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City eyes 30-35 cent tax raise

Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 4:35 am

Property-TaxThe Fayetteville Board of Mayor and Alderman is considering a 30- to 35-cent increase in the city’s property tax rate as it continues its consideration of its budget for fiscal year 2013-14.

The anticipated increase comes after the city’s proposed sales tax increase from 2.5 to 2.75% failed in a referendum vote last November, something officials had said at the time would result in an increase by as much as 42 cents on Fayetteville’s property tax rate. That referendum failed by almost a two-to-one margin, with 1,568 people voting against it and 804 voting in its favor.

“Right now, we’re looking at a possibly a 30-cent increase, 35-cents if we include a nickel for a pool,” said Mayor John Ed Underwood following Tuesday evening’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, during which officials voted to schedule public hearings on both the budget and tax rate for its June session. “We had looked at the prospect of a 42-cent increase, but thankfully, insurance figures came back less than we expected.

“We had hoped to avoid this with an increase in the sales tax rate,” he added, though, that the budgets of city departments had been cut by 27% going into the budget for the current fiscal year. The board is expected to continue discussions during upcoming finance committee and work session meetings.

City Board members did approve a Fast Track funding proposal and payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT or PILT) resolution that will assist Franke Food Service Systems, Inc., in an $11.3 million expansion. The city’s match for the Fast Track proposal amounts to $46,090, to come from the city’s industrial development fund. For the plan to reach fruition, however, both measures must also gain approval from the Lincoln County Commission.

The company plans to construct a 78,000-square-foot warehouse addition at the north end of its U.S. 64 East facility. The expansion, expected to be completed this fall, would result in 66 new jobs at the plant.

Additionally, the board approved spending $165,000 for the acquisition of 3,150 garbage carts, each to be affixed with a serial number, their assigned address, and the City of Fayetteville’s name, as part of the city’s conversion to am automated garbage collection system.  Stringfellow, Inc., out of Nashville, had submitted the low bid of $52.57 per cart. The allocation is to be funded through the city’s capital improvement fund.

As plans advance toward automation, the city will be acting on various aspects of the effort, including a prorated buyback of old garbage carts that residents had previously purchased from the city.

Board members also approved a local 5% match of $2,055 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a $41,000 grant that will assist the city’s fire department in acquiring an industrial washer and dryer for its heavy turnout gear worn when firefighting. Officials also commended Fire Chief Danny Travis in his pursuit and subsequent acquisition of the grant.

Officials agreed to have an audit conducted of the city’s phone usage and statements to ensure that it is being properly charged and that it doesn’t have any unnecessary communications lines. The city is expected to contract with a firm that will conduct the audit for half of the savings it finds. A similar audit conducted in 2007 resulted in $24,000 in prior expenses being identified as inappropriately charged by the phone company.

Also, the board voted to call a public hearing for its June meeting on the rezoning of property on Mimosa Road from residential to agricultural status. The property had in recent years been rezoned from agricultural to residential status as the previous owner had plans of developing a subdivision there.

Mayor Underwood noted that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet in two special called meetings in regard to budget matters and the acquisition of a new city administrator. On Thursday, May 30, the board will meet at 9 a.m. at the Municipal Building to discuss hiring the city administrator and discuss the fiscal year 2014 budget. And on Friday, June 7, also at 9 a.m., the board will meet to conduct interviews of the top candidates for the city administrator’s position.

In discussion during the meeting, officials noted that the Fayetteville Department of Parks and Recreation will host the Firecracker Chase on Saturday, June 29. The race will include multiple tiers of competition.

It was also noted that R&C Construction out of Mt. Juliet will replace a portion of guard rail within the city limits along Shelbyville Highway beginning June 3. The project is expected to take about a week.

And next fall, on Sept. 21, the Imagination Library’s 5K Run will be held, getting underway at 7 a.m. that morning. That same morning, at approximately 10 a.m., the Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride is expected to come through Fayetteville. Special coordination has been done so that both events could be held that morning.