Now that city leaders have spent weeks discussing Columbus' proposed budget for the 2009 fiscal year that starts July 1, it's time for the public to have a say.
So as required by the city charter, Columbus Council will hold a public hearing on the $210,751,819 budget during its evening meeting Tuesday at 5:30. Council meets on the plaza level of the Government Center, 100 10th Street.
The budget for 2009 is an increase of 2.55 percent over the current fiscal year 2008 budget of $205.5 million. Much of the increase is in salaries — $4.5 million to boost city workers' pay to what a University of Georgia study says is competitive with what similar-sized organizations pay their employees. Those raises are to take effect Oct. 1.
The budget also has been increased because of higher fuel costs and related inflation, administrators said.
The 2009 budget with background material is available for inspection 8 a.m.-5 p.m., weekdays at the clerk of council office on the sixth floor of the Government Center tower, and can be downloaded from the city Web site at www.columbusga.org/Finance/Financial_Planning/FY09_Recommended_Budget.pdf.
Also next week, the city will hold three public hearings that are required by Georgia law when there's an increase in the tax digest, the measure of all taxable property in Muscogee County. Because of growth and development, the digest typically increases every fiscal year.
Those public hearings also will be held in the council chambers on the Government Center's plaza level, at 9 a.m.. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, and at 9 a.m. on the following Tuesday, June 10.