TIFTON -- The City of Tifton's budget for fiscal 2005 will draw $636,000 from retained earnings, City Manager Charles Howell said Monday.
Although the $35.6 million budget calls for the millage rate to hold steady at 4.4 mills, Howell said that may not be the case next year if things don't change.
"This is the 40th local government budget that I've been associated with, and it's one of the toughest I've had to deal with," Howell said at a budget hearing held prior to the city's June meeting.
"Hopefully, this (spending retained earnings) is a one-time situation. But it does not foretell good tidings financially in the future."
The City of Tifton has traditionally drawn praise from auditors for its proportion of reserves and has also either lowered the millage rate or left it the same for the last 16 years, although the millage rate alone does not always reflect actual tax increases if property evaluations have increased.
The 2005 budget, which covers the period from July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2005, calls for the elimination of curbside recycling pickup as well as an increase of $1.50 per month in garbage rates. Howell said some employee pay increases, tuition reimbursement and travel and training expenses were cut to meet budget constraints.
During a series of hearings held May 17-19, administrators blamed statewide cuts of grants and subsidies, growth in the scope of city services and increases in health premiums for the city's budget woes.
To contact city editor Florence Rankin, call 382-4321, ext. 209.
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