CONYERS -- The City Council approved a budget amendment Wednesday night that reflects reduced revenues of approximately $380,000.
Isabel Rogers, chief financial officer for the city, said Thursday that the majority of the reduction is attributed to a decrease in property tax collections. She said property tax appeals were responsible for about $283,000 of the decrease in collections.
The shortfall will be made up from the city's fund balance, which will leave the fund at less than $500,000. The recommended level for fund balances is 10 to 15 percent of the budget, Rogers said, which would be $1.5 to $2 million on a total budget of $12.8 million.
"We have been able to keep up with the down economy, but it's finally catching up with us," she said.
The city's budget, which was approved in June, was based on anticipated property tax collections of $5.5 million, which was essentially flat to the prior year.
However, Rogers said Thursday that decreased property values and tax assessment appeals from this year and prior years had whittled down that number. Property tax collections are now budgeted at $5.1 million.
"The appeals are pretty hard a lot of times to anticipate," she said, adding that "there are some cases that we are just getting to go through from 2010 where people have paid and we have to pay back."
The budget approved in June was $700,000 less than the fiscal year 2011-2012 budget. The city managed to hold its millage rate at 9.9 mills while at the same time it froze wages for employees.
According to city officials, this was the first time in 30 years that employees did not receive either a cost-of-living increase, annual merit increase or bonus.
At the time the budget was approved, Rogers said that most of the budget spending decrease was in frozen positions and a reduction in one-time expenditures from the previous year. In addition, she said that training expenses city-wide had been eliminated, except in cases where the training was mandatory.