Beginning in January, the Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) began working on balancing the Town’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
With weekly work sessions, the BMA was completely immersed in examining the current revenue sources, studying town department’s individual budgets, and prioritizing capital projects. Despite weak revenue growth and the rising costs of goods and services, Collierville officials announced that the town will not have a tax increase in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
“Balancing this year’s budget was a challenge, as we are still recovering from the loss of the Tennessee Hall Income Tax and are experiencing weak revenue growth,” said Mayor Stan Joyner. “However, we are committed to being financially conservative with the budget by requiring Town Departments to keep their operating costs flat while maintaining a high level of service to Collierville residents.
“We are pleased to announce that there will not be a tax increase this year,” he continued.
The sources where the Town is experiencing a loss or weak revenue, include the Tennessee Hall Income Tax and the local option sales tax.
The Tennessee Hall Income tax started to phase out in 2018 by the state; the tax on earned income from investments equated to about $1.5 million annually as revenue for the town’s budget.
The local option sales tax revenue has had a recent decline, and is projected to show only minor growth into the upcoming fiscal year.
As part of the budget process, Department Directors met with Town Administrator James Lewellen to present and discuss their individual budgets. Knowing that revenue sources were weak, Lewellen encouraged the departments to keep their operating costs the same, and allow the BMA to focus on capital improvement projects — these projects help maintain or improve a Town asset, often related to infrastructure.
Knowing the state of the Town’s revenue and entrusting Town Departments to operate within their current budgets, the BMA was able to prioritize the focus and project list to meet the immediate needs of the Collierville community.
The budget work sessions have ended, but the budget remains to be adopted in the coming weeks. The next process began with a reading of the tax rate on Monday during a meeting in the Board of Chambers.