Powder Springs Mayor: Revenues Expected to Decline Further
While there was some disheartenment to Pat Vaughn's State of the City Address on Tuesday, upticks were emphasized throughout.
Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn told a crowd of about two dozen Tuesday that though the city has taken some economic jabs, Powder Springs hasn’t been knocked out yet.
“We are not exempt from the economic woes of every other city,” she said as part of her annual State of the City Address. “However, I am very proud to say that we have kept our head above water.”
The city’s general fund budget for 2011 fell to roughly $7 million from 2010’s $7.7 million—about a 9 percent decrease.
The decrease resulted in the elimination of 14 city positions—five of them full time and nine part time; a 10 percent decrease in coverage for city employees' dependant health care; a delay in vehicle and computer replacements; reduced travel and training budgets; and cuts to street resurfacing and landscaping.
“You might have noticed that our landscaping perhaps doesn’t look as well as it did,” she said during the address, delivered at the Ford Center during the Powder Springs Business Association's monthly luncheon.
“But on a very positive note,” she added, Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints members volunteered to help landscape last spring and Paulding County inmates keep yards mowed.
Also, Vaughn said she hopes the city will eventually recreate the eliminated positions.
“Hopefully someday when the economy turns back around, we will be able to have those employees again,” she said.
But that probably won’t happen next year. The city is expecting further revenue declines, which Vaughn attributes to falling property values.
Rising from the ashes, though, has been some good news for Powder Springs, said Vaughn, who has been on the City Council since 1995 and mayor since 2004.
Some of the items she mentioned include:
- The city has a $1.8 million reserve balance, which is just over three months worth of expenses.
- Building permits for 2010 increased by 23 over 2009.
- The city had a net gain of 92 businesses in 2010 as compared to a net loss of four the year before.
- With state and federal agencies taking care of 85 percent of the costs, the city was able to purchase 16 properties ruined by the September 2009 flood and turn them into green space.
- Repairs and upgrades were made on roads and drainage systems affected by flooding.
- The Finance Department had its software upgraded, and citizens can now make city payments online. “Ours was pretty antiquated,” Vaughn said, “but now we have brand new software that is making it much easier.”
- Lewis Road and Atlanta Street projects were completed in December 2010.
- The pedestrian bridge project at Old Lost Mountain Road that started last fall was completed recently.
- The new police station is expected to open by summer, and the former building will be remodeled and used for municipal court proceedings. The cost of both projects is $4 million.
“Even though it has been a very slow year economically,” she said, “we have still been able to bring to fruition some of our projects.”
Vaughn said the people who deserve the most credit for the city’s triumphs during the economic downturn are its employees.
“They are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job,” she said. “They have hung with us despite the fact that there has not been the money for raises … We know soon that the light is at the end of the tunnel.”