Loudon City Council during its June 17 meeting approved the second reading of the 2019-20 budget, which includes a 6-cent increase to pave roads in the community.
The tax rate will increase Monday to $1.2367, which will be “earmarked toward paving, not just the general fund,” Jeff Harris, Loudon mayor, said.
Loudon’s street department budget will more than double to $2.18 million in hopes of paving a handful of roads in the city.
“It’s always really important to get the budget in place by the physical year when it needs to be,” Harris said. “We’ve had times when we needed to extend it because we didn’t have the budget finalized, but it’s always good to have it finalized on the second reading so we can move forward with the next calendar year to get things in place.”
Harris predicts the tax hike will not be permanent once more roads have been paved.
“The focus on this budget was paving, getting our city streets paved,” he said. “This budget does have a 6-cent tax increase in it for that very reason. That’s going to be earmarked toward paving our streets with the hope of rescinding it when the streets get paved and that 6 cents is no longer needed.”
Harris hopes to pave four to five streets this year.
“We’re hoping we can get all (of the streets) done, but we don’t know how far we’ll get with it,” he said. “The plan is for the next four years, three years, to have so many streets paved every year with that tax increase.”
Councilwoman Tammi Bivens stressed the importance of paving roads.
“Our roads have not gotten a lot of attention,” she said. “Not a lot of money has been spent on them, and infrastructure is very important. The longer we let them go, the more damage it creates. Our goal, I think, as a council, is to … get those types of things fixed so that we can keep growing.”
Bivens thinks the paving will also impact the city’s aesthetic.
“Hopefully before long, our roads will be looking very nice, and that will be something to be proud of,” she said.