Proposed Oak Ridge North FY 2020 budget includes spending on drainage, road and park improvement projects

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Oak Ridge North officials are planning for a 2019-20 budget largely similar to the city’s 2018-19 financial plan, with an ongoing focus on infrastructure and facility projects.

At a July 31 City Council budget workshop, officials reviewed a draft of the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Overall revenues are expected to increase to around $4.34 million, mainly due to a nearly 11% jump in property tax revenue. Expenditures are expected to dip around 0.1% from last year’s budget to $4.46 million.

The $120,000 difference between spending and revenue will be made up through transfers from the Economic Development Corporation, Water/Sewer Fund and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, officials said.

The only city department with a significant spending increase for FY 2020 is Building and Permits, rising more than 40%, largely due to additional payroll and benefits. All other city departments saw single-digit percent increases or significant decreases.

The largest spending items on the FY 2020 budget come from the city’s Capital Improvement Fund. The city expects infrastructure projects, construction on the Police Department’s building and vehicles and equipment for the police and public works departments to make up the bulk of its $2.09 million capital improvement spending. Funding will be aided by an $840,000 federal drainage grant and other city financing sources, according to information presented at the meeting.

Officials said the city’s property tax rate for FY 2020 is expected to be set at the effective rate of $0.49 per $100 valuation, split between a maintenance and operations rate of $0.2798 per $100 valuation and a debt service rate of $0.2102 per $100 valuation. The proposed rate represents a slight increase over the current $0.4809, resulting in a less than $10 annual tax increase for the owner of a $100,000 home.

The rate will be officially proposed Aug. 5 and adopted alongside the finalized budget at the council’s Aug. 26 regular meeting.

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