By: Laura-Jane Hatcher (WRGA News)
Rome sanitation, sewage and water rates could be increasing in the near future, along with city employee salaries.
The Rome City Commission discussed the city’s proposed 2013 budget at their Monday night meeting. Among the projected changes, is a 50 Cent—or 3%--increase in the base rate on sanitation, water and sewage bills. This comes alongside a proposed 0-4% boost in city employee pay.
Finance Chairman and Commissioner Jamie Doss admitted to his peers that Rome was “toeing the line” with the budget, as the millage rate was not increased and the city soon faces a 6% decrease in sales tax. Beginning January 1st, sales tax will be eliminated for the energy used by local Manufacturers in the manufacturing process, and then again on March 1st, automobile sales will no longer be charged sales tax. In the face of these budgetary concerns, Doss defended the proposed pay raise.
“We have only had one very small 2% pay raise in the last four years. We’re losing qualified employees to surrounding municipalities, because we’re not competitive with our pay. It’s important that we're competitive,” He said. “As a city, I think we’re pretty stingy with our money and our budget.”
Despite initial unease, Doss said the 2013 budget is balanced. A public hearing regarding the proposed financial plan will be held at their next meeting on December 10th.