GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF)– It may soon cost more to live in Grovetown. City leaders met Monday night to talk about raising the millage rate. I spoke with some people of Grovetown before the meeting. They said they love where they live, but in order to stay, they need answers.
“If the millege rate goes up, we need to see it used properly and for good, sensible ideas like making the roadways better,” Edward Trimble of Grovetown said.
“If we had a budget posted, that would inform us much better and give us more transparency in our government. I think that’s what we need,” Deborah Fisher of Grovetown said.
Deborah Fisher and Edward Trimble have lived in Grovetown for years. Now that city officials are proposing the millage rate to raise from 6.9 mils to 9 mils, Fisher and Trimble want to know where their money will go. But– the mayor said otherwise.
“If you notice the rate increase up to 9.0 is merely just to balance the budget, so if we get somewhere in the area of 7.5 to 7.9, you’re not talking about that much of a raise. We’ll still have to dig into the reserves probably about $260,000 to balance the budget,” Mary Gary Jones said.
Grovetown’s City Administrator, John Waller, said the city is $550,00 short this year. He said there are three options to deal with the deficit: dig into reserve funds, decrease expenditures or raise the millage rate. Mayor Jones explained all three can be done so people aren’t hit so hard.
“We’re sitting on a lot better days ahead of us, but we’re having to get through these tough times to get where we’re at. This stuff didn’t just happen. I didn’t walk into office and they happen overnight. They’ve happened over the years, and I can’t fix it being in office for a year and a half. It’s going to take a while,” Mayor Jones said.
He said he plans to post Grovetown’s budget and audits on the city website Tuesday. He also said he plans to develop 3 to 5 year strategies, put them into play and most importantly, improve communication with the public.
“This time next year people won’t realize the difference. It will just happen so fast and people will be so please by what has transpired. I think they’ll be joyous about it,” Mayor Jones said.
The last public hearing about the topic is next Monday at 6 pm. Shortly after, the Grovetown city council and Mayor Jones will make a final decision about the new millage rate. Count on NewsChannel 6 to keep you updated.