At a called meeting of the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Aug. 29, the board said the initial readjustment — which lowered the tax from $1.3105 to $1.1328 — had cost the town $23,127 in tax revenue, thus resulting in a need to further readjust the rate.
The town also formally approved its budgets for the 2019-20 fiscal year, something that was almost derailed over concerns about the town’s compensation plan. At the Aug. 29 meeting, the town approved a 3% raise for town employees and made changes to the job descriptions of two positions — something that was left off Monday’s agenda.
Alderwoman Virginia Causey voted against approving the water/sewer fund because of concerns about the funding for the two positions. Aldermen Adam Dickson and Terry Countermine voted to approve the budget anyway, with the stipulation that any further changes or discussion regarding the pay changes or supplemental raises come back at the board’s October meeting.
“I want to make sure we’re fair to all of our town staff,” Mayor Chuck Vest said during the meeting. “We’ve got a lot of great staff, and if people are going above and beyond and doing more than what their job description entails, we ought to make sure we’re treating everyone the same.”
“I don’t understand why we can’t just give 3%, and address it at the next meeting when full board is here for everyone that’s getting an increase, but that’s just my opinion,” Causey said, citing her understanding that the budget containing those two pay increases wasn’t approved at the last meeting.
The board unanimously approved the annual general fund, solid waste fund and drug fund budgets, a move that was delayed due to property assessments.
“I think sometimes it’s good to operate on your older budget because it kind of keeps your town operating in a lean manner, but the budget we passed tonight is still a lean budget and it’s good to get that behind us,” Vest said.
The board also approved a resolution acknowledging it they can no longer charge a $1,000 privilege tax on businesses that produce alcohol after the state legislature repealed the tax statewide earlier this year. The move will save Tennessee Hills Distillery $1,000 annually.
Alderman Stephen Callahan, owner of the distillery, was not at Monday’s meeting.