Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Red Bank City commissioners approved on first reading by a 4-1 vote the city’s budget for the coming year, which includes a 25-cent property tax increase as well as an increase in garbage fees. Commissioner Floy Pierce was the sole neigh vote.
The city plans to use $1.2 million from its approximately $5 million reserve to pave 55-60 of its side streets identified as most in need of repair by Public Works Director Tim Thornbury. The tax increase will begin to pay back those funds, said John Alexander, financial director and interim city manager.
“We do want these side roads paved, but the increase in the tax is far too much in my opinion,” said Pierce, who owns multiple properties on Dayton Boulevard.
One resident who opposed the increase in fees estimated about half the city’s residents live on a fixed income and will be greatly burdened by the hike.
Commissioner Ruth Jeno said she was at first hesitant to impose a tax increase, but after taking a drive around some of the city’s side streets, she decided it was necessary.
“Our infrastructure’s falling apart in front of us,” said Vice Mayor John Roberts. “There’s too many times we should have been paving when we haven’t been paving.”
As the budget stands, expenditures will include $18,000 to resurface the tennis courts, the salary of a part-time director for Red Bank Seniors on the Go, three new police cars, a fire truck and a machine to vacuum leaves from city streets.
“I’m very pleased to announce we’re going to resume the city’s leaf-vacuuming service citywide,” said Mayor Monty Millard.
The budget also includes a 2 percent raise for all city employees and the salary of a full-time codes enforcement officer. Commissioners also allocated $55,000 for the demolition of abandoned homes.
Red Bank will be collecting its own garbage fees soon when Tennessee American Water ceases to provide billing services. Fees will be increased from $12 to $16 and residents will be billed quarterly.
Resident John Fugatt complained the city provides no incentive for its residents to recycle. He said by recycling he reduces the amount of waste he produces, saving the city money.
Missy Smith, a longtime resident, thanked commissioners for taking steps to improve the city’s appearance. She said her home is worth approximately $300,000, though its value is depreciating because of the city’s neglected condition.
“I want to thank you all for wanting to beautify it and make it the place it used to be,” she said.