Collegedale’s budget for 2021-2021 passed on the first reading at the commission meeting Monday night without yet setting the tax rate. Before voting, Commissioner Ethan White and Vice Mayor Tim Johnson both said they would not vote for a property tax increase and would support adjusting the property tax rate down to the certified rate from Hamilton County when it is received. If the rate is left where it currently is at $1.65 per $100 of assessed value, the amount of tax the city receives would increase.
If the city adopts the lower certified rate, which will be given to Collegedale sometime in August or September, the city will receive the same amount in property taxes that it got in 2020-2021.
Some categories in the budget were questioned by a resident who noted increases this year in some areas. City Manager Wayon Hines said that because of unknowns in sales taxes last year due to the COVID pandemic, there was a reduction of the budget that has caused a larger increase in the 2022 budget over the year before. Also, some expenses have been moved to different categories to reflect more accurately where they will be spent. An example is including employee retention benefits in with salaries. Before, those benefits were a separate line item. Some capital projects include smart HVAC systems for city hall and the library, security cameras for Little Debbie Park, five Dodge Durangos, greenway and sidewalk projects and a new garbage truck. Both Commissioner White and Vice Mayor Johnson said that they do not see this budget requiring a tax increase.
The commissioners declined to adopt an interim tax rate, preferring to wait until the actual one is known. The motion passed to defer setting a property tax rate until the next meeting after the certified rate is received.
The vote was unanimous to raise the rates for sewer service to a more equitable amount. The new rate will match that of Chattanooga which is 20 percent lower than WWTA’s rate, the commissioners were told. Collegedale’s sewer rate will be going up $1 and change, said Mr. Hines. Some customers in Collegedale, however, are served by WWTA and the city has no say so in what WWTA does.
Rezoning two properties was passed on first reading Monday night. Property at 5450 Watkins St. was changed from R-2 low density and single family to MU-BC, Mixed Use Business Center. Prohibited uses of the property include mini warehouses, hotels and motels, gas service stations, adult-oriented establishments, commercial wireless communications structures and manufacturing. A public hearing and second and final reading of this ordinance will take place at the July 6 meeting.
Property on Apison Pike was rezoned on first reading from AG Agricultural to R-2 low density and single family zone. The property owner wishes to divide the 1.96-acre property in order to build a duplex on one of the lots that will be created, leaving an existing house on the other. The property cannot be split under the current AG zone. The planning commission recommended denying the change because of runoff conditions and a septic system that would be under a driveway, and recommended single family versus a duplex. The commissioners felt that the owner carefully screens his tenants and that there is a need for housing in the area. Also, it was felt that people should be allowed to use their property as they want to. There are also a cluster of duplexes nearby which have no history of problems with police calls. Commissioner Garver said consideration should be given to those who live beside the property and who would be most impacted. The rezoning was accepted with the condition of there being a buffer.
A buffer easement was granted for the force main project.
Approval was given to the city manager to surplus five vehicles. The money received will be put in the general fund.
An update has been made to the employees manual and the commissioners approved the changes or additions.