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Buford reveals budget

BUFORD -- The Buford City Commission announced Wednesday night an $88.2 million fiscal year 2011 operating budget, which includes no millage increase and even a projection of a .5 mil decline.

"We're in great shape financially," said Commission Chairman Phillip Beard following the first of three public hearings on the budget. "I hope we can continue to do so."

Beard also announced expenses of $86.3 million for 2011, indicating a surplus of about $1.9 million for the year. In fiscal year 2010, the revenues were $87.4 million, and expenses were $85.5 million.

The commission also agreed to issue a special use permit to Serenity House of Buford, Inc. for the purpose of allowing a meeting place for Alcoholics Anonymous and related organizations at 218 S. Hill St.

However, the permit comes with several conditions, including changing the closing hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In addition, the Commission denied owner Billy Mobley's request to reduce the undisturbed buffer from 75 feet to nothing, saying that the buffer must stay at 75 feet because of the mixed-use area, which includes residential housing. Also, it was noted that parking entrance and exit must be a right turn in and a right turn out.

Mobley said the larger meetings held there at night will require more parking spaces than the 12 noon meetings.

Attorney Doug Dillard argued for a 6-foot buffer in order to have parking spaces for at least 40 cars.

"The more buffer you take, the more we're going to lose parking spaces," he said.

In other business, the Commission:

* Amended the fiscal year 2010 operating budget to reflect actual expenses through June 30.

* Approved a zoning request from C-2 (commercial) to R-100 (residential) from Alan C. Turk at 406 Shadburn Ave.