Sandy Springs to pour more into big-ticket items

The proposed 2013 budget, unveiled Tuesday evening, calls for increased spending on police, fire and street work, thanks in part to carryover from the 2012 budget.

The total budget, including operations, capital and special revenue funds, is $178.7 million. That includes $72.8 million for capital projects, such as streets, landscaping, intersection improvements and police and fire equipment.

The city is also committing another $5 million to its City Hall Project, adding to the $9 million already set aside for its development. The city spent $8 million three years ago to buy a site near the corner of Roswell and Mount Vernon roads, where it plans to develop a government and community hub.

"The City Center project is one of the Council’s high-level adopted priorities," City Manager John F. McDonough said. "As with all of the city’s top priorities, there is a concentrated effort to ensure those objectives, including setting aside appropriate funding, are met."

Despite property values dropping 4 percent overall, the city expects to take in $2 million more than this year, primarily due to receipts from the Fulton County-wide local option sales tax.

McDonough said the city has also managed to make up for a lot of its lost revenue by cutting the cost of operating. The city re-bid most of its services two years ago, reducing the cost of its contract work by $7 million annually.

The city's general fund budget, the money it uses to pay salaries and operate, is $89.9 million, up from the $76.4 million budgeted in 2012. Much of that increase is savings from last year carrying over to capital projects.

A final public hearing and vote on the proposed budget will be June 19.

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