Alpharetta considers cost overruns on current projects

Higher property values could help compensate



ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The Alpharetta City Council had its second look Monday at Alpharetta’s proposed $130 million 2018 budget.

The overall spending package represents an 8 percent increase over the current budget, thanks in large part to additional revenue from the recently enacted transportation sales tax.

Budget and Procurement Manager Shawn Mitchell told the council Monday that projections for this year anticipate an overall increase in the city’s property values of about 3 percent. However, he said, the official appraisal numbers from Fulton County will not come out until Friday.

He said those numbers could carry a surprise.

There has been some word, he said, that the Fulton County Assessor’s Office has been updating appraisals on residential property this year, and this could mean an increase in property values over what the city had anticipated. Right now, he said, the city has estimated residential property values only slightly higher than last year.

If values do come in higher, it could mean increased revenue for the city – and that added revenue could come in handy.

Already, the city is feeling the pinch of rising costs, particularly in the area of construction costs for capital projects.

Mitchell pointed out that two projects already underway – construction of the Wills Park pool and at the Alpharetta Arts Center – are seeing cost overruns totaling more than $1.5 million combined. Both projects are being funded through a special bond passed by voters in May 2016.

Even the city’s proposed dual parking deck project, originally estimated at $8 million, is showing signs of future cost overruns that may total more than 20 percent, he said.

The city will conduct three more public meetings to discuss the 2018 budget beginning in June.

In other action Monday, the City Council:

• Delayed a vote on a request by TPA/Fuqua Development for a mixed-use project on the west side of Haynes Bridge Road south of Lakeview Parkway. The request is to allow 320 apartments, 167 town homes, 55,500 square feet of retail/restaurant, 664,400 square feet of office and a 200-room hotel. The item was tabled April 17 and is expected to be considered at the May 22 City Council meeting.

• Agreed to a change in previous conditions of zoning to reduce the minimum building height of certain retail buildings within the City Center development.

• Agreed to a variance to the Unified Development Code to increase the time period allowed for a carnival to occupy property at North Point Mall. The variance allows the event to occupy the space for 16 days, which includes setup and break-down.

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