No new taxes in Mayor Burchett's budget proposal

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Good news for people who live in Knox County, they won't be paying any extra taxes this year.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced that Thursday as he laid out his $750 million spending plan.

Not only that, there's a few new community centers in the works, schools are getting upgrades, and the money's there to fix a few crumbling roads.

But there's one group that wasn't satisfied with Mayor Tim Burchett's proposed budget -- the Knox County School Board.

Although the board is getting nearly two-thirds of the $730 million it has asked for, it falls $4 million short of their expectations.

"If they choose to put it into pay raises or new buildings or what have you, that's what they do, we can't tell them what to do," Mayor Burchett explained.

"We're 35th in average teacher salaries in the state, our teachers are being asked to do more than they've ever had to do before we are at
a competiive disadvantage in Knox County," explains Lynn Fugate, Chairperson of the Knox County Board of Education.

Fugate says she and other board members will be lobbying commissioners to make up for that shortfall in the coming weeks.

But Burchett contends, "The critics were on me at first for making the cuts but I think now they realize and I don't think they're as focal now for the things we did before in preparation for these tough times."

Also included in Mayor Burchett's budget is a $31.2 million Capitol Improvement Plan.

- $5 million for improvements to Ball Camp Pike
- $2.5 million for safety improvements at various intersections
- Funding for 30 new Knox County Sheriff's Office vehicles and
technology/security upgrades

The Knox County Commission will begin to analyze the mayor's budget proposal and consider approving it later this month.

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