Colbert approved a $514,110 budget Oct. 5, including enough money to cover dollars lost through the state cutting the homeowners’ relief grant.
Colbert collected $43,765 in ad valorem taxes last year, $4,500 of which came via the state’s homeowners tax exemption program. That amounted to about $35 per household in Colbert.
That state money is gone now, but Colbert leaders felt the city’s finances were strong enough to save city residents that cost.
“I think we can afford to absorb that $4,500 if y’all so desire,” mayor John Waggoner told the council before approving the budget. “Because we’re all going to get hit hard by the county. It’s going to cost about $235 each.”
To make that happen, the city intends to lower its millage rate to 3.5 from 3.95. Colbert can’t set its millage rate until next month.
“I say we try to absorb it if we can and give the homeowners as much help as we can,” councilman Chris Peck said.
This year’s budget package also includes $18,000 to add 1,300 feet of sidewalks on Second Avenue and a five-percent increase for employee salaries.
Colbert also budgeted $69,600 in SPLOST money this budget year. The city designated $20,000 of that go to water projects, $20,000 to old school building and $29,600 be saved in a reserve fund.
As for water projects, Waggoner noted that the city needed to apply SPLOST money to replace substandard waterlines with six-inch water lines along a section of Second Avenue.
“That would take care of all of our substandard lines in Colbert,” Waggoner said. “That’s where I think we need to probably spend that $20,000.”