Cuts soften tax and fee hikes in city
The City of Rockdale, responding to public input after proposing tax and fee increases for 2013-14, has backed off some of those hikes.
Meeting for a workshop session Thursday, and a regular session Monday, the council is now proposing a 75- cent tax rate and five-percent hikes in water and sewer bills.
Two weeks ago the city proposed a 76.286-cent tax rate and a seven-percent increase in water and sewer rates.
The current tax rate is 71 cents. Initially the city was eying a 77.7- cent rate.
CUTS—City Manager Kelvin Knauf said after receiving public input and concern about the proposed hikes, he met with department heads to review the proposed budget.
Knauf said the new figures are based on a number of assumptions.
He said reductions were made in general maintenance estimates, vehicle maintenance estimates, city council expenses and supplies, legal fees, street sweeping fees, lease-purchase expenses for a new tractor-mower (due to lower bids than anticipated) and savings from a vacant police officer’s position.
No personnel cuts were made.
FEES—Water and sewer rates are tied to a self- supporting enterprise budget, not part of the general fund.
The five-percent hikes in water and sewer rates will help pay for $525,000 in certificates of obligation, what’s viewed as a first step to address major renovations in the city water system.
Base monthly rate for water w ill increase from $23.18 to $23.88. Base monthly rate for sewer will increase from $4.53 to $4.76 per month.
Also, the trash collection fee w ill increase from $13.51 to $13.78 per month for residential and small commercial customers, $21.64 to $22.07 for large commercial customers.
Knauf said water rates were lowered through a combination of projected income from the Hunter’s Chase senior apartment complex, starting in December, and higher projected income from water sales, based on the July billing consumption report.
In other business, the council:
• Heard a report from the Resource Professionals Group giving “clean” audits of Rockdale hotels and the Chamber of Commerce in collection and administration of the city hotel-motel tax.
• Heard a report from Gary Westbrook, manager of the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD), on the district’s history and activities.
• Accepted a re-plat of the area containing the Hunter’s Chase senior housing project, at the request of End Game Development.