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Franklin mayor warns of tough budget year

Now that town aldermen have a preliminary budget in front of them, the Franklin leaders are ready to begin an arduous process.

Mayor Bob Scott read a prepared statement to the public during a Monday night town meeting. He said the board was about to embark on the most unpopular part of town government — deciding what will get funded for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The town’s proposed budget is about $3.8 million — a slight increase from the 2014-15 budget of $3.7 million.

“This year I’m not going to sugarcoat what might happen,” he said. “I might have to ask for a significant tax increase to make up for cuts at the state and federal level. I hope it isn’t necessary, but if it is I’m willing to call for it.”

Scott said the town was unsure about what revenues would be coming in but is expecting less sales tax funding and less Powell Bill funding for maintaining roads. 

With the General Assembly’s push to make municipal and school board elections partisan, its meddling in annexation issues and taking water systems away from local governments, Scott said the Legislature has been “downright unfriendly to municipalities.”

Scott said the town has worked to cut costs wherever possible without cutting services to its residents. He urged all residents to take part in the budget process this year by attending budget workshops and sharing their opinions with the board. He said this year’s proposed budget was the most detailed and professional he has seen. 

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“There’s no doubt where our money is going — no miscellaneous categories,” he said. 

The board set a budget workshop for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16, at Franklin Town Hall.

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