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Kingsport BMA OKs budget, annexation on John B. Dennis

June 19th, 2012 9:52 pm by Matthew Lane

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday night took the final step in approving next year’s budget and the first step in annexing a strip of mostly commercial properties along John B. Dennis Highway.

The annexation is of a 17-acre strip of commercial properties and one house along John B. Dennis Highway, essentially across the street from Pal’s Sudden Service and south of Brookside Elementary School. The annexation includes a gas station, grocery store, car wash and 150 feet of Morelock Street.

According to the city’s planning department, this city-initiated annexation includes five residents in one house and one trailer and no school-age children.

The one-time cost associated with the annexation includes $20,000 for sewer line work and $5,000 for two fire hydrants. Kingsport is projecting $23,700 in annual property taxes from the annexation. The average city taxes for property in this annexation area is just under $1,400.

The Kingsport Regional Planning Commission at its meeting last month excluded one property from the annexation — a bar — at the request of the owner. City planners told the BMA Monday night that the owner said annexation would require the business to add a kitchen, something required by city ordinance.

No one spoke against the annexation during the public hearing Tuesday night, and the BMA voted unanimously to approve the annexation on first reading. The matter will likely come before the BMA next month for a second reading. The properties will officially be a part of the city 30 days after.

The BMA also gave final approval to a number of ordinances dealing with the fiscal year 2013 budget. Kingsport’s fiscal year runs from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013.

The overall city budget is composed of many independent budgets such as the general fund (administration, police, fire, and parks and recreation), water and sewer funds, and small miscellaneous funds such as solid waste, fleet and risk management.

Kingsport’s budget is balanced with no property tax increase and a 2 percent pay raise for city employees. Water and sewer rates for customers inside the city limits will be going up 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Customers outside the city limits will see their water rates go up 1 percent but see no increase on the sewer rate.

Kingsport City Schools will receive an additional $300,000 in operating funds in next year’s budget, thus raising the city’s yearly maintenance of effort from $9.5 million to $9.8 million. School officials originally requested $2.4 million in additional funds.

City leaders also approved two bond issuances in connection to the budget process Tuesday night — a $3.2 million issuance to cover the shortfall in the aquatic center project and $9.75 million for a number of capital projects including $1.5 million for the school system, infrastructure improvements to the Border Regions district, improvements to Sullivan and Press streets, and roof repairs at the Justice Center and Kingsport Public Library.

The $9.75 million amount is $2 million less than what was originally proposed.

Kingsport expects to see $15.5 million in debt service payments roll off at the end of the 2012 fiscal year. Approximately $13.45 million in new debt will be added next fiscal year, thus taking the city’s total debt from roughly $213.4 million to $211.4 million.

In other business Tuesday night, the BMA voted to create a Kingsport Higher Education Commission — a 10-member nonprofit entity charged with providing oversight of Kingsport’s Academic Village and coordinating the development of future higher education programs.

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