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New budget considers library project

A proposed City of Troy budget that will go before the City Council today is expected to contain revenue to support construction of a new public library.

The actual funding for the library will come through general obligation bonds, but the money to support bond payments will be part of next year’s budget, said Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

“The money to amortize the cost will definitely be in the budget,” Lunsford said.

The long-gestating library project has been in the planning stages for several years. City officials are still deciding whether to build a new library on Elm Street, at the site of the recently demolished Troy High School, or purchase land elsewhere.

Lunsford is hopeful that decision will be made early in the new fiscal year, enabling the project to move forward.

“I would anticipate that we could reach a decision within a month,” Lunsford said. “We need to know the site before we can determine what the final cost will be.”

The city has also gotten appraisals on the current library building. Proceeds from its sale would go to offset the cost of building a new library.

Lunsford will present his proposed 2008-2009 budget to the city council for a vote today at 1 p.m.

Estimated at more than $40 million, the budget includes a 2.5 percent cost of living raise for city employees and a surplus of about $400,000.

Lusnford and the council discussed revenue projections for the year ahead at a meeting Tuesday. Small growth is anticipated in sales tax, ad valorem tax and utility department revenue, based on growth over the past year.

This year, city sales tax has brought in about $5.9 million compared to $5.6 million the year before — about a 2 percent increase. The city is projecting similar growth in 2009, as well as slight increases in ad valorem taxes and utility revenues.