Included in the 2018-19 budget approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on first reading on Monday, the increase will up the the town’s property tax rate to $1.462 for every $100 of assessed value.
Coupled with the one-year extension of $108,000 in debt service on an existing loan and $1 million in new financing, the tax increase will balance the approximate $6.5 million annual budget with an undesignated fund balance of approximate $1.45 million.
The budget expenditures include a 3 percent pay raise for town employees, a new fire engine, a new rescue truck, two new police cruisers, two new police officers and approximately $1.7 million in infrastructure improvements.
The capital improvement projects include a new red light at the Second Street entrance to the future Food City shopping center, road resurfacing, completion of the spillway bridge replacements and Harris Hollow tunnel on the Erwin Linear Trail, development of the Morgan industrial site, renovation of The Gathering Place park and new downtown wayfinding and gateway signs.
A public hearing and and second reading of the budget will be held at the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Aug 27.
In other business Monday, the board approved a $57,280 bid for the resurfacing of Harris Hollow Road submitted by Construction, Asphalt Paving Services Inc. of Unicoi.
Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff recommended the bid approval, saying CAPS was one of only two companies to submit bids on the project and its bid had come in approximately $45,000 less than a $102,616 bid submitted by Summers-Taylor Inc. of Elizabethton.
As the lead contractor on the Linear Trail tunnel project beneath Harris Hollow Road, Rosenoff said, Summers-Taylor is already contracted to pave the road directly above the tunnel.
In items of information, Building Inspector Brian Tapp told the board Food City has requested permits to begin work on the new shopping center but has not yet closed on the property.
Tapp also told the board Dunkin’ Donuts has submitted plans for a shop to be located across Second Street from the shopping center but are currently working to revise the plans.
The company tentatively plans to open the shop this winter in the former Huddle House restaurant located next door to the Second Street Roadrunner Market.
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