Munford is adding significant personnel and services to its residents in the 2019-20 budget, but it will come at a cost.
In a unanimous 4-0 vote at Monday’s Munford Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, a $3.998 million budget passed that includes a 20-cent property tax hike. The rate went from $1.23 to $1.43, giving the town the highest tax rate among cities in Tipton County.
The owner of a house valued at $200,000 will pay approximately $100 more in property taxes to the city per year.
Aldermen Jack Bomar, Bob Wilson, Sue Arthur and Ray Deneka voted in favor of the budget and tax hike. Aldermen Lonnie Glass and Glenn Turner were absent Monday, but Deneka said Turner asked him to tell the board he would have voted against the budget. Turner also voted against the budget on its first reading last month.
The budget includes three new police cars, one new police officer, two additional paramedics/fire fighters and 10 new self-contained breathing apparatuses for the fire department. The cars and the three new positions add up to about $280,000, which is essentially the reason the tax rate is increasing.
“We have tried to come up with other ways to do this,” said Deneka, who made the motion to approve the budget. “I prefer not to raise taxes, but we felt like this had to be done.”
The addition of two new paramedics will give the city three, which allow for a paramedic to be on call 24 hours a day.
“Public safety is a high priority for us,” Cole said.
The budget also includes eight new tires for a fire truck and doubling the longevity pay for city employees to $10 per month.
Two Munford residents – David Braden and Greg Stimpson – spoke during open forum portion of the meeting and questioned the board about the tax hike.
Stimpson said, “It seems like we should be tightening our belts.”
“I would think people would be happy,” Bomar said, referring to the two new paramedics. “We’re not being frivolous up here. We’re trying to make us the safest place we can be.”
Added Cole: “This will improve our quality of life.”