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Tucker’s proposed general fund budget decreases by $9.6 million

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Tucker’s proposed general fund budget decreases by $9.6 million

Tucker City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

Tucker, GA — Tucker is putting together its budget for Fiscal Year 2024, and the city intends to spend $9.6 million less next fiscal year, but there’s some nuance in those numbers.

Finance Director Beverly Hilton said some general fund spending categories will actually go up this year. The overall reduction involves a transfer from the city’s capital fund, which pays for projects like road resurfacing. The reduction also involves a transfer from the general fund to the stormwater fund as Tucker takes over stormwater responsibilities this summer. 

The Fiscal Year 2023 general fund budget is $24.1 million. The proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024 is $14.5 million.

“In [Fiscal Year 23], a transfer was made from the general fund to [the capital] fund of $11,771,344 to commit funds needed for all capital projects approved by council in Fiscal Year 23 and prior years that are still in process,” Finance Director Beverly Hilton explained.

Hilton added, “The transfer was necessary to preserve funds to complete all approved projects appropriated in prior years.”

She noted that the city is taking over stormwater from DeKalb County in about two months.

“A transfer was made from the general fund to [the stormwater fund] fund of $1,500,000 to provide funds needed for start-up,” Hilton said. “Stormwater is officially Tucker’s responsibility on July 1 and will be funded with Stormwater Utility Fees collected annually.”

Hilton said capital projects are large and sometimes can take years to complete. The budget for those projects carries forward every year until those projects are completed.

“The request for 2024 does not include appropriations for prior year projects,” Hilton said. “Approved Capital Projects are expenditures for community-driven initiatives identified in our Comprehensive Plan, Parks Master Plan and Transportation Master Plan. … When you take those two transfers out, The general fund increased by $3.6 million.”

The largest portion of that is the creation of a Public Works Department, which will cost $2.9 million. The city also added seven positions and gave out merit raises for current employees, which will cost an additional $700,000,” Hilton said.

The Tucker city council held a special called meeting May 1 to discuss a revised draft of the city’s Fiscal Year 2024 budgetA quorum of four city council members were present: Council member Cara Schroeder, council member Roger Orlando, council member Noelle Monferdini, and Mayor Pro Tem Anne Lerner. Lerner said that Mayor Frank Auman and council members Virginia Rece and Alexis Weaver were absent on business.

Hilton said that her staff will continue to update the budget based on new information as the final draft is developed.

City Engineer Ken Hildebrandt offered a list of proposed road improvements and construction projects, including $5 million to be spent on road resurfacing. However, there will be funding for those projects from the Georgia Department of Transportation, among other sources. Each project will be approved separately by the council.

Parks and Recreation Director Rip Robertson said that increased use of Tucker’s Rec Center and other facilities, plus a desire to increase programming, led to his request to hire more staff to include a custodian, recreation manager for weekends, nights, and holidays, and an outdoor education coordinator.

The Finance Department requested hiring a procurement manager, and the IT department requested a new tech position. The Community Development Department wants to hire a fire marshal and code enforcement officer.

Other plans folded into the budget include improvements to downtown parking, a downtown business facade program, various beautification projects, a citywide signage standard, and an initial deposit of money into a fund for building a city hall.

Copies of the budget revisions will be available on the city of Tucker website. The first read of the budget will be held at the city council meeting on May 22. The second read with a public hearing will be held on June 12, after which the budget will be adopted.

Editor and Publisher Dan Whisenhunt contributed reporting to this story. 

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