Dalton City Council holds first reading of 2023 budget that has no property tax increase

Nov. 15—The Dalton City Council unveiled a proposed $38.2 million 2023 city operating budget on Monday, up from $36.5 million budgeted for 2022. The proposed budget calls for no property tax increase.

The Public Works Department would see its spending increase 9.06% in 2023 to $8.6 million from $7.9 million.

"On paper, that looks large, but it's really due to inflationary costs," said City Administrator Andrew Parker. "We are seeing significant increases in the costs of materials."

The Police Department budget would increase 1.35% to $10.4 million from $10.2 million.

"The mayor and council have set a goal of having an SRO (school resource officer) in every school (in Dalton Public Schools)," Parker said. "We currently have six and will add a seventh shortly. We hope to have nine in place by the end of next year, which would give us one in every school."

The council members are expected to adopt the 2023 budget at their Monday, Dec. 5, meeting at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

"I don't anticipate any changes," Parker said. "But we have three weeks, so I can't rule out that we may adjust some items."

The council members voted 3-0 to:

—Approve a $66,000 agreement with River City Athletic Fields of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, to renovate the infields of the 10 baseball/softball fields at Heritage Point Park.

—Approve a $135,000 agreement with Dalton Fence to renovate the backstop fence and netting of all 10 baseball/softball fields at Heritage Point Park. That will be funded from the city's share of hotel/motel taxes.

—Approve a $5,020 agreement with Chattanooga Trailer and Rental to lease one 40-foot container and one 20-foot container for storage of Parks and Recreation Department equipment for one year during the renovation of the John Davis Recreation Center.

—Approve a $120,418 bid from W.H. Platts of Norcross to replace the audiovisual equipment in the council chambers in City Hall.

Parker said there have been complaints by both those attending meetings in person and those watching the livestream of meetings on YouTube about being unable to hear council members and other speakers.

He said the company designed and installed the audiovisual system in the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners' new meeting room in the county courthouse. He said the city's system will be similar, with multiple cameras capable of focusing on individual speakers, instead of the one static view the current system in City Hall has.