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City prepares for forum to discuss budget, tax increase

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The Board of Mayor and Aldermen is preparing to host a public forum to discuss the city’s proposed property tax increase on second reading.

Germantown’s budget for the 2018 fiscal year includes a property tax rate of $1.99 per $100 of assessed value, or 6 cents more than the current rate and 23 cents higher than the “tax neutral” rate calculated during reappraisal.

City officials said the rate increase is necessary to pay for the $33.5-million bond that will be issued for a new K-5 elementary school, improvements to Forest Hill-Irene Road to accommodate the school, and the eventual discontinuation of the state’s Hall Tax.

City Administrator Patrick Lawton recently said the growth and success of the Germantown Municipal School District has resulted in congested schools.

“The district is currently 539 students beyond what the buildings can hold,” he said.

Around $27 million is needed to pay for a new school, with another $6.5 million going toward improvements to Forest Hill-Irene, including the addition of medians for traffic safety purposes.

The conclusion of the Hall Tax in the next four years will also add $2 million annually to the city’s debt structure, he noted.

Lawton said the city has made budget cuts to the tune of $940,123 to minimize the tax increase. However, there has been a $1.43-million increase in “required spending” for the upcoming year, including an $890,000 increase in the city’s pension liability.

The BMA will vote on the budget, including the tax rate, on second reading at 6 p.m. on June 12 at City Hall. The budget must pass all three readings.

In other city news:

• The Germantown Animal Shelter is offering cat adoptions for $10 through the month of June, joining in Best Friends Animal Society’s nationwide cat adoption promotion.

“Adopting a rescued cat means you are saving two lives, the one you take home frees up rooma the shelter for another cat that needs a second chance at a good home,” said Alina Lesniak, Animal Services manager for Germantown. “Every spring is kitten season, which means our resources are severely stretched, so when you take home a spayed or neutered cat or two, you help Germantown Animal Shelter do even more to save cats.“

For more information about the City of Germantown Animal Shelter, call 901.757.7358 or email ALesniak@Germantown-TN.gov.