Rial presents budget proposals that do not call for property tax hike, schools budget pending

Mayor Bob Rial
Mayor Bob Rial

Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial presented his proposed budgets to the county commission’s Budget and Budget Advisory committees Monday night and started by addressing the number one question. “It’s balanced and there’s no tax increase,” Rial said. The mayor presented general fund, debt service, drug control, solid waste, economic development and highway and bridge budget plans totaling more than $42 million that call for no change in the $2.02 of the current tax rate needed to fund them. Still to be presented is the Dickson County school system’s $61 million budget and whether it will need more than the 88 cents it receives from the county’s $2.90 property tax rate. Director of Schools Dr. Danny Weeks has presented the school board with a budget that does not seek additional money from the county, but that was before Rial presented his Project Cooperation proposal for school facilities needs that asks for a $1.925 million contribution from the school system. Included in the budgets presented by Rial Monday night is an $800 raise for all county employees, which added to last year’s $1,200 increase means county workers will get a $2,000 annual salary bump over two years. “It’s not as much as I’d like to do, but it’s what we can do with a balanced budget,” Rial said. The budget also includes a 1.1 percent raise for all of the county’s elected officials whose salaries are set by statute. Rial said the raises mandated by the legislature amount to $800-$900 a year. Rial said he is proud to be able to maintain a budget that does not call for additional revenue from the taxpayers and repeated a statement he made two weeks ago on WDKN’s Power Lunch program that if the current trends continue he does not anticipate needing a property tax increase next year. Of the budget proposals presented Monday night, only the general fund, debt service and highway fund draw from property tax revenue. The Economic and Community Development budget uses money from the county’s hotel-motel tax. The Drug Control budget is funded through drug and asset seizures by law enforcement. The Bridge Fund uses only state dollars. And the Solid Waste Management Department gets over $3.2 million from the $10 monthly sanitation fee and tipping fees at the landfill to make the department self-sufficient. The Budget and Budget Advisory committees also received the original budget requests from the county’s elected officials and will continue the budget process at a May 19 meeting. The school board is slated to continue discussions on the school system budget at its May 22 meeting and likely will present it to the county June 2.