Murfreesboro dips into fund balance

Published 10:40 am Friday, July 1, 2011

MURFREESBORO — The tax rate here will take a tumble for the upcoming fiscal year.

On Tuesday, the Murfreesboro Town Council approved a budget that lowers the tax rate by two cents to 66 cents per $100 of value. The budget’s $1,965,205 general fund is slightly higher than the previous year.

However, despite the benefits to town taxpayers, the budget also brought its downsides, including reductions to department budgets.

“There were significant cuts across the board,” said Town Administrator Brandon Holland.

According to Interim Town Administrator Richard Hicks, who formulated the budget, one of the largest departmental cuts was the elimination of an open position in the Police Department. Other departments saw cuts in supplies and capital outlay. There will also be no salary increases for employees, which Hicks said has not happened in a while. Funding for the Elizabeth Sewell Parker Library will stay the same for this upcoming fiscal year.

The town’s fund balance also took a 14 percent hit, bringing the town’s percentage to 20. Hicks said approximately $248,000 had to be transferred from fund balance to the general fund in order to balance the budget.

“It’s still a healthy fund balance (in accordance to the Local Government Commission),” said Hicks.

The LGC requires local governments to maintain, at a minimum, eight percent in their fund balance. Though the 20 percent is above the LGC requirement, Murfreesboro’s percentage will fall below 30 percent as obligatory by town policy.

Hicks said the next step after that dip below the 30 percent is for Holland to formulate an action plan.