Hoschton plans to start up a police department in 2021 and also build a new multi-use facility and city hall.

Those were some of the highlights in the proposed 2021 city budget that the Hoschton City Council will vote on Dec. 28. A public hearing on the budget is slated for Dec. 21 at the council's regular monthly meeting.

Overall, the budget calls for a 13% increase in spending over the budget approved for 2020. The city anticipates $1.8 million in General Fund revenue and $1.6 million in spending next year.

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

Some highlights are:

• The city is budgeting  $89,250 for a police department, although the city council hasn't formally voted to create a police department. The idea has been discussed at several city council meetings, a public forum and at the council's retreat meeting. But creating a police department would likely lead to the town imposing a property tax to help pay for it. "I am always open to options, but if the citizens want it, they will have to pay for it and that usually comes from property taxes," Mayor Shannon Sell said in September. No property tax is included in the 2021 budget.

• City officials have budgeted $350,000 for a new building called an "infill city square development project." That is a multi-use facility and could contain a new city hall, an idea which was discussed briefly at a recent council meeting. 

• The city expects to generate $868,800 in impact fees in 2021, an amount that is in addition to its general fund. Those dollars are slated to be used for building facilities, specifically for recreation, fire and police. The impact fees would come from an assessment placed on new homes and businesses in the town, mostly from the massive Twin Lakes development. But developers of that project, Kolter, has sued the city over how impact fees were created and aimed at their project. The move would add $2,500 to $3,000 to the cost of a home in the development. 

• The city is outsourcing its planning and zoning to a consultant, a move that cut the city P&Z budget from $629,700 to $91,300. In addition, the city is setting up a separate buildings inspection department at a cost of $130,600.

• The city's largest single source of general fund revenue is projected to come from building permits at $716,000, followed by local option sales taxes at $352,800 and planning and development fees at $250,000.

• The city's largest financial area is its water and sewerage systems which together are expected to generate $5.6 million in revenues in 2021. Those areas also have a lot of expenses slated for 2021, including a number of capital projects, including two new water tanks and an expansion of its wastewater treatment facilities.

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