Crossville officials adopted a conservative city budget for the 2020-’21 fiscal year.

“Last year we cut to the bone, because we didn’t know what COVID was going to do,” said City Manager Greg Wood, “and except for a few areas, we have done well.” 

That was welcome news for Crossville City Council members at the April 22 work session to start budget work for the upcoming fiscal year that starts July 1.

City Finance Director Fred Houston delivered even more good news about the sales tax revenue.

“We’re a little over $500,000 more than what we were last year at this time — and still got four months to go,” he said of the February figures, the latest available. “If we do what we did last year, we’ll be $600,000-$700,000.”

The budget includes a 1% pay raise for city workers. 

Not included in the budget at this time are a proposed indoor recreation center, an assistant city manager position, a fire education trailer and a third city fire station.

“If we do keep getting the growth and development we’re having at the outlying portions of the city, we’re going to have to look at Station 3 at some point,” Wood said. 

The station, estimated to cost $1 million to build, would require hiring additional firefighters and buying a couple of trucks and equipment.

The city owns property near Holiday Hills that was intended for the third station. Growth and development, however, might call for it to be more to the northeast to allow for the 5-minutes response time required by the state.

Wood said upcoming budgets for both the water and sewer departments are balanced, but the city budget falls a couple hundred thousand dollars short.

He introduced a proposal from Enterprise Leasing that has the potential to reap savings in vehicle costs and balance the city’s budget.

“You would save approximately $400,000,” he said. “It’s going to save us money the first year, and they’re going to replace 22 vehicles instead of us replacing 16 vehicles. In five years, they will have completely replaced our whole fleet.”

Though Wood said he’s concerned about the price tag after that fifth year, he noted the proposal would save on maintenance costs.

“You spend a lot more on older vehicles than you realize,” said Councilman Scot Shanks. 

“Plus, you’re going to save on gas,” Wood added.

The only area the city would lose money, he said, is the police department “because they put so much mileage on them, and they replace them every three years.”

The proposal would cover vehicles from 550 dump trucks and on down, including cars and pickup trucks. 

“I know the mayor of Livingston is in hog heaven,” Wood said. “He got 27 new vehicles for whatever it costs him for a pickup truck.”

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