The Warner Robins Mayor and Council passed a resolution Monday night to try and improve the city's financial standing.
In a 5-1 vote, the council passed a resolution to try and increase the city's reserve account.
Councilman Chuck Shaheen introduced the resolution and said the time was right after recent spending gave him pause.
“I think what we've done is started to use that as a fund that 'let's always dip into the reserve account when we want something, let's go into the reserve account and let's spend it.' So, there's a saying, 'you've got to save us from ourselves,'” Shaheen said.
The resolution initiates the process to change Warner Robins’ charter.
The change would require Warner Robins leaders to keep enough money in the reserve account to keep them going for four months, instead of the 2.5 months that is required now. It costs $3.2 million a month to operate the City.
Under the change, the more than $12 million would need to be in the account at all times.
Councilman Tim Thomas voted in favor of the resolution and says he hasn't seen the reserve fund this low.
“We've never approached even near the 3, and we're there now. And I can see next year we will be probably 2 or 2 and a half. That's a little low for a city our size,” Thomas said.
Right now, Warner Robins has $14.24 million in the reserve account. The City's chief financial officer says it is projected that at the end of Fiscal Year 2018, it'll be at $10.4 million, less than the four months that could soon be required.
Mike Davis voted against it and says it wasn't necessary.
“I just think we're putting ourselves into a corner by going with 4 months instead of 2.5. It's great if you have it, but there again, just self-control will keep it at four months,” Davis said.
He said they should have waited until the end of the year to see where the account stood. But, Davis said now that it has passed he’ll work with council to increase funds in the account.
Davis expressed concern about changing the charter to four months and then immediately being in violation if they city does not have enough in reserves once the charter is changed.
On July 1, 2016 the reserve account sat at $18.18 million. Recently, Mayor and Council approved expenditures from that account to pay for recreation improvements, pay scale adjustments, and new positions in the Warner Robins Police Department totaling $4.1 million.
If projections hold for the end of FY 2018, the reserve account would be at its lowest point since 2012.
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