BY DAVID FISHER
GREENFIELD (June 9) — The third and final reading of the City of Greenfield’s budget for FY 2020-2021 was approved during the regular monthly meeting of the Greenfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday, June 9. The city’s budget previously received board approval on first and second reading during meetings on May 26 and June 2, respectively.
One of most important highlights of the budget is no property tax increase for FY 2020-2021.
Under the FY 2020-2021 budget, the tax rate remains set at $1.7322 per $100 of assessed value.
Estimated revenues and expenditures within the various city funds are as follows:
• General Fund: revenues = $1,277,050; expenditures = $1,261,898
• Drug Control Fund: revenues = $3,060; expenditures = $2,000
• State Street Aid: revenues = $76,850; expenditures = $72,000
• Solid Waste Fund: revenues = $173,380; expenditures = $162,000
• Water and Sewer Fund: revenues = $656,000; expenditures = $494,102
Capital projects for the next fiscal year include $11,567 for a new police vehicle; $75,000 for General Fund Street Repair; and $40,000 provided by State Aid funding, which will also be used for street repairs. Some of the streets to be repaired include McCumber Road, Jackson Street and South Second Street.
During a public hearing, prior to a final vote on the budget, local citizen and former board member, Frank Gibson stated, during a United Way meeting earlier that day, he learned there is a 21 percent reduction of funding allocations for Greenfield Senior Center. However, he noted the money carried over from the current fiscal year will help offset the reduction in revenues for FY 2020-2021.”
When it came to a vote, the city’s budget was approved 8-0 with all members present.
The Greenfield City Board honored the Greenfield Lady Yellowjackets by approving a resolution acknowledging the team’s perfect season. The Lady Jackets finished the season (34-0) and were in the semifinals of the state tournament before TSSAA officials canceled the games due to COVID-19. (See separate article, “City of Greenfield Honors Lady Yellowjackets.”)
The first of three readings of an ordinance presented by Weakley County Election Commission Director Alex Britt to establish absentee by mail ballot voting procedures for non-resident property owners in municipal elections was unanimously approved.
Britt said the city charter authorizes property rights voting for persons residing outside the corporate limits of the City of Greenfield, who own real property inside the city.
According to Britt, the Tennessee General Assembly adopted legislation amending Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 2, Chapter 6, Part 6, which authorizes municipalities that allow property rights voting to direct property rights voters to cast their municipal ballots as absentee by mail ballots through duly adopted legislation.
“The Weakley County Election Commission recommends and requests the City of Greenfield adopt the absentee by mail ballot procedure for property rights voters,” Britt added.
“The voting procedure is intended to increase and encourage voter participation in city elections and the efficiency of municipal elections on all persons involved in the election process.
The ordinance calls for the following language to be added to the city’s ordinances in a new numbered section and /or subsection pertaining to elections, as follows: “All persons residing outside the corporate limits of the City of Greenfield, who own real property within the city and who are entitled to vote in the Greenfield municipal elections, pursuant to Section 2(4) of the city charter, along with other general law requirements, shall cast their ballot in the City of Greenfield, municipal elections by absentee by-mail ballots.”
Britt stated applications to vote by mail will be mailed to the property rights voters, but, at their discretion, they can complete and return the applications. He noted, this will avoid voters standing in two separate lines to cast their ballots. It also alleviates anxiety by poll workers, since this is something they seldom deal with during local elections.
“The City of Greenfield has 42 citizens registered for property rights voting,” Britt said. “It will simplify the process for voters and election workers.”
Alderman James Roy Pope asked, “What do you do if two people’s names are on the property? Do both people get a vote?
Brit replied, “State law says that only two owners of the property can register to vote, and they must each own 50 percent.”
Pope asked, “What happens if someone owns multiple pieces of property inside the city limits?”
Britt said, “State law mandates they can only register on one piece of property. You don’t have this situation here in Greenfield, but in a city that has wards, a voter would have to choose one property.”
When the issue came to a vote, the board approved the ordinance 8-0.
After the board approved the ordinance, Britt stated the second reading could be held in July and the third reading in August. He noted this will allow plenty of time to get the applications, and a letter explaining voting procedures, in the hands of non-resident voters before the November 3 election.
Pemberton stated out-of-town property owners are required to bring a deed from the registers of deeds office showing ownership and their percentage of interest in the property to show election workers.
In other business, the board amended the FY 2019-2020 budget by transferring money from line items with excess funds into those showing a shortfall to balance the budget.
Another topic of discussion was the sale of over five acres of land on Terrace Drive. According to City Recorder Callie Smithson, the city requested $75,000 for the property, but only received an offer of $38,000. She stated the offer was made by Bankcorp South, which serves as trustee for the property, after the bank had the land appraised.
An acre of the property will be retained for the city’s lift station.
Smithson stated the money received from the land sale will be used to pave streets.
The board voted to submit a counteroffer of $50,000. The motion passed 7-1, with Alderman Thomas Tansil voting against the land sale.
On the recommendation of Fire Chief Bob Dudley, the board released the Barbara Smith property on Hwy 45 North from the list of homes in need of repair, because the property has been cleaned up, as instructed by the city.
The board also rezoned the former Bob Hearn building and other properties on North Second Street from B-1 business to R-1 residential at Dudley’s request. Attorney Pemberton stated the property meets applicable zoning standard and recommends approval.
Public Works Director Tony Stout reported his department installed a culvert on Hollywood Street because it had rusted. He stated another rusted culvert will also be replaced, due to the street collapsing.
Additionally, Greenfield Police Chief Joey Radford announced, after having been closed for the coronavirus, Greenfield City Court has reopened. He reported City Judge Langdon Unger was pleased with the way COVID-19 safety precautions were followed. Chief Radford stated a new police car was towed to the dealer, after the gas tank started leaking. However, he noted since the vehicle is still under warranty, it shouldn’t cost the city anything.
Mayor McAdams stated letters were mailed to area churches requesting donations to purchase school supplies for Greenfield Jr. High students. She remarked, so far, sufficient funds have not been received to do that, and the city may purchase pencils for the students.
According to Mayor McAdams, local sales taxes for the month of May amounts to $23,549.54, which is an increase of $4,260.74 over April’s collections. She said May’s state sales tax revenue totals $15,956.77, up $1,141.47 from April’s state sales tax collections.
“I think that’s awesome. We’re keeping our heads above water,” McAdams added, referring to the loss of sales tax revenues in other areas, due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
The mayor announced the Yard of the Month award was presented to Jean Carter, who resides at 107 Forrest Street; and the Business of the Month was received by Re-Max Solutions.
BY DAVID FISHER