Proposed city budget $6.3 million higher, no tax increase
By Mike Steely
Mayor Indya Kincannon delivered her State of the City address Wednesday and announced an increase in the proposed budget. There’s no property tax increase which is currently $2.1556 per $100 of assessed value. She spoke to a large crowd of supporters, employees and elected officials at the proposed “Transforming Western” multi-home project in the Western Heights / Beaumont community on Vermont Avenue
The total proposed budget is $559,516,800, which is $6,250,180 or 1.1% above the current city budget, and Kincannon stressed the need for more affordable housing, more police and fire department employees, and infrastructure.
“The City’s fiscal health is strong,” Mayor Kincannon said, “and that allows us to invest wisely in core services and in strategic initiatives that will serve Knoxville well in the long run.
“I’m proud to propose this budget. It maintains our commitments to City employees and partners who help make Knoxville such a great place to live. And it reflects our priorities – public safety, building up our neighborhoods, creating economic opportunity, and becoming a greener and more resilient community.”
Kincannon praised community improvements of past city mayors and surprised many by saying that former Mayor Daniel Brown will be honored with a memorial at the First Creek at Austin Apartments.
She said Knoxville’s momentum is “unmistakable” and noted the number of people moving into the city. She stressed placing a high priority on public safety and spoke of the new Public Safety building and said, “We’re making sure we have the right people, policies, and training to make the Knoxville Police Department the most community-focused, trusted, and effective police department in the country. And – good news – crime is going down.”
Kincannon also spoke about the city and county’s $4.5 million investment in the new multi-use stadium near downtown, a $100,000 investment in the pedestrian bridge from South Knoxville to the UT campus, the funding of non-profit public groups, and a $500,000 investment for additional housing for military veterans.
About $9.3 million will go to roads, bridges, potholes and guardrails plus $2.4 million to sidewalks, curbs and pedestrian and bicycle programs and a separated greenway on Neyland Drive.
She also proposed combining two city departments to form a new Department of Community Safety and Empowerment. Two new employees are on the budget for the new department.