Oak Ridge North sets proposed budget for 2013

The City of Oak Ridge North has prepared its proposed budget for its 2013 fiscal year, one that City Manager Vicky Rudy said does not include a tax increase.

The $4.2 million working budget calls for the city to retain its current tax rate of 59 cents per $100 of property valuation.

"We will not raise the overall tax rate," Rudy said.

The city has projected $4 million in total revenues, leaving a deficit of $216,317. The deficit is proposed to be made up through $137,679 in transfers from the city's Economic Development Corporation and $78,638 in transfers from the water and sewer fund.

The largest expenditure the city has allocated in the budget is $1.5 million for the police department, which includes salaries. Oak Ridge North's largest source of revenue is through sales taxes. For FY 2013, the city is projecting sales tax revenues of $1.3 million, an increase of $1.2 million for 2012.

While sales tax revenue is projected to increase only slightly, more businesses in Oak Ridge could soon be on the way. The city is expecting a 45.6 percent increase in building and permit fees, up $100,934 in FY 2012 to $146,973 in FY 2013.

While the operating budget covers primarily the day-to-day operations of the city, Rudy said there are plans for capital project improvements within the city that could be funded through the city's cash reserves or other funding mechanisms, without raising city taxes.

"We have some capital improvements scheduled, for instance, the biggest one is how to finance the replacement of a groundwater storage tanks at our water plant," she said.

Rudy estimates a new storage tank will cost the city about $3.7 million.

"There are some lingering questions about how to solve those challenges and we will need to solve those before we set our tax rate," she said. "But we will not raise the tax rate."

Rudy said adjustments could be made in the portions of the tax rate allocated the Maintenance and Operations fund and the Interest and Sinking fund. Currently, 37.96 cents is allocated to M&O, while 22 cents goes to I&S.


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