Knox Co. Mayor proposes budget, says it reflects current COVID-19 economic environment

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KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ 2020-2021 budget proposal calls the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic challenging, but manageable.

The overall county budget is decreased by roughly $4 million, compared to 2019-2020 spending. The Mayor’s plan totals $849 million, and cuts 2% of spending from the general fund budget, which is expected to be felt by most departments. The general fund includes public safety, recreation, health and welfare, and are mostly funded by property taxes.

The 2020-2021 proposal does does not include a property tax increase.

School funding is set to increase by $1.1 million, and makes up 63% of overall county spending, under the proposal. Jacobs’ plan would added another $4.3 million to education, from the county general fund, to support learning initiatives. This includes a second year for his literacy initiative, which is set to receive $750,000.

County documents outline a loss of nearly $10 million, based on trending economic data, in county sales tax revenue; however, the proposal also estimates a nearly $9 million boost in Basic Education Program (BEP) funding, which is funded by the state.

The Mayor’s 5-year capital improvement plan, outlined in the 2020-2021 budget proposal, includes $232 million for county/school infrastructure, over the next five years.

This cycle, $35.8 million would be spent on the construction of a new Lonsdale Elementary, a new Adrian Burnett Elementary, as well as an elementary school in Northwest Knox County. Additions to Brickey-McCloud and Sterchi Elementary are also set to continue, under the improvement plan.
$14.6 million is proposed to be invested in ongoing road and highway projects to provide for expected growth, as well as safety improvements to roads and intersections.

Cuts include $2.2 million from general funding, $1 million from public safety, and $1 million from public health and welfare funding. Other notable reductions in public spending include $516,000 fewer to public libraries and $508,000 in the solid waste department.

Watch the full budget proposal and explanation on Mayor Jacobs’ Facebook page.

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