Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has proposed a fiscal 2014 general fund budget of $538.65 million, which is a decrease of $3.65 million or 0.68% over the current year’s budget due to a continuing decline in property tax revenues and values caused by the housing crisis.

The total city budget, including enterprise and federal funds, is $1.87 billion, an increase of $26.2 million or 1.4%

Reed said his budget lowers general fund spending and does not include a tax increase. It maintains or increases service levels in key departments such as police, parks, and public works “by eliminating inefficiencies and reducing expenses.”

The budget proposes setting aside 1% or $5.1 million of the operating budget for the reserve fund, to bring total reserves to $126 million.

“A healthy operating reserve is a key signal of stable finances, leading to better bond ratings and lower borrowing costs for the city of Atlanta,” Reed said.

“I believe the city of Atlanta is emerging from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression in a reasonably strong manner, and that with the support of the Atlanta City Council the city will continue to provide critical services to residents in an efficient manner and support a business-friendly environment that leads to more jobs and investment.”

Chief Financial Officer Jim Beard said the proposed general fund budget is “both balanced and affordable.”

It does not include any new-money bonds though the city is reviewing refunding opportunities, he said.

The City Council’s finance committee will hold a combined public hearing and live virtual town hall meeting on the budget May 16. The council is scheduled to adopt the final budget on June 17.

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