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City of Lexington discusses potential tax increase in budget meeting

LEXINGTON, Tenn. — Meetings continue for the City of Lexington as they work toward passing a city budget for fiscal year 2025.

Initially the city planned a 70% property tax increase, however that was met with criticism from residents.

Tonight they are working with much smaller numbers, but a tax increase nonetheless.

The meetings continue for the City of Lexington as Alderman and Mayor Griggs work to lower the size of a tax increase while simultaneously making sure they can satisfy the needs of various city departments. In Wednesday’s meeting, the board presented two budget proposals. One submitted by Alderman Fred Ellis and another by Mayor Jeff Griggs. In alderman Ellis’ proposal, a property tax increase of 18% is in place.

“18 cents gives us enough money where we do not have to dip into our rainy day fund, but it also gives us enough opportunity to go and do some capital projects,” said Ellis.

Capital projects such as two new police cars, totaling $120,000, $100,000 for street paving, and $70,000 for storm water control. Mayor Griggs budget proposal shows a property tax increase of 31.2% and includes much of the same amenities as alderman Ellis’.

“They were pretty well similar to the same, of course the step raises was in the one I had. Of course you know, it was brought up that the utilities had gotten those raises and we felt like the general fund employees should too,” said Griggs.

While both men want to bring the tax increase down, their budgets were both met with some criticism by the board. Both men also agreed that either budget will only get them to the next fiscal year, where they will both be facing the same issue as this year and they’ll once again, need another tax increase.

Both think it’s important to attempt to raise them as little as possible so the public isn’t experiencing a huge jump at one time.

“I am for incrementally raising it to what we need to get to, but that’s a moving target right now,” said Ellis.

“It’s hard to be in the position the board’s in and I understand the public too. I really do. So, what we need to do is keep that as low as we can go,” said Griggs.

Many residents of Lexington oppose the tax increases with some asking for no tax increase at all.

“We need to hold it down as low as we can go. Our department heads need to do a good job to stay within budget and we’ve just got to work hard to take care of people. But, over time with inflation, it just costs more to run but I do feel for the public. I really, really do,” said Griggs.

After reviewing the two budgets tonight, the board took a recess and agreed to meet again Thursday at 5 p.m.

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