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ORT: No tax increase in proposed Oak Ridge budget

(Oak Ridge Today) The budget proposed by Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson on Tuesday would not increase the property tax rate from its current level of $2.52 per $100 of assessed value.

If the City Council approves the proposal, it would mark the 10th year in a row without a tax rate.

Watson said it’s essentially the same budget as last year, with some capital improvements and funding for an energy savings plan for lighting, heating, and cooling systems in the city and schools.

Fully funding a request from Oak Ridge Schools for 2.5 percent pay raises for teachers and staff would require the equivalent of a four-cent tax rate increase.

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, Watson said the budget could again include about $538,000 in one-time spending for Oak Ridge Schools, this time for capital projects and other non-recurring needs. Members of the Oak Ridge School Board hope to make that additional funding a recurring source of funding. Besides receiving the $538,000 again, the school board has requested an additional $318,000 to fund the 2.5 percent pay raise for teachers and staff.

Watson said that would require a property tax rate increase of four cents, and it is not clear yet whether the Council will agree to raise taxes.

There will be a public hearing and first reading of the budget at 7 p.m. Monday, June 5, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom.

There will be a second public hearing and the second and final reading of the budget at 7 p.m. Monday, June 12.

For more details on the proposed budget, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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