published Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Fort Oglethorpe to tap into reserves

A new Fort Oglethorpe Public Works garage is nearing completion. It has had some cost overruns, and the City Council may tap city reserves to pay for it.
A new Fort Oglethorpe Public Works garage is nearing completion. It has had some cost overruns, and the City Council may tap city reserves to pay for it.
Photo by Tim Barber.

The Fort Oglethorpe City Council is poised to shake $432,000 out of the city's piggy bank to fund various expenses.

At their meeting Monday night, council members will vote on the first reading of a budget amendment that would take $432,000 out of reserves to be applied toward:

• A traffic signal and intersection improvements at a proposed commercial development on Battlefield Parkway -- $250,000.

• Legal expenses, which have been mounting because of lawsuits filed after the sudden dismissal in March of then-City Manager Ron Goulart, police Chief David Eubanks and Public Works Director Jeff Long -- $147,000.

• Cost overruns on a new public works repair shop -- $130,000.

The City Council has made budget amendments in the past -- though they're usually made toward the end of the fiscal year in November or December.

"You do that just about every year," Mayor Lynn Long said.

Long cited reduced sales tax revenue as one of the factors prompting the city to tap its reserves.

He said Catoosa County, Ga., also is chipping in to fund the traffic signal improvements on Battlefield Parkway for a proposed strip mall near Walmart. City and county officials expect revenue from the development will pay back the outlay.

Long also expects the city to recoup legal expenses -- in court.

"We're going to countersue," Long said. "We're not going to roll over and play dead on that one."

Councilman Clay Kissner said the city has healthy reserves.

"We've got it reserved, and we need it for these purposes," he said. "If you have too much in reserve for too long, the state wants you to spend it down."

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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