2019 Budget and 2018 Millage Rate

Community

BLUE RIDGE, Ga.—Oct. 9 the Blue Ridge City Council gathered to approve the millage rate for 2018. The Blue Ridge City Council also adopted the 2019 fiscal year budget.

The millage rate has fluctuated over the last three years. In 2015 & 2016, the millage rate was 5.479 mills. In 2017, the millage was rate 5.362 mills and the rate for 2018, which will be applied to 2019 taxes, is 5.378 mills.

When is this tax due? Fannin County property owners will receive a receipt of tax notice in the mail. The amount owed will be due within a time period 60 days from the postmark on the bill.

Please note that if your payment is late, you can be charged an additional five percent, and if the balance is still not paid within 120 days there could be a charge up to 20 percent. Property owners should check their mail regularly in 2019.

The Blue Ridge City Council passed the 2019 fiscal year budget where the city is expecting to a receive $2,026,400.00 in tax payer dollars and a total revenue of $2,449,250.

The City of Blue Ridge will be allocating the complete revenue amount out to various expenditures: Mayor and Council, General Administration, Tax Administration & Licensing, Municipal Court, Police, Custody of Prisoners, Fire Fighting, Highways and Streets, Shop, Recreational Facilities, Parks Administration, Park Areas, Planning and Zoning, Downtown Development, and Special Facilities Rental.

Blue Ridge’s Confiscated Funds from Fines and Forfeitures will go toward the Police Department for a total of $1500.

The Hotel/Motel Fund revenue of $170,000 will go towards Downtown Development.

The SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) Fund revenue, a total of $746,500, will be applied to Highways & Streets and Downtown Development.

Lastly, the Water & Sewer Fund, a total of $5,643,500, will be divided into Sanitary Administrations, Sanitary Sewer Maintenance, Sewage Treatment Plant, Water Administration, GEFA Project, Water Treatment, Water Distribution, and Water Loss Prevention.

Council member Rhonda Haight made the motion that the Millage Rate be approved, and it was seconded by Council woman Robbie Cornelius.

Council member Nathan Fitz made the motion that the 2019 Fiscal Year Budget adoption be approved, and it was seconded by Haight.

A Change in Blue Ridge’s Propane Provider and Rate

Community

BLUE RIDGE, Ga.—Oct. 9 Blue Ridge City Council came together Tuesday evening to vote on the approval of a new bid for propane gas.

During last month’s meeting, council members Nathan Fitz and Ken Gaddis questioned the propane bid from Appalachian Propane. The council chose to open the bid and read a price of $1.44 per gallon.

At that time, discussion between the council members and Mayor Donna Whitener, led to Council Member Fitz making the motion that they ‘table’ the propane bid for the next meeting.

After putting out another bid for propane rates, the city of Blue Ridge received one more bid from Ford Mountain Propane for a rate of $1.09 per gallon.

Council member Gaddis commented, “This is the gas company that the school board uses. They’ve used [them] over the last 3 years.”

Mayor Whitener responded, “And I did call Appalachian Propane because I was asked to do that to see if they could match [the price] and because Japan is getting all the excess gas—they think they’re even going to have a shortage of gas—they couldn’t match the price. I just hope the other company makes sure they have enough gas for us, if they reserve enough.”

Council member Robbie Cornelius responds, “[They] never got to my house to install it…in over 9 or 10 months. I called 7 or 8 times and so I’m not really happy with them.”

Mayor Whitener, “Do I have a motion?”

Council member Cornelius, “And the school board uses this propane now?”

Mayor Whitener responded, “That’s what Ken said.”

Council member Fitz asked, “So, the school board uses them and everything’s fine?”

Council member Gaddis responded, “Yes. They [the school board] just renewed their contract with them [Ford Mountain Propane].”

Council member Gaddis made the motion that the board accept Ford Mountain’s bid and council member Fitz seconded the motion.

New Council Members Question Propane Prices

Downtown Blue Ridge, Featured

Appalachian Propane has been the previous supplier for gas for the city of Blue Ridge and its employees for the last several years. Last calendar year, the city of Blue Ridge put out a bid for gas—as per usual—and where they normally get at least three bids back, this time, they only received one bid from Appalachian Propane.

While discussing Appalachian Propane’s bid, new council members wondered aloud what the current rate was. Now, the city has the option to not reveal the single bid so that they may rebid, however, the city council and Mayor Donna Whitener decided to publicly state the amount of the single bid. Had the newer council members known this, they may not have asked to hear the current rate.

Even though propane prices are based on an open market, some council members were unsure about the current propane rates. This year’s propane price is $1.44 for City and $1.54 for employees.

Council member Nathan Fitz asked, “And what was last years rate?”

After some digging, Finance Director Alicia Stewart found the price which was reported as $1.04.

Council member Ken Gaddis asked, “Can we do that again [send out another bid]?”

Council member Rhonda Haight responded, “To be honest, it wouldn’t really be fair if you went back and asked for a lower rate now, but what you could do is hold off and renegotiate. Call the owner and see if he would renegotiate this. If not, just, it is what it is.”

Council member Ken Gaddis replied, “So can we table it and reach out to them and see if there’s any other rates we can do?”

Council member Haight responded, “We could actually make a motion probably to do it at this rate or a lower rate, but then, he wouldn’t change it would he? [after a comment within the council] Yeah, I’m recused.”

Council member Fitz made the motion, “Okay, I’m going make a motion that we table the propane gas 2018-19 quote until next month.”

Council member Gaddis second’ the motion and then they discussed whether or not there was an ‘official’ contract between Appalachian Propane and the city of Blue Ridge.

A city official responded that there may not be a contract because Blue Ridge usually goes with the bid that offers lowest rate.

Where will the Blue Ridge Council members go from here? Stay tuned for next month’s council meeting.

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