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City Council presented with a $53 million budget proposal for FY2025

Statesboro City Council got their first look at the FY2025 budget on Tuesday. The $53 million balanced budget will require $1.7 million transfer from the fund balance or a millage increase as written. Most of the budget increase covers increased employee compensation approved last year. Charles Penny, City Manager, outlines options to make up the budget shortfall.
Statesboro City Manager Charles Penny presents the FY2025 budget

Statesboro City Manager Charles Penny presented the City of Statesboro fiscal year 2025 budget to the Mayor and Council in a work session on Tuesday, May 14, 2023.  

The $53,253,761 budget proposal reflects a projected balanced budget.  The budget proposal does include fully funding the employee raise implemented in January of 2023. The balanced budget will require a transfer of $1.7 million from the fund balance or a 1 mill increase in taxes along with a $700,000 transfer from the fund balance.

Mr. Penny began his presentation for the proposed FY2025 annual operating budget by outlining the objectives for this year’s budget: 

  • retain and recruit exceptional employees
  • emphasize utility infrastructure growth
  • tax base and revenue growth
  • emphasis on public safety.

The proposed budget includes $1 million in investment interest from the fund balances. Penny cautioned the council that as interest rates lowers for consumers, investment interest rates will decrease accordingly.  Prior to 2023, when interest rates were lower, they were averaging $25,000 annually in interest income.  Interest rates will decline eventually.  However, the trade off is the beneficial decline in interest for homeowners

A public hearing about the budget will be held on June 4th.  They will adopt the budget on June 18th.  However, they will not receive confirmed assessment data for a few more months.  They will have to set the millage rate in September after receiving the digest.  Once they receive the digest they will be able to determine how much of a millage increase will be required to balance the budget as written.

Mr. Penny said that the staff cannot be certain about the millage rate without the tax digest. With current estimates from the assessors office they will need a 1 mill increase to generate the $1 million of revenue.  This will be combined with a $730,755 transfer from the fund balance.

A 1 mill increase equates to about $78 per year for a $200,000 home.

Mr. Penny would never recommend taking the entire $1.7 million from the fund balance to balance the budget.  Doing so would reduce the fund balance below the policy percentage of 25%.

That is taking into consideration an 8% overall increase in general funds revenue and approximately 12% property tax digest growth.

Click here to see Mr. Penny's FY2025 budget presentation.

Highlights of FY2025 Budget

  • 10% total decrease from FY2024
  • 13.5% General fund increase
  • Presenting a Balanced Budget
  • Increase in sewer rates, tap fees and aid to construction fee

Mr. Penny clarified that the budget does not reflect tax base increases from any of the approved new developments.

Compensation and benefits highlights

  • Full year of new pay plan implementation performed by Condrey and Associates
  • Federal inflation rates in 2024 of 3.5%
  • Continued pay for performance for employees

Current and future opportunities

  • Position Statesboro for growth in the region
  • Grow downtown city center
  • Keep pay plan up to date
  • Continue to advance a creative, inclusive and professional culture

Concerns and unknowns

  • Nearly 20% of the total assessed value for real and personal property in the city is non-taxable
  • Labor market challenges

Revenue trends

  • 8% overall increase in general fund revenues
  • 12% property tax digest growth
  • franchise fees remain flat

Current millage rates

  • Bulloch County 12.5
  • Bulloch Board of Education 8.478
  • City of Statesboro 8.125

Capital Projects Priorities

  • Housing rehabilitation and new construction.
    • Housing Contracts need to be committed by the end of the year (ARPA)
  • Sewer installation in unserved areas.
    • Currently in design/going to bid for Ramble Rd and Quail Run sewer system.
  • Enhance roadways, sidewalks and intersection improvements to accommodate growth
    • Travelers of Burkhalter Rd often sit through three lights to make a right turn to come into the city.  The County and GDOT are currently working on solutions.

Public safety and city employees

62.7% of the general fund budget is allocated to Salary and Benefit costs.

The new Pay Plan was implemented in January of this year, so the FY25 budget will reflect a full year of the plan’s fulfillment. This increased the expenditures by $2.3 million. City staff also supports continued Pay for Performance for it’s employees.


Mr. Penny expressed his staff’s concerns towards challenges and unknown factors including the fact that 20% of properties are public and/or non-taxable that still require services and utilities, such as churches, schools and the hospital.  Labor challenges will present a concern into the near future.

The labor market is presenting challenges that make retention of employees in vital roles more difficult. “This will be a struggle for the foreseeable future until we find that balance,” he said.

He says that with the imminent opening of the Hyundai plant, there has been a trend of loss to personnel for higher paying positions.

The city manager exemplified the previously fully staffed fire department, which lost eight members to contract work with the plant. The loss of public safety officers presents difficult challenges for the Statesboro fire department, especially in fulfilling the 5 Mile Fire District Agreement that allocates those services to the 96 square miles surrounding the town. The agreement includes funding from Bulloch County that will total about $2.3 million this year.

“When I’ve asked you about taking care of our employees, you have not hesitated,” Penny said, thanking the mayor and council for their dedication to the most valuable resource, the employees.

Mr. Penny noted that the police department had 17 openings before they adopted the new pay plan.  They now are closing in on less than six openings thanks to the increased and more competitive pay.

Council member Ginny Hendley commented about her thankfulness for the city workers and is happy to support personnel to incentivize them to keep them working for the city.