Forsyth plans to keep its taxes at 3 mills for the seventh year in a row. Council voted to keep the 3-mill rate without discussion at its Aug. 3 meeting. The taxes are expected to bring $356,694 into the city’s account this year compared to $342,366 last year because of increased property values.
In the past council has specified that property tax revenues will be used for special projects in the city, primarily recreation. A consultant developed a long-term plan for all its parks at a cost of about $7 million. City manager Janice Hall said later in the meeting that she is pursuing grants to work on the plan for the parks in phases as the city can afford it, but the property taxes weren’t tied to the parks development.
Hall said it is a good time to apply for grants, and the city has funds to apply for 50-50 matching grants for the parks. She said Forsyth has $626,000 in its special projects account. Council voted to advertise the proposed 2020 millage rate with the date for a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
• In other business council approved an agreement with Norfolk Southern whereby Forsyth will move four electrical wires that cross over the railroad. The wires are three 7.2kV wires and one neutral wire that go over tracks between Railroad Ave. and Indian Springs Drive. Hall said Norfolk Southern has determined the wires are too low for double stack cars to run under them.
Hall said that although this is a project Norfolk Southern wants done, Forsyth is responsible for the work and its cost and must also pay a $1,900 insurance fee to Norfolk Southern in connection with it. The agreement and insurance is to allow Forsyth access to Norfolk Southern’s property to do the work. Hall said Norfolk Southern is waiving $8,500 in permit fees for the work.
“We have to put the line at the height they want,” said Hall.
“What happens if we don’t do it?” asked council member Greg Goolsby.
City attorney Bobby Melton indicated Norfolk Southern is within its legal rights to demand the city move the lines. Council member Julius Stroud, who attended the meeting electronically, abstained because he said he couldn’t hear the information and discussion about the agreement.