As expected, Suwanee elected officials Tuesday approved the fiscal year 2013 budget unanimously. The $12 million budget, slightly higher than the initial 2012 budget, goes into effect in July.
Also, the city approved its 20/20 Vision strategic plan, which began a year ago and was heavy with citizen involvement.
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The 2013 Suwanee budget got a $664,000 boost from Gwinnett County, as a result of the recent Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) settlement. That money has been placed in the city's general fund, with the idea of lowering the millage rate. That will be set in August.
Also, Suwanee got a one-time $2.2 million lump sum from Gwinnett in the SDS deal. That money has been placed in the Community Stabilization Fund, with specific use to be decided later.
Some residents questioned the Suwanee leaders' decision on the SDS funds. Richard Trice, a former mayor, said at a public hearing that the city should pay down existing debt with the $2.2 million.
Another resident, Maurice Cook, said the city should refund the $2.2 million to residents.
City Manager Marty Allen noted that the city could not use the $2.2 million to reduce the property tax rate in 2013, because that is a one-time payment. Doing so would require a rate increase in succeeding years, when no SDS lump sum would be forthcoming.
Also, Allen noted that not all the Gwinnett County money coming to Suwanee came from property owners. Some came from commercial businesses, development funds, etc., with all the origins essentially untraceable.
The Suwanee Council also got a commendation on its 20/20 Vision effort from Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, the Gwinnett District III school board member. Murphy noted that Suwanee's planning effort was similar to an effort by the Gwinnett schools. She presented council members with a copy of the school district's strategic plan.