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City budget approved

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee City Council has passed the budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

"The revenues are projected at over $12 million," Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock said. "The expenditures is $11 million plus with a surplus. It gives us a little wiggle room."

The exact revenue projection is $12,035,208 with expenses projected at $11,799,617. The difference is $235,591.

"Our fiscal year starts Oct. 1," Hammock added. "Just because it's on paper doesn't mean it's in the bank. We did a 7 percent cost of living raise for the employees which was way overdue. It gets them more in line with surrounding areas. Hopefully, we'll quit losing police officers and utility workers to other municipalities and counties."

The overall numbers have increased annually since Hammock's start of his first term in office. This budget will be the city's largest.

"When I first came in the budget was right around $9.5 million. I walked in and we had a lot of penalties by ADEM on the wastewater facilities. Someone out of Florida tried to sue us. We were forced to build a $5 million facility. We're in the process of doing that. We've made some increases with taxes, but a lot is going out too. We're doing some work."

Among the taxes that have been applied is an ad valorem tax.

"We were one of the 11 municipalities that didn't have a city property tax."

Monies from the ad valorem tax are going toward the sewer lagoon project in addition to grants.

"That'll be paid for in 10 years," said Hammock.

Hammock said the city has been upside down on utitily service debt but making strides to reaching a break even point.

"McDonalds is not going to buy the food and sell it for cheaper than what they have to buy the food for. It costs a lot to produce the water. It cost a lot for the wastewater when you flush your toilet. We have to treat all of that before it goes back in the river."