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No tax hike proposed for Rogersville, but water rate increase expected

Jeff Bobo • May 31, 2018 at 9:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Although the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be asked to use $710,655 in savings to balance the proposed 2018-19 general fund budget, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

In 2018-19, the city will also be making its final $525,000 payment on the 1998 bond issue that paid for a Rogersville City School classroom addition and renovation project 20 years ago.

That’s $525,000 that won’t be in the expenditure column when it comes time to compile the city’s 2019-20 budget.

Rogersville officials anticipate ending the current fiscal year on June 30 with $2.73 million in savings.

The BMA is scheduled to consider approval of the first reading of its 2018-19 budget ordinance during a special called meeting scheduled for June 5 at 7 p.m.

There’s no proposed increase to the city’s $1.67 property tax rate.

Bracing for a water rate increase

The Rogersville general fund, Water Commission, and Board of Education operate on separate budgets, which are approved jointly by the BMA every June.

Although the BOE has already approved its 2018-19 budget and isn’t asking for any additional funding, the city is bracing for an expected water rate increase.

As of last month, the Water Commission was operating at a year-to-date deficit of approximately $60,000.

State law requires a public utility to be financially self-sufficient, and if a system operates at a deficit two years in a row, the state can set mandatory rate increases. 

The Rogersville Water Commission will discuss its proposed 2018-19 budget, and proposed rate increase, at a special called meeting which is scheduled for June 5 at 6 p.m.

Snapshot of the 2018-19 budget

As for the city’s proposed 2018-19 general fund budget, revenue is being projected at $5.835 million, while expenditures are projected at $6.546 million, including that final half-million-dollar bond payment.

There’s no substantial paving included in the spending plan, but the city anticipates catching up on paving in 2019-20 when that $525,000 previously spent on the bond payment is available.

The Parks and Rec Department has applied for a $1 million grant to make improvements to the swimming pool, City Park pavilion and other park projects.

The city will find out in October if that grant is approved. If so, there will be a 50 percent match for all park grant funds that are spent.

But those potential expenditures weren’t included in the proposed budget and would have to be addressed as budget amendments if necessary.

New spending included in proposal

* A $150,000 one-time expenditure for the H.B. Stamps Public Library/Rogersville Senior Center building, which is due for some renovations. Hawkins County will split the cost of those projects.

* A recurring $2,000 increase in the Hawkins County Humane Society’s contribution for a total of $8,000.

* A recurring $3,500 increase for the Chip Hale Center, for a total of $4,500.

* A one-time expenditure of $53,000 for a Bobcat front-end loader for the Street Department.

* A one-time expenditure of $140,000 for a new garbage truck for the Sanitation Department.

* A 3 percent salary increase for city employees.

* An additional $39,000 for asphalt and other street repair materials.

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