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Milan Strategizing to Make Up for Lost Revenue

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

Milan, Tenn. - In just four days, the local option sales tax increase goes into effect in Gibson County, and some cities are still working on ways to make up for the projected lost revenue.

According to city leaders, Milan will lose about $400,000 from its budget, and aldermen have just one more vote before they will have a final budget in place.

The Milan board passed a tentative budget on its first reading about a week ago, but not everyone - including some residents and city leaders - are happy with the spending plan.

Milan city aldermen said they want a portable speed camera to help make up for a projected $400,000 budget shortfall.

"I think it'll be a good thing if it'll help the city," resident Linda Chilcutt said.

Police Chief Tim Wright said if they get the camera, violators will be mailed a $50 ticket with half of the money going to the city.

"I don't agree with it all," resident Amy McAlister said. "Once the residents get used to where the speed camera is they're going to either avoid it, or they're going to slow down."

The speed camera is very similar to a radar gun. The officer still has to operate it. It just uses laser instead to check your speed.

"The plan that the aldermen have proposed will hope to bring in $230,000 from the speed cameras," Mayor Chris Crider said. "If that plan is unsuccessful, then we'll have to lay off seven people."

Mayor Crider, who is against getting a speed camera, said it only covers about half of what the city is losing.

As for the rest, he said the aldermen want the school district to start paying for the services the city provides, like the DARE officer program, maitenance for some sports teams, and having officers direct school traffic.

Some residents said they are fine with it, as long as it does not raise their taxes.

"I'm a senior citizen, and we live on a fixed income, so we don't need anymore taxes," resident Marion Graves said.

The city board will have its second and final vote on the budget July 10 at 5:30 p.m.