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First Reading: Ordinances would set city budget, tax rate for 2018 fiscal year

By Bill Short
Flag City LogoThe Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed separate ordinances on first reading that would adopt the city budget and tax rate for the 2018 fiscal year.
Board members took the actions during their May 8 regular monthly meeting. Both ordinances are scheduled for a public hearing and final reading at the board’s June 13 meeting.
City Finance Director John Trusty said the proposed budget continues the process that Millington began during the past few years to do “a better job of maintaining and upgrading” the city’s assets, eliminate blight and extend the paving program.
While there is no proposed change in the level of city services, Trusty noted that one full-time position has been created for an additional inspector to oversee codes violations within the city. But he said that individual may initially be employed part-time.
Under the compensation plan that the board adopted a couple of years ago, Trusty said the budget contains pay increases for all of Millington’s “competent” employees.
The Capital Plan includes the $667,000 required to cover the local match for the Resiliency Grant.
Trusty said the current budget contains $333,000 for that, and the same amount is supposed to be included for the next two years. But he noted that Shelby County is “just getting started” because of “delays” in the federal government awarding and signing the contract.
“We don’t anticipate them drawing any of the match requirement for this fiscal year,” he said. “So, we’ve doubled up on the match for the next fiscal year, anticipating the funding and the project moving more rapidly.”
Trusty said the Capital Plan also includes the $103,000 required to cover the local match for the Discovery Nature Park project, with the grant from the state for development of that park land.
He said the proposed budget contains $1 million for repaving the streets, along with repairing curbs and sidewalks, and funds are included for construction of the new fire station No. 2.
Trusty said funding for the Raleigh-Millington/Big Creek Bridge replacement and Phase II of the Navy Road Streetscape is an “80/20 split,” with the state paying 80 percent. But he noted that the streetscape project will involve “$5 million of new debt” being sold by the city.
The proposed budget contains funding for the Millington school system at the same level established last year for the Maintenance of Effort.
Trusty said it does not yet include money for the system’s Capital Improvements Plan, because the school board “has not approved anything on that.” But he noted that it contains “wording” about a bond issue for the system.
Also included is an $18,000 grant for the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce and a $20,000 grant for the Millington YMCA. But Trusty noted that both entities must comply with the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 6-54-111 before they can receive those funds.
The other proposed ordinance would continue to levy a tax on real and personal property at the current rate of $1.53 for each $100 of assessed valuation. When collected, 93 cents of that rate would be apportioned for Millington’s “general purposes” and 60 cents for the city’s debt service.
Trusty said that, before this ordinance is passed on final reading, the board must adopt a resolution at its June 13 meeting to approve the “certified” tax rate.
“This is a reappraisal year,” he noted. “Under state law, with the new appraisals, we will have to certify what is an equivalent tax rate to our current rate.”
Although he has been “working with” the Shelby County assessor, Trusty said they have not yet completed the “calculation of that number.” When it is determined, he said, the board must vote either to continue with the current rate, go with the certified rate or whatever amount for which it wants to set a rate.
Alderman Bethany Huffman said the ordinance proposes keeping the same tax rate, but including all the things Trusty listed, which are the “improvements and enhancements” that the residents have been seeking in the city.
“Even at $1.53,” she concluded, “we’re still living within our means and not raising taxes, whatever the certified rate comes in.”

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