To The Daily Sun,

Once again, the Franklin City Council has structured a 2018-2019 budget that provides more funding to the School District than was requested while maintaining the city’s tax cap. It took a lot of work, but in the end the proposed budget going to public hearing on July 18 is legal, meets the needs of all city government, and most importantly remains affordable for Franklin taxpayers.

The road getting to a legal budget was not smooth. With a goal of finding an additional $412,000 for schools, the City Council on June 28 voted to break the tax cap by exempting debt service payments — thus allowing an additional $700,000 to be raised by taxes and dedicated solely to the School District. The vote was highly controversial as it was predicated on an amendment that essentially would reverse this year’s council action and remove the additional $700,000 from next year’s tax cap calculation.

When the June 28 budget was presented to the City of Franklin’s legal counsel, it was determined both the amendment resetting next year’s revenue calculation to this year’s level and the debt service exempted to raise the $700,000 additional dollars were both outside the legal limits of the city charter. The city’s attorney recommended the entire motion be reconsidered and we essentially start over with a new budget proposal.

As is always the ending to a good story, at our July 2 City Council meeting the City Council heeded the advice of counsel, reconsidered its earlier motion and resolved the legal issues with the original budget proposal. In the end, the council delivered $422,000 dollars to the School District, beating their requested amount by $10,000. Most importantly, the School District’s needs were met without breaking the city’s “citizen mandated” tax cap.

It was a long budget season and a lot of late evenings, but in the end the City Council delivered what every taxpayer in Franklin deserves, a highly scrutinized, efficient expenditure of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

Tony Giunta

Mayor of Franklin

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