Knoxville budget presented at State of the City Address
Highlights include more funding for affordable housing, outdoor recreation spaces, arts, public safety, and walkability.
Mayor Indya Kincannon proposed her 2023-24 budget at the State of the City Address in Western Heights Wednesday. The budget prioritizes public safety and high-quality core city services while providing the continued investment needed to maintain infrastructure, support affordable housing, and create great parks and public spaces to serve Knoxville residents.
The proposed net budget totals $432.9 million. Of that, the General Fund – which is the city’s main operating fund – is $304 million. The budget is balanced, and the city’s property tax rate remains unchanged at $2.1556 per $100 of assessed value – the lowest tax rate since 1974.
“I’m proud to propose this budget. It maintains our commitments to city employees and partners who help make Knoxville such a great place to live. And it reflects our priorities – public safety, building up our neighborhoods, creating economic opportunity, and becoming a greener and more resilient community.”
Some of the proposed budget items include:
- Create and maintain safe streets – $12 million – The majority of funding would go toward repairs and maintenance, with other funding for sidewalks, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, a separated greenway on Neyland Drive, and traffic calming.
- Multi-use public stadium – $4.5 million – Adding public plazas, Willow Avenue streetscape improvements, and other public amenities near the city and county-owned stadium set to open in East Knoxville in 2025.
- Transforming Western – $4.2 million – Knoxville’s Community Development Corp. has been awarded a $40 million U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant, and Mayor Kincannon and the city are investing $26.5 million in infrastructure and financial assistance for affordable housing in the area over multiple budgets.
- Lonsdale Park – $1 million – With the old Sam E. Hill School now vacated, the city will be converting the site into a new community park. More than $30 million in private-public partnership investments have been or are being made in Lonsdale – including a new Lonsdale Elementary School, the Haslam-Sansom Ministry Complex, and a new $1 million City sidewalk on Texas Avenue.
- Climate goals – $230,000 – Initiatives to help achieve the city’s climate goals, including green fleet upgrades and community electric vehicle charging stations.
- Pedestrian bridge – $100,000 – The proposed city-owned bridge spanning the Tennessee River would be a collaboration between the federal and state governments, the University of Tennessee, the city, and other partners. The state is funding an initial $20 million grant, and the city is seeking additional grants. This budget allotment would go toward additional design work.
The budget also proposes expanded resources for a new, combined Department of Community Safety and Empowerment that will align the work of what previously had been two departments. The budget adds staff for the new department, as well as expands funding for community partnerships like Turn Up Knox and the work of the African American Equity Restoration Task Force.
“The City’s fiscal health is strong,” Mayor Kincannon said, “and that allows us to invest wisely in core services and in strategic initiatives that will serve Knoxville well in the long run.”
For supporting budget documents, see KnoxvilleTN.gov/Budget.