No property tax increase included in proposed Knoxville budget

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon released her proposed 2021-2022 budget Tuesday.

The office of Mayor Kincannon released her proposed budget on the City of Knoxville website early Tuesday. The net budget is approximately $384 million. Of that, the General Fund, the City’s main operating fund, is $253.6 million.

The proposed budget does not include a property tax increase. The release states that while the 2020 budget was austere due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were no layoffs or lapses in City services.

“As responsible stewards of public dollars, we tightened our belts. Everyone in Knoxville has sacrificed this past year – some more than others. I am not proposing any increase in property taxes. This proposed budget supports our community’s continuing recovery while we take big steps forward, together, toward our shared longer-term priorities.” 

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon

A news release from the city divides the proposal into five categories.

“This budget reflects core values shared by my administration and the community, and it prioritizes spending accordingly,” Kincannon said.

Public safety

  • $4.3 million commitment to local partnerships that support Knoxville in addressing specific safety-related needs, combating violence and crime, and addressing root causes of public safety challenges.
  • $1.9 million for core public safety partners, such as the Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center and the Family Justice Center
  • $400,000 to expand KPD’s Co-Response Team, a pilot that began last year, pairing behavioral-health specialists with crisis-trained officers
  • $1 million for new violence interruption programs and partnerships to reduce homicides and address violent crime, including the launch of a CrimeStoppers rewards-for-tips program
  • About $500,000 to support health and mental-health service provider partners
  • More than $500,000 to assist local non-profits that provide safe places and enrichment programs for children and young people

Healthy and connected neighborhoods

  • Almost $8.2 million put toward affordable housing fund
  • $3.8 million to Austin Homes revitalization project
  • $1.5 million for permanent support housing, aims at finding solutions for people experiencing chronic homelessness
  • More than $2 million for streetscape improvements in the Burlington District
  • $1.5 million for the next phase of Waterfront Drive connectivity upgrades on the South Waterfront
  • $2.26 million for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and major multi-modal upgrades on Liberty Street and Washington Pike
  • $250,000 for neighborhood traffic-calming
  • $4.2 million budgeted for citywide park improvements

A clean and resilient future

  • $15.3 million in direct City support for Knoxville Area Transit (KAT), including $1.2 million for matching grants as KAT continues to convert its fleet to all-electric buses
  • $150,000 for additional public electric vehicle charging stations and for charging infrastructure to support electrification of the City’s vehicle fleet
  • More than $10 million proposed for street paving, traffic signals and bridges
  • More than $4 million is committed to stormwater infrastructure
  • $721,000 is allocated to protect and expand Knoxville’s urban forest

Thriving businesses and good jobs

  • More than $1 million to support the City’s economic development partners
  • $90,000 in new funding will support business development in the city’s Latino community
  • $150,000 in new funding for the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, which includes support for the 100Knoxville project to grow Black-owned businesses
  • $900,000 to support local non-profits that help families thrive by supporting community schools and promoting literacy and financial stability
  • $750,000 dedicated to support Knoxville’s arts, culture and historic preservation

Good governance

  • 2.5% salary increase for city employees
  • $100,000 for facilitation of the African American Equity Restoration Task Force

The budget proposal will be presented to City Council on May 4 for a first reading. Legislative budget hearings will follow, May 13-14. A public hearing also be held May 14. Council will vote on a second reading of the proposal May 18.

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