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City passes budget for FY 2015-2016
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The city of Dawsonville approved a $4.1 million budget for fiscal year 2015-16 during its Monday special called meeting.

The budget is an increase from last year's $2.6 million budget, due to the addition of $1,150,000 in special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) funds approved in a city-county negotiation in July 2014.

Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan explained the increase in the fund balance.

"Because the city has a zero-sum ending fund balance, we have to make sure our expenditures equal the amount of money brought in," he said. "Because the SPLOST funds were added to this year's budget, we had to raise the budget figures to equal out."

After several weeks of talks leading up to the November vote, which passed overwhelmingly with a 70.35 percent vote, the city and county agreed to split the county-wide tax revenue at a ratio of 85 percent to the county and 15 percent for city projects.

"We haven't seen any SPLOST money since 2004, with SPLOST IV when we handled the roads and sidewalks, so we are very happy to put this money to good use, as well," said City Clerk Bonnie Warne.

The 1-cent sales tax extension is expected to generate an estimated $46 million over the next six years for Dawson County.

Among the city's proposed projects are plans for a park on Main Street, a farmers market, water and sewer improvements and funding for downtown revitalization.

One notable measure in the budget is a possible across-the-board increase in department salaries.

"Right now, these figures are raised in the budget as a backup," said Warne. "Should the council see fit at some point in the year to give the city employees a cost of living raise, the money is already in the proper funds."

The city gave its workers raises last year in order to match up with the county's salary study.

The motion to approve the budget was made by Councilman Jason Power and seconded by Councilwoman Angie Smith.

The vote to approve was unanimous.

No residents spoke for or against the spending plan in either of the public hearings held by the city.

In other news:

The city of Dawsonville voted to approve the following projects:

-To purchase a camera and locator system to help with pipe maintenance using sewer department capital funds from lowest bidder HD Waterworks for $11,355.

- To approve spending of final SPLOST IV sidewalk funds of $10,782 and $5,054 from city general funds to lowest bidder Townley Concrete, Inc. for sidewalk improvements and connection to the assisted living center.