“For the first time in our lifetimes, we are faced with a global pandemic paired with a significant worldwide economic downturn, the depth and duration of which are unknown,” City Administrator Eric Stuckey said in a release. “In the face of these uncertain times, the city of Franklin will continue to move forward maintaining service levels, investing in our future and enhancing our community’s competitive position.”
The city’s total budget for FY 2019-20 was $174.2 million, while the proposed budget for FY 2020-21 $154.3 million, a net cut of $19.9 million in city funds, according to budget documents.
According to numbers from the city, the proposed general fund has also been lowered by about 10.5% as compared to last year’s budget, a net loss of about $8 million.
“We cannot wait for national and state solutions,” Stuckey said. “Instead, we must craft a budget and action plan which is both fiscally prudent and consistent in maintaining our commitment to community service.”
According to a presentation by Stuckey for the budget proposal, essential services for the city will be maintained under the new budget, and there will be no layoffs for existing city staff, though salaries for staff are currently frozen.
The city property tax rate will not increase as a result of the budget’s adoption by the Franklin Board of Mayor and Alderman, but it will remain at $0.4176 per $100 valuation, one of the lowest property tax rates in the state. Additionally, there are no plans to increase rates of utilities provided by the city. The budget is slated to be formally adopted June 23.
“The challenges ahead of us will be significant, and the uncertainty we face is real,” Stuckey said. “However, we have a highly capable city team supported by strong, long-term financial plans and policies that will provide financial capacity to weather these difficult times.”
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story contained an error stating the budget decrease was 10.5%. It is 11.4%.