G !!!

    HOW MANY ways can the gutless cowardly and careless “leaders” of this could be great City show us how little they think of or care about our familes ??? Really, how many Mr Mayor ???

    $100+ million ? TAKE THE SCHOOLS FROM FULTON COUNTY and, get serious about us – the people – paying for all this **** !!!!

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