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City council approves $1.38 million budget
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The Dawsonville City Council voted 3-0 on Monday to approve a $1.38 million budget for fiscal year 2013.

The budget, which is up from last year's $1.2 million spending plan, does not call for a city property tax.

Councilman Chris Gaines was not present for the vote.

Three significant changes to the budget include: $15,000 for the Downtown Development Authority; $25,000 for a Web site redesign; and an increase of more than $15,000 in personnel costs.

City Clerk Bonnie Warne explained that staff hours are being adjusted to compensate for personnel changes.

Those changes include a part-time staffer moving to full time, as well as employees logging extra hours as a result of the city council holding more meetings.

The council recently began holding work sessions once a month in addition to its monthly meetings.

The funding for the Downtown Development Authority, the first in at least seven years from the city, will be used to assess the future of the historic downtown area.

Acting Mayor James Grogan said he thinks the project is important.

"We are trying to develop the downtown and set aside money for a project that will give us an idea for how to revitalize that area," he said. "I know we need something there to restore our downtown, bring people to our city and help our local tourism."

Nick Nicodemous, chairman of the authority, made the funding request during an April 26 special called meeting and work session.

He told the council the group wants to bring in a professional from either Better Hometown Programs or the University of Georgia Fanning Institute, organizations that specialize in revitalizing historic downtowns.

"The $15,000 would be kept in reserve until [the authority] comes up with a program that will help revitalize Dawsonville," Nicodemous said. "Before we do anything, we will have a review of that and a public hearing with the community to get their input."

Warne said the $25,000 allocation for a municipal Web site redesign was purposefully set high. The city likely will look to award the project to the most reasonably priced bidder.

No one spoke in favor or against the city budget during a public hearing before the vote. The first hearing on the matter was May 17 during a special called meeting.

Monday, the council also approved holding a special election to fill the unexpired terms of Grogan and Councilman Calvin Byrd. Both men have resigned their council posts to run for mayor July 31. Grogan still serves as acting mayor.

According to City Attorney Dana Miles, the special election is to be held Sept. 18, with qualifying from Aug. 15-17 at the Dawson County Board of Elections office.