Council OKs budget with current tax rate, closes out Doe River Water Project contracts

Published 11:40 am Friday, June 14, 2024

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By Buzz Trexler

Star Correspondent

Elizabethton City Council gave final approval to municipal budgets Thursday while also closing out the contracts on the Doe River Water Project.

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A $33,164,671 budget for fiscal year 2024-2025 was approved after a public hearing that drew no comments. The budget keeps the property tax at the current rate of $1.65 per $100 of assessed value while providing for a 4 percent across-the-board raise for city employees. It also funds a 3 percent increase in the city’s health insurance premiums.

Council members also passed on second reading and public hearing the Elizabethton City Schools budget of $36,259,561 for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. The budget includes $2,400,000 in operational funds from the city – the same as last fiscal year – as well as $1,500,000 to be taken from the school’s half-cent sales tax, and an additional $1,000,000 from the city’s Fund Balance as a one-time capital request.

Contracts related to the Doe River Water Project, which protected most of the city’s water supply, were closed out by the City Council to meet the June 30 deadline for the grant as the project is now in its final stages. The project was split between two contractors: Merkel Brothers Construction Inc., of Greeneville, was awarded a $1,589.250 contract, while Haren Construction Company Inc., of Etowah, was awarded a $1,206,000 contract. The Merkel contract came in $272,650 under the original budget, while the Haren contract came in $4,000 under budget.

Funding for the $3,845,250 project came from an Appalachian Regional Commission grant, the State Revolving Loan Fund, retained earnings, and American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Elizabethton’s Water Resources General Manager Jonathan Pleasant said some follow-up work remains, including the paving of cuts on the roadway shoulders, which will be done by Water Resources, and the cutting and capping of the old line that will be filled with concrete and abandoned.

The City Council also:

– passed on second reading an ordinance to amend the General fund to increase revenue and expenditures to account for Elizabethton Municipal Golf Course operations, an increase in fuel sales, and an increase to the City’s paving budget.

– approved the Elizabethton Municipal Airport budget that includes a funding request of $145,000 for the 2024-2025 fiscal year: $100,000 in capital expenditures for property repair/maintenance, and $45,000 for general operations. The budget includes an overall income of $1,998,050, with $1,650,000 derived from the sale of fuel. The cost of goods sold is budgeted at $1,255,000. Expenses are budgeted at $899,900, with payroll and benefits accounting for $550,000. The budget reports a net income of $250.

– approved a $630,000 Tennessee Department of Economic Development block grant for improvements to Franklin Pool that include renovating the pool’s surfacing, installing new gutters, installing a heater, and a new chlorination system. The budget for the project is $1,153,948, with the city’s match being $523,948. The project is expected to be completed by December 2028.

– awarded a $71,390 contract to Nor-Well Company, Inc. for three HVAC unit replacements at The Tetrick Center, 1509 W. Elk Ave. The project will incur an additional $18,000-$20,000 to run new gas lines.

– approved an agreement with CRI EasyStart to implement a voice-over-IP phone system and the purchase of eight phone handsets for Parks and Recreation and the Elizabethton Golf Course at $3,076, which includes $1,500 for implementation and training and $1,576 for eight telephones.