DULUTH -- The city of Duluth approved the city's FY14 budget during Monday's city council meeting.
The budget projects $70,810,893 in expenditures. The general fund is slated to receive $20,382,390, which funds operations of all city departments. The capital projects fund will receive $45,788,763 and includes projects such as the Buford Highway median and various projects in the city's parks, among others.
"It's a big weight off my shoulders," city finance manager Kenneth Sakmar said. "We've been working since the first week after the new year towards this moment. We had to have a new budget in place by June 30. But there's still a lot of work to do to ensure the city continues to run."
Sakmar noted that over the course of a fiscal year, the budget will be amended to account for things not planned for during approval.
"Things happen unexpectedly and you have to be ready for that," he said.
Mayor Nancy Harris added a bit of good news on the budget item, saying that the millage rate will remain at 5.991.
The council also appointed council members Greg Whitlock and Billy Jones, and DDA Ron Osterloh and Ken Odum to the RFQ evaluation committee. The committee is comprised of two council members, two Downtown Development Authority members, the city manager, city engineer and city planning director.
The purpose of the committee is to review qualifications relating to the RFQ for "The Block" and Urban Residential Neighborhood development opportunities.
In a ceremonial matter, the city proclaimed Monday as Herman Pennamon Appreciation Day and presented him with a key to the city for his years of dedicated service as the city's liaison with Georgia Power.
"I'm extremely humbled to receive this honor," he said. "This is an honor I will truly treasure for the rest of my life."
Other items discussed include:
-- In an effort to consolidate site development inspections and building inspections, the city voted for there to be one building/development inspector. The consolidation will result in a reduction in overall expenses while providing a higher level of service to the general public. The current contract with Municipal Building Inspection Services North Inc. requires a 60-day termination notice and will be submitted once a full-time building/development inspector is hired.
-- The council rejected all bids for wayfinding signage and voted to rebid the project due to discrepancies in a pre-qualified vendor.
-- The city settled an EEOC complaint by Duluth police officer Bobby Johnson, who filed the complaint and several internal complaints alleging unlawful discrimination in the workplace. The settlement is in the amount of $20,945.55 and clarifies that neither party admits liability. The city's insurance company, GIRMA, has agreed to pay half of the monetary settlement. In exchange for the city's payment, Johnson has agreed to resign, not work for the city in the future, and dismiss all pending complaints and forego any future complaints or litigation arising out of work with the city.