Mayor's Budget Hearings Begin

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Mayor's Budget Hearings Begin

Posted: 04/01/2009
The City of Knoxville's budget hearings began this morning with various department heads presenting plans to Mayor Bill Haslam that continue offering the same level of services despite a struggling economy and declining revenues.

City revenues, including taxes and fees, are projected to be down nearly $3 million for the current fiscal year, 2008-2009. The city is spending about $3 million less in response during the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The city's current operating budget is roughly $165 million and that amount won't change much - if at all - for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.

With the uncertainty surrounding the economy the city’s budget will be tight because it will be trying to do the same things it did last year without any increases in funding to cover increasing costs – but Haslam indicated there will be no cut in services.

“I think it’s our job to find a path to maintain the current level of services without a tax increase,” he said following Thursday morning’s session. “Everyone understands that money is very tight and we’re discussing how to make it work.”

Despite the economic downtown Knoxville is expected to finish the fiscal year close to a balanced budget and the city has a fund balance – basically its savings account – of about $49.2 million.

The hearings - which will continue through tomorrow - give the senior directors an opportunity to elaborate their budget requests to Haslam, Deputy Mayor Larry Martin and Finance Director Jim York for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.

“Needless to say this is going to be one of the more challenging budgets we’ve had given the current economic conditions,” Jim York, the city’s director of finance, said in a brief overview of the city’s financial status going into Fiscal Year 2009-2010, which begins July 1.

The city’s Parks and Recreation, Fleet Services and 311 Departments made presentations Wednesday morning as did Knoxville Area Transit. Both the Knoxville Police and Fire Departments were slated to present their requests Wednesday afternoon, among other departments.

The city also has a capital improvements budget.

The various city departments are expected to present about $50 million worth of requests for things like new equipment, building renovations, greenway construction, buying property to expand the park system and other increases.

York, however, indicated that the city will only be able to afford to fund about $20 million of those requests.

Mayor Haslam will present the City of Knoxville’s Proposed 2009-2010 Budget at a luncheon next month.

SCHEDULE FOR WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1
Times listed below are approximate.

TIME-DEPARTMENT
8:00 AM-Overview
8:30 AM-Knoxville Area Transit
9:15 AM-Parks & Recreation
10:15 AM-311
10:30 AM-Fleet
11:00 AM-Public Building Authority
1:00 PM-Police Department
2:00 PM-Fire Department
3:00 PM-Law
3:30 PM-Administration
4:00 PM-South Knoxville Waterfront
4:30 PM-Civil Service

SCHEDULE FOR THURSDAY, APRIL 2


TIME-DEPARTMENT
8:00 AM-Overview
8:30 AM-Convention Center
9:00 AM-Public Assembly Facilities
9:30 AM-CAC
10:00 AM-Metropolitan Planning Commission
10:30 AM-Knoxville Zoo
11:00 AM-Finance & Accountability
1:00 PM-Information Systems
1:30 PM-Community Development
2:00 PM-Public Works (Engineering, Public Service, Inspections)