The Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council on Monday evening decided to hold off on some projects and pass a no-tax-increase budget.
Second and final reading on the budget will be next Tuesday.
The new budget does not assess any additional charges to Covenant College for its connection to the city's sewer. There will be no raises for city employees. The council eliminated $50,000 that Mayor Bill Glascock put in the budget to make sewer repairs and eliminated $30,000 to complete the sidewalk from Princess Trail north to the state line.
Present at the meeting with the council was accountant Paul Johnson to help answer questions and concerns the council, mayor, or citizens had.
Residents present at the meeting inquired about certain aspects of the budget. Bill Chapin, resident and president of See Rock City, questioned the mayor and council about certain taxes the city was receiving. He inquired if the city would consider using the hotel tax revenue towards the upkeep of the black and white tourism signs strategically placed throughout the Georgia side of the mountain. Councilman Blair Ramey and City Attorney Bill Pickering explained to Mr. Chapin that they believed it was an excellent idea but if they spent any money from that particular tax they then would be required to spend a certain portion of it annually. At this time, Mr. Ramey said, they want to leave that fund alone.
The council was questioned about communication fees that are in the 2013 budget to which City Manager Brad Haven explained that those fees go towards paying for radio and phone communications for Fire and Police on the mountain with Walker County as well as neighboring municipalities.
While there was no balance sheet available for citizens on Monday evening the city does have that available as public record. The spread sheet provided showed revenues totalling $871,400 and expenses totalling $871,319. There was no discussion of SPLOST funding and how that would contribute to the city's operating budget for 2013.
Mayor Glascock opened the meeting by issuing an appology to Ken and Mary Chapin Young as well as Jimmy Campbell for his comments directed towards each of them at the public hearing last week.