Smyrna’s millage rate will stay at 8.99 mills after a 4-2 vote, with Wade Lnenicka and Susan Wilkinson opposed. Councilman Charles Welch was absent from the Monday meeting.
Lnenicka said he opposed the millage rate vote because he wanted to lower the millage rate to 8.90. He said Smyrna’s tax digest showed it had received more money in the last year than in previous years.
“I just thought because the tax digest went up that we should lower the millage rate and give that money back to the taxpayers,” Lnenicka said.
The millage rate has been 8.99 mills since 2008. One mill collects $1.86 million of revenue in Smyrna, according to a presentation to the council.
Lnenicka said council members were still conflicted about the city’s finances after its June meeting, when they passed a budget with a close 4-3 vote.
The council members who voted against the budget — Andrea Blustein, Susan Wilkinson and Lnenicka — said they did so because it included “wants rather than needs.”
The total budget balances revenues and expenses at $73.7 million, an increase of 6.5 percent or $4.5 million over the fiscal 2014 budget.
Mayor Max Bacon was not at the June meeting that Lnenicka called “strange” because the council did not discuss the budget before voting on it. Four days later, Bacon vetoed the vote before flip-flopping again that afternoon, revoking his veto because he said his questions about the budget were answered.
Bacon could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
School renews permit for temporary buildings
For the fourth time since 2008, Covenant Christian School, which partners with Smyrna Presbyterian Church, renewed its permits to use temporary buildings as classrooms.
The Christian school has been using a temporary building since it expanded out of the church’s main building six years ago.
The City Council voted 6-0 Monday to allow the school to continue to use its temporary building.
The building is on 8.8 acres behind the church on Atlanta Road, near the intersection of Spring Road. The agreement allows the school to continue using the temporary building until July 2016.
The school was supposed to raise money to build a permanent building by 2010. But when the recession hit in 2008, the school had trouble raising the $500,000 it needed to construct a new building on the property.
“We of course had a bad economy and that impacted things,” said Randy Ball, the school’s headmaster.
Hall said the school has raised $200,000 so far.
“We have plans in place to replace that with a permanent structure, but we’re not there yet,” Ball said.
The temporary building is 3,800 square feet, and it holds four classrooms, but Ball said the school is quickly outgrowing the space. The school, which teaches pre-K through 8th grade, has 230 students enrolled for the coming year, which starts Aug. 4.
Lnenicka said he hadn’t heard any comments from residents about the temporary building.
“We don’t want temporary buildings becoming permanent buildings, but the expectation was in a few years they’ll raise the money and get a permanent building,” Lnenicka said.
He said the church is small, so it is hard for it to raise money.
“I appreciate the council’s support of the church and the school,” Lnenicka said. “And if there was a problem, I’d hear about it.”