From The City of Dickson

May 27, 2021

DICKSON, TENN. – The Dickson City Council received the draft of a $36 million budget that includes $14 million in projects but does not require an increase in the city’s property tax rate.

Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. and City Administrator Rydell Wesson presented the draft of the largest budget in the city’s history during the council’s Finance and Management Committee meeting Monday, May 17.

Under the proposed budget, the city’s property tax rate for 2021-2022 will remain 77.35 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

The city council will cast its first vote on the budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 at its June 7 meeting and hold a public hearing and cast the second and final vote during a special session June 21. The new budget takes effect July 1.

The budget projects base operating revenues of $21 million, an increase of $1.6 million over 2020-21.

While revenues show only 8.3 percent growth, the overall budget expenditures increase $11 million (43.96%) to $36.6 million due to more than $14.7 million in capital projects. Wesson said the budget draft proposes using $6.955 million from the city’s anticipated $19 million fund balance.

Based on projections for the current budget year and if revenues and expenses remain even next year, Wesson said the city expects to finish with a fund balance of $14.3 million on June 30, 2022. The State Comptroller’s Office recommends municipalities maintain a fund balance of at least 25 percent of annual operating expenses. Wesson said that means Dickson would need to maintain a fund balance of just under $5.3 million.

He said the city anticipates receiving just over $2 million this year from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed by Pres. Biden that can be used for certain expenses outlined in the legislation, which would allow the city to spend $7 million of its projected $19.3 million reserve and still have almost three times the recommended fund balance.

The highlights of the 2021-2022 draft budget outlined by Weiss and Wesson include:

  • A three percent cost-of-living adjustment for all employees;
  • Two new police officers;
  • Six new firefighters;
  • Construction of Dickson Fire Department Station #3;
  • The extension of Alexander Drive to Gum Branch Road;
  • Construction of a skate park in the lot behind Dickson Fire Department Station #1;
  • Completion of Phase I design for renovations to J. Dan Buckner Park and a system-wide parks master plan as part of an application for a $1 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Local Parks and Recreation Fund;
  • Renovations to the new Dickson Senior Activity Center;
  • Construction of an inclusive splash pad/playground at Henslee Park;
  • Extending the senior center’s grocery box program started with funds from the Greater Nashville Regional Council;
  • Five new vehicles for the police department;
  • Paving the parking lots at Dickson City Hall;
  • Construction of Phase V of the Downtown Dickson Revitalization project, which consists of the area of West Railroad/North Mulberry streets from Main Street to West College Street and includes a $600,000 Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation;
  • Engineering/design on Phase VI of the Downtown Dickson Revitalization project, which consists of Church Street from East College Street to East Rickert Avenue with a TAP grant application pending;
  • Engineering/design work on a sidewalk project on West College Street from North Mulberry Street to Walker Street with a TDOT Multimodal grant application pending;
  • Construction of Phase I of an Intelligent Transportation System project to install traffic signals at Crestview Drive and Highway 46, the Dickson County High School entrance on Henslee Drive and new signals at the intersection of Highway 70 East and Hummingbird Lane with a $760,000 grant already approved;
  • Construction of a dog park at Henslee Park with an application for a $25,000 Dog Park Dash grant from the Boyd Foundation pending;
  • A joint project with Dickson County to tear down the former Dickson General Hospital/Jackson Academy building on Church Street and construct a new home for the Dickson County Farmers’ Market;
  • Upgrades to security systems at city facilities;
  • Upgrades to the city’s telephone system;
  • The city’s portion of a countywide comprehensive traffic study;
  • Replacing the storm drain system along Sylvis Street from East College Street to East Rickert Avenue;
  • Equipment purchases for the Public Works Department, including a sanitation truck, pickup, three mowers and a trailer;
  • Remodeling at the Municipal Building;
  • A pool table, furniture and décor for the new Senior Activity Center in the former Dickson Athletic Center; and
  • $1 million allocated for paving city streets for the fifth consecutive year. Public Works Director David Travis said the allocation should be able to be reduced in the next budget year to fund continuing maintenance of city streets.

Weiss said several of the projects are included in the 2020-21 budget but could not be completed and are being carried over into the new budget.

Wesson said despite a slower growth rate for revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in the way sales taxes on online purchases are distributed, the city still will be able to add to its fund balance in the current fiscal year due to conservative budgeting and the diligence of city staff in keeping expenditures under budget year after year.

Weiss said that the healthy fund balance allows the city to consider projects that benefit the city and citizens without increasing the burden on taxpayers or increasing the city’s long-term debt by having to borrow more money.

In the presentation to the council, Wesson showed the city currently has long-term debt of just over $5.1 million and annual debt payments of about $1 million, or under five percent of the operating budget, which Weiss said is very low for a city the size of Dickson.

Wesson showed that the percentage of the city’s revenue from sales taxes grows from 41 percent in the current budget to 48 percent in the 2021-22 draft. Property taxes account for 21 percent of annual revenues while beer and liquor taxes make up five percent, payments in lieu of taxes from utilities and the Dickson Housing Authority comprise seven percent and the remaining 19 percent comes from various sources, including building permits, hotel/motel tax, state funds, bonds, business taxes, court fines and costs and a variety of grants. New revenue streams for 2021-22 include a projected $7,500 from the state sports betting tax and $4,236 from the state local occupancy tax on short-term rentals.

In addition to the budget presentation, the Finance and Management Committee:

Unanimously approved the minutes of the April 19, 2021, Finance and Management Committee meeting and the April 2021 check register with all eight members present; and

Reviewed amendments for the 2020-2021 budget. The council will vote on the amendments on first reading June 7 and hold a public hearing and second vote at a special session June 21.

In a special session following the committee meeting, the city council unanimously approved a design review contract with CSX railroad for Phase V of the Downtown Revitalization Project.

The Dickson City Council’s next scheduled meeting is 7:00 pm Monday, June 7, in the council chambers at Dickson City Hall, 600 East College St. All meetings are open to the public.

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