Oak Grove City Council met Wednesday night for a special called meeting to vote on the second reading of an ordinance adopting the 2021-22 budget and a tax levy ordinance slightly increasing property tax for Oak Grove residents.

As official business began, council first considered the second reading of a tax levy ordinance as it is intended to be included in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget.

Oak Grove Finance Director Bobbie Crawford explained at a previous council meeting that the tax lexy proposed an increase of 4% property tax, which was presented as a way to increase revenue to be put towards the council’s long-term goal of transitioning from an all volunteer fire department to a partially paid department.

Crawford previously explained that the 4% change would increase the current property tax from $.255 per $100 of value to $.265 per $100. She added that property tax in Oak Grove has not been changed for the last 15 years.

The tax increase came about as a way to pay for the council’s proposal of paying Oak Grove Volunteer Firefighters a per-call stipend, which will cost the city a total of $107,325, bumping up the total OGVFD budget for the next fiscal year to $200,000, Crawford previously explained.

At that previous meeting, the council voted to approve the first reading of the tax levy ordinance.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the council jumped straight into the second reading of the tax ordinance, ultimately voting unanimously to approve the second reading without additional discussion.

Following that decision, the council heard the second reading of the next fiscal year budget.

Prior to the official second reading, Oak Grove Mayor Theresa Jarvis gave a budget address, sharing the highlights of the 2021-22 budget.

Jarvis shared that the budget’s revenue equals its expected expenditures at $8,202,625, the 4% property tax increase for Oak Grove residents as well as a 50% tangible personal property tax decrease for businesses operating in Oak Grove.

The new budget also includes a new longevity pay scale pilot program for the police department and 1.5% cost of living increase.

“If the longevity pay scale pilot program works well for the police department during this fiscal year (2021-22) a similar pay scale will be developed for the other departments in the next fiscal budget (2022-23),” Jarvis said of the pay scale pilot program.

Jarvis added the new budget includes over $905,000 in capital expenditures for public safety.

Oak Grove City Attorney Mark Gilbert then moved to read the official second reading of the budget before council voted to adopt it.

Ultimately, the council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance adopting the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget.

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