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Board moves forward with ‘historic’ budget

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The Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen came a step closer to passing the town’s budget for the next fiscal year Monday night.
Board members unanimously approved the 2015 operating budget on second reading after a presentation from Town Administrator James Lewellen.
Before breaking down specific elements of the budget, Lewellen reminded board members of its significance.
“Next year is going to be a big year for us,” he said. “There are numerous historical milestones that we are going to encounter.”
Lewellen cited the completion of the historic high school and Highway 72, and the opening of Hinton Park and the Collierville Municipal School System as four major achievements slated within the next fiscal year.
Noting that the creation of the school system has “transformed” the town’s budget, Lewellen said there is “nothing more significant” in the town’s history than opening the school system.
“We are going from a corporation with 508 employees and about a $62 million budget,” he said, “to a corporation with of 1,219 employees and a $130 million budget.”
The 2015 budget estimates that the town will collect $22.9 million in property tax revenue within the next fiscal year, an increase of $1 million compared to the previous year.
Lewellen said the town projects to gain between 1,600 and 1,800 new residents next year.
Nearly $14 million is expected to be generated from the local option sales tax, of which $4.3 million will go to the school system.
Total revenue for the town is estimated at $49.9 million for the 2015 fiscal year. Expenditures are budgeted at $44.1 million.
“Things really, really look good,” said Mayor Stan Joyner. “One thing this board takes great pride in is the fact that we are not going to be borrowing money any money initially to start our school system. That is more affirmation that our numbers were right.”
Among the town’s $5.5 million in capital investment projects slated for next year are $1.3 million for water distribution system improvements, $937,500 for the Highway 57 widening project and $500,000 for the Poplar Ave. and Collierville-Arlington Road signal project.
The board will vote on the budget on third and final reading June 24.

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