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$3.8 million Clarksville budget has no new taxes

SoVaNow.com / June 07, 2017
Clarksville’s nearly $3.8 million budget for FY-2018 comes with no new fees or taxes despite an increase in spending of $644,171 over the current fiscal year.

The budget anticipates general revenues of $2.567 million, general operating expenditures of $2.5 million, water and sewer fund revenues of $1.3 million, water fund expenditures of $520,055 and sewer fund expenditures of $91,660.

The budget also anticipates a general fund surplus of $62,019, and water and sewer surplus of $97,369.

The budget was presented to Council Thursday night at a special called meeting.

The public is invited to comment on the budget at a meeting set for June 13 at 6:30 p.m. In Town Hall. Approval of the budget will take place at the regular council meeting on Tuesday June 20, at 7:30 p.m.

Town Manager Jeff Jones said the town was able to increase its spending without raising taxes or fees because property tax collections were better than expected during the year despite a decline in property values of 2.75 percent, on average. Also, personal property tax collections were better than expected, bolstered in part by increases in valuations of 7.6 percent on average.

The town also received a one-time refund of sales tax money of $30,000, for settlement of a fraud case.

This year’s budget includes a 1.41 percent increase in health insurance costs, a proposed salary increase for all employees of 4 percent and a plan to restore some of the town’s cash reserves which have been depleted over the years.

Other purchases for the coming year include replacing a truck in the maintenance department’s fleet, replacing two police cars – primarily paid for with a rural development grant and loan – replacing one town trash truck, repairs to the exterior of town hall and council chambers, plans to construct a new office building with showers and restrooms at the Clarksville Town Marina, and completion of phase II of the Southwest project (a multi-year housing and neighborhood improvement project that includes housing rehab, sidewalk installation and street repairs).

Jones said the town continues to “enjoy the benefits of the water upgrades made this year to the town’s water plant.” These benefits include lower maintenance costs. The water fund is also benefiting from a debt service restructuring completed by Davenport & Company. The town expects to save $398,000 over the life of the loan.

A general debt restructuring completed by Davenport & Company in 2014 will save the town another $120,000 and cut four years off the repayment schedule.

Jones said the town is in the process of rewriting its zoning code. With that he anticipates making adjustments to the town’s permit fees for zoning, signs, and variances, but those changes will not take place until FY-2019 at the earliest.

The other major project he expects to undertake during the coming year involves the development of a strategic plan for the local Economic Development Authority, with an emphasis on promoting tourism in Clarksville.

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