Surgoinsville approves balanced budget despite dissent over paving allocations

Jeff Bobo • Updated Aug 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave its final approval Monday to a balanced 2018-19 budget with no tax increase, but there was some dissension over the amount of funding allocated for paving.

The city received permission from the state to use $123,000 in unused sewer grant funding to cover the cost of repaving Old Stage Road between Main Street and Church Street, and then a section of Church Street as well.

That section of roadway had been torn up for the installation of sewer lines, and then an area between the library and Main Street was also torn up to fix water line leaks.

Mayor Merrell Graham told the BMA that the contractor expects to begin the Old Stage Road and Church Street paving within the week.

However, those aren’t Surgoinsville’s only rough roads by a long shot.

Last month, the first reading of the 2018-19 budget passed 4-3 with Aldermen Dale Byington, John Sandidge and Ken Bass voting “no” due to only $15,000 being allocated for paving.

The budget approved 5-2 Monday included a $40,000 allocation for paving and road repairs, but Byington and Sandidge again voted “no.”

“I still don’t believe that’s enough,” Byington said.

“We could triple that and it wouldn’t be enough,” Graham replied. “And, to be honest, we’re still looking. There could be some more money that we could take out of this (for paving), and I hope there is. I don’t think roads are a unique problem for the town of Surgoinsville. I think everybody is looking at the same thing.”

Graham told the Times News Tuesday some of the worst roads to be addressed include Ridge Street, Arnold Road and the remainder of Church Street, to name a few.

He said those projects will be discussed further by the BMA before a final decision is made where to pave in 2018-19.

As for other aspects of the budget, the property tax rate will remain at $1.20.

Overall 2018-19 revenue is projected at $900,897, while expenditures are projected at $900,692, leaving a slim budget surplus of $205 projected for June 30, 2019.

Surgoinsville is also projected to end the 2018-19 fiscal year with a fund balance of $388,303.

Aside from paving, the only big capital outlay purchase this year will be a new police vehicle with payments amounting to $9,042 in 2018-19.

Auto sales on 11-W

The BMA also approved the first reading of an ordinance adding auto sales as part of the uses allowed in the B-3 zone, which encompasses all municipal Highway 11-W frontage.

Graham noted that there is a garage owner on 11-W who would like to begin selling cars, although he will have to buy a permit and meet state regulations, such as paving his lot and maintaining public restrooms.

The BMA also approved the first reading of an ordinance setting that fee amount at $100.

An alleged illegal mobile home

In other business, the BMA authorized City Attorney Joe May to take legal action if necessary against Patrick Landon Rakes for allegedly violating city code by placing a mobile home on his property located on Forest View Drive.

The mobile home had been given a variance after much discussion between Rakes and the BMA, due to the fact that it was being used for storage and not as a domicile.

A recent report by building inspector Vince Pishner revealed that the mobile home had been occupied as a residence, resulting in the BMA’s action Monday.

A new bank moving in

The BMA also heard a report from Graham that the new occupants of the local bank building had been working on the facilities and had been renovating the restroom lately into a handicapped accessible facility.

Graham said it wasn’t appropriate for him to announce the name of the new bank moving in and that the bank will make that announcement when it is ready.