ALPHARETTA, Ga. — In the last of three public hearings, Alpharetta City Council unanimously passed the city’s fiscal year 2023 budget on June 6.
Fiscal 2023 begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2023. The budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $153 million, up approximately 2.5% from the current year .
The city’s operating revenue is expected to rise about 10% from last year, while operating expenses — money used for day-to-day operations — are expected to rise about 8.5%.
The council also voted to keep the property tax rate at the same level as last year. Alpharetta has maintained a property tax rate of 5,750 mills for more than 12 years, in addition to offering basic exemptions of $45,000 on homesteads, one of the highest in metro Atlanta. .
City Chief Financial Officer Tom Harris said in early budget discussions that maintaining a competitive tax rate was a top priority for next year’s budget, while ensuring economic flexibility in case of economic downturn.
Although tax rates are not increasing, property tax revenue is still expected to drive much of the city’s revenue growth due to new construction and increased the value of existing properties. The revenue forecast for 2023 assumes a 3% growth in residential property valuation and a 1% increase in commercial valuation.
Local option sales taxes, franchise taxes, alcohol excise taxes, and hotel and motel taxes are also expected to boost revenue.
The increase in expenses is expected to come from higher personnel costs, as well as basic maintenance and operating costs. Personnel services, which include employee salaries and benefits, are expected to be the city’s largest expense, accounting for 39% of the city’s total budget, while maintenance and operations account for 19%.
The city’s general fund — the part of the budget that pays for day-to-day operations, including salaries — is set at $91.4 million. That’s nearly $14 million more than last year.
Actual operating expenditures are expected to total approximately $78 million, compared to $71.4 million for the current year. The city says this is due to rising costs and an increase in service demands.
By department, Public Safety takes the largest share of the 2023 budget, accounting for 30% of overall spending. Public Works and the Department of Finance each account for 13% of budget expenditures.
New Public Safety initiatives include the reopening of Alpharetta Jail and funding for four new full-time police officer positions. Budget plans initially called for $200,000 to operate the jail, but cost estimates were more than halved before the May 16 meeting as the city worked with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office to consolidate plans for functioning. The new police stations are expected to cost the county more than $650,000, just under half of that for equipment and additional vehicles for the new officers.
The city council first discussed the budget at its May 2 meeting and made minor changes on May 16. The budget plan has remained unchanged since then. Council held three public hearings on the budget before it was finally passed on Monday, and no resident commented on the budget during any of the three public hearings.
Reach Jake Drukman at 770-847-8334. Follow him on Twitter @DrukmanJake.