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Norcross approves '07 budget

NORCROSS - During the final regularly scheduled city council meeting of 2006, Norcross council members passed a resolution to approve the 2007 budget presented to the public Monday night.

City Administrator Warren Hutmacher, who said that months of work and review went into the process of preparing the budget, thanked his staff for their hard work on the project.

Hutmacher identified a few key issues that became evident while compiling the budget, such as the city's limited tax base and boundaries. He also noted the city's decaying infrastructure and the need to compete with surrounding municipalities for business as being areas that need to be addressed. In his summary, Hutmacher stated that the city's priorities are to keep the streets safe and clean for residents.

Councilman Terry Bowie cast the only vote against approving the 2007 budget as presented, expressing his concern about what he called the city's excessive number of marked police cars - 25 of them, to be exact. Bowie stated that maintaining such a large fleet of vehicles when only 3 or 4 patrol at a time is a waste of taxpayer money, arguing that the city's "take-home" policy has added an unnecessary expense.

The "take-home" policy allows officers to take their patrol cars home with them. Bowie wants to change that policy next year.

Councilman Charlie Riehm countered that the "take-home" policy has attracted officers to the Norcross police department, and that the 3 percent of the total police department budget that it costs is well worth the expense.

Riehm went on to say that the council would appreciate resident input when the issue is addressed next year.

Sunday alcohol "hours of sale" ordinance amendment adopted

Council members voted Monday night to approve the following hours for alcohol sales within the city limits of Norcross: between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1:55 a.m. Monday-Saturday, between the hours of 12 midnight Saturday until 1:55 a.m. Sunday and between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and midnight on Sunday.

No package sales of distilled spirits are allowed within the city limits.

City solicitor appointed

Attorney Gary Vey was appointed Norcross city solicitor Monday night. Vey will take the place of the city's current solicitor, who will be leaving after this month.

Officials approve

2007 legislative package

Hutmacher presented three items that he identified as the city's legislative priorities Monday night and asked for the council's approval to send the items on to the Georgia general Assembly.

First, Hutmacher said that the city should seek approval to change the city charter to provide for a city manager/council form of government. Hutmacher was hired to be the city administrator this past summer, with the intent that he would assume the role of city manager once the charter provided for that position.

Second, the city will seek to adopt local legislation to place a ballot initiative for the November 2007 ballot to utilize the powers of the Redevelopment Powers Law. This law allows cities to improve areas of blight within cities by various means.

Third, Hutmacher said that the city of Norcross should officially state to the General Assembly that there are no plans for Norcross to seek legislative annexation for expansion purposes.