Newborn: Budget, millage passed

NEWBORN - The Newborn Town Council recently approved a $343,415.01 budget for 2008.

The town budget increased less than $3,000 from 2007.

The budget is typically approved in December for the next calendar year, but was delayed this year due to uncertainty over the cost of a water project. The town operated on the 2007 budget until July.

According to the town charter, if the budget is not approved at the beginning of the fiscal year, the prior year's budget is "deemed adopted for the ensuing fiscal year on a month to month basis, with all items appropriated accordingly until such time as the mayor and council adopt a budget."

Budget approval was delayed due to uncertainty over the amount of monthly payments the town would make to the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority for a $752,700 loan secured for a water pipe project.

A planned pipe extension into Jasper County was not completed, meaning all of the loan would not be needed, and that would affect the monthly payment amount, Mayor J.W. Cummings previously told the Citizen.

"To get an accurate budget, we had to wait until we closed out on some stuff. We just took the old budget and lived with that until we figured out what we were doing financially," he said.

The minutes from the council's July meeting reflect that the town used $670,219.04, leaving $82,480.96.

The council also rolled back the millage rate to 1.799 from last year's rate of 1.819.

In other news, following a recent executive session, the council agreed to condemn property adjacent to Town Hall for additional parking. The property is owned by Julia Wilson and family.

According to the July meeting minutes, "It has become obvious that the mayor and council and town attorney have exhausted every effort to purchase the adjacent Wilson property. The property is essential to the adjacent Town Hall, vacant office space and Newborn/Newton Library. There is obvious need to provide adequate parking due to growth experienced in Newborn. It has become obvious that we have reached non-negotiation with the Wilsons and further actions are necessary."

Town Attorney Joe Reitman would not provide additional information on the condemnation.

Calls to the mayor and other council members seeking additional comments for this story were not returned.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.