Local News: City won’t hike property tax (6/4/20)

There are still a lot of fiscal year uncertainties associated with COVID-19, according to Shelbyville City Manager Shanna Boyette. But one thing is certain, Council is not planning to increase property taxes in 2021.

With the state already forecasting a decrease in revenues due to COVID-19, the City is being conservative this fiscal year in its spending proposals. Though some cities are reaching out to taxpayers for a boost in their coffers, Shelbyville is not discussing that.

Council is about to wrap up its budget discussions and Shelbyville City Manager Shanna Boyette said considering all matters at hand with local governments, things are going well at City Hall. Total revenues in the general fund have been proposed at $16.73 million. Expenditures, which includes city employee salaries, is proposed at $18.48 million for 202 — a decrease of several million over last year.

The City’s beginning fund balance for 2021 is proposed at $9.26 million, which is a decrease from $12 million estimated in 2020. City Council has proposed its ending fund balance at June-end 2021 will be $7.5 million, which reflects nearly $2 million less than anticipated last year.

“Everyone from department directors to City Council members understand the uncertainty of revenues at this time and are certainly cognizant of that within the proposed budget,” said Boyette. “I certainly appreciate all their efforts this budget season.”

When building this year’s budget, Boyette said administration, along with Council, administratively adhered to the recommended projected models provided in estimating revenues, that is, at a reduced amount. 

“Our current fiscal year budgeted revenues are $18,294,676.  Currently we are projected to close the current fiscal year at $18,639,508, an increase of $344,832 in this year’s revenues. Our proposed revenues for fiscal year 2021 are $16,945,824, a decrease of $1,348,852.00 from budget to budget.”

The city manager said she and Council are certainly hopeful that revenues will be realized at an increase over the budgeted amount through fiscal year 2021, but they will be working with a more “conservative” budget in 2021. 

“The City has a healthy fund balance as mentioned in our recent audit presentation from the previous fiscal year audit. Both the City Council and Administration are hopeful that we can offset any decline of revenues for the next fiscal year by utilizing fund balance and not impacting the taxpayers with an increase during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Council has a goal to maintain 20% in fund balance at all times. This proposed budget reflects 37% allocated to fund balance, said Boyette.

This type of financial commitment, she said, allows the City to prepare accordingly. She said she’s extremely proud of current Council and department directors for the difficult decisions they’ve made in order to make this coming fiscal year budget a reality.   

“With projected lower revenues, this certainly will be factor in capital purchases for all city departments.  We have minimum capital requests within the proposed budget and will look to wait on those purchases until mid-year when revenues can be re-evaluated. In addition, we are hopeful to execute on several grant opportunities, most at no local match, to assist in any capital purchases this year. Some of those grant opportunities derive from federal and state assistance as it relates to COVID-19.”

When discussing industrial recruitment, Boyette said there are committed funds from both the City and County through the current Inter local agreement. That has not become a budget issue this season, though Chamber representatives recently presented a program whereby the Economic Development and Tourism (ED&T) board believes it will not be successful without the Chamber on board.

Boyette said figures still stand as agreed between the City and County. “Those are reflected within the budget as agreed upon and we will proceed with our efforts towards industrial recruitment for our community.”

The City will consider a resolution to authorize $211,255 in appropriations for several non profits out of the general fund for 2020-2021. This action will be considered at the June 11 regular City Council business meeting at the Shelbyville Recreation Center starting at 6 p.m.

Shelbyville-Bedford County Public Library stands to receive the greatest amount of non profit funding at $149,829 and Community TN Rehabilitation Center is next on the list at $25,000 in appropriations.

Other non profits up for funding this year include: Shelbyville-Bedford County Senior Citizens Center, Skills Development, Community Development Center, Center for Family Development, The Fly Arts Center, Bedford County Soil and Water Conservation District, Community Clinic of Shelbyville-Bedford County, the Boys and Girls Club of Bedford County and Community Religious Outreach Social Services (CROSS).

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