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Town tackles budget, revenue estimated at $6.6 million

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, minus Mayor Ralph McGill, took a brief look at the projected budget for next fiscal year at its meeting Thursday, May 13.

“We know what’s coming down the pike a little better than we did a few months ago,” Town Administrator David Smoak said.

He estimated total revenues for fiscal year 2010-2011, which begins July 1 of this year, would be $6,638,622. Total expenditures would come in at about $5,359,577.

“Our total expenditures increased just one percent [from last year],” Smoak said.

Along with current funds already in the Town’s coffers, the Town’s ending balance would be $4,292,071. Of that money, $2,633,057 is free, not already assigned to other projects.

The Town has a practice of keeping about 30 percent of its balance as a “rainy day fund,” which means the actual money the Board “will have to work with next year” will come in at around $1,025,184.

While the Town’s revenues as a whole are down slightly from last year, there is one rather large difference: revenue from the automated traffic enforcement program — the red-light cameras.

So far this fiscal year, the Town has earned about $175,000 from the cameras and is estimating it will make $240,000 from the cameras next year.

“What we’re seeing is a decrease each month in the revenue … at a year to 15 months, the numbers drop and even out,” Smoak said.

According to Smoak, when the cameras were first installed, each camera was recording between 80 and 90 violations a day. Now, those violations are down to about 20 to 30 a day.

“People are learning to be cautious and stop at the red lights,” Alderman John Williams said.

The Town plans to add at least one more camera to the Parkside Drive/Campbell Station Road intersection once TDOT’s Campbell Station widening project is complete in November.

Also in revenues, the Town has seen a $760,000 jump in local sales tax from the 2009 fiscal year and is planning on bringing in more than $3 million in that tax next year.

In expenditures next fiscal year, the Town plans to fund several capital improvement projects, among them the Old Stage/Watt Road extension and widening the bridge on Kingston Pike at Everett Road.

The Town will work with Knox County to extend Outlet Drive to Snyder Road — most of the $4.65 million bill will fall to the County.

McFee Park’s Phase II, which will include a play structure, splash pad and pavilions, will be finished next fiscal year. Park signs, along with lights and poles at Mayor Bob Leonard Park, will be replaced. And a greenway will be constructed along Kingston Pike near Willow Creek Golf Club.

The Town also is setting aside money for land acquisition and greenway connectors.

The Board will approve the budget, along with any changes between now and then, for first reading Thursday, May 27. Second reading will be Thursday, June 10.


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