The City of Hoschton received a stellar report from its financial audit for FY2020 during its regular council meeting June 3.
The city managed to end the year with increased assets and revenues, decreased expenditures and relatively no increase in debt despite the pandemic and other barriers.
The city increased its current assets by $3.5 million from 2019 to 2020, which is “absolutely astronomical,” said Rachel Miller, Hoschton’s auditor.
According to the report, in FY2020, the city’s investment in capital assets increased by 53%. Proceeds from SPLOST and LOST also increased from 2019 with an increase of $75,495 in the SPLOST fund balance.
Compared to FY2019, total revenues for governmental activities increased 35% due to increases in charges for services and more grants received in the general fund. Other taxes received in the general fund primarily consisted of property alcoholic beverage, franchise and title ad valorem taxes.
With consumers purchasing more vehicles, an increase in title ad valorem taxes was received by the city. What’s more, the population growth due to annexations of properties during 2020 has also positively impacted the city financially.
Similarly, total expenditures for governmental activities increased 34% due to added wages, staffing positions, personnel costs and professional fees for the planning and development of city projects.
Business-type activity revenues decreased seven percent and business-related expenditures decreased by 9% from FY2019. The decrease in revenues were due to the decrease in water/sewer tap fee revenues. Less salaries and related personnel expenses, professional fees and repairs and maintenance caused the decrease in expenditures.
With total appropriations of $1,504,625 the city only spent $1,350,132, which is $154,493 less than budgeted for FY2020..
The report credits fiscal management and expenditure control in the city’s success in keeping the budget in balance.
The city has seen a significant increase in requests for residential and commercial building permits, which has caused an increase in the need for additional water and sewer systems and general government services. The increase in demand for services will provide increased revenues for the city, according to the report.
With a great financial position and working capital, the city plans to maintain a conservative fiscal position while increasing services, officials said.
In other busines at the meeting, the council:
● tabled an application for rezoning of property on Towne Center Pky. from commercial highway oriented districting to commercial motor vehicles service and repair districting for a proposed convenience store and with gas pumps and a fast-food restaurant.
● tabled an application for rezoning of 4.87 acres on West Jefferson St. at its entrance with Panther Court from from single-family moderate density residential to multiple family residential for 41 townhomes.
● approved rezoning of 1.11 acres of property owned by David Nichols on White Street from low density residential to suburban residential district. The conditional approval requires a right of way dedication of 25 feet from the centerline of White Street.
● approved annexation and zoning of 3.02 acres of property on Barnett Road from agricultural in unincorporated Jackson Couny to low density residential.
● approved variance requests by City of Hoschton to reduce the minimum building separation required by the city’s zoning ordinance from 20 feet for one-story buildings to 10 feet, to reduce the required side building setback from 12 to five feet and to waive the requirement for on-site detention of storm drainage on less than an acre of property on Jopena Blvd., which will house two single-story office buildings.
● approved rezoning and variance requests for property on Bell Street fronting the west side of Hwy. 53. The property will be rezoned from office residential to general commercial highway district. The variances approved will waive and reduce various required building setbacks, reduce minimum building separation distances, authorize parking within a right of way and allow vehicle movements to back into a public right of way. The variance allowing right of way parking shall terminate upon notice of the city should it be necessary for future developments.
● approved ordinance amending the multi-family residential section of the zoning distrits article of the Hoschton Zoning Ordinance as it pertains to dimensional requirements for fee simple townhomes.
● approved ordinance amendment to add a new section to the Hoschton Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance to repeal the requirement to have more than one entrance to a subdivision of 50 or more lots.
● approved franchise agreement renewal for Jackson EMC.
● approved updated Schedule of Fees for planning and zoning and building permitting.
● approved agreement with the Jackson County Board of Education for north water tank site. The Jackson County Comprehensive High School Panther’s logo will be painted on the water tank.
● approved updated policies and procedures of the Hoschton Cemetery Ordinance.