Harriman budget up for approval

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By Cindy Simpson



Harriman City Council is planning second and final reading of the city’s budget this week.

The budget, set for final reading at 6 p.m. Aug. 21, so far doesn’t have a property tax increase.

“We’ll try to limp on,” Mayor Chris Mason said. “I’m not going to propose one.”

Officials are proud to say they’ve not raised taxes, but some like Mason said it is coming eventually.

Harriman residents have paid considerably less taxes over the years than 20 years ago.

Even if a 25-cent tax rate outgoing Councilman J.D. Sampson queried last week were to pass, which is unlikely, the residents would still be paying less than they did 20 years ago, when the city had a school system.

A 25-cent increase would raise an estimated $250,000.

The tax rate has mostly steadily went down over the years, as high as $2.87 in 1993 to $1.1933 in 2010, which the city rounded up to a flat $1.20 per $100 valuation in 2011.

In 2010, the city’s rate of $1.47 per $100 valuation dropped to $1.1933 per $100 valuation after the property reassessment.

While the city’s property tax rate has changed, the city’s economic picture and population makeup has changed as well.

Over the years, the once booming industrial center has seen a lot of closings. Those that closed in the last half century include the paper mill and a pair of hosiery mills that employed numerous people.

A need for good-paying jobs in Roane County was one of the issues Treasurer Charles Kerley said needs to be addressed to help the area thrive.

Other elements of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 include: a 2-percent pay raise for city employees and the hiring of a city manager.