Carlton’s City Council is struggling to deal with falling revenue.
Income for the city is declining in all categories. Sales tax revenues, including special purpose local option (SPLOST) taxes have decreased as the overall economy has declined. In addition, the recent fall of property values in the area has reduced the yield from property taxes.
This comes at a time when age is starting to add to the cost of infrastructure maintenance. Part of the city’s water system were installed 60 years ago, for example. At the same time, grant money for city infrastructure have dried up. If emergency repairs become necessary, they city would have to apply for one of the low interest loans that remain available.
The council is studying new or enhanced sources for city income to include a possible small increase in property taxes as well as water and garbage rates. Carlton’s current rates are the lowest of any similar town in the region.
The city has scheduled a budget hearing to begin 30 minutes before the next scheduled meeting on Sept. 4. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. to be followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. Copies of the proposed budget will be available at city hall during business hours.
Meanwhile, the council voted to approve changes to the commercial zoning ordinance to simplify rules about apartment dwellings in commercial buildings. This would allow business owners to use part of their space for personal residential areas.