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Athens Council approves $21 million budget

By Holly Hollman · 340-2445

ATHENS — City leaders have approved a $21 million budget for fiscal 2008 and hope to give department heads more than $800,000 in capital requests.

On Monday, the council approved its General Fund budget and included $350,000 for capital needs like police surveillance and security equipment and a fire engine. Total capital requests are for $869,650.

Mayor Dan Williams said the city plans to meet the remainder of those capital requests with $500,000-plus left over from its fiscal 2007 budget.

The budget includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for employees, but they won’t see that until Jan. 1.

The budget is a tight one, with the council expecting to end the year with only a $12,629 surplus.

The council also approved budgets for the utility departments, and the approval includes an increase in sewer fees for residents and businesses.

The council increased rates 71/2 percent to $2.87 per 1,000 gallons of water used. That will make the average homeowner’s bill go up $1 a month.

The council also raised land development impact fees for sewer from $546 per lot to $800 per lot.

Williams said the increases are necessary to fund sewer expansion and constructing a treatment facility for $30 million.

The utility departments’ approved budgets are:

  • Wastewater: $3.1 million in revenues and $3 million in expenses.

  • Water: $4.2 million in revenues and $3.8 million in expenses.

  • Gas: $12.9 million in revenues and $12.7 in expenses.

    Athens budget requests

    The following shows the amount each department and agency will receive in Fiscal 2008. Capital projects do not have final approval but the ones listed are the items the council expects to approve with leftover revenue from fiscal 2007 and with allocations in fiscal 2008.

  • Police: $3,955,505, which includes hiring two police officers midyear.

  • Capital: $254,230 total for a communications voice recorder, camera system, parking lot, fingerprint scanner, two computers, two cameras, two radar units, five vehicles and a radio console.

  • Fire: $2,755,805, which includes hiring a fire inspector midyear.

  • Capital: $395,000 to replace a 1979 fire engine

  • Cemetery/Parks Recreations: $1,631,493

  • Capital: $153, 567 total for a backhoe, new pavilion at Kids Dugout and Wellness Park, pickup, two lawn mowers, 20 sets of bleachers for Sports- plex and Cowart ballfields, seven weed cutters, trailer, edger, welder, printer and picnic tables for Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park.

  • Street: $1,079,592, which includes hiring three people midyear.

  • Capital: $14,253 total for a welder, 20-ton press, transmission jack, torch air condition unit and concrete saw.

  • Sanitation: $2,423,328

  • Capital: $20,800 total for storage bunkers, wiring existing shed and repair warehouse roof.

  • Public Works: $232,425

  • Capital: $30,000 for geographic information system equipment.

  • General and Administrative: $886,376

  • Inspection, Community Development and Engineering: $463,443

  • Athens-Limestone Public Library: $108,246

  • Houston Library: $26,000

  • Athens-Limestone Kidney Association: $2,000

  • North Central Alabama Mental Health: $10,000

  • Tennessee Valley Rehabilitation: $3,500

  • Association for Retarded Citizens: $6,000

  • Alabama Veterans Museum: $4,000

  • Emergency Management: $14,000

  • Hazmat: $3,500

  • Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful: $23,000

  • Recycling: $38,000

  • Silver Hair Legislature: $1,500

  • Boys and Girls Club: $25,000

  • Pet sterilization program: $5,000

  • Beautification board: $10,000

  • Special events: $13,500

  • Family Resources: $6,500

  • Red Cross: $2,200

  • Historical Commission: $8,000

  • Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce: $77,000

  • Council on Aging: $90,190

  • Cowford Campground: $34,000

  • Pryor Field: $30,000

  • Animal housing contract: $55,800

    Holly Hollman

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