The City of Woodstock officially has a budget for fiscal year 2021 after the city council approved it following a second reading at the most recent council meeting.
During her presentation to the council, Budget Analyst Crystal Welch said nothing had been changed on the proposed budget since its first reading at the prior council meeting and that, other than changing the position title of Amphitheater Operations Manager to Recreation Operations Manager prior to the budget’s first reading, everything was virtually the same as had been initially proposed to the city. As she mentioned in previous meetings, Welch said all funds were balanced and no rate increase in either the water/sewer fund or the storm water fund was planned for. Along with this, the property tax millage rate was recommended to remain at 6.554 mills. The budget for fiscal year 2021 stands at $45,548,360, a slight decline from the amended fiscal year 2020 budget amount of $45,882,917. Following her presentation, none of the council members had any additional questions for Welch, while no citizens had signed up to speak and share any thoughts or concerns they might have had. Once the public hearing was closed, the council unanimously approved a motion to accept the budget for the new fiscal year.
Although it was contained within the consent agenda, an item regarding the proposed amendment to the city’s code, specifically the section on the punishment for violating the code was approved in a separate measure. City officials said the phrase “or both” was accidentally left out of the change when it was written, thus there will have to be a third reading on the suggested amendment before it can take effect. Despite having to make one more change to what was proposed and hold one more hearing on it, the council approved this as the second reading of the amendment.
With the waste removal company Waste Management having not exercised its option contained in the most recent contract with the city, Woodstock put out for bids for the contract. Of the handful of bids received, it was noted that Waste Management had submitted a bid, and that its submission was the lowest cost of those received. As such, the council approved a new contract with Waste Management to provide trash pickup services for the city.
The Woodstock City Council also handled the following items:
- The consent agenda, which included writing off 116 inactive utility accounts deemed uncollectable, a budget amendment to cover an anticipated shortfall in the Buildings and Grounds category due to a telephone rate increase and the addition of more streetlights, and authorizing the retirement of the Woodstock Police Department’s police dog Dugan, was approved.
- A motion to table a sign waiver request from Smith Douglas Homes was approved. It was explained that the applicant had requested the tabling until the second council meeting in July, as alternate options for the sign were being looked at.
- The council approved a change order for an additional four groundwater exploration drilling target sites with Emery & Garrett. Three of the four target sites are located north of Georgia Highway 92 and west of Main Street in relative proximity to the intersection of the two roads, while the fourth involved is located along Dupree Road near where it crosses Interstate 575.
- After Councilman Warren Johnson recused himself from the meeting for a moment, the council approved both an amendment covering recent on-call work conducted by the Arcadis firm and a work authorization with Arcadis to survey for future road construction between the area around the Highway 92/Neese Road Intersection project and Arnold Mill Road.
- Councilman Colin Ake said he and Woodstock Police Chief Calvin Moss had discussed how the city’s police department was working to ensure it did not hire officers that may have resigned from other law enforcement agencies due to investigations on use of force. Moss elaborated on this, explaining the Woodstock Police Department has a comprehensive background process that is conducted on every applicant, including a careful examination of those who worked with other agencies in the past and why they left these agencies. “All of our applicants we take seriously, but particularly those who have previous experience in law enforcement, we look very closely at how they performed at previous agencies, and under what circumstances they left,” Moss said.
The next meeting of the Woodstock City Council will be Monday, July 13.