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Clarksville sets public hearing on budget / June 13, 2018

Clarksville’s nearly $4.5 million budget for the coming fiscal year proposes no increase in fees or taxes despite a nearly 15 percent rise in spending over current levels.

The draft budget anticipates general operating expenditures of $3.155 million and another $1.3 million in water and sewer fund spending.

The budget also anticipates a general fund surplus of $105,482 and a water and sewer fund surplus of $67,175.

The budget, which is set to go into effect on July 1, was presented to members of Town Council at a special called meeting Thursday night.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed town budget at a Council meeting set for Tuesday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

Approval of the budget will take place during the regular meeting of Town Council on Tuesday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Town Manager Jeff Jones said Clarksville is able to increase spending levels without raising taxes or fees because property, personal and meals tax collections were better than projected. The higher revenue comes despite a decrease in sales tax collections, the result of two unanticipated paybacks of revenues from the sales tax.

Also, a decrease in the town’s debt service has bolstered its financial position. Two vehicle loans were retired and a debt restructuring shaved four years and nearly $120,000 off the life of an existing loan.

This year’s budget includes a 13 percent increase in health insurance costs and a proposed six-percent salary increase for employees. Entry level maintenance workers will receive a salary adjustment, bringing their starting pay to at least $10 per hour.

Other purchases for the coming year including paving projects at the Clarksville Community Center and along Park Avenue; completion of the Southwest Downtown Community project (a multi-year housing and neighborhood rehab plan); purchase of new vehicles for the maintenance and police departments, including a maintenance fleet truck, three police cars and a trash truck; purchase of a backhoe; painting and repairs to the interior and exterior of Town Hall; and construction of a new building at the marina on Fourth Street.

Other projects planned for the coming year include completion of Clarksville’s zoning code rewrite, development of a strategy to improve tourism to the area, and analysis of implementation of LEO, a salary and benefits upgrade strategy passed by Congress in 2017.

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