KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs today unveiled his budget for the upcoming fiscal year, a $954 million spending plan that fulfills the school board’s request, provides pay raises for deputies and teachers, and does not raise taxes.
The proposal, which features a $205 million general fund to cover much of the county’s day-to-day operations, includes bumps in funding for roads, playgrounds, non-profits, and much more.
“The proposed budget will effectively and efficiently manage expenses while providing the services our citizens deserve,” said Mayor Jacobs.
Some two-thirds of the budget, or about $591.5 million, is dedicated to schools. The Board of Education sought a 9 percent increase – about $49.5 million – on which the mayor signed off.
Some highlights include:
• $3 million for school security upgrades
• Funding for Northwest, Sterchi, and Adrian Burnett elementary schools
• $11 million for 32 new classrooms at Hardin Valley Academy
• $3 million for a new Farragut Elementary School
• 4 percent raises for teachers
Another $96 million is set aside for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. With a focus on deputies, Mayor Jacobs added additional funding for more body cams to protect both the officers and the public and a 6 percent raise for KCSO employees ranked captain and below.
Other highlights to the proposed budget include:
• Funding for the Skilled Trades Academy and Regional Training Center
• $16.7 million for new roads and safety improvements
• Money for the Schaad Road project to connect North and West Knox County
• Funding for maintenance of 62 ballfields and renovation of some concession stands
• Money to purchase new playground equipment
• 4 percent raises for general government employees
• Helping establish mental health court
• Creating a new land use and transportation plan called Advanced Knox
“This is the last budget of my first term,” said Mayor Jacobs. “But today was the first time I got to host a budget address the way it was planned. I am so grateful for the friendship and support of former County Executive Dwight Kessel, former Knox County Mayors Tommy Schumpert and Mike Ragsdale, and Congressman Burchett. I think this is the first—maybe only time—all Knox County mayors have been in the same place at the same time. A lot of the reason Knox County is such a great place is the tremendous leadership of those individuals. All in all, it was a great day.”
The Knox County Commission will hold public hearings later this month to talk more about the plan before voting on it. The budget must be approved before July 1, the beginning of the upcoming fiscal year.