Jacobs: No property tax increase

By Mike Steely

Senior Writer


Pay raises for employees and more funding for services without a property tax increase were the highlights of the proposed budget Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs presented during his speech in front of a large audience last Monday morning.

In his annual budget proposal and State of the County address, Mayor Jacobs noted the county property taxes will remain at $1.5540. The overall budget increases by about $32 million with 65% going to schools. County employees will see a 2% pay increase to cover the cost of living.

The Engineering and Public Works department will get $87 million including safety improvements for roads and intersections and work on pedestrian bridges in Gibbs and Powell.

Jacobs said the school system’s budget will increase by almost $23 million and new teachers will begin with a $47,000 annual salary. He applauded the Knox County Commission for passing the first phase of Advance Knox.

He also noted the 40-mile-long water trail and the work to build the French Broad Veterans Park overlooking the East Tennessee Volunteer Veterans Cemetery.

The Five Year Plan to deal with housing and the homeless was mentioned by Jacobs as well as the health department’s work to renew the county’s ambulance service.

The Knox County Commission takes up the budget proposal Monday at 3:30 p.m. and a public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 4 p.m. preceding the commission’s work session.

Dwight Van de Vate opened the presentation Monday morning and the invocation was presented by Pastor Zac Stevens, the National Anthem by the Central High School Bobcat Company, the Pledge of Allegiance by two Mill Creek Students, and the mayor was introduced by Circuit Court Clerk Charlie Susano.

The Reverend Pat Polis gave the benediction.

Mayor Jacobs told the audience that Knox County will continue to change and told of ways the county can adapt, including limiting sprawl. He spoke about each county department and mentioned the county’s new outdoor basketball tournament coming this year.