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Cookeville Proposed Budget: No Property Tax Change

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Proposed Budget: No Property Tax Change

Cookeville’s proposed budget for the 2024-20205 fiscal year includes raises for all city employees and no change to property tax.

The proposed budget keeps property tax at 92 cents. Cookeville City Manager James Mills said budget estimates some $38 million in revenue for the coming fiscal year.

“I believe our financial condition can be much contributed to the growth that we keep seeing here in Cookeville, and also to our conservative fiscal management,” Mills said. “And mostly, I believe it’s due to the hard work and dedication of our nearly 500 employees.”

Mills said city employees would receive a two percent pay scale bump and a 50-cent market adjustment for hourly staff. Accounting and Finance Director Brenda Imel said the city now has some 470 full-time employees.

“Our payroll now, every two weeks, averages over $1 million in gross pay,” Imel said.

Mills said the city plans to budget millions for capital improvement and infrastructure projects. He said two new fire stations, Cookeville Performing Arts Center Renovations, street and sidewalk paving, and stormwater projects account for a great deal of that.

“We’ve got several street construction projects underway and more planned,” Mills said. “Sidewalk improvements, and of course, on a rainy day like today, we’ve got several big stormwater projects planned.”

The budget also proposes a 12 percent increase for commercial trash pickup. Imel said the Solid Waste Department will purchase two new trucks and has more ground to cover as the city has grown. Mills said the price to provide service is far greater than it once was.

“We’re going to have to have another route,” Mills said. “That’s going to take another driver, another truck, and buy that truck. We’re going to have to come up with the funds to pay for that. That’s why they’ve recommended. The original proposal was to do a 20 percent increase and we’ve compromised it to 12 percent.”

Imel said the increase will take effect in October.

Mills said residential trash pickup is covered by funds from commercial rates and property tax, so residents will continue to receive the service for free. He said many cities are privatizing their trash pickup, causing residents to have to pay for the service.

Mills said the city raised its property tax rates 15 cents in 2019 and another 10 cents last year as leadership prepared for a period of potential economic uncertainty.


The post Cookeville Proposed Budget: No Property Tax Change appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.