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Council approves budget for FY 2015-16

Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 2:30 pm

06-23-15 County Budget Reading 02LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Moving on unfettered despite earlier hints of needed upgrades at the Moore County High School/Middle School campus, the Metro Lynchburg Moore County budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16 passed its third and final reading Thursday night during a Special Call meeting.

The Metropolitan Lynchburg Moore County Council passed the new budget 12-0 by roll call vote on Thursday, June 25 at the American Legion Building.

Patrick Maynard, Denning Harder and David Boyce were absent.

During the budget’s second reading earlier in June, there were 11 “yes” votes, while councilmen Harder and Boyce “passed” and Maynard was again absent.

Budget Committee Chairman Tommy Brown had reported to the council that the budget for the new fiscal year will be similar to last year’s budget. For the second consecutive year, there will not be a tax increase.

Highlights for the FY 2015-16 Budget include:

• a 3 percent raise for part time and full time (county) employees

• $300,000 for a new fire truck

• monies to hire a person for purchasing, finance and the Affordable Care Act

• monies to finance keeping the county archives office open an additional eight hours each week

One of the main differences from last year’s budget to the 2015-16 budget is the amount of money allotted for Debt Service and Capital Projects. The Budget Committee took 2 cents out of Capital Projects, making that 9.5 cents and put 2 cents into the County General fund.

The county’s total tax rate will remain at $2.43 ($2.47 in urban services areas) per $100 of taxable property based on the most recent appraisal.

The council turned back Harder’s request to tack on a 10 cent property tax increase, with the money going directly to Debt Services for school improvements. Harder’s motion failed after receiving just four “yes” votes.

Last month, Brown suggested that there be a work session open to the public, and to include Moore County school board members and Director of Schools Chad Moorehead, as well as teachers, students, parents and any other citizens concerned about the MCHS campus repairs and improvements.

The school board has proposed a $17 million enhancement project to school facilities, but so far — other than Harder’s motion last month — nothing has been officially put in front of the council. Council members did see a presentation by an engineering firm in the spring, but again, no action was taken.

Metro Mayor Sloan Stewart said on Monday that there would in fact be a work session open to the public following the July 20 council meeting. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Building, with the work session to follow.

There has been talk about putting a five-year plan in place to address the needs at the high school and middle school campus — needs that include new security measures, a new cafeteria, updated traffic flow for both pedestrians inside the school and vehicles outside on the school property, a sprinkler system and a new gymnasium. The five-year plan is unconfirmed, however, and what steps would come first haven’t been officially discussed.

Anyone wishing to weigh in on the state of affairs at the high school campus should attend the July 20 meeting.

—By ROBERT HOLMAN, Publisher (mcnpub@lcs.net)

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