OR Council O.K.s tax rate, increases trash fee

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday approved the budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1st on first reading. The new state-certified (or tax-neutral) property tax rate in Oak Ridge is $2.52 per $100 of assessed value, up from the current rate of $2.39. Council members voted not to add any additional increase on to the tax rate, which increased due to the drop in property values on both Anderson and Roane counties. The certified tax rate is designed to bring in the same amount of revenue after the recently-completed reappraisal process that it did before. Council voted to increase the monthly trash collection fee for residents by $3.50, which brings the monthly cost for trash pick-up to $10.50, up from the current $7 fee. Currently the city pays $7 of each resident’s $14 a month trash pickup fee and having residents pick up the additional $3.50 per month is expected to generate some $335,000 in additional revenue for the city. $260,000 of that new revenue will be set aside for capital projects involving buildings and schools. The budget that was passed provides 2% pay raises for city workers and is meant to provide 2% pay raises for school employees as well, but as our partners at Oak Ridge Today report, the exact impact of last night’s vote on the school system remains to be seen. The school system is expected to see an additional $423,000 come into its coffers if the 10-cent property tax rate increase approved by the Anderson County Commission last week stands after a special called Commission meeting on Thursday. For more on last night’s three-hour meeting of the Oak Ridge City Council, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

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