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Clarksville Councilperson Karen Reynolds: What Happened at the Budget Meeting?

 

Written by Karen Reynolds
City of Clarksville Councilperson Ward 9

City of Clarksville - Ward 9Clarksville, TN – We passed the budget, and it includes the Transportation Plan. This was a steep learning process for the “new girls” on the council.

I shared details regarding my budget amendments in my previous newsletter: email : Webview : Ward 9 City of Clarksville-What about that Budget? (e2ma.net) 

Clarksville City Council Ward 9 - Karen Reynolds

Clarksville City Council Ward 9 – Karen Reynolds

Here a few facts prior to the discussion:

  • FY 2022 budget is 121,807,309 – 11.86%? from the 2021 budget.
  • FY 2021 budget was $105,700,759 – 11.1%? from 2020 budget.

The city does not need a “get well period” we have plenty of money. The conversation regarding the budget was centered on how to pay for the Transportation Plan. The Mayors budget includes a tax increase from $1.03 to $1.23 per $100 of assessed home value.

Councilperson Trisha Butler presented amendments to reduce spending without raising taxes. Councilperson Wanda Allen presented amendments that would support the tax rate at $1.17. I presented several amendments starting at $1.17 and the last one was $1.20.

I thoroughly studied the budget and every meeting was a learning opportunity. At the June 23rd meeting, I voted against the budget because only 15 cents of the 20-cent increase was put into capital projects to fund the Transportation 2020 Plan.

The mayor withdrew the transportation plan, but this was just a political ploy to restart the conversation. There was no compromise or acknowledgment of our residents at the end of the pandemic during this entire budget process.

I made one more attempt (my best one) to set the tax rate at $1.20 and YES it included cuts to fire and police. They are approximately 50% of the city’s budget and received at least $2 million in COVID-19 funds last year and are scheduled to receive over $7 million this year, in addition to their budget. The requested decrease was less than 1% of their increased budget.

 


 

The FY2022 budget increased by approximately $21 million dollars ($10 million in revenue and $11 million COVID). The claims that we were cutting budgets were not true, we were cutting the swell. I was not able to convince the other council members that the city could accomplish its goals with less than a 20 cent tax increase. I voted yes for the budget because I heard from residents that the Transportation Plan was very important to them.

I will work very hard in the year to hold the city government and city administration accountable for the budget.

Link to Mayors 2022 Budget – Starting on Page 19


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