McMinnville officials had their first look at the city’s budget for fiscal year 2012-13 Tuesday night. It appears it will pass unchanged.
The board voted 6-1 in favor of the budget with Mayor Norman Rone and Aldermen Jimmy Haley, Billy Wood, Rick Barnes, Clair Cochran and Junior Medley voting for it, and Vice Mayor Everett Brock voting against it.
Brock says he voted against the budget, in part, because it did not include a property tax decrease.
“I voted against because I’m not quite happy with the budget,” said Brock. “We should have cut the tax rate. I could see us not doing the whole 19 cents, but I would have been good with 10 cents. Everyone else just blew it off.”
He denies the reduction was politically motivated.
“I’m not doing this because I’m running for election again,” said Brock. “I know people are saying that it is, but it’s not. Some on the board said ‘why cut it when we will have to raise it in two to three years.’ That’s two to three years down the road. We can give people relief until then. A property tax reduction was the right thing to do.”
While the property tax rate will remain the same as last year, the amount donated to nonprofit organizations increased by $100,000. Brock says while his main reason for voting against the budget was the lack of a property tax reduction, he also had problems with the donations.
“I won’t say exactly which ones I had problems with,” he said. “I will say there was under-funding and over-funding when it comes to nonprofit donations. I thought some got far too much. Despite that, the main reason for my vote against the budget was they didn’t cut the tax rate.”
Among the donations was one to Industrial Development Board in the amount of $34,000. While IDB asked for an additional $16,000, they did not get it.
“I know the last meeting was somewhat confusing, but the Finance Committee did not give IDB $50,000,” said Brock. “I was out-voted on that one, too.”
Committee members Aldermen Clair Cochran and Billy Wood voted in favor of $34,000, which is what the city gave the organization last year. Brock voted against it.
The budget must pass one more read before the board. Changes can still be made.