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Mayor Rogero presents the budgetMayor Rogero Rolls Out Proposed Budget for FY 2012-13

April 27, 2012 - Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero presented her proposed 2012-2013 Fiscal Year Budget today to City Council members and the public - reflecting her commitment to strong neighborhoods, a greener Knoxville, an energized downtown and job creation.

More than 750 people gathered at Victor Ashe Park in northwest Knoxville to hear Mayor Rogero's first budget address in which she embraced sound fiscal practices and dealt head on with the challenges of the City's pension shortfall.

"The decisions made to guide this budget will have a lasting impact," said Mayor Rogero. "We have the opportunity to invest in our great city while working efficiently to minimize demands on taxpayers."

The 2012-2013 FY Budget has a 4.87% increase in the General Fund, which is the main operating fund of the City and on which its tax rate is based. The General Fund total is $180,562,500, and the Capital Budget is $24,396,890.

Much of the reason for the increase in the General Fund is due to health care costs, benefits and the City's pension contribution. An increase of $2.2 million to the pension plan, with the total budgeted contributions at $14.4 million, is included in the budget. Mayor Rogero is also proposing $10 million be taken from the fund balance to pay down unfunded pension liability.

Among other items in the proposed FY 2012-13 budget are:

Funding for the Office of Sustainability at $146,120, which covers two staff people and office expenses that had been funded by grants
Full funding of the City's street paving program at $5.45 million
Blighted Properties & Codes Enforcement: Funding for an Administrative Hearing Officer at $20,000; $100,000 in seed funding for Demolition by Neglect program to ensure that historic properties are not condemned to destruction due to inaction of owners; and $800,000 for chronic problem and blighted properties (an increase of $300,000)
A 25% increase in the tree-planting program to $50,000; an Urban Forester budgeted at $64,770. There is also an extension for First Creek greenway from Woodland to Edgewood Park at $1,060,000
A total of $1.73 million proposed for new construction and repair of sidewalks and crosswalks including sidewalk and crosswalk improvements on Sutherland Avenue across from the new UT athletic fields
Additional $2.6 million to complete new level and pedestrian overpass for State Street Garage
Increase of $50,000 in operating expenses for Knoxville Zoo for a total of $500,000 to also include renovation of facilities
Total of $125,000 for partnership with KCDC and CAC to fund case managers for KCDC residents in danger of becoming homeless
Public Works facility planning and design services budgeted at $700,000 for a proposed Public Works complex
$500,000 for flooding issues in Cross Park Drive area and $850,000 for other neighborhood drainage issues. Total of $350,000 allocated for water quality improvements, an increase of $50,000.
New allocations include $500,000 for projects in Downtown North; $200,000 for Magnolia Warehouse Redevelopment area; an additional $200,000 for Jackson Avenue redevelopment; and $200,000 for the commercial façade improvement program
$195,000 for HVAC improvements at Civic Coliseum
Operating grants totaling $359,000 for Knoxville Symphony, the Art Museum and 19 other arts and cultural groups.

The proposed budget includes no layoffs or tax increases. City Council will begin legislative hearings on the budget in May.