TIFTON, GA (WALB) –Cities across the nation are struggling to balance their budgets. In Tifton, leaders turned to a study group to help come up with ways to do so.
The city council asked 26 people to study the city's efficiency and effectiveness. They came up with some recommendations to help get the city back on track.
Mayor Jamie Cater and city council members have some important decisions to make in the near future. "We have to make arrangements to survive in the city," said Mayor Jamie Cater.
And in order to survive, some changes need to be made. "There were several recommendations that we downsize some of the workforce which means potential layoffs, and that we consolidate some of the different departments," said Cater.
"The hard thing about this was having to make decisions or recommendations that are going to affect peoples lives and it couldn't happen at a worse time," said Spud Bowen, Committee Member.
So the city turned to the community, asking 26 people to come together and review city operations and put forth recommendations, to help things run more efficiently.
Spud Bowen was one of the 26 asked to serve on the committee. "There were a lot of common things we hit on like top heaviness in management, spending money out of the enterprise funds for other city operations," said Bowen.
Which created a dangerous domino effect. "The biggest thing that alarmed our committee was the service fund that operates city hall, they were taking 436,000 dollars a year out of water, 436,000 out of gas and waste. Altogether it added up to a lot of money," said Bowen.
Another major problem, Spud noted was the cities purchase of CityNet in the 90's. "We entered into a venture we had absolutely no right getting into. It soaked up all of our resources," said Bowen.
A venture that to this day is costing the city a whole lot of money."They were taking 660,000 dollars a year out of the gas fund to supplement it," said Bowen.
Now they are asking the city council to pass an ordinance so this does not happen again. "We are asking that these funds be restored and that these funds only be used for water, sewage, gas and solid waste and that an emergency fund be established in there that can never be touched," said Bowen.
The Mayor and council members will review the recommendations and then meet with committee members in 30 days.
Altogether 122 recommendations were made.
If you would like to view a copy of the report click here