The Sandy Springs City Council unanimously approved a nearly $110.5 million budget for fiscal year 2019 at its June 19 council meeting with significant funding going toward transportation infrastructure and land acquisition.
The budget provides for the same millage rate as last year at 4.731 mills and includes $7.6 million for transportation infrastructure, $2.5 million toward city facilities, $4.5 million for land acquisition and $1.5 million for stormwater infrastructure. The budget also includes $285,325 for parks projects and $750,000 for city capital purchases.
The budget keeps the city’s fund balance at $20.5 million.
There was no council discussion about the budget at the meeting. During public comment, resident Tochie Blad noted the city’s first ever line item for “water reliability” totaling $1 million. She said there is no clear definition of what that money is to be used for, whether for repairs on consulting projects, and asked the council to let the public know what the money is allocated for as it is spent.
The city earlier this year launched a new priority to seek improvements to the Atlanta-run water system or sue to seize control of it. Sandy Springs claims the system is aging and leaky, while Atlanta says the criticisms are all wet.
City Manager John McDonough told the council during budget planning sessions he is planning “a way ahead, if you will” that will cost “multiple millions of dollars over the next five to seven years.” He asked for and received the $1 million in seed money in this budget.
The FY 2019 General Fund Budget sets aside $17,298,431 for general government contracts for city services; $30,170,473 for personnel and related benefits; $33,504,828 for operations and equipment; $17,195,325 for capital improvement programs; and $12,317,173 towards funding the other special funds, according to budget documents.
All eligible city employees may receive a 3 percent salary increase and are eligible for an additional bonus based on job performance if they meet certain standards.
As part of the budget is a $5.233 million Performing Arts Center Fund to be used for activities, staffing and operations at the City Springs Performing Arts Center.
The North End Revitalization project also received $250,000.