Proposed city budget features no tax increase

Published 5:03 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Smooth and simple.

That’s been the process so far for City of Elizabethton officials when it comes to preparing the 2018-19 fiscal year budget. Following up a pair of workshops in April, City Council will present the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Thursday, May 10, during their regularly scheduled 6 p.m. meeting inside City Hall.

According to the current proposed budget, the tax rate will remain at $1.79, meaning no property tax increase for residents. The total appropriation for the general fund is $18,921,435, leaving a surplus of $38,700. Debt service is also down from last year’s $1,576,092 to a proposed amount of $1,360,645.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Different facets of the city are expected to reap the rewards of a relatively conservative budget.

Some of the bigger projects coming from the budget include $141,000 for new police cars, $140,000 for work on downtown canopies, $50,000 for crosswalks on E Street, $50,000 for sidewalks, $49,827 for guardrails on West G Street, $46,000 for ADA work and over $42,000 for new playground equipment for Kiwanis Park. A new addition to the budget is $10,000 to go toward a downtown facade program.

Some final tweaks to the budget could potentially occur later this month.

Currently, the city has over $2.1 million of a $2.6 million-plus bond distributed among various community-based projects, including police and fire departments, a new sports complex and renovations at Covered Bridge Park.

Mayor Curt Alexander told the Elizabethton Star Tuesday that money that has been reallocated at the moment is not expected to move due to the city seeing a pressing need with each discussed item.

With a little over $450,000 remaining for projects based on community recreation and safety, one option the city could look is to offer funding toward Joe O’Brien improvements.

City officials welcomed Minnesota Twins representatives Tuesday and Wednesday with talks reopening about the Elizabethton Twins’ future in the city.

Alexander said that if the city and Minnesota were able to come together on an agreement, funding for the project could come through a new capital outlay note from the city, reworking debt service and a contribution from the organization.

Further talks on funding of projects will be discussed during the city’s final budget workshop, scheduled for May 22.

If City Council is able to approve the first reading of the budget on Thursday, the budget will be looked at during June’s meeting for a second and final reading. The budget would then go into effect July 1.