Mayor unveils 2018 budget recommendations, including potential cost increase

City budget unveiled in council meeting
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A new budget is on the table for the city of Columbus. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson's recommendations to city council show leaders may have to change the cost of city services in 2018.

Tomlinson acknowledging, before a room full of taxpayers and community leaders, the city expects to start FY 2018 with a loss in tax revenue.

"Revenues are expected to be 4.27 million dollars less than they were last year," she said.

The total budget on the first draft, over $267 million, which is a decrease from last year's (FY 2017) budget of over $270 million.

Tomlinson then told everyone gathered in council chambers that in order to meet a growing demand from the community with a smaller budget, her initial recommendations propose raising fees on several city services:  ambulances, after school programs, business licensed and other special permits, to name a few.

The mayor then commented that Columbus citizens still benefit from a lower cost of city services per person.

"We do produce city services, county services, to our citizens at a prudent rate of $1,300 per citizen," Tomlinson said.  "That is one of the lowest, or the lowest, in comparable communities. That's lower than Savannah, Augusta, and other such communities in the state of Georgia."

City council did not approve this budget, it's only the first draft.

Councilors will meet on May 2 for their first budget review, where they'll work out the finer points and have a concrete plan by the start of July.

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