KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a budget on first reading that does not include a property tax increase, despite the impacts of inflation, increased costs, and a property tax ratio assessment.

However, there will be an increase in water and sewer rates.

During Tuesday night’s board meeting, City Manager Chris McCartt said the proposed fiscal year 2024 budget keeps funding mostly flat for most city departments. It also features funding for school resource officers in every school and nine new positions, including eight SROs and one code enforcement officer. Additional funding from the state will help offset the cost of SROs.

McCartt said the budget was restructured to cover losses without significant cuts or a tax increase. The city will use $3.4 million in American Rescue Plan funds to cover paving projects while funds that were originally earmarked for paving will be redispersed to cover losses stemming from the property tax ratio assessment. The city will also issue an additional $3.4 million in bonds to offset the loss of American Rescue Plan funding and avoid negatively impacting the library renovation project.

Although there won’t be a property tax increase, water rates will increase by 4.5% and sewer rates by 5.75%, higher than the originally-planned rate increases of 3.75% and 4.25%. Speaking to the BMA, Assistant City Manager Ryan McReynolds cited inflation and increased chemical and electricity costs as reasons for the higher-than-expected rate increases.

The proposed budget will come up for a final vote during the board’s June 20 meeting.