The approved fiscal 2015 budget calls for a rollback of the millage rate from 7.889 mills to a proposed 7.25 mills. Fiscal 2015 begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2015.
Before adopting the new budget, council members debated whether or not to contribute $20,000 to the Cherokee County Office of Economic Development.
At the council’s last meeting May 19, it approved the first reading of the budget after removing the $20,000 economic development contribution with a 5-0 vote, with Councilman Chris Casdia absent.
On Monday, Casdia said he thought the contribution was important and he would have brought up his concerns during discussion at the last meeting if he had been able to attend.
“I know we’ve talked about this for well over a year,” Casdia said. “I was surprised when it was taken out.”
Councilwoman Tessa Basford, however, said she was not comfortable with the contribution.
“If we are going to make a contribution, we ought to have a voice with that contribution,” Basford said. “This is the city having to cover what the county should be covering. The city ends up having to pay for more.”
Councilman Warren Johnson said the council should contribute the money this year and determine next year if it was worth the expense, before deciding whether to contribute again.
The council voted 5-1, with Basford opposed, to add the $20,000 contribution back to the fiscal 2015 budget.
Johnson confirmed once all appeals are in, the city staff will revisit the possibility of rolling the millage rate back further. If a rate of 7.25 mills is approved by the council in August, it will be the lowest millage rate the city has had since 2011, when it was set at 7.016 mills.
Chief Financial Officer Robert Porche said the new millage rate can impact homeowners differently, depending on their property value.
“If the average Woodstock house has the same valuation as 2013, then their respective tax bill will go down because of the millage rate reduction,” Porche said. “If the average Woodstock house goes up in value — greater than the millage rate rollback — then the house will have a higher tax bill. Each house will be different.”
There are 17 funds in the 2015 budget, with the three largest funds being the general, or operating, fund, the water and sewer fund and the storm water fund.
The general fund makes up $17.024 million of the approved budget, down from $17.3 million in fiscal 2014, a decrease of 2 percent.
The general fund represents about half of the total budget and is made up of mostly tax revenue.
The second largest fund in the city’s budget is the water and sewer fund, which represents $10.37 million of the budget, or about 30 percent. The water and sewer fund decreased by about $1.7 million in the fiscal 2015 budget, down from $12.08 million in fiscal 2014.
The third largest part of the budget is the storm water fund, accounting for $1.79 million for fiscal 2015 and representing about 5 percent of the budget.
The remaining $4.93 million in the fiscal 2015 budget is spread across the city’s other 14 funds and represents the final 15 percent of the total budget.
The next Woodstock City Council meeting is scheduled for June 16 at 7 p.m. at The Chambers at City Center, at 8534 Main St. in Woodstock.