KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – On Monday, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs proposed his budget for the upcoming 2023-24 fiscal year, totaling to more than $1 billion.
Over $660 million would go towards Knox County Schools, including a 4% raise for teachers.
“That’s a huge piece and again as we continue to try to be competitive in salaries and move up those ranks, I think that’s very important,” Dr. John Rysewyk, superintendent of Knox County Schools said.
Part of that budget also includes new safety upgrades for schools. “One may need fence and perimeter support on that, one may need film for windows all those kinds of things,” Dr. Rysewyk said. “A lot of technology upgrades typically happen there too.”
The proposal also includes an 8% increase for correction or patrol officers ranked captain or below at the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. “If this proposal goes through since I have been mayor we have increased salaries by 24% and had $6,000 in bonuses,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said.
Over a month ago, Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler requested a 30% pay increase.
“If we are the third largest agency in the state why are we around 9th as far as paying our correction officers and why are we 13th paying our law enforcement people,” Spangler said. That’s not right.”
Sheriff Spangler believes that a 30% increase is needed to attract and retain officers.
“We have to be able to be in the ball game so to speak, to be able to give these individuals that are working for us now something to stay here for and those looking to come somewhere else to attract them as well,” Spangler said.
Mayor Jacobs believes that 30% increase is not feasible.
“The only way you can do it would be by cutting other services or raising taxes,” Jacobs said. “Frankly, if there is a successful salary suit every other official is going to then come and say my people need to get paid more too. I think it will really have a very detrimental impact on the budget and Knox county taxpayers.”
The proposal includes leaving property taxes at the same rates. Commissioners have to approval the budget in order for it to take effect.