The city of Red Bank is considering increasing property taxes in the coming year to cover garbage collection fees, which have previously been handled by Tennessee American Water and included on residents' water bills. TAW announced several months ago that the agency would no longer be collecting garbage fees for several area municipalities, including Red Bank.
"We wanted to continue the agreement with Tennessee American Water," said Mayor Monty Millard of the city's previous arrangement for TAW to collect garbage fees at a cost of $16,500 to the city.
According to interim City Manager and Financial Director John Alexander, if the city collected the fees on its own, it could cost the city as much as $25 per resident every month just to break even. There are 11,651 residents in Red Bank.
"It would be an absolute nightmare," said Millard of the task of collecting unpaid fees, which he said residents have been motivated to pay in the past by risk of losing water service.
Alexander said including garbage fees in residents' property taxes could be beneficial to those who itemize their taxes, as property taxes are deductible and collection fees paid to TAW are not.
The City Commission plans to hold a special-called meeting, for which the date and time have yet to be announced, that will be open to the public and devoted entirely to comments relating to the proposed tax hike.
A second work study session (the first was held May 8), also open to the public, to discuss the city's budget is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 10 at 1 p.m.
Millard said the city's goal is to consider the budget on first reading in June.