The Stonecrest City Council unanimously passed a $6.2 million operating budget for 2018 at a special call meeting on Dec. 27. Mayor Jason Lary said he is extremely pleased with the budget and praised the work of CH2M, the firm hired to oversee the operation of the newly-formed city during its infancy.
“This is a pivotal point in our city’s history. We will finish 2017 with more than $100,000 in reserves after our debts have been paid. Next year our reserves will be far greater,” Lary said.
The 2018 budget balances out with the city having $851,150 in its reserve fund, said City Manager Michael Harris.
“We’re really happy that we finished this year in the black. We brought in more revenues than we had in expenditures this year. This puts us in good financial standing for 2018,” Harris said.
The mayor also pointed out that residents did not receive any increases in property taxes in 2017, keeping his campaign promise. He pledged there would be no property tax increases in 2018.
“I am very pleased with the work that CH2M has done for our new city. We got everything done with no property tax increase—just as we promised. I think that is phenomenal for a new city.”
Lary cited proper planning and good fiscal management as the reasons for the city’s success.
“For a new city to finish their first year with a positive cash flow is phenomenal,” the mayor said.
Harris cited a few examples of the city’s fiscal responsibility. He said that he and city leaders were able to furnish and move into City Hall for less than $10,000. The city staff occupied a temporary, rent-free office space from July to November 2017. They moved into the new city hall in November but will not begin paying for the 13,000-square-foot facility until April 2018.
Harris said 24 percent of the budget—the greatest share of the city’s expenditures—is earmarked for the Community Development Department, which includes 10 people who oversee code enforcement, planning and development, building inspections, land development, vehicles, signage and notices.
The budget does not include revenue from the recently passed Special Local Option Sales Tax(SPLOST), which is slated to add $7.6 million annually to the city’s bank account. A separate SPLOST budget was adopted in November for the allocation of these funds.
The city’s 2018 general operating budget can be viewed at stonecrestga.gov.