Sevierville board looks at budget

Park improvements, new fire station discussed
May. 21, 2013 @ 11:06 PM

At a workshop session Monday afternoon, the city's Board of Mayor and Aldermen discussed the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, including some additional projects that will necessitate budget adjustments.

Specifically, the board discussed expansions to the community center and city park, as well as one or more possible new fire stations.

"The center has been a tremendous success and has probably way outdone what anybody really anticipated," Sevierville Administrator Russell Treadway said of the community center, whose 30th anniversary was celebrated this past year. "The nature of its use has changed over the years, and some expansion and remodeling is necessary to keep it current and up to date."

Some preliminary planning has already been done to determine what actually needs to be expanded or remodeled, and how much it will cost, but the city is still looking into it.

Likewise, the city park has seen increased public use and needs updating.

"It's remained virtually unchanged for probably 25 years or more," Treadway said. "We have continued to experience increased demands. We have a small but noticeable niche in the sports tourism department that our other communities are talking about. We have a number of tournaments at the city park over the summer and on weekends, so we really need to look at improving and expanding those facilities to address those needs."

The Sevierville Fire Department is currently conducting a station location study to determine the best areas for new stations.

"What we think we're going to see is a tiered recommendation about where the next station needs to go, but then also future stations beyond that," Treadway said. "Obviously, with our 5-year budgeting purposes we'll be looking at what we can get during that 5-year period, but we'll also be looking at some things beyond that period."

Treadway said the board should be able to look at the completed study within the next 30 days.

"Will this be a new station or will it replace the old one?" Alderman Jim McGill asked.

Treadway said possibly both. "The length and layout of Sevierville makes public protection very problematic," he said, "so we're probably going to see an ultimate recommendation for five stations, including one on Collier Drive, in the long-term."

Treadway said these projects were not included in a 5-year forecast because the city doesn't have adequate revenues to pay for them. If the city does pursue the projects, it would "need to issue some level of debt to pay for them," Treadway said.

The first reading of the ordinance to approve the budget was on Monday night's Board of Mayor and Aldermen agenda. The regularly scheduled meeting was held at 6 p.m. in the Civic Center.

rhargett@themountainpress.com