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Galax council approves school budget, city projects

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By April Wright, Reporter

Galax City Council adopted the $13 million 2009-2010 budget for Galax schools during Monday's meeting, which included a small increase in local funding.

A public hearing on the proposed spending plan was held April 13, but council heard no comments.

The school board requested city funding in the amount of $3.96 million, an increase of $125,000 from the current year's budget. The increase is mostly for debt service for the renovation of Galax High School.

Revenue for the proposed $13.4 million budget includes $6.97 million in state funds, $3.96 million in city funds and $1.34 million in federal funds. Other revenue sources include $970,000 in sales tax funds, $81,550 in other funds and $125,000 in loans and investments.

Expenses for the proposed 2009-10 budget include $9.44 million in instruction, $1.27 million in operation and maintenance, $705,753 in administration and health, $650,249 in technology, $383,174 in pupil transportation, $460,826 in school food services and $532,230 in other uses and debt service.

In the city's overall proposed spending plan for 2009-10, the amount for the general fund is $9.67 million and the utility fund is $10.37 million.

Council on Monday also approved the city's 2010-14 Capital Improvement Plan.

A public hearing was held at the last council meeting, but no comments were received.

Projects in the plan are recommended by department heads or the city manager. The plan provides guidance for large projects and major equipment purchases and how these expenses will be financed at the time they are incorporated into the annual budget over a five-year period.

According to the plan for the Galax's 2010-2014 budget period, key projects over the next five years could include:

•New visitors' center (renovation of the donated Parsons' Building on East Grayson Street)

•Replacement of fire-fighting equipment

•Improvements to Glendale Road/East Stuart Drive intersection (eliminating a merge lane near Subway)

•Emergency preemption for traffic signals on major routes and general traffic signal improvements

•Maintenance and repairs to bridges

•Corridor lighting on U.S. 58 for vehicular and pedestrian safety

•Permanent stage and grandstand repairs at Felts Park (in cooperation with the Galax Moose Lodge, sponsors of the annual Old Fiddlers' Convention in the park)

•Veterans' Memorial (at the Galax Public Library)

•Corrective action plans for a former landfill

•Utility line improvements and extension projects

•Farmers' Market improvements

•Renovations to the Rex Theater

•Upgrade of utility metering system

•Downtown revitalization project with improvements to alleys and public parking

•Development of Hampton industrial/business park (on the border with Grayson County, off U.S. 58 in West Galax)

•Development of land for industrial use and job creation

•Improvements to equipment and facilities related to wastewater treatment

•Parks and recreational facilities improvements

•Technology upgrades