The Greenville City Council will be getting an early start on the upcoming city budget Friday morning — right after breakfast.

A special Council session, where City Manager Karen Daly is to present the first draft of the Fiscal Year 2006/07 budget, was pushed back from the original start time of 9 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Friday, as at least some Council members were also planning to attend the Greenville Chamber’s “Wake Up To The Issues” breakfast, which is also taking place at the Fletcher Warren Civic Center.

The Council has set five goals for the budget, with significantly lowering the tax rate at the top of the list for the second straight year. Taking a strong stand on public safety is number two.

Setting and enforcing expectations for the appearance of the city is the number three goal, followed by developing strong working relationships with both internal and external entities. The number five goal is to encourage growth with quality development and the wise use of incentives for recruitment and growth.

Daly has also outlined a five-year capital improvements plan. If all of the items are undertaken by the Council, the cost comes in at an estimated $46 million.

In next year’s budget, Daly has included the rehabilitation of Graham Park, costing $1 million, and more than $1 million each for general fund fleet/equipment and relocating utility lines in advance of planned improvements to the Wesley Street overpass across Interstate 30 and U.S. Highways 69 and 380.

In fiscal year 2007/08 would come an upgrade to the city’s wastewater reclamation center, costing $18 million, plus the construction of the $6.5 million Monty Stratton Parkway, along with a new Fire Station No. 1 and an administration building for the fire department, at a combined cost of $1.5 million.

Traders Road would be rebuilt and expanded in fiscal year 2008/09, at an estimated cost of $5 million.

In 2008/09 would come $1 million for a street improvement program and $300,000 for an expansion of Ja-Lu Park.

Daly has said that during the next five years, about $21.9 million of the total would be items which are paid for through the general fund, while another $24 million, including the wastewater plant, would be paid for through the water utilities fund.

The current budget included a property tax rate cut from 79.9 cents per $100 valuation, to 77.9 cents, although it was still technically a tax increase, as it was above the effective tax rate, which would have brought in the same amount of tax revenue as in the current year.

The $16.5 million maintenance and operations budget represented a 4 percent rise in spending from the previous year, offset by increases in property values and sale tax collections.

A new budget and tax rate must be adopted before the start of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1.

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