A preliminary Knox County budget discussion on Tuesday focused mostly on paving roads and building schools.
Knox County Commission during its monthly luncheon spent about 30
minutes with county and school leaders talking finances – or the lack
thereof – and whether officials should tweak Knox County Mayor Tim
Burchett's proposed spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
this point, officials have said privately that they don't expect any
major changes without a tax increase, and they don't expect that.
Further, if the commission did raise taxes, Burchett has promised to veto the move.
the meantime, commission Chairman Brad Anders said the county needs to
invest more into paving and sealing roads. He said the county is on pace
to resurface about 30 miles of the county's 2,000 miles of roads per
"We're one of the fastest growing counties in the state . . .
and we can't continue a 30-mile a year pace – it's not feasible," he
said. "It's not even changing the oil in the car."
budget this year sets aside $2 million for paving – up $1 million from
the current budget. The county spends about $100,000 per mile to seal
County leaders on Tuesday also met with Knox County
Schools Assistant Superintendent Bob Thomas, asking him whether the
board of education has looked into rezoning school districts instead of
building new schools.
The questions come as the BOE proposed
building three new schools – something Burchett declined to do, saying
he wouldn't take on new debt to pay for the construction.
told commissioners that rezoning "is a pretty complicated process" that
requires community meetings, and that it would take at least a year to
find a solution. He said school leaders aren't opposed to the
discussion, but wouldn't be able to finish it before the commission
voted on the budget.
He also noted a recent study that looked into rezoning suggested that schools in the west would still be overcrowded.
noted that in the next half decade about $5.3 million in debt will drop
off and the school system could apply those monies to new debt to build
at least two schools – a middle school in the Hardin Valley area and an
elementary school in the north central part of the county.
he conceded that not enough debt would fall off that the school system
could use money to cover the operating expenses, which could cost as
much as $3 million per school.
Overall, Burchett's spending plan,
unveiled earlier this month, stands at $747.2 million. That's up about
$20.2 million with half the increase dedicated to the school system.
that, some $435 million is set aside for general purposes schools,
which is roughly $14 million in new revenues for the system. However,
the school system asked for $441.5 million, an amount above and beyond
The commission will vote on the budget on June
15. A public hearing will be held a week prior but officials have not
yet ironed out the date.
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