Commissioners explore options to fund Knox schools budget

Commissioners explore options to fund Knox schools budget request

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"Personally, I think that this may be a difficult time to consider a tax increase," said Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs. "Personally, I think that this may be a difficult time to consider a tax increase," said Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs.
"I think if we can work out a comprise where we are still helping the schools do you what we need to do without a property tax. I think that's a win-win," said Commissioner Amy Broyles. "I think if we can work out a comprise where we are still helping the schools do you what we need to do without a property tax. I think that's a win-win," said Commissioner Amy Broyles.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Monday is the big day for the Knox County budget.

The question is -- who will get their way?  

While some commissioners back Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre's request for an extra $35 million, others are siding with County Mayor Tim Burchett, saying they won't vote for a tax increase.  

Dr. McIntyre hopes the commission will support his school board's budget request   

"I remain optimistic and confident that our county commissioners will demonstrate the wisdom and courage and leadership and make the right decision for children and invest in their future," McIntyre said.  

Several commissioners gathered Sunday afternoon for a public meeting and talked about possible proposals on how to fund the school request. 

"We talked about a sales tax referendum, bonding some of the debt, and no tax increase, passing the mayor's budget as it is, there are all options out there," said Knox County Commission Chairman Mike Hammond. 

Commissioners said they want to find extra money to fund the budget request, but the 35 cent property tax proposal and a sales tax referendum is losing support with fellow commissioners and the voters they represent.  

"Personally, I think that this may be a difficult time to consider a tax increase," said Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs.  

"There doesn't seem to be that community consensus to go ahead with raising taxes," said Hammond.  

"I think if we can work out a comprise where we are still helping the schools do you what we need to do without a property tax. I think that's a win-win," said Commissioner Amy Broyles.  

Mayor Burchett said he will veto any proposed tax increase and said the amount of money in his budget for the schools is more than enough.  

"We put $13 million new dollars into this. This is more than 3 years combined. If anyone says we're not putting enough into education, they're gravely mistaken," said Burchett.  

Seven votes would be required to override a veto.  

There's also a last-minute of barrage of expected additional budget requests.  

There are also proposals for funding to restore a senior mass transit program, provide aid to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and increase funds to the Knoxville Chamber and the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

The Knox County Sheriff's Department has also requested additional funding.

"It should be a very interesting day, and I, for one will be glad when this process is over," said Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs.  

Commissioners said they expect to hear several funding proposals and are willing to hear more.  

"I'm open to all good ideas," said Broyles. 

But on Monday, commission won't have to make a final decision on the budget request. Commissioners could decide to hold off voting on a proposal until the end of the month.

"It could be nothing; it may be that we just pass the mayor's budget with no increase," said Hammond.  

Commissioners are required to pass a budget before July 1.

In order to pass a sales tax increase, it needs support from two-thirds of the commission or eight members. Even if that happens, the increase would still have to go before voters.

A property tax increase would pass with a majority vote.

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