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Sparta’s Proposed Budget Includes Employee Raises And Facility Upgrades

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Sparta’s Proposed Budget Includes Employee Raises And Facility Upgrades

Raises for employees, parks and recreation upgrades and almost $1 million of improvements to city hall included in Sparta’s new proposed budget, unveiled Monday night.

Mayor Jeff Young said the city usually does a three percent annual raise but increased it to five percent this year.

“That was considered basically for inflation,” Young said. “Right now I think it is at about 8.5 percent. What our hope is if we can go to two additional percent making five percent, that’s not 8.5 but what we’re hoping is over the course of the next election cycle or so there’s probably going to at least be some changes which may bring that number back down a little bit.”

Young said the city also plans to improve its playgrounds across the city. Three $75,000 allocations for new jungle gym style equipment. Young said the budget also includes new sidewalks and a pavilion with bathrooms at North Carter Street.

“We have $50,000 in here for a new pavilion at North Carter Street,” Young said. “We want to make North Carter look exactly like South Carter. We are looking at sidewalk extensions and a new pavilion. That will make a tremendous impact on that side of the park.”

The city hall improvements will come from federal ARP money. City Administrator Brad Hennessee said city hall improvements estimated at $930,000 will take over half of its allocation. The budget includes a new roof, HVAC system and security upgrades to the entrance.

“That was the biggest departmental request, but there’s a couple of different things to that,” Hennessee said. “It’s our operation center in the event of an emergency. It’s our community outreach. People that come to the city of Sparta, an attractive, accommodating building is an asset that you can’t put a dollar amount on.”

The YMCA will receive a good amount of support, as well. A new HVAC system is included in the federal ARP spending plan. Young said new pool liners, lights, gym painting and basketball goals also included from the city’s money.

The 2022-2023 budget overall increases by about $2 million from last year coming to $7,656,382. Hennessee said the increase would have only been about $300,000 without the federal and TDEC ARP money.


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