The Oak Ridge North City Council unanimously approved a proposed property tax rate for fiscal year 2022-23 of $0.4248 per $100 valuation at an Aug. 8 special meeting.

The proposed tax rate is a no-new-revenue rate, and taxpayers would pay on average $0.91 less on their tax bill than in FY 2021-22, in which the tax rate was set at $0.4723 per $100 valuation, according to City Manager Heather Neeley. The rate breaks down into $0.2979 for maintenance and operations, such as police, traffic control, road maintenance, parks and administrative services and $0.1269 for debt service repayment.

This tax rate is anticipated to raise around $2 million, Neeley said.

The council also set a public hearing on the tax rates for Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m. A public hearing for the FY 2022-23 budget will be held Aug. 15 at 6:45 p.m. The council will approve both the budget and the tax rates at its next regular meeting on Aug. 22.

At the council’s regular meeting following the special meeting, Kim Wright, the general manager of the South Montgomery County Utility District, presented the preliminary wastewater treatment plant budget for FY 2022-23. The district has needed to account for more frequent hauls of sludge, Wright said.

“Now we’re looking at doing hauls around every 22 to 25 days, so that’s where the budget is jumping,” she said. “A haul is about $15,000. ... We’re looking at approximately 14 additional hauls.”

Wright said the SMCMUD is working to determine the reason for the increase in sludge and enact a solution. One possibility, she said, could be an increase in people staying home due to the pandemic. The council will turn in its comments to the SMCMUD by Sept. 8 for board approval, and the FY 2022-23 budget will go into effect Oct. 1.