Tenn. – The City Council voted 11-2 Thursday to approve Mayor Kim McMillan’s 2019 financial plan for the City of Clarksville, which calls for an overall 2.8 percent increase in General Fund spending but no increase in the City property tax rate.
The Mayor’s proposed budget was presented to the Council in May, and had been the subject of two work sessions, a public hearing, and two formal meetings. The Mayor’s budget was approved largely intact, and preserved her budget priorities, which called for major road improvements, more money for public safety, and work on new family recreation opportunities.
“My budget was approved by an overwhelming majority of the City Council, and includes some $35 million for new roads and improvements to our current transportation network,” Mayor Kim McMillan said. “We continue to move forward on our pledge to make Clarksville the best place to live, work and raise a family. And I continue to honor my commitment to taxpayers to do the most possible with the resources they provide City Government.”
In the broadest analysis, the total budget for the City of Clarksville for Fiscal 2019 is nearly half a billion dollars. The total City-wide budget is nearly $478 million (including all enterprise and special revenue funds). The proposed 2019 General Fund, or operating budget, is $98,155,094, which represents an increase of 2.8 percent over Fiscal 2018.
The Mayor had presented, and the Council approved, a No-Tax-Increase budget, with the property tax rate remaining $1.24 per $100 of assessed property value. This is the same rate City property owners paid for the past three years. The budget also provides a 2.5 percent wage increase for city employees.
The Mayor’s recommendations for major work on the City’s road needs were fully approved, and even expanded, by the Council on Thursday.
Mayor McMillan had called for $9.6 million for the first phase of the top project -- the Northeast Connector, a new City thoroughfare designed to connect the Wilma Rudolph Boulevard commercial district with Trenton Road.
However, an amendment approved by City Council members shifted money for another proposal -- a $6.5 million a downtown parking garage -- to the NE Connector project. This move pushed the total committed to the NE Connector to $16.1 million in the 2019 budget, and leaves the parking garage unfunded and on hold.
The important NE Connector is a key factor in development of a major conference center and hotel project north of Wilma Rudolph Boulevard. In April, the City and the Industrial Development Board announced a public-private partnership with Stoney Creek Hospitality, which will invest more than $30 million in private sector dollars to build the long-needed conference center and hotel.
The budget also includes $2 million for design and right-of-way acquisition for the Professional Park Extension, a new thoroughfare that will connect Exit 8 to Dunlop Lane, creating another Interstate 24 gateway to the Tennova Hospital district and Wilma Rudolph Boulevard.
The Mayor also recommended a 6.2 percent increase in the Street Department’s annual operating budget, to nearly $14 million. That sum for upkeep and improvements of the existing road network, along with nearly $21 million in capital spending on city road construction, pushes the total budgeted on roads to $35 million for 2019.
The approved 2019 budget also provides continued strong support for the Clarksville Police Department, including a new $3.5 million District 3 Precinct headquarters to be built on the Rossview Schools Campus, seven more police officers, and new vehicles and equipment.
The budget also funds the next steps in Mayor McMillan’s plan to build the Clarksville Family Athletic Complex on 300-acres at Exit 8.
The budget has $100,000 to combine with money already budgeted for the Athletic Complex project to continue the design and engineering phases of the capital project.
Meanwhile, the City continues to work toward an economic and market study that will consider the needs of the project partners and the City’s vision for the complex, and then define the features the Athletic Complex will need to succeed.
The 2019 budget also added $1 million for improvements and upgrades to Heritage Park, the City’s existing youth sports complex in North Clarksville.
This map shows the proposed route of the Northeast Connector, which received $16.1 million in funding in the Clarksville 2019 budget approved 11-2 on Thursday.