Norris plans to hold tax rate for new budget of $1.866M

Norris plans to keep its current property tax rate in the fiscal year beginning July 1, according to the 2021 budget the City Council passed on first reading during its May meeting.

A “virtual” (electronic) public hearing on the new budget – which calls for nearly $1.866 million in expenditures for fiscal 2021 – will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 1.

The final reading of the budget ordinance will be during the June 8 regular meeting, which also will be online only.

The $1.866 million compares with $1.237 million in expenditures approved for the current budget year.

The big boost in the new budget will be paid for mostly by state grants to cover sidewalk improvements.

The new budget anticipates the city receiving $645,868 from the state, compared with just $220,000 in the current budget.

Construction on the East Norris sidewalk improvements is expected to be completed in August. Still pending is the Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk project, which is expected to begin during the coming budget year.

The city’s property tax rate is now $1.78 per $100 of assessment. That figure could be altered slightly in light of this year’s state-mandated 10-year property re-evaluation process that resulted in higher assessed values for many properties.

But the resulting tax bills should remain the same. Under the state’s rules regarding reassessments, they must be “revenue neutral,” which means that counties, cities and other taxing authorities must adjust their actual tax rates so they are not collecting more taxes simply because property values went up under the new assessments.

“We have a rate in here currently of $1.78 per $100,” City Manager Scott Hackler said. “That will get changed to revenue neutral.”

The new budget calls for some staff raises and a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment for city employees, Hackler said. That would increase the city payroll to $543,000 for the year, up from $530,000 this year.

The new budget anticipates local tax revenues totaling $965,500, compared with $945,498 that was estimated for the current fiscal year ending June 30.