Dickson City Council Previews 24-25 Budget, Proposes Property Tax Reduction

By Breanna Franklin

DICKSON, Tenn. — The Dickson City Council reviewed a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, set to begin on July 1, which includes a reduction in the city’s property tax rate. Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. and City Administrator Rydell Wesson presented a draft budget of $35.2 million at the council’s Finance and Management Committee meeting on Monday, May 20.

The proposed budget reduces the property tax rate from 77.35 cents to 72 cents per $100 assessed value. Despite awaiting the state-certified tax rate following this year’s mandated reappraisal process, Mayor Weiss expressed confidence that the reduction will still generate sufficient revenue to meet the city’s needs.

City Administrator Wesson projected that the 72-cent property tax rate will generate $5.6 million, up from the $4.5 million expected from the current 77.35-cent rate. Property taxes account for less than 18 percent of the city’s total revenue, with local and state sales taxes comprising over 42 percent. Sales tax revenue is anticipated to grow from $12.7 million to $13.3 million.

The budget draft estimates $30.5 million in revenues against $34.3 million in expenses, covering the shortfall with $3.777 million from the city’s $21.5 million reserves. Operating expenses are projected at $27.6 million, with $7.5 million allocated for projects and capital purchases.

Mayor Weiss highlighted three major projects for the city’s future:

  1. Replacing Dickson Fire Department Station #2: The current facility is outdated and the department has outgrown it. The city plans to build a new 5,000-7,000-square-foot station on Marshall Stuart Drive in the William D. Field-Dickson County Industrial Park, at an estimated cost of $3-4 million, though no funds are allocated for this in the FY24-25 budget.
  2. Aquatic and Recreational Center in Henslee Park: Discussions are underway with a company to design the facility and with the Dickson County Family YMCA to operate it. The $25 million project will include amenities like an indoor pool and gymnasium, with the YMCA committed to raising $10 million. This project is also not funded in the upcoming budget.
  3. New City Hall: A new building is proposed to replace the current City Hall and Municipal Building. Estimated at $25 million, the new three-story, 45,000-square-foot facility will consolidate city administrative offices. Again, funds are separate from the FY24-25 budget draft for this project.

If the council approves these projects, the city may seek up to $54 million in bonds to finance them.

The proposed budget also includes several expenditures:

  • Four percent raises for all employees.
  • $225,000 for a sanitation truck.
  • $150,000 for three police department Ford Explorers.
  • $63,000 for a fire department pickup.
  • $48,000 for a personnel transport van.
  • $270,000 for a brush truck.
  • $34,100 for Public Works Department garage equipment.
  • $26,000 for 400 garbage cans.
  • $50,000 for a Parks and Recreation Department pickup.
  • Various amounts for additional Public Works Department equipment and projects.

The budget allocates $350,000 for a playground and pavilion near the Skatepark, $750,000 for paving, $100,000 for sidewalks, and $135,000 to upgrade streetlights on Interstate 40 ramps. An increase in the city’s allocation to the Humane Society of Dickson County from $60,000 to $100,000, along with $15,000 for a spay/neuter program, is also included.

Mayor Weiss plans to present the final budget for the first vote at the council’s June 3 meeting, with a public hearing and a second vote scheduled for June 17. The new budget takes effect on July 1.

Breanna Franklin is originally from Orlando, Florida, and lives in Clarksville, Tennessee where she currently attends Austin Peay State University. There she studies Communications Broadcast Media where she is also a part of APSU TV.