JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Following a path of financial carnage trod by neighboring cities in June, the Johns Creek City Council is set to take up the issue of spending for 2021.
So far, neighboring cities of Alpharetta and Roswell have passed budgets for their new fiscal year, which began July1. Both cities ended up holding or trimming expenses in anticipation of falling sales tax revenues as a result of the soured economy. Alpharetta’s usually harmonious City Council fought for three weeks to get a compromise on its budget at the last minute.
Johns Creek has until late September to work out details of its spending plan, but it has already plugged in some safeguards.
Mayor Mike Bodker’s proposed 2021 budget calls for $59 million in spending, down 6 percent from the current year’s budget. The decrease is partly a reflection of anticipated declines in sales tax revenue of about 2 percent.
Property tax revenues are expected to come in flat with little increase.
The mayor’s budget calls for holding the number of employees at the current level of 233. Public Safety accounts for three-fourths of that total.
Outside of salaries and day-to-day operational costs, the mayor’s budget is calling for $2.7 million in capital project spending for four high-priority projects:
- $1 million for construction of the roundabout at Barnwell Road and Rivermont Parkway. This would be the final funding infusion for a project a majority on the City Council agreed was needed to enhance safety on the Barnwell Road corridor. The intersection was flagged for improvements two years ago during the 2018 Comprehensive Planning process.
- $635,870 for the second phase of a new Enterprise Resource Planning System. The system would provide the means by which city departments organize and manage their workflow and services to residents and businesses. When it works optimally, an ERP system tracks and manages processes and shares data between departments so staff can serve the community most efficiently, from issuing permits to tracking spending.
- $600,000 to fund right-of-way acquisition for two intersection improvements, one at Buice Road and Spruill Road, the other at Brumbelow Road and Tuckerbrook Lane.
- $500,000 for new sidewalk and trail additions. Based on staff prioritizations, the first area eligible for improvements would be a trail on the north side of Rivermont Parkway from Yukon Drive to Barnwell Road. Other projects will be completed as long as the budgeted funding lasts.
The city has a separate fund to pay for care and maintenance of existing infrastructure, roads and fire stations. With close to $10 million to spend, the list of projects will be subject to debate in council meetings through the summer.
Some of the items up for discussion include concrete repairs for sidewalks, fire station improvements, pavement marking and restriping, a proposed expenditure of $3 million for road resurfacing, and another $1.2 million for park maintenance.
The mayor’s 2021 budget does not anticipate an increase in the city’s property tax rate, which is currently set at 3.986 mills. Under this rate, residents pay about $4 for every $1,000 of their property’s taxable value.