On Monday, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen convened as the Erwin Beverage Board and unanimously approved a permit for Union Street Tap Room, the town’s first on-premises craft beer retailer.
Michael Baker, a former Erwin alderman and candidate for one of three alderman seats up for vote in November, addressed the board about he and his wife Tara's plans for the taproom tentatively scheduled to open in early October at 111 Union St., Suite No. 1.
Baker told the board operating the tap room is something he and his wife have dreamed of and are doing so with the support and counsel of all the people who have made craft beer a success in downtown Johnson City.
Tara Baker said the tap room will be serving many of Johnson City’s most popular craft brews, including those of Yee-Haw Brewing Company, Johnson City Brewing and JRH Brewing. She said tentative plans are for a soft opening during this year’s Unicoi County Apple Festival.
In other business Monday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the the town’s 2018-19 budget on second and final reading. The vote followed a public hearing on the budget proposal in which no one offered any comments or questions.
The $6.5 million budget includes a 1.5 cent property tax increase that will up the the town’s property tax rate to $1.462 for every $100 of assessed property value.
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.
Capital improvements funded by the 2018-19 budget include a new red light at the Second Street and Highway 107 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, pad-ready development of the Morgan industrial site, renovation of The Gathering Place park in downtown Erwin and new downtown wayfinding and gateway signage.
Coupled with a one-year extension of $108,000 in debt service on an existing loan and $1 million in new financing, the tax increase balances the budget and leaves an undesignated fund balance of approximately $1.45 million.
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