By: Amy Oakley
Carter County Times
The Grayson city council convened on Tuesday night for their monthly meeting to discuss several issues ranging from noise ordinances to a preliminary budget presentation.
Earlier in March of this year, the city council was approached by Derrick McKinney, owner of Casey’s Lanes and 606 Bar & Grill with plans to expand his business. The plans included adding an outdoor stage and performance area.
Grayson’s current noise ordinance restricts sounds over a certain level after the hour of 9 p.m. whether it’s a weekday or not. McKinney had asked the court to extend the time for loudspeaker noise from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Mayor Troy Combs told McKinney at that time he would put the issue under old business for the next agenda and it was discussed further during the May meeting. Several employees from McKinney’s business came in support of the extension, while one individual was there in opposition.
The discussion was opened by a female who has tenants living in the apartments above Grayson Antiques N’ Uniques. She said her tenants have complained to her about the noise coming from Casey’s Lanes and 606 Bar & Grill.
“It’s still yet 11 o’clock and some people have to get up and to go work,” she said.
Police chief Tony Cantrell said they have not received any loud noise complaints for outside noise from any tenants living there.
“We’ve not received any loud noise complaints. So, if they’re complaining, they’re complaining to her but not calling it in,” Cantrell said.
McKinney’s wife joined the discussion and said they sat in the parking lot this past weekend until midnight.
“There was no noise being made. You could hear bean bags every now and then but that was it. But there was no loud music and most of your tenants were there and they’re there every night,” McKinney said.
A few more employees jumped into the heated discussion until Combs called the meeting back to order. Council then chose to hear more public comments to gain both perspectives before acting.
“I didn’t ask for 12 or 1 in the morning, I asked for 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night because even Olive Hill has 11 o’clock on the weekends,” McKinney said.
The owner of the apartments reiterated her claims that she has received several complaints from her tenants regarding noise from McKinney’s business. McKinney and his employees argued that they are not trying to make noise but to instead help Grayson grow with their business.
A motion was made and council moved to approve the motion on second reading.
Council member Mike Harper told the owner of the apartment that if there are issues with noise problems in the future to call 911.
In other action the council was presented with a preliminary budget report from Combs. He was hoping to have a full budget prepared for presentation, but did not think it was the right time to present a budget. Instead, he had most of the current numbers for administration and presented them.
“When I was looking at the numbers, it seemed like we were not at where we were last year when comparing the numbers. But we’re at a much better place than I thought,” Combs said.
His goal for council was to identify what the bottom line number is for the budget of the fiscal year 2023-2024. Grayson’s projected revenue for the 2022-2023 fiscal year was 3,200,460. The current number that the city has with two more months left to go in the fiscal year is 3,050,000.
“At this time, I’m projecting a revenue of $3.1 million. Now that number is obviously not where we’re at. Will we bring in 75,000 more dollars between now and the end of the year? I think so,” Combs said.
Payroll did very well this year as it brought in over $118,000 more than it did last year. He said they exceeded their projected revenue for payroll tax. However, in every other category except for business licenses and payroll tax, revenue has not brought in what it typically does.
“So, that’s why I’m going with a more conservative number for the revenue. I don’t think we can get comfortable with this number, that’s why I’m trying to keep our budget close to what it was last year. I think it would be a mistake to add to that,” he said.
The departments in the city have requested a grand total of $1,470,000 or 47 percent of the budget for the next fiscal year.
“If you look at the percentage of what they got last year, this is actually a reduction of what they’re asking for,” Combs said.
The street department has asked for roughly $500,000 but that does not count for any money toward pavement. Combs has designated around $200,000 for pavement as they have done in the past. According to council member Dustin Burchett, due to inflation prices that amount of money would only buy a quarter of what it would before.
“Blacktop went from $60 or $70 to $190 per ton,” Burchett said.
Looking at next year’s budget, the city is still short on money. Clerk Dawnita Lewis completed a report over the last five years and found that they are owed $85,000 in property taxes that are unpaid. If those property taxes are paid, it would help the city cover the funds that are needed.
“If you add those up over all those years, I mean $85,000 is a lot of money,” Lewis said.
Combs said he would have a more thorough presentation to give and recommendations when the time comes. The numbers for this year were not far off from what they were last year, and he finds that to be hopeful.
The council did not have a definitive answer for the budget at this time, but it will be discussed more in depth at a special meeting in two weeks. For now, basic logistics for the 2023-2024 fiscal year have been presented and discussed.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Combs said.
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