Franklin FY ’24-’25 budget adopted by 5-2 vote

Published 3:10 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

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The Franklin City Council voted 5-2 on Monday, June 3, to adopt the proposed $81.74 million fiscal year 2024-25 city budget that features no increases to rates for real estate tax, personal property tax or utilities.

Ward 4 Councilman Dr. Linwood Johnson and Ward 3 Councilman Gregory McLemore cast the dissenting votes.

Prior to discussion and adoption of the budget, Interim Franklin City Manager Darlene Burcham gave a brief introduction, noting a couple minor changes to the budget since the May 13 public hearing.

“As the council is familiar, this has been a long process getting to this evening for the proposed adoption of the FY 24-25 budget,” she said. “Council has spent many hours and work sessions dealing with this.

“At your public hearing that you had on May the 13th, you suggested that we have some consideration of some additional items to be included, those being the Legal Aid Society and (Cover 3 Foundation), and we have included after discussing that with individual council members your interest in seeing that those be included,” she said, with Legal Aid slated to receive $5,674 and Cover 3 set to receive $2,000. “But other than that, the budget stands as it was presented to you in that public hearing on May the 13th.”

She said, “I want to say again, as I said at the last meeting, that this is the product of many of your employees, not just the former finance director and myself and the former manager, but of the departments that have brought this to you tonight.”

Johnson voted against adopting the budget because he wanted to see local funding for Franklin City Public Schools moved from the proposed $4,330,237 to the division’s asked-for $4.9 million. He indicated that having the division now fully staffed with teachers made funding at the $4.9 million level particularly important.

“My question to my colleagues as well as to myself is do we promote the success and well-being of each student?” he said. “And I did not see in the budget where that was $4.9 (million). That’s my issue.”

McLemore noted that real property values in the city increased significantly with the recent reassessment, which means citizens will be paying more in taxes even without the city raising the real property tax rate.

“We have the authority to lower tax rates the same way we do to raise tax rates, and had we lowered the tax rates, that would have equaled out to the assessments that have gone up on our citizens,” he said. “So with that in mind, I can’t see in good conscience voting for a budget that is going to take more money out of our citizens’ pockets.”