CLOSE

The fallen officers memorial is set just outside the public entrance to the new police headquarters on North Highland Avenue.

Daily News Journal

Murfreesboro officials plan no tax hike again for a proposed budget without added jobs because pandemic-impacted revenues are declining.

“We’ve cut tax expenditures by almost 17%,” Mayor Shane McFarland said.

The Murfreesboro Police Department, for example, cut a budget request to add 19 more officers, Councilman Eddie Smotherman said. 

“This is not an economic situation in which we should be hiring,” said Smotherman, adding that the budget excludes percentage increases in employee pay.

City officials are crafting budgets for government, education and utility services for the next fiscal year that starts July 1. These plans include $183.1 million for government operations, which is a 4% reduction from the previous year, according to a budget report from City Manager Craig Tindall. 

Public hearing scheduled on budget

The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the budget plans during a 6 p.m. Thursday meeting at City Hall.

Because of coronavirus concerns, the public hearing may be conducted electronically, and there may limitations on people being allowed to attend the meeting in person, city spokesman Mike Browning said. 

Information about how to participate in the public hearing electronically also will be posted on the city’s website by Tuesday, Browning said.

For the expenditure plans to be approved, the council must vote on the budgets at two separate meetings, and the first vote also will be on Thursday after the public hearing. 

City freezes job openings

In addition to adding no positions, the city is leaving open jobs unfilled because of the declining revenues from local businesses during the pandemic, the mayor said. 

“We still have a hiring freeze that’s been in place for some time,” the mayor said. 

Smotherman agreed the city must avoid filling jobs unless they’re essential.

“We even put a hold on buying things like bullet-proof vests,” Smotherman said. “We’re taking this very seriously.”

Soccer park improvement put on hold