Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin last week proposed her last budget in office — a $541 million spending plan for fiscal 2010 that calls for a property tax increase and another reduction in the city’s workforce beyond what already has occurred this year due to the recession.

Franklin said her final budget represents a $32 million reduction from the current year and a reduction of 752 workers, or 16% of the workforce for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. She has been mayor for two terms and after eight years is term-limited. Voters will determine her replacement in the Nov. 3 election.

Her 2010 budget proposal would eliminate mandatory furloughs imposed this year, generate $60 million in savings, and create $27 million in reserves, she said.

The proposed budget is in part based on a property-tax hike Franklin failed to get in the current year. But hiking taxes may be difficult in an election year.

The budget also anticipates a 5% cut in property values, continued decline in sales tax and other revenue, and a 25% drop in revenue from real estate and construction activity. It also proposes new revenue from outsourcing parking enforcement and hikes in various fees for services.

Along with her budget, Franklin submitted to the City Council an economic outlook statement by Jeffrey Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

The “overall economic situation remains dire,” Humphrey’s said, adding that the current recession is the worst since the Great Depression because it couples a credit crunch with a housing bust that fostered financial panic.

“I believe that the most likely scenario is that both Georgia’s and Atlanta’s economies, like that of the nation, bottom out late in the third quarter of 2009 and slowly begin to grow in the final quarter of the year,” Humphreys said. Recovery will be slow and the upturn gradual, he predicted.

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