During a recent special called meeting, Shelbyville City Council passed the municipal property tax levy for the coming fiscal year, which reflects no change over last year at 1.59 (per $100 assessed property value.) Public hearings were held and there were no speakers present against the decision.
Council member Marilyn Ewing had asked at a budget work session if since the budget had been amended, would there be an option to amend the tax rate. After a short discussion, the rate stayed the same and passed unanimously by roll call vote.
Councilman William Christie had approached Council early in the spring about possibly lowering the property tax, but he as well voted for the $1.59.
During a budget work session, Bedford County Economic Development Director Shane Hooper presented a tourism proposal to Council. Hooper thanked the City for all the support regarding economic development. He said that he believes all the City’s hard work is about to pay off in the way of tourism.
He discussed a proposal for the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership to take over the City’s area of tourism. He advised how one of the main goals of the partnership this year was to focus on downtown revitalization. He gave a proposed budget for tourism would be $114,865-an amount which includes salary for a tourism director.
Council conversation turned to the then proposed fiscal year budget for 2023. Interim City Manager Parker reviewed the nonprofits (some were cut by 50% from last year.) Those remaining in the next fiscal year budget included Shelbyville-Bedford County Library, Skills Development Center and Shelbyville-Bedford County Senior Citizens Center.
City employee raises
Discussions during the mid June meeting turned to personnel with Council member Ricky Overcast stating that he wanted airport and park part-time employee wages be increased to $15 an hour.
Treasurer Parker reviewed several options, including raising all employees by $1.25 an hour or a 6% increase across the board. At that point in discussion, several directors present said they fear losing employees to low hourly pay.
Council decided at the budget session to bring all employees up to $15 an hour or give a 6% across the board increase, whichever is the highest wage for the employee.
2023 Pre-budget details
Interim City Manager Parker, back in early June, reviewed where the City was in the current year, noting there had been a large amount of capital funds appropriated during the 2022 fiscal year. That included $2 million for a jet hanger at the Shelbyville Municipal Airport and $1 million for the purchase of the Carlton property off Highway 231 North.
The FY23 proposed budget shows transferring $1.5 million to capital projects, $100,000 to debt reserve fund and $400,000 to the industrial fund. Additionally, Parker advised there are no raises included in this draft as Council will need to discuss how it wishes to proceed. She said there were no new personnel included for the fire and police departments—both waiting on grants for some needs.
There was further discussion at the June 28 called meeting on different options regarding capital expenditures, mainly ones that would prove more conservative. Council member Overcast said putting off projects only means higher cost in the next fiscal year.
Council stayed with its capital amount in the 2023 budget, stating it could always be amended at a later date, if necessary.
Fire and police departments were reviewed during budget meetings, with the police budget including one new officer to train for a planned retirement and some additional ammunition and training supplies.
Shelbyville Fire Department has four firefighters scheduled to move up in rank during the next year. Police and fire chiefs discussed the continued need for a new building, advising Council they are continuing to do research on the best location.
The public works budget included moving some employee wages to be 100% in one department instead of being spread out over streets, solid waste and storm water. This also followed suit with the Parks and Recreation department.
Council member Ewing advised that she would like to see the pavilions at the park get a facelift. Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Alsup said he would like to see some clearing of the new property as a priority, as the City would be able to use that area—once it was cleaned up—as soccer fields.
Shelbyville Municipal Airport board is requesting a full-time operations technician, the replacement of existing security cameras and the addition of six new ones. The airport is currently accepting applications for the operations tech position.
All department directors discussed with Council the need to increase wages for employees, particularly those considered part-time. Department heads also reported needed increases, due to rising fuel costs.
Most everyone wins in 2023
During the June 28 special called budget meeting, Interim City Manager Parker advised she had set the budget to reflect a 6% raise or $15 an hour increase for City employees, whichever is greater—that which Council had discussed earlier in the month. She said some department heads with part-time employees requested the flexibility for them to start out part-timers out at less than $15 an hour.
Council agreed and moved that only full-time City employees would be the ones to receive the 6% increase or $15 an hour, whichever is greater.
Having increased revenue projections at the earlier budget meeting in June by $200,000, Parker said she had included the new planning commission position and needed software, however the cost was going to be now $60,000. Mayor Wallace Cartwright said it would be beneficial to do the upgrades. Four Council members agreed with the mayor to purchase the software.
All council members agreed to increase City Judge John T. Bobo’s salary by $10,000 annually. Mayor Cartwright said he’d like to see Council get reports from municipal court regarding fines collected.
It was mentioned during budget talks that Shelbyville Power Board has increased its fire hydrant cost—a $60,000 increase that will be in the 2023 budget.