City Manager Chris McCartt presented a balanced budget with no tax increase to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Alderman last month. The BMA completed the second and final reading of that budget last night by unanimously approving the FY-22 budget.
The FY-22 budget saw a return to normalcy compared to this time last year when the BMA approved a drastically reduced General Fund budget in the midst of the early days of the pandemic. The FY-22 budget allows many department budgets to return to pre-pandemic levels, providing a returned focus to capital improvements along with a continued commitment to increase the rainy day fund.
“While preparing the FY-22 budget, over the last couple of months, I found myself reflecting on where we were one year ago,” McCartt said. “Thankfully, we find ourselves in a position where the future is much clearer and promising than a year ago.”
McCartt is required to present a balanced General Fund budget each year to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The budget, made up of many parts like the operating fund, water and sewer fund, and the school system, guides the city’s spending each year.
“The budget isn’t a one-time event, but an ongoing process,” McCartt said. “We’ve been working on the FY-22 budget since November and closely monitoring our primary revenues in hopes of providing the funding we had to cut during the pandemic. Fortunately, we have seen strong growth in both sales tax and property tax revenues, which has helped cover the losses experienced in other funds that were significantly impacted as a result of the pandemic.”
Despite a significantly reduced capital budget for FY-21, city staff is preparing to manage over $35 million in general government capital projects in the FY-22 budget. City projects such as the bicycle pump track at Brickyard Park, renovations to the new John Sevier Middle School, and numerous improvements to the city’s water and sewer system are among some of project that will be funded in FY-22.
Other upcoming projects for this year include the Nature Center balcony rehab at Bays Mountain, Senior Center improvements, numerous improvements to our parks and community centers, and continuing the sustainable paving plan.
“Since establishing the sustainable paving program in 2016 (FY-17), we have worked hard to leverage additional funding at the state level while at the same time looking for ways to increase local dollars,” McCartt said. This year we have nearly $3 million in local general fund money allocated for paving our local roads.”
Partner agencies, such as Downtown Kingsport Association, Symphony of the Mountains, and Keep Kingsport Beautiful, which had funding cut or reduced last year will see funding restored in FY-22 to levels seen in FY-20.
For more information regarding the budget presentations, please go to www.kingsporttn.gov and search ‘budget.’