|Vidalia 2009 budget almost $20 million|
The Vidalia Town Council approved a $19,450,000 budget for fiscal year 2009 which includes an across the board five percent pay raise for employees.
"This is one of the largest raises we've given in a while," said Mayor Hyram Copeland at a special meeting Monday night. "We're doing this because we've tightened some belt areas up."
"We are now in the top five percent for a city our size in pay," said Copeland. "Is it enough, no it's not. In the last two years, we've given an eight percent raise when most municipalities have not."
The budget also reflects pay raises approved by the council June 10th for the mayor, police chief and alderman.
"We have increased revenues from sales taxes, occupation licenses and property taxes," said City Manager Ken Walker. "We've seen a general across the board increase."
"We also made changes in operating practices," he continued. "We've restructured the city vehicle fleet to conserve and employees will no longer be able to take city vehicles home."
Projected general fund expenditures -- which total $4,813,747 -- include administrative, $283,840; street department, $657,450; sanitation, $347,180; fire department, $419,350; city court, $118,600; and the mechanic shop, $185,610.
The police department carries the largest total at $1,210,057.
Copeland said at Monday's meeting that the amount includes the five percent increase, but that the officer's pay would decided by new chief Tapper Hendricks, who plans to restructure the department.
Other expenditures in the $19.5 million budget include $6,567,31 in special revenue fund, $,2,097,925 for capital projects, $698,098 in debt service and $5,273,400 for enterprise funds.
Projected revenue for the year totals $18,350,675. The budget reflects a yearend surplus of $8,679,266 due to a beginning balance of $9,779,080.
Vidalia's budget for 2008 was $21,170,000. Walker explained that in 2008 more capital projects such as the conference center were included.