PTC budget cut another 1.5 percent

Thu, 07/12/2007 - 7:15pm
By: John Munford

Peachtree City officials have achieved further savings in the upcoming 2007-08 budget, largely by factoring in salary savings from ongoing vacant positions in the city’s police department.

Combined with a few other trims, the new budget allows the City Council to avoid a millage rate increase and significantly cut the amount of money used out of cash reserves. The previous version of the budget, called for using $1.28 million in excess cash savings, but that number shrank to $852,000.

Altogether it was enough for council to seemingly agree to a consensus at Thursday night’s workshop. That sets up the city for a public hearing on the budget at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting Thursday night at 7 p.m.

Even though the 1.5 percent budget cut requested by Mayor Harold Logsdon is coming from salary savings, a list of potential line item cuts was proposed for each department, and that list in part drew some ire from Councilwoman Judi-ann Rutherford, though she said it was “a good exercise.”

Rutherford was especially critical about a proposed cut of $10,000 from the finance department that was earmarked for the yearly audit. Finance Director Paul Salvatore said if the audit came in over budget he would have to find funding elsewhere to pay for the audit.

Rutherford said because the audit is necessary, that “cut” wasn’t a realistic one.

In addition to the salary savings, the city is also funding some critical fire/EMS purchases such as new radios from salary savings in the current year’s budget, said City Manager Bernie McMullen. Also, $56,000 was removed from the budget after determining the funds for street supplies could come out of the city’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenues.

The budget includes three new police officers and six new firefighters, adding two firefighters per shift to the city’s compliment.

Also included are a full-time assistant city planner who will be hired on a contract basis for one year and a building maintenance specialist who will be hired after several vacancies take effect in the city’s public works department, which is starting to contract out some mowing services.

The budget also bumps up the starting pay for police officers and corporals by 4.5 percent in a bid to make salaries more attractive and lure more recruits.

McMullen pointed out that Peachtree City is different from other governments, all of whom tend to spend more money at the end of the year to justify asking for more in the following year’s budget. Peachtree City, instead, spends year-end “leftover” funds on only necessary items and returns the rest to the city’s general fund, McMullen indicated.

Salvatore said the 1.5 percent additional salary savings, in addition to the 2 percent already factored into the budget, was possible due to the “unusually high number of vacancies in the police department.” He added that the savings was on a one-time basis and could not be factored into the 2008-09 budget.

Police Chief James Murray said the department had five officers going into police academy starting next week, but it would still leave the department with several vacancies. Once the department gets back up to its full compliment of officers, Murray said he would be able to assign the three new officers in this year’s budget for patrolling the city’s cart path.

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Denise Conner's picture
Submitted by Denise Conner on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 5:19am.

"its full compliment of officers" -- I believe that you meant complement (the quantity or number needed to make up a whole; that which completes or makes up a whole).

Compliment: an expression of praise, admiration, or congratulation Smiling

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 7:29am.

Munford rides too much in cop cars to spell check or think too much.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 6:37am.

I heard there's an opening at a local paper for a "Proofer".

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by CI5835 on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 1:08am.

would imply that a 4.5% increase in starting salaries for police officers would also mean 4.5% across the board for current officers. well does it? not from what we are reading. are we to find ourselves in a situation where a 1 or 2 year veteran will make less $ than a rookie just out of POST? if so this could be extremely damaging to a morale level that is already lower than it should be. i have had officers from other jurisdictions tell me that you couldn't pay them any amount of money to work in this town. there are several resons as to why, from the bratty kids and the snobby parents (not everyone of course but there is a reputation) to the very head man in charge of the department. are we to wait 1 to 2 more years before we have the 1 to 3 officers they are suggesting on a path system that needs to be patrolled by a minimum of 9 or 10 (a bare minimum)? we are really just holding our breath and hoping for the best. must we wait until your son or daughter is the victim of a sexual assault on the paths before we get serious about public safety in this town? also, PTC is in dire need of a street level drug unit. anyone who believes otherwise does not want to admit there is a problem, doesn't know about it, or is using or selling the drugs themselves. patrol simply does not have the resources (remember they are understaffed) nor the capability to conduct these types of investigations. oh yeah, we do have several investigators but not one is dedicated to narcotics. we do not even have an officer assigned to the Fayette Co. DTF like Tyrone and Fayetteville PD. please note drug crime leads to other crime. it is time for us to get serious about the situation at the PTCPD. the upcoming council elections for posts 1 and 2 may get very interesting! new leadership and fresh ideas on the council? new leadership and a new atmophere at the PD? it is up to the residents of Peachtree City. i will see you at the polls Nov.6!

