VALDOSTA — The regular meeting for the Valdosta City Council on Thursday featured the second hearing of the fiscal year 2009 budget for the purpose of adoption. With no citizens present to voice questions or concerns, Council unanimously approved the fiscal year 2009 budget, which included a request from Mayor John J. Fretti, on behalf of council, for a six-month update or report on the budget expenditures through the fiscal year.

“We are pleased with the adoption of the new fiscal year 2009 budget,” said City Manager Larry Hanson. “Most importantly, there is no tax increase. The budget is very conservative; however, it does still provide an adequate cost of living for our employees and the necessary funds for increases in fuel, electricity, and construction, which are beyond the city’s control. Also, the budget reflects a decrease of $12 million, greatly reduced by capital project expenditures as they often lead to higher operation expenses, which the city is trying to maintain.”

As required by City Charter, the budget is balanced and as presented has no proposed millage increase. The proposed budget’s general fund reflects an increase of $2 million to $30,903,217 while the overall budget projects a decrease by approximately $12 million to $85,585,997.

Following by a meeting of the newly formed City/City Schools Joint Capital Projects Coordinating Committee, the consideration of bids to construct a right in/right out driveway on Perimeter Road to improve safety and reduce congestion around Valdosta High School was unanimously approved. The low bid was accepted from Scruggs Company to construct the proposed driveway on Perimeter Road to Valdosta High School in the amount of $147,233.13 plus a 10 percent contingency to cover unforeseen issues during construction.

During local funding and requests, the consideration of a request by Councilman James Wright to attend the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials 2008 Annual Summer Conference in Atlanta was withdrawn by Councilman Wright due to other official engagements that conflicted with the conference.

The consideration of a request to apply for grant funds for the 2008 Bryne Justice Assistance Program for local jurisdictions was unanimously approved. For the 2008 grant program, the JAG allocation determined for the city is $12,932. The city has selected planning, evaluation, and technology improvement as their purpose area for the grant.

The consideration of a request by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority to close a cul-de-sac on Commerce Drive and quitclaim this parcel to the Industrial Authority in exchange for a relocated cul-de-sac, which the Industrial Authority has agreed to pay construction costs on, was unanimously approved.

Allan Strickland was unanimously appointed to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Zoning Board of Appeals.

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