As fiscal year 2021 prepares to begin for a number of local governments, the Ball Ground City Council held its first hearing on a proposed budget for the new year at its most recent meeting.

Mayor Rick Roberts said the total budget being proposed for FY2021 was approximately $3.7 million, which marked a nearly 4% increase, or roughly $119,000, over the budget of fiscal year 2020. Of this total amount, the city’s general fund made up $1.28 million, a roughly 12% ($159,000) increase from last year’s general fund budget, while water and sewer comprised $1.3 million. Roberts said the water and sewer totals are down from FY2020’s budget, but this could be attributed to the city seeing abnormally larger capacity charges over the past 12 months. The last portion of the budget Roberts mentioned during the meeting involved SPLOST funds, which was up slightly over the previous budget, comprising $534,000 of the total amount in the budget.

As a comparison between the past and the present, Roberts said he had been cleaning out some of his basement while at home during the pandemic and came across a budget the Ball Ground City Council approved in the summer of 1998. Over the more than 20 years since this budget would have been in place, he said the city’s financial state had seen major changes.

“Our total budget at that time was $600,000,” Roberts said. “So we’ve increased it by over 500% since that time. General fund was $278,000, so we’ve increased that by 350%, and total SPLOST at that time was $171,000.”

Following Roberts’ presentation, none of the council members had any additional questions regarding the proposed budget, and unanimously approved that presentation as the budget’s first reading.

With the first reading for Ball Ground’s FY2021 budget having been approved, Roberts informed the council it would go before residents in a public hearing at 5 p.m. on June 4, then receive its second hearing at the city council meeting in June. A subsequent motion to approve having the public hearing at the suggested time passed unanimously.

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