At the June 21 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, council members officially approved the city’s proposed 2021-22 budget of $5,390,489.
Included in the total budget is $2,201,132 in general funding, which covers council and mayor salaries, salaries and benefits for city administration, planning and zoning and road department personnel, and city hall and city park maintenance.
The remainder of the budget includes $1,886,825 in enterprise funding, which covers water and sewer personnel salaries and benefits as well as fees and supplies for those departments, $556,000 in SPLOST VII funding, $485,000 in capital outlay funding, $208,200 in garbage department funding, $29,400 in Downtown Development Authority (DDA) funding, $18,430 in cemetery funding and $5,502 in hotel-motel tax.
City Manager Bob Bolz said that some of the newest items approved by the council in this year’s budget include funding for two new city patrol deputies, as well as funding for an additional retirement plan for city employees.
“The council voted for a new retirement plan that’s open to our city employees where employees can commit to this program and the council will match the first 1.5 percent, and we were able to give a slight cost-of-living raise to our employees,” Bolz said. “So overall we feel good about the budget.”
According to Bolz, the local-option sales tax (LOST) and special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) collections have been going very well, so city officials were encouraged when they began building the proposed budget.
“When we did the budget last year we were really concerned about tax revenues and we were very cautious in setting up our budget but in fact we were just the opposite; we were blessed and we did extremely well,” Bolz said. “So we’re very excited about that and hope that the tax revenues continue to be so good this year.”
Bolz said that the reason these tax revenue dollars are so important to the city is because LOST and SPLOST dollars are a big portion of the city’s budget.
“We don’t charge property tax so we either make the money out of permit fees or we get it through LOST revenue,” Bolz said. “LOST and SPLOST dollars are doing well so that’s good news for the citizens of the city and the county because a lot of those SPLOST dollars come from people who live outside the county who are traveling through Dawson County.”
SPLOST VII collections will begin on July 1, and Bolz said that he is optimistic about the projects that both the city and the county will accomplish with the funding.
“We’re very excited and looking forward to SPLOST VII and when those revenues start coming in so we can start some projects,” Bolz said. “SPLOST VII starts July 1 so that revenue will be coming into the county and the city, so I think both entities will be able to accomplish a lot of good for the community.”
City council members held a public hearing on the proposed 2021-22 budget on June 7, and received no community feedback on the proposal. During the public hearing, council members complimented Finance Administrator Robin Gazaway and the rest of the finance department on the hard work they put into the budget.
“I wanna compliment Robin and the staff that’s put this together,” Council Member Mark French said. “I know what a difficult challenge it is to try to fund the needs we have within the dollars that we have available and they do a good job and I appreciate their efforts.”
Council Member Will Illg echoed French, praising financial personnel for their hard work and help in answering his and his fellow council members’ questions throughout the budget process.
“I think it’s important for the citizens to know that there’s a lot of back and forth and a lot of questions that we send over to Robin,” Illg said. “There’s a lot of stuff that you guys don’t necessarily see that goes into it and I’m very grateful for that.”
Council members unanimously approved the proposed 2021-22 budget.