Harriman marks ‘12 years in a row’ of no tax increases

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By Cindy Simpson

Harriman taxpayers won’t have the city dipping into their pockets for more money for city coffers.
Harriman City Council approved first reading of a budget last week that includes keeping the tax rate at $1.20 per $100 valuation.
Council members will likely discuss the budget in a June 25 workshop before considering final reading at the first meeting of July.
“This makes about 12 years in a row we haven’t raised them,” said Harriman Mayor Chris Mason recently.
The budget has projected revenue and funds of $8.2 million and appropriations of $7.2 million.
It also includes 2-percent across-the-board pay raises for city employees.
Treasurer Charles Kerley had previously expressed concern about cash flow for a number of grant projects, including the Cornstalk Heights grant project that would put street lighting and walking trails along Morgan and Walden avenues and traffic lights downtown.
The Cornstalk Heights project has been delayed for various reasons since it was awarded several years ago, and officials have blamed changing requirements from the state as the cause.
Kerley’s main concern is delays of state reimbursement for money the city spent on the projects.
At a recent workshop, council members discussed using a grant anticipation note if need be to cover the costs until the city could be reimbursed.
Kerley now thinks it won’t be necessary, though he’s budgeted $500,000 — much larger than he would think they would need even if a note is needed.
“I put it in as a safety net,” he said. “My guess is we may not have to use it because these projects are kind of late in starting. We set down and worked out a schedule we thought would be the payment per month and also when we expect to get reimbursed from the state.”
Only a few years remain on loans the city took out to pay for infrastructure improvements at Pinnacle Pointe.
Once that money is free, city officials are looking to use those funds for paving and other projects.