City council to hold second reading of new budget

By Julie Fann
star staff

The state's budget dilemma is making time stand still for the Elizabethton City Council, but it's no fairy tale romance. As the council prepares for today's second reading of the new 2002-2003 budget, decisions could become moot points.
   "Let's just say, we're going with what we know today. We're anticipating state revenue to be there," said City Manager Charles Stahl. With a tight budget year ahead, workshops have led to re-financing city debt, cutting 13 percent of the city's general fund, now at $11,449,110, and reducing the water/sewer fund by 33 percent.
   The new budget doesn't allow for any new capital projects either. Nevertheless, property taxes won't increase, staying at $2.30 per $100 of assessed value. That is, of course, assuming the "handsome prince" appears at this dance with full pockets. According to Brad Moffitt, the city's Financial Director, property taxes would need to be raised "too significantly" to increase revenue should the state pass the dreaded DOGs budget (Downsizing Ongoing Government Services).
   The new budget also includes $100,000 of additional revenue for the sale of some Industrial Park property to an unnamed industry, as well as $100,000 in funds for street paving. Moffitt said the city may need to apply street paving funds elsewhere, however, depending on what the state decides.
   The council will also hear a second reading of the new Solid Waste Ordinance amendment, which will increase dumpster collection fees from $18 to $20 per pickup to take care of yearly increases at the Iris Glen Facility.
   In new business, the city council will conduct a first reading of the 2002-2003 city schools budget, amended so that approximately 62 city schools personnel will continue to receive family insurance coverage, as well as a resolution certifying school fund appropriations.
   Also, council will discuss a resolution awarding a bid for the Elizabethton Walking and Biking Trail.