By Greg Gullberg
June 17, 2013
Valdosta, GA - $8.9 million dollars. That's how much Valdosta city leaders are looking to cut from the budget. Down from $86 million to $77 million.
The vote is this Thursday at the city council meeting. And city leaders say it's so steep because the loss of a special purpose penny tax called SPLOST.
"It certainly is difficult to provide the capital expenditures necessary for the community to prosper and grow without a source of revenue to do that. So over time it will be difficult to keep up the level of service for our roads and bridges," said Larry Hanson, Valdosta City Manager.
Lowndes County voters defeated SPLOST last year. Now those funds will run out in December. But the proposal does not raise property taxes, cut jobs, or furlough workers.
All these cuts make it sound like bad news for city employees. But they're actually looking at pay raises of 2.5%. That's because 22 vacant jobs are going to stay unfilled for most of the rest of the year.
"We want to make sure we can still provide citizens with the same level of services but do so in a more efficient way or in the best way we can with the revenues we have," Hanson said.
City leaders plan to have SPLOST on the ballot once again in November.
The city council will vote on the budget this Thursday, June 20th. If passed, they'll upgrade the Mathis City Auditorium and make repairs to the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant.