Walking them through the process

Bob Safin, chief engineer with TLM Associates, explains the requirements and restrictions that delay many of the city projects being funded by grants. For example, a sidewalk project in the Henry County High School area will likely not be started until late this summer or early next year.

Paris land owners will see a 4-cent increase in property taxes in the upcoming fiscal year if the Paris Commission approves the rate on second reading at a called meeting set for 5 p.m. June 27.

The new rate would be 77 cents per $100 of assessed property value, as opposed to the current rate of 73 cents.

At the meeting later this month, commissioners will be asked to also approve the 2019-20 city budget on second reading.

“The most significant reason for the increase is the ongoing erosion of local sales tax revenue due to online purchasing,” City Manager Kim Foster said.

“The increase will minimally affect, however, the average home owner,” she added.

“For example, a property owner whose home is appraised at $100,000 will see an increase of about $10 to their property tax.”

The new budget will include a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all city employees, a 9.5 percent increase in the city’s share of employee health care premiums and $500,000 for asphalt, up from $400,000.

“This will allow us, according to bids we’ve received, to pave almost eighty streets,” Foster said.

There will also be capital purchases citywide of just more than $639,000, the most significant being a new rear-loading sanitation truck in the amount of $170,000.

Eight different grant projects are also included in the budget: the Eiffel Tower Park splash pad, sidewalks in the Henry County High School and Rhea Elementary School area, three new traffic signals downtown, replacement of the Rison Street bridge as well as upgrades and handicapped accesibility around the Eiffel Tower.

Both the tax rate and budget were approved unanimously on first reading.

One resolution authorizing indebtedness for the splash pad project was approved and another authorizing a loan for it were both approved.

Two items on the agenda were referred to the Paris Municipal Regional Planning Commission.

One was a rezoning request for property at the corner of West Wood and North Irvine streets. The other was a request by a land owner to acquire city right-of-way at the dead end of Crosswy Street, just off Greer Street.

“Retail sales tax revenue in March was the highest monthly increase this year at 4.43 percent compared to last year. We are just slightly behind for the fiscal year to date,” Traci Shannon, finance director, said.

She also said revenues were ahead of expenditures in April, but that will not happen in May because of the large principal payments that will have to be made on the city’s bonded debt.

Two members of the Paris-Henry County Library Board were approved for additional three-year terms: Troy Barrow and Jack Spencer. Kathy Caldwell was also approved for another three-year term on the Paris-Henry County Volunteer Center Board.

In other action, the commission uanimously approved on first reading an adjustment on sale times for alcoholic beverages to coincide with state law. A resolution to amend the personnel rules and regulations for the Public Works dispatcher position was also approved.

The change was sought because of numerous additional tasks and responsibilities the dispatcher has been assigned.

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