The Lebanon City Council passed the second and final reading of the city’s status quo budget and tax rate during a special called meeting Thursday.

Councilors voted 4-1 in favor, with Ward 6 Councilor Jeni Lind Brinkman opposed and Ward 3 Councilor Camille Burdine absent.

“I think we could have been a little bit more proactive, we could have made more cuts,” Brinkman said when voting against the budget’s first reading last week. She also asked for the council to be more involved with planning ahead on capital projects.

Officials hope to amend the budget to include capital projects that were cut depending on trends and economic data related to COVID-19.

The council also OK’d preliminary engineering for a sidewalk construction project along Highway 231 North. TDOT will contribute $774,972 through its Multimodal Access Grant Program, which is expected to cover 95% of the project’s cost.

Once finished, the project will see a sidewalk on North Cumberland Street’s east side, along with ADA-compliant pedestrian signal improvements. A completion date has not been announced, but the project is expected to take at least two years.

“Many people who wish to walk, run or bike are not able to do so safely on the narrow shoulders of our busy state routes.” Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash said in a press release announcing the project. “We are anxious to remedy these dangerous conditions and appreciate the state recognizing the importance of this work … these grant monies will help support our students, citizens, seniors and visitors by creating more safe, accessible and enjoyable places to walk and bike.”

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