No surprises in 2015 George city budget
The City of George’s proposed 2015 budget holds no surprises, said Mayor Elliot Kooy at a public hearing Tuesday.
“We’re not doing any major projects or making any major changes,” Kooy said. “It’s pretty much the same budget we’ve had for the last year or two.”
The $441,491 budget has projected revenues of $176,055 and expenditures of $166,564 in the general fund.
During the public hearing, some citizens expressed concerns their property taxes might be going up. However, the 1 percent increase over this year is because the city is asking for a larger portion of the tax from the county, city clerk Tina Evenson said.
The city is expected to collect $37,599 in property taxes next year.
New development projects, such as the $5 million Ancient Lake Winery currently under construction on Beverly Burke Road, won’t be assessed by the county until next year, so any new property taxes from it won’t be seen until 2016, Kooy said.
The city’s criminal justice fund is budgeted at $4,530. Those dollars don’t include money for extra policing from the Grant County Sheriffs Office.
“There’s no money for policing,” Kooy said. “It’s a problem we run into every year.”
The city in 2013 contracted with the sheriff’s office with the intent to have additional coverage. After six months, the city no longer had funds to continue the contract, and there was a question if the money was well spent, Kooy said.
Public safety concerns were also brought up at the beginning of the meeting by resident Dina Cruz, who has been the victim of recent acts of vandalism.
Cruz also complained about cars driving too fast while in city limits in the early morning, posing a danger to children walking to school.
“It is getting out of control,” she said.
Councilwoman Katie Schooler encouraged residents to call in any such incidents.
“We rely on the county,” Schooler said. “The more of us who call, the better coverage we’ll get. They will be aware there is a problem and do some checking.”
— By Rebecca Young, QVPR contributor