The Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council on Thursday night stalemated on budget discussions and agreed to take up the issue at a later meeting.
Prior to the regular meeting, the council had a public hearing to read and discuss the 2012-2013 fiscal budget.
In the proposed budget were allowances for employee pay raises and $30,000 for sidewalk construction that Mayor Bill Glascock included. A point of contention with the new budget is the sewer maintenance and existing debt from the financed sewer system that the council determined to be the majority of the problem.
Addressing the mayor and council was Bobby Lusk of First Tennessee Bank. Mr. Lusk and the mayor have been discussing possibilities in refinancing the city’s current note on the sewer system. By doing this the city may be able to secure a lower rate and save some money in the city’s general fund.
Mayor Glascock was adamant that there are two key repairs to the city’s sewer system that need to be done so that it can run efficiently and at a higher capacity. He included the estimated cost of those repairs in the next budget. Council members suggested that the city only make one of the two in the next budget to save money. In addition,council members made the recommendation that possible raises and funding for the sidewalk be removed from the next budget. By doing this as well as making some other cuts, the city may be able to operate with little debt and not have to raise any taxes.
The majority of the council decided to review the proposed budget and reconvene next Monday to present their changes and adopt the budget.
Following the budget discussion was architect Michael McGowan, who presented the council with the costs to develop the municipal buildings at the town center with the proper engineer and site plans that would meet all code specifications to be estimated at $86,000 at approximately $200 per square foot.
City Attorney Bill Pickering announced to the council that several Georgia municipalities that have a lawsuit against various travel websites have not paid local and state hotel and motel taxes. This includes Lookout Mountain, Ga., Mr. Pickering explained. He suggested that the city also join this suit so that it may claim some unknown amount of back hotel and motel taxes.
The council then went into executive session to discuss the city’s personnel in relation to the budget.