2017 Public Budget Hearing

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MAY 18, 2017



The public budget hearing for May 18, 2017 of the City Council of Tallulah Falls, Georgia was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Teri Dobbs.



Mayor Teri Dobbs

Councilperson Deb Goatcher

Councilperson Bill Coldren

Councilperson Larry Hamilton

Councilperson Robbie McCutcheon

Police Chief Bill Goatcher

Town Administrator/Clerk Patti Polk


OTHERS PRESENT:  See attached sign-in list (for attachments, contact Town Clerk)


Mayor Dobbs welcomed everyone to the public budget hearing and noted the public Budget Workshop held earlier in the week on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Mayor Dobbs reviewed the proposed FY2018 ‘balanced’ budget with total revenues and expenses of $412,367 before opening the meeting to public comment.

Former Mayor and resident, Dan Hayes, asked if the Town knew the percentage of Georgia State Patrol (GSP) citations versus that of Tallulah Falls Police Department (TFPD) and commented on the $150,000 amount budgeted for fines and forfeitures noting the Town should not continue to rely heavily on this money since it is totally dependent upon GSP.


Mayor Dobbs stated the actual percentage is unknown but the larger percentage of citation revenue comes from GSP.  She agreed on the dependency of these revenues and stated the amount reflected is a conservative estimate based on the actual amount received this year.

Mr. Hayes questioned the expense account for ‘propane/natural gas’ since the Town had recently changed over to all natural gas.

Mayor Dobbs confirmed the Town had recently changed over to natural gas and the amount allocated is an estimate based on this year’s payout but believes in the long run, the Town will have an overall savings and we should see a reduction in future years.

Mr. Hayes asked if the number of checking accounts had been reduced to reflect all money going through the general fund.

Mayor Dobbs responded the number of checking accounts will be reduced based on the advice of the Town’s CPA, Mixon & Associates.  To the extent possible, funds will be combined into the general fund except for SPLOST funds which must remain separate.

Mr. Hayes asked about insurance the Town pays and if there was an increased percentage over last year’s premium(s).

Mayor Dobbs referenced the insurance paid for General Liability and the amount budgeted increased by $3,650 to cover the mandated Cancer Insurance required for firefighters effective January 1, 2018.

Mr. Hayes followed up with a more specific question about employee health insurance and if there had been a premium increase.

Mayor Dobbs stated any increases to health insurance premiums will come out during the upcoming October 2017 open enrollment period.

Mr. Hayes noted the expense account for the Municipal Court Judge and asked if a raise had been considered by the Council.

Mayor Dobbs indicated no request from Judge Sneed for an increased fee had been made.

Mr. Hayes asked if the Council had approved the Habersham GIS Mapping expense.

Mayor Dobbs indicated the $1458 is included in the budget but approval is pending with commitment from Habersham to include Rabun County information since Tallulah Falls straddles both counties.

Police Chief Bill Goatcher asked if the Habersham Radio Agreement had been settled to pay out of this year’s budget.

Mayor Dobbs indicated the Agreement amount is included in the budget; however, it has not yet been signed by Habersham County.

Mr. Hayes asked about the election/poll worker expense account and if the Council had approved to keep it with the County.


Mayor Dobbs indicated the Council approved the agreement for Rabun County to hold elections on behalf of Tallulah Falls.

Mr. Hayes asked about the crime lab expense account and what it paid for exactly.

Mayor Dobbs responded that the crime lab fee, along with several other mandated fees, are all paid from incoming fines and forfeiture revenues.

Mr. Hayes asked if the fire department had all the equipment they needed and if the amount was budgeted.

Councilperson Robbie McCutcheon responded that Tallulah Falls did have all equipment needed and that Rabun County Fire Department had recently purchased custom fitted masks for each fireman.

Mr. Hayes asked about the MuniCode expense to update the Town’s ordinances and if the amount was a one-time fee or an ongoing monthly fee.

Mayor Dobbs indicated the amount is a one-time fee to be paid in four installments.  Two of the four installments have been paid from the FY2017 budget and the other two will be paid from the FY2018 budget.

Mr. Hayes thanked Mayor Dobbs for answering all of his questions and complimented the Council on a job well done.

Mayor Dobbs stated the proposed FY2018 budget would remain open for comment in the Town Clerk’s office until the June 8, 2017 Regular Council Meeting.  If there are no further comments, the Council will approve the proposed budget at that meeting.

Councilperson Hamilton made the Motion to adjourn; seconded by Councilperson Goatcher.  The Motion passed unanimously.

The meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.