TIFTON -- Tifton City Council members unanimously approved a $38.2 million budget for fiscal year 2005-06 during a special called meeting at City Hall Thursday night, a day before the budget was to go into effect.

In order to keep the services proposed for the next fiscal year, the council also approved a 2.55 millage rate increase. Last year's millage rate of 4.447 increases to 6.997.

Council members have said repeatedly that compared to other cities, Tifton's millage rate is lower, and that the city has gone 16 years without a millage increase.

Critics have countered that while the millage hasn't gone up in 16 years, property values have, leading to higher taxes paid.

The budget allocates $10.3 million for the city's general fund for the next fiscal year which begins today and ends June 30, 2006.

The council also voted to provide emergency funds for an air compressor for the city complex.

Larry Riner, Tifton's director of Public Works, told the council that the compressor, which runs the complex's air tools, was operating at 30 percent capacity and that, since money hadn't been allocated into the new budget for a compressor, the council should allow funds that were to go for an upgrade in the complex's security system to pay for the compressor instead.

The council voted unanimously to allocate $10,519 to provide for a new compressor.



To contact reporter JD Sumner, call 382-4321.

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