There are plenty of issues facing our nation right now, whether it be the upcoming G7 summit, the looming meeting with North Korea, or the President’s assumption of self-pardon. As has been my habit of late, I will allow those stories to be covered by others, and keep my weekly round-up local.
The Washington County Budget Committee approved a new $40.8 million general fund budget Wednesday that doesn’t raise taxes or give pay raises to county employees. The general fund budget is nearly $1.1 million less than the current fiscal year’s spending level.
A public hearing on the county’s proposed budget will be held June 20.
The Budget Committee also approved a $68 million budget for County schools, a $10.4 million budget for the county’s Highway Department (with roughly half that amount coming from state funds), a $1.5 million solid waste budget that is almost $200,000 less than the current year’s budget and a $13 million debt service budget.
Commissioners also approved a capital projects budget that calls for $5.1 million in designated spending in the new fiscal year.
Meanwhile, the county’s property tax rate remains unchanged at $2.379 for every $100 of assessed value.
While the new budget offers no raises for County employees, it does offer no cuts to current services.
Christopher Scott Connelly’s body was found along the side of Dry Creek Road this past Saturday by a woman who was preparing to walk her dogs at the Lone Oak Trailhead.
Investigators believe Connelly was shot at that location by Aaron Christopher Story, and left near the trailhead sometime in the early morning hours of June 2. Story was charged Monday with one count of first-degree murder.
The men had some type of altercation before the shooting, but investigators did not elaborate on what it was about.
Officers developed Story as a suspect and tracked him down Monday where he was in court for a hearing on an order of protection his wife had taken out against him. For more details about the incident, and to follow the ongoing story, please read the paper or visit our website.
If you’re looking for a little welcome news this week, it has been reported that the Boone Dam project is moving along according to schedule, according to the TVA.
The berm construction is now finished, marking the completion of another major phase of the dam’s seepage remediation project, completed just days ahead of schedule. The berm construction phase involved placing 223,000 tons of rock from local quarries on both the upstream and downstream berms with the aim of stabilizing the earthen embankment in preparation for the next major phase, construction of the underground cutoff wall.
The Boone Dam repair project, which is projected to cost up to $450 million, is still expected to be completed in 2022.
Johnson City commissioners are discussing preliminary design and operational costs for the city’s 150th birthday celebration in 2019 after a presentation by the Sesquicentennial Commission.
The panel has recommended a birthday bash beginning with a big kickoff on New Year’s Eve, followed by monthly events focusing on a theme from the city’s history and ending with a large celebration on the Dec. 1 anniversary of Johnson City’s municipal charter. The Sesquicentennial Commission has asked for $200,000 for organizing the monthly events.
The panel has also proposed a legacy project at King Commons consisting of a splash pad connected to a water fountain with light and music features and a natural adventure area with a play fort, climbing logs and stepping stones.
The project would tie in with a proposed amphitheater at King Commons and is estimated at a cost of $3.5 million. $1 million of that would likely come from from donations made by large private “stakeholders,” with another $1 million coming from individual donors and civic organizations, and the remaining $1.5 million would come from city coffers.
For the full run-down of expenditures, please visit our website and search for Robert Houk’s article on the matter.