Rogersville holding the line on taxes by using reserve funds

Jeff Bobo • Jul 4, 2007 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE - Rogersville city spending will increase by about $762,000 in 2007-08, but it won't cost property owners an extra penny on their property tax bill.

That's because the Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed last week to use $690,000 in reserve funds to balance the city's 2007-08 fiscal year budget. City Recorder Bill Lyons said Tuesday that will leave approximately $2 million in the city's reserve fund.

The BMA approved the third and final reading of its budget last Thursday, as well as leaving the property tax rate at $1.37 per $100 of assessed value.

Although city leaders know they can't continue to balance the budget with reserve funds indefinitely, Lyons said the plan at least the next couple of fiscal years is to hold the line on taxes and use reserve funds until three current construction projects are completed. Those projects are the Crockett Springs Heritage Trail, the Hale Springs Inn renovation, and the Stanley Valley water line extension.

"Right now we've got a lot of grant money coming in and spending going out on these projects, and we've still got some unanswered questions regarding future grants we've applied for," Lyons said. "Until we get these projects completed, we're not really going to have a good handle on what a regular budget would look like. It was the feeling of the board that we could continue using the reserve funding to balance the budget until these projects are completed, after which we'll have a better idea of where we stand.

"Then we can look at our revenue situation and decide if something needs to be done about it."

Rogersville's spending will increase from $5.64 million in 2006-07 to $6.43 million in the current fiscal year. Lyons attributed the spending increases to the same issues that are impacting city and county budgets across the state such as higher utility, gasoline and insurance costs.

Rogersville has had only three property tax increases over the past 30 years, the most recent of which was about six years ago.

In other business Thursday the BMA voted to approve the $787,000 bid from Vincent Homes of Gray for the first phase of renovation to the Hale Springs Inn. The BMA approval is pending approval of the construction contract by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which is providing grant funding for the project.

"We're anticipating TDOT approval any day now," Lyons said. "After we get the contract signed, they can start pounding nail over there.

The first phase involves renovation of the ground floor dining room, kitchen and back porch, as well as upstairs demolition in preparation for phase two, which will be renovation of the upstairs suites.

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