Bristol holds first-ever town hall meeting

BRISTOL, TN - At Bristol, Tennessee's first-ever town hall meeting Tuesday, residents learned that their taxes won't change in 2015.

City manager Bill Sorah announced that the 98 million dollar balanced budget will not include a property tax increase.

"I think our city council has been pretty clear in their approach to the budget. They felt like the property tax was not an avenue that they wanted to explore," Sorah says.

This comes after mayor Dennis Phillips said a property tax is inevitable for owners in Kingsport.

Sorah says that there are rising costs in government, but that there are other more efficient areas to adjust the budget.

Included in the budget are a 1.6 percent cost of living wage adjustment and another 1.6 percent increase in funding for city schools.

A storm water fund will be established and funding for nonprofit organizations will remain at current levels.

Sorah also talked about what he calls The Pinnacle Factor, which is anchored by the new Bass Pro Shops and Belks.

He says it will be 1.2 million square feet of retail, restaurant, and hotel space - a 332 million dollar capital investment that will create 2,000 jobs.

Overall, he says there are challenges in making every budget, but he is happy with the creative way the 2015 budget turned out.

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