By Jim Young
The Crossville City Council approved the second reading of the 2013-14 city budget in title only but a final decision on employee raises and a possible tax increase will wait for the council's called meeting set for Monday, June 24, at 6 p.m.
Some discussion on the budget was held during the council's audit committee meeting held before the council's regular June meeting. A budget prepared by city finance director Fred Houston tallied a deficit of $208,000, described as one of the lowest numbers in years for a Crossville city budget. As council members discussed the budget it was determined that some items in the new budget had been transferred to the current budget reducing the deficit number further to about $42,000.
Councilman Pete Souza has pushed to see city employees receive a 4 percent raise in pay after no or small increases over the last four years. Souza said, “We have no five-year plan for the men and women of the city, but we require a five-year plan of each department head.”
The 6 cent proposed tax increase would generate about $240,000 toward what city manager Jack Miller called “the ever increasing garbage costs.”
Some of the council members discussed an option of providing a 3 percent employee raise and not raising the property tax. That action would return the overall general fund deficit back to around $200,000. Further discussion on that option will come at the June 24 meeting when the third and final reading of the budget is expected to be acted on.
A public hearing on the city budget was held prior to the council's June meeting, but no comments were made.
One item on the council's June agenda concerning the possibility of hiring a full time attorney was tabled by councilman Souza until councilman Kerley, who was unable to attend the regular June meeting, is available to participate in the discussion.
Council members approved the new payment in lieu of taxes program for the CoLinx expansion. The tax abatement program was previously approved by the Crossville/Cumberland County Industrial Development Board. CoLinx will expand their building and hire additional employees.
The council approved a change order that added some $35,000 to a project to replace some sewer lines that have been breaking and creating problems. According to project engineer Barry Field, a representative of the Tennessee Department of Transportation is requiring the additional expenses in order to approve a permit for the work after another TDOT employee had approved the original plans.
Property owners on Dooley Court and Rector Avenue came before the council with serious concerns about recent flooding. Property owners on Dooley Court told the council that their driveways had washed out and they were concerned about doing work over recently installed city sewer lines. Dave Simcox, who owns a building on Rector, reported some $5000 worth of damage and clean up required after the recent flooding that came into his building.
The council directed the city engineer to look into the matters and make a recommendation back to the council at a future meeting.
The council approved first reading on an ordinance reducing speed limits on city streets in Deer Creek from 30 to 25 miles per hour. The reduction is made at the request of the property owners association. A similar request has been made of the county.
Other items approved under the council's consent included the third and final reading of annexations on Myrtle Avenue and Meadowview Lane. The second reading of annexations on Grandview Drive and Highway 127-N for the new Dollar General Store.
Also approved was the interlocal agreement with Cumberland County on the Big South Fork visitor's center, a city debt policy, and road closings for the DAR children's parade on July 4 and on Fourth Street for the Bread of Life on June 22 for their block party.
During the marketing report, Billy Loggins expressed thanks to Crossville media including the Crossville Chronicle for their help in publicizing the collection of donations for the city's fireworks program on July 4.