Lyerly Eyes Hike In Fire Protection Costs In Budget PDF Print E-mail
News - Local News
Thursday, 08 February 2018 14:24
Staff Writer
Lyerly Town Council will vote on the 2018 budget next Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Council members looked over the numbers at a budget meeting on Tuesday. They expect to spend $282,630 from their general fund, according to a spending plan prepared by new Mayor Jim Ferguson. That’s down from the $283,691 in spending planned in 2017.
The water department budget calls for $340,231 in total spending in 2018, down from $395,850 in 2017 plan.
Council member Shirley Davis recommended increasing the $4-a-month fire protection charge that is added to the water bills sent to the town’s non-resident customers.
Residents of the town pay for their fire protection through property taxes. Anyone in the Lyerly Fire District who is not a water customer is charged a flat fee of $42 a year. 
“I think people outside the town should pay more for fire protection,” said Davis. “We could charge $10 a month and apply the money to new equipment.”
No council members objected to the idea.
“Give me until our next meeting to see what other communities charge,” said Ferguson.
Lyerly currently receives about $16,000 a year in fire protection fees from non-residents. 
One item that stood out in the proposed budget is a $40,000 expenditure to rehabilitate the old Ragland Brothers service station, which was donated to the town two years ago. Council members have talked about turning the building into an indoor mall.
Not included in the budget were any funds for building a concessions stand and/or bathrooms at the McLeod Park ball fields. 
“That’s something we need to do but it will probably be next year,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson cautioned council that the town needed to make several major expenditures on its land application system. The town recently spent $43,000 for a 2018 F-350 with four-wheel drive for the department.
The town also needs to replace three aging aerator pumps at the sewer treatment plant and make major repairs to the pumps at the spray field.
Ferguson told council that the pumps he’s looking at for the sewer ponds will cost about $10,000 apiece but that two of them would replace the three pumps currently being used. He proposed buying one new pump this year and one next year.
Repairs on the pumps at the spray field will cost about $10,000 apiece as well but the need to get that work done is not as critical.
Ferguson said the town’s water system is still plagued by infiltration of “green water” during heavy rains. He hopes that a visit by experts from the Georgia Rural Water Association could help the town identify the infiltration sites and get them fixed. If not, the town will have to pay for testing.
The proposed water system budget calls for about $47,565 less income and $55,619 less spending. The lower revenue numbers include $40,000 in SPLOST revenue which was moved to the General Fund budget. The plan calls for about $23,000 in savings for water purchased for resale and the completion of the Oak Hill-Alpine water expansion. 

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