Burchett's budget: Workers get raises, schools fully funded, no tax hike

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Knox Co. Mayor Tim Burchett met with county commissioners Wednesday morning to lay out his budget for the upcoming fiscal year. He told commissioners it wouldn't have any surprises and, instead, would be "lean and fiscally responsible."

Some of the biggest cheers while he spoke came when Burchett said he planned to set aside $2 million for a 2% cost of living adjustment for the county's workers, which was something commissioners already indicated they wanted included.

While the $734.5 million budget is up $22.3 million over the 2013 budget, Burchett said it does not increase taxes. The increase is based on an anticipated 2.5% jump in Sales Tax revenue and 1.5% rise in revenue from Property Taxes.

It fully funds the $419.9 million requested by Knox Co. Schools, but Burchett added that "(w)e need to keep seeing gains in the classroom."

One of Burchett's top priority's was continuing to pay down the county's debt. In 2011, the county owed $691 million and he is working to shave a $100 million from that amount by 2016.

"It's something Washington often forgets," said Burchett.

His capital improvement plan includes $27.5 million, more than half of which will be dedicated to fixing the county's schools. More than $5 million was set aside for highway improvement, while $1.2 million will go to the Karns Senior Center.

Burchett also plans on hosting a series of public meetings to talk with taxpayers and let them ask questions. The meetings are planned for the following locations:

Carter Senior Center Wednesday, May 1 11 a.m.-12 p.m. 9040 Asheville Highway

Halls Senior Center Wednesday, May 1 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. 4405 Crippen Road

Knox Co. Health Dept. Community Room Wednesday, May 1 3 p.m.-4 p.m. 140 Dameron Avenue

Cedar Bluff Library Thursday, May 2 10 a.m.-11 a.m. 9045 Cross Park Drive

Bearden Library Thursday, May 2 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 100 Golf Club Road

Karns Community Youth Center Thursday, May 2 6 p.m.-7 p.m. 6616 Beaver Ridge Road O'Connor

Senior Center Friday, May 3 9:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. 611 Winona Street

South Knox Senior Center Friday, May 3 2 p.m.-3 p.m. 6729 Martel Lane

Farragut Library Friday, May 3 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. 417 N. Campbell Station Road

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