Submitted by buzzed on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 1:38pm.

I as a faithful city employee have had it up to my ears with this budget talk. We already do not make enough for what we do for this community, and since this budget "crisis" began we have had our insurance premiums raised and our raises cut. The services that this community receives from it employees is outstanding at the least and the employees deserve to be paid for what they do. In order to not raise the milage rate some families that already don't make enough to live where they work (Peachtree City) will have to cut out some of their spending, and when their kids want to go to the movies they will most likely have to say no , simply because the city just had to cut there raises and raise insurance costs... So therefore as you can see I am very dissapointed with how this city is operating at this time.... That is all for now.. Thank you

Submitted by skyspy on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 8:27pm.

I think it is unfair that you do not receive cost of living raises and that you have to pay more for health insurance. I didn't vote for alcohol harold.

The best way to cut our budget would be to cut out the assistant city manager, and cut the city managers salary in half. (maybe the current lush would move on as an added bonus) We could get MBA students to run this city for free as part of an internship program. Free help and better educated I might add.

We are hopelessly below minimum national standards for fire and police. This would be ok if we lived in river-crimedale. I thought this was supposed to be a "highclass" city?

I'm not sure which dept. you work for, but thank you for keeping this city clean and safe.

ptctaxpayer's picture
Submitted by ptctaxpayer on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 4:30pm.

We appreciate the services of the PTC employees. Our Public Safety is top ranked. Chief Murray has been the best thing for law enforcement imaginable.

Sorry, but we have a right to object to our money being pissed away on millions for a leaky, luxury tennis center for few; for bank bailouts that benefitted crooked insiders; and for developer bridges to nowhere.

Blame Logsdon-- not the taxpayer.

And by the way--- how many employees looked the other way when all this corruption was going down ? That's what I thought.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 3:14pm.

Well, I will have to say that I am gruntled! Not disgruntled, just gruntled!
The tax rate is not your problem. They could pay you much more now. Our government spends way more than they take in, they just borrow it.
They don't want to pay you more, they don't have to.
What happens if they don't pay you more? You will remove your uniform, after taking off the badge and 100# of equipment, and turn them in and say goodbye!
When the Town Manager, Assistant Town Manager, the Police Chief, and a few Colonels and Majors, have to hit the road and cart paths, then you will get a raise. That is, they will get a raise. You will be gone!
About that time the Sheriff would take over the lawing in PTC due to a lack of help and you would see more county marshals and state police around here. Oh, I'm getting carried away.
Anyway, there is your solution. Get on them cart paths!

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 9:23am.

I like the funding for the Cops and Fireman...

Submitted by skyspy on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 8:37am.

Will someone at the police dept. give ole skyspy and the thug kids in the city a little heads up before you start patrolling the paths? We are used to making our own rules and laws out here. We need a little notice before you start bullying us around, and making new rules.

Y'all are makng this more difficult than what it has to be. The squad cars fit on just about every path, except the tunnels. If you patrolled the neighborhoods, it would be easy to go on a path and come out in the next neighborhood. You would be surprised at the calming effect of even one cop sighting a day has on a neighborhood.

I'm not going to hold my breath. My PTC instinct tells me more cops will quit and the new ones will be used to stalk cars on 54 and 74.

cmc865's picture
Submitted by cmc865 on Thu, 07/12/2007 - 10:10pm.

Thank you Mayor, Council, and City Staff for putting public safety first and funding the new positions. The citizens should be pleased with the level of compromise and commitment to public safety.

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