Knoxville mayor wants $15/hour minimum wage and property tax increase

In her first in-person State of the City address Friday afternoon, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon announced what could be her hallmark proposal — a $15 an hour minimum wage for city workers — but coupled it with a request for the City Council to approve a 50-cent increase in the property tax rate. 

Among other changes, Kincannon proposed $77 million for the city’s capital fund, something Kincannon called her parks, pavement and pipes plan.

She didn’t, however, use the speech set on the campus of the forthcoming police headquarters to name the city’s next police chief. Eve Thomas’ last day as chief is May 1 and Kincannon has said she wants to name a new chief ahead of Thomas’ departure.

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon speaks during the opening of the West Hills Dogwood trail in John Bynon Park, Knoxville, Tenn. on Thursday, March 24, 2022.

A tax increase was coming

The city’s budget crunch is part of its own making and partly due to forces out of its control.

Related:Knoxville mayor is likely to seek a property tax increase to ease budget crunch

OPINION:Kincannon should name police chief finalists; it’s in her own best interest

Earlier this year, Susan Gennoe, the city’s chief financial officer, said next year’s budget (the budget Kincannon proposed Friday) is the “cautionary year” in which the fund balance, known as a rainy-day fund, shrinks below what rating agencies think is safe.

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