Also Tuesday night, the Cumming City Council:
• Approved a bid from Sphere Consulting Group to assess the health of streams in the city’s water and sewer service area.
The assessment is part of the city’s watershed protection plan required by the state Environmental Protection Division. It came about after the EPD issued the city a permit for an 8 million gallon per day wastewater discharge facility in 2008.
The $9,205 bid was the lower of two received for the annual study.
— Jennifer Sami
Cumming officials voted Tuesday to take one more month to look at the city’s 2011 budget.
“This is not anything new,” said Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt. “For the last several years the budget hadn’t been approved until January. It just gives the council a little more time to look at it.”
With the postponement, the city is slated to vote on its $23.1 million budget Jan. 18.
While getting more time to make adjustments was the main reason for the delay, Laurie Gowen was also a contributing factor.
Gowen, the lone speaker during the city’s public hearing on the budget, asked the city to “make a commitment” to install an air-conditioning unit at the Dobbs Creek gymnasium.
“I’m very concerned about the health and welfare ... there are grandparents, parents and children that you have to think about,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the basketball and gymnastics programs that take place in June, Gowen said there are two doors that can be opened for ventilation and the heat is “unbearable.”
Gravitt told Gowen the gym was built prior to the school system’s gymnasiums having air conditioning.
Between an estimated $225,000 for the unit, $80,000 in additional wiring and $2,500 in monthly electricity bills, “we’re looking at over $300,000,” Gravitt said.
“I share your pain. I know none of us likes to be in this hot weather,” the mayor said. “It’s a miracle how us old fogies survived during the hot days before we ever had [air conditioning].
“But during hard economic times, we’re talking about a lot of money.”
Gowen suggested pulling from the 2011 budget’s proposed $1.2 million contingency fund, but Gravitt said that money is there as a reserve for emergencies.
After the meeting, Gravitt noted that Cumming residents have not had to pay city property taxes for the past 30 years, something that was not going to change.
By postponing the budget vote, he and council members would explore funding options.
“If it can be tweaked any, and we can get the money from some other department, we’ll look at that,” he said. “But I’m not about to impose a property tax on the city residents to subsidize recreation,” he said.