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City budget falls short . . . again

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By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
It was back to the drawing board for Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead and City Council as they failed to pass a budget yet again during a special called meeting Monday night.

The vote was 3-2 with Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler and Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston voting against the proposed 2011-2012 budget with expenditures of $57.3 million and revenues of $56.8 million.

Four votes are required to pass the measure, and in the event of a 3-3 tie, Craighead can cast a vote either way. Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath was absent from the meeting as she is recovering from pneumonia.

The council did, however, unanimously pass a certified tax rate, increasing the citys property taxes to 34.5 cents for every $100 of assessed value. The measure has passed on two readings and must pass a third and final reading.

State law requires the city to pass a new tax rate by Sept. 1 or the rate will drop back to 33.5 cents and the city could lose a possible $90,000 in revenue if the old tax rate remains in place.

The council withdrew an ordinance to raise Water and Sewer rates by 14 percent because of Warmaths absence. The ordinance has been withdrawn from the past several meetings due to her absence.

The council will meet again in another special called meeting at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30, to attempt to pass on third reading the new certified tax rate before the Sept. 1 deadline. The 2011-2012 fiscal year budget is not on the agenda for the Aug. 30 special called meeting.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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