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Mount Carmel restores Parks and Rec funding to budget using savings

Jeff Bobo • Jun 2, 2018 at 12:15 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — Parks and Recreation funding will be restored to the town’s proposed 2018-19 budget by utilizing savings, but the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will still be considering approval of a 29 cent property tax increase.

During Thursday’s BMA budget workshop, there was quite a bit of discussion about ways to cut spending.

One idea discussed extensively was the possibility of reducing the police department from the current staff level of six officers and a chief to four officers and a chief.

Ultimately it was determined that the MCPD wouldn’t be able to give the town proper police coverage at that level, at least not without extensive overtime.

Last week, the BMA approved the first reading of the proposed 2018-19 budget with the 29 cent property tax increase and the elimination of the city’s contribution to the joint parks and recreation board with Church Hill and Surgoinsville.

But there was a loud public outcry last week against the Parks and Rec budget cuts, and the BMA vowed to return that funding into the proposed budget.

The solution board members arrived at Thursday was to use savings.

As presented last week, the budget had a 29 cent property increase (from $1.38 to $1.67) and was projected to end the 2018-19 fiscal year with a $31,000 surplus.

Remaining in the joint recreation league adds $71,000 to expenditures, which puts the budget in a $40,000 deficit.

The BMA also agreed Thursday to add another $29,000 in spending for a part-time city recorder to help at City Hall when Marian Sandidge retires in December.

The only other change recommended Thursday was a total of $11,000 in cuts to the animal control department, affecting multiple line items such as vehicle maintenance, building maintenance and supplies.

As a result, the 2018-19 fiscal year budget is proposed to use $60,000 in savings.

Last year, Mount Carmel balanced its budget by using about $500,000 in savings, and the city is projected to end the 2017-18 fiscal year with about $3 million in savings.

For a residential property valued at $100,000, the proposed 29 cent property tax increase will raise the annual property tax bill by $72.50.

The BMA will consider approval of the second and final reading of the 2018-19 budget when it meets in regular session on June 28.

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