City budget mostly complete with deficit to be covered by fund balance--public hearing set for June 13 at 5:30 PM.
The marathon evening started with a special called meeting and passing the first reading of the 2017-18 fiscal year city budget in title only followed by a work session on the regular meeting agenda and finished up with discussion to mostly complete work on the upcoming fiscal year budget.
It was a long night for the Crossville City Council.
With the approval of the first reading of the budget and tax rate with no increase in the property tax rate, two readings remain for final budget approval and the council will hold a public hearing on the budget before the council's regular June 13 meeting at 5:30 PM. The second reading is expected to be on that agenda with a third and final reading tentatively set for near the end of June.
Because this is the reappraisal year, the state will certify a new tax rate that is expected to drop sightly due to the increase in value of real estate to keep the revenue to the taxing authorities consistent in light of those changes.
The budget and tax rate ordinance was approved under the called meeting's consent agenda with 4 yes votes as council member J. H. Graham was running a few minutes late to the meeting.
Crossville City Hall
Following the work session discussion on the budget including some decisions on the non-profit or outside agency donations, the final budget stands at $1.9 in the red. The deficit amount includes around $1.5 million in capital projects funded by the city. After paying off the short term notes listed below, the deficit will be taken from the expected end of year fund balance of $14 million leaving the city still with some $12 million in the bank as a “rainy day” fund.
Council also approved updates to the city's tree ordinance that will allow the city to remove trees that threaten public right of way that are on private property and charge the property owner for the work if they fail to remove the tree after being notified of the problem. Councilwoman Pam Harris asked for clarification and was concerned about disputes between neighbors over trees but that would not be covered under the ordinance, only threats to public right of ways.
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Council also approved paying off short term credit lines that were used to purchase new police vehicles and for paving. The two loans, totaling some $1.5 million will be paid off out of the over $15 million fund balance.
Council spent most of their time on the budget discussing the non-profit agencies and ended up leaving most of the agencies at the same amount as the previous year. Most agencies had been reduced by 10 percent last year and the year before. Discussions included giving increses to the Cumberland Co. Playhouse and the Fair Park Sr. Center. The playhouse was increased over the previous year to $30,000 and the Fair Park was increased to $25,000. At the current time the Chamber of Commerce remains at $77,400, the same amount as last year. The city manager Greg Wood indicated he is working with the Chamber on a contract to document the work they do on behalf of the community as part of their funding.