PEACHTREE CORNERS -- The soon-to-be official city of Peachtree Corners adopted Thursday the $2.7-million budget some residents have called bloated and a far cry from what was promised during the quest for cityhood.
A few amendments and adjustments were made (trimming some line items and moving the subsequent $120,000 surplus to the general fund), but the ordinance establishing the budget was passed 5-1. Post 3 Councilman Alex Wright was the only dissenter.
Thanks to some "good news" from the county regarding the estimated taxes to be collected, the same budget will likely now be funded under a millage rate of 0.85 mills. The rate factored into the original budget proposal was 1 mill.
In recent meetings, several residents have spoken out, saying they were pitched a much smaller budget and much smaller millage rate during campaigns to make Peachtree Corners Gwinnett's newest city.
Councilman Phil Sadd addressed that issue Thursday, pointing to a lot of uncertainty intrinsic in developing a brand-new budget.
"I feel like as a whole the budget's been set up to cover a worst-case scenario," Sadd said. "If this budget passes my expectation would be ... that each person works diligently, fiscally responsibly, and shrewdly to make sure that we avoid as many of those worst-case scenarios as possible."
It did pass, but not before councilwoman Jeanne Aulbach proposed several amendments that were adopted by the council.
Four amendments were made to the actual ordinance to adopt the budget. To paraphrase:
-- A mid-year budget review will be standard practice, and any funds determined to be concretely excess will be transferred to the reserve fund.
-- The budget for the 2014 fiscal year should be zero-based.
-- Four distinct explanations to control the way the reserve fund may be spent.
-- The millage rate should be reset for the 2014 fiscal year budget.
Under another motion by Aulbach, $120,000 was trimmed from various line items and moved to the general fund. Cities are obligated to operate under a balanced budget.
Even with the budget now adopted, there will likely be plenty of changes in the future. The council hopes those changes will be dealing with excess funds.
"There are all these unknowns out there," councilman James Lowe said. "Is the big bad wolf coming? I don't know. I hope not."