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City council member opposes property tax hike

By Laura Halm
Published On: May 29 2013 08:32:27 PM CDT
Updated On: May 29 2013 08:33:11 PM CDT
BRISTOL TN CITY COUNCIL BUDGET
BRISTOL, Tenn. -

City leaders in Bristol, Tennessee are doing the math before raising property taxes and one council member we spoke with doesn't want you to have to pay more next year.

Property taxes in Bristol, Tennessee have not gone up in four-years.

Balancing a budget is no easy task leaders in Bristol, Tennessee are looking at a $106-million budget for 2014.

One thing on the table is a hike in property tax by 12-cents. "This is not the right time to increase taxes," said Council Member Ben Zandi.

Zandi has proposed several cost saving measures: one is closing the Avoca Branch Library, another possible move is charging non-residents $10 a month to use the Slater Center.

But Zandi also proposed slashing city funds for some non-profits. "I don't feel right as a government to collect taxes from you the citizen and take your money and donate to non-profit charities. You can do that on your own," said Zandi.

Zandi says the city donates about $300,000 a year to non-profit organizations like United Way, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, and Believe in Bristol.

Council member Joel Staton says he doesn't agree with delaying property tax increases as well as the idea of no longer funding charities.

"The United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and Back Packs for Children, they depend on those during the summer to eat," added Staton.

While nothing is set in stone just yet, non-profits like Believe in Bristol say any cut would hurt their budget.

"You can technically only have two community fundraisers per year so we have to come up with some more strategic ideas to make those fundraisers maybe a little bit bigger and better," said Christina Blevins with Believe in Bristol.

Before any budget is passed Bristol, Tennessee Council Members are meeting again in June.

We learned the public will have the chance to speak at the City Council's work session on Tuesday June 18th. That meeting will be at 7:00 pm held in the Ewell L. Easley Municipal Annex at 104 8th Street.