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City of Valdosta leaders approve budget

City Hall
Posted at 6:01 PM, Jun 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-21 18:01:00-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL)-- No property tax increases for Valdosta residents this upcoming fiscal year.

After months of crunching the numbers city leaders have finalized the budget.

It includes raises for employees, but 22 vacant positions remain frozen.

Balancing the budget is what Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson calls challenging but critical.

City leaders have now approved a $77.3 million budget.

"It does not call for a property tax increase," said Hanson. "In fact, it decreases the budget for the city next year by $9 million."

Employees are getting a 2.5 percent cost of living pay raise for the first time in three years this January. City leaders say no furloughs or layoffs will happen in the new budget year but there are 22 vacant positions, some of which could be filled after October 1. 

Five full time positions including the assistant to the city manager position aren't being funded.

"We're able to save money by completely defunding that position," said Hanson. "The position itself is still in the manning chart. It may not be filled in this budget year. There's zero funding for five full time positions."

You can expect to pay one dollar more each month for sanitation fees starting July 1.

"When your revenues are flat and your costs are going up, costs you can't control, the private sector costs, the costs of garbage trucks, the cost of fuel, the cost of insurance, well at some point you have to pass the costs along," said Hanson.

Lowndes County leaders are expected to approve an $87 million budget on Tuesday.

Click here to view the 2014 fiscal year budget.