Monday night the Oak Ridge City Council voted on first reading to adopt a no-tax-increase budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1st.
If approved as expected next week on second and final reading, it would mark the 10th consecutive year that the tax rate has remained at its current level of $2.52 per $100 of assessed value.
The Council had been asked by the School Board to consider a four-cent tax rate increase to fund 2.5% pay raises for teachers and school employees but the Council denied that request. Instead, the Council did agree to make $538,000 in funding given to the schools last year on a one-time basis to help pay for the system’s 1:1 technology initiative a recurring contribution from the city. The school system had sought that $538,000 and an additional $318,000 this year to fund the raises. As it stands, Council members indicated that the schools could use the now-recurring money to pay for 1.5% pay raises if they so choose. The city charter prohibits the Council from telling the School Board how to spend its money, so it will ultimately be left up to the Board of Education to decide how to use the new funds.
The School Board’s budget proposal included both the $538,000 they received as well as the request for $318,000, so if the budget is passed next week, they will have to go back make some changes to its budget blueprint.
The budget will be considered by the City Council on second and final reading on Thursday June 15th at 7 pm in the Courtroom of the Oak Ridge Municipal Building.