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Mayor Brown presents the budgetMayor Brown Presents the Budget

April 21, 2011 - Mayor Daniel Brown said today that the City of Knoxville's 2011-2012 Budget will continue city services at current levels, add a much-requested new service, maintains redevelopment efforts and makes significant investments in the city's infrastructure. 

He also indicated that the city will live within its means again this year despite facing challenges from a still-struggling economy and fast-rising fuel costs - and do it without any tax increase. 

"Cities and counties all over the country find themselves very short on funds with a long list of deserving projects," Brown said. "Our job is to make difficult choices. The budget we prepared summarizes these choices." 

Despite the challenges he said the city will continue its momentum. 

"Make no mistake, however, the budget I present today, while cautious in its approach, continues our strong investment in every area of Knoxville," he said. "It keeps us moving forward to where we all want to be as a city." 

Brown made his remarks to a crowd of several hundred guests gathered at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum as he presented his first – and last - budget as mayor during the annual Mayor's Budget Luncheon Thursday. 

Brown, who is also the Sixth District City Councilman, was selected by Council in January to fill out former mayor, and current Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam's unexpired term until December. 

He said a priority of the new budget was to leave the city in a strong financial position for the new mayor. 

To achieve that goal Brown unveiled a proposed $172.1 million general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2011-2012, which runs from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2012. That figure is up 4.5 percent from the roughly $165 million city budget for FY 2010-2011. 

It marks the first time the city has increased its budget in three years. 

The numbers reflect an economic reality that includes projected increases in sales taxes after a stunning decline between 2008 and 2010 - but that also includes soaring fuel costs and a $2 million increase in the city's annual pension fund contribution, a total of almost $12 million this year. 

Last year the city budgeted $4.24 million for fuel costs for its fleet and for Knox Area Transit. This year the amount is $6.53 million. 

Nearly half of the city's operating funds are dedicated to the Knoxville's Police and Fire Departments. A large portion also supports the Public Service Department and the budget also calls for a 2.5 percent raise for employees. 

The proposed budget includes $34.3 million for capital projects. 

Among the budget highlights: 

- A new city-wide, single-stream, curbside recycling program set to begin this fall. 
- $5.45 million for street resurfacing 
- A total of $1.85 million for sidewalk construction and enhancements including $500,000 in school zones, $500,000 for curb cuts and $200,000 for the Gallaher View Sidewalk project 
- $200,000 to complete the Lonsdale Recreation Center Expansion and an additional $500,000 for renovations at other city recreation centers 
- $200,000 for quarry improvements at Fort Dickerson Park 
- $800,000 investment for the future reconfiguration of Walter P. Taylor Homes