JELLICO – A July 29 agreement about a dollar tax-hike had dissolved by the time the board reconvened on Monday.
Last week, the Board of Mayor and Alderman combed through the budget in a three-hour workshop with Union Bank President Allen McClary offering his suggestions and advice for balancing the budget.
At the end of the workshop, board members Gail Sharp, Pam Carbaugh, Charlie Vermilion and Vice-Mayor Venita “Cissco” Johnson tentatively agreed that setting the tax rate at $2.15 per $100 of assessed value would alleviate the town’s financial problems.
Alderman Alvin Evans was hesitant to opine on the tax hike. Darrell Byrge was absent.
By Aug. 5, the board’s tune had changed.
“People can stand [raising taxes by 50 cents], but I don’t think people can stand doubling their taxes and putting all the burden on the taxpayer,” said Sharp.
Evans suggested moving two workers from the street department to sanitation for two days per week – allowing the town to fund part of their salary and insurance from the sanitation fund. Sanitation money is a segregated fund and can only be used for sanitation salaries and departmental expenses.
Other suggestions included completely eliminating insurance for employees and adding another $20,000 to the estimated property tax collections.
Evans has frequently said he believes property tax estimates are too low.
“Don’t we need to get the $1.15 back on and then negotiate?” Carbaugh asked.
Ultimately, the board voted to reinstate the tax rate at $1.15 for now and discuss the remaining budget numbers further at a later date.
The motion to add the property tax back to the budget does not constitute approval of the budget as a whole. The budget will have to be voted on twice and subject to a public hearing before it is finalized.
Jellico’s board is set to reconvene for its next regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 15.