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Caledonia passes 2011-2012 budget


Carmen K. Sisson



The Caledonia Board of Aldermen passed the town's 2011-2012 budget Sept. 13, voting unanimously to lower property taxes by 0.25 percent after seeing another year of increased revenue and decreased expenses.  


Last year's millage rate was set at 7 mills, but the rate for the upcoming year will be 6.75 mills.  


Lowndes County Tax Assessor Greg Andrews said that one mill within the city limits of Caledonia is worth approximately $17,500, down slightly from last year's $19,100 value. The decision will cost the town approximately $15,575 in lost revenue.  


The bulk of the town's $319,400 budget -- $145,000 -- will go toward payroll and expenses. The next largest portion is allocated for buildings and grounds. Anticipated revenue is $345,047, with an additional $245,493 left in the coffers from last year.  


Mayor George Gerhart attributed the financial outlook to public officials' habit of "always being in savings mode."  


"We're 10 times better off than some towns 10 times our size," he said Thursday afternoon. "The town's in real good shape as of right now. If we hold our feet to the fire, we can have a good balance." 


The aldermen also unanimously agreed to raise Town Marshall Ben Kilgore's salary from $30,900 per year to $36,223, $5,323 per year in order to allow him to purchase Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance, which has been available to other town employees but not available to him due to his retirement from the state.  


Gerhart said he issued a letter to the aldermen vetoing Kilgore's raise, and the issue will be discussed at the next town meeting. If his veto is overturned, the raise will go into effect Oct. 1. 


They also unanimously voted to raise Municipal Court Judge Peggy Phillips' salary from $200 per month to $225 per month and to increase mosquito sprayer Terry Farrish's compensation from $25 per spraying to $35 per spraying until the end of the year.


Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.



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