Union City property tax hike passed by council

Union City property tax hike passed by council
By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
Union City’s budget for 2012-13 isn’t quite ready, but in order to send out property tax bills, the Union City city council has approved on first reading a new property tax rate.
The city council voted Tuesday night to increase the property tax rate by 1 cent to $2.13 per $100 of assessed property. The extra amount should bring in an additional $18,141.
City manager Kathy Dillon explained the city is using the strategy of increasing the property tax rate by a small amount each year so that it does not have to have a huge increase at a future date.
There were no comments from the council or the public during Tuesday night’s public hearing nor the regular monthly meeting, which followed. During the meeting, councilman Billy Jack “B.J.” Cranford was the only person to vote against the increase. Voting for it were Mayor Terry Hailey and councilmen Judy Robinson, Dianne Eskew, Bill “Rat” Harrison, Johnny Bacon and Danny Leggett.
A second vote on the property tax rate will be held at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday. The council will also consider Tennessee Valley Authority Program lighting bids at that time.
In other business, after the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council:
• Accepted a bid from Allen Searcy Builder Con-tractor Inc. in the amount of $13,658 for 15 flag poles at Veterans Park. The bid also includes the removal of the old flag poles and installation of the new ones.
The city also approved an expenditure of $2,730 for an additional three flag poles to be placed center field for the city’s major league, minor league and high school softball fields. It will be a separate contract to be paid out of Turf Management funds.
• Approved a financial advisory agreement with Cumberland Securities. The city is considering the issuance of bonds to pay for several projects.
The council also authorized the city manager to pursue $5.5 million in general obligation bonds. The city is currently only looking at $3,097,000 in projects.
• Agreed to apply for interest-free United States Department of Agriculture financing through Union City Electric System. Ms. Dillon said she would like to apply for the 10-year financing on various projects including the railroad spur, turning lanes on Highway 51, an access road, a water tank and a lift station. What isn’t covered by the interest-free USDA financing could possibly still be funded with bonds.
• Voted to approve a proposed $48,000 settlement from a federal lawsuit filed against the city by Robert Gordon stemming from an incident involving the police department in August 2009. The city’s insurance company will pay 80 percent, leaving the city to pay $9,600.
• Asked Ms. Dillon to include on the sales tax reports whether the current amount is an increase or a decrease from the same time for the previous year, instead of the previous month.
• Was informed by Harrison that he called and congratulated Boys & Girls Clubs of North-west Tennessee Chief Professional Officer Ven-cent Bell on cleaning up the grounds at the former Central Elementary School.
• Discussed the condition of the parking lot and the lights at County Market Place. It is a topic which comes up periodically at council meetings. Hailey said it is private property and there isn’t much the city can do about it.
• Informed members of the audience that the city, in an effort to get Main Street open to through traffic in the quickest way possible, have agreed to allow Emily Timm Elliston, owner of the former KT building, to fix the building. The city had suggested it be condemned, but Hailey said that process would take longer.
Ms. Elliston has 60 days to make repairs so the street can be reopened. Her deadline is Dec. 1.
• Discussed, at the request of Cranford, making Ury Street one way. Acting Police Chief Perry Barfield said he had taken a look at the street and it is narrow enough from Bransford Street north to Church Street to make it a one-way street. He added he researched accident reports and could not find any in recent years, even for parked vehicles being hit.
Cranford said there are a lot of cars which stayed parked on the street, with Barfield saying the council might consider no parking on Ury Street.
Hailey and Harrison both said if there have not been any accidents, they don’t see a need to change anything.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at dryder@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 10.17.12

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