The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider a budget with a proposed two-cent increase in the property tax rate and what would generally be a 2 percent pay increase for employees.
If approved by Council, the tax rate change would be the first increase in years. Oak Ridge Today reported that the budget approved last year was the 10th one in a row without a tax rate increase.
The two-cent increase in the property tax rate, which would raise it to $2.54 per $100 of assessed value, would help fund the bond repayments for the new Oak Ridge Senior Center, Scarboro Park renovation, and Oak Ridge Preschool, and also provide the city some “breathing room,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. The Senior Center, Scarboro Park, and Preschool projects are expected to cost about $13 million total.
Municipal officials said there has been a $750,000 shortfall in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, in revenues from Roane County. That shortfall is attributed to some sales tax exemptions, and it is believed to mostly be from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the major taxpayer in the Roane County portion of the city. The shortfall affected Oak Ridge this year and has been resolved this year, but the city had to use reserves, which affected money that could be used for capital projects in the next fiscal year, fiscal year 2019, which starts July 1, Watson said. [Read more…]