Scrutinize County Accounts Before Raising Taxes

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Re:  Roy Exum: Raise County Taxes Now

Roy,

Before you throw your weight behind an across the board tax increase you should be calling for an outside auditor to comb the financial expenditures / budgets of all Hamilton County departments. Throughout the year I have seen numerous examples of wasteful spending and here we go again using the children as pawns to justify a tax increase. 

Both city and county activities misdirect the dollars being collected in hidden ways. Within the city April Eidson points to specific waste of tax collection in the questionable activities of Councilman Anderson. I dare say there are equal examples in the county.

Tax shelter for apartment projects? You have got to be kidding – at best the construction jobs created are short term – Volkswagen was a legitimate investment in long term jobs. Yet tax dollars are being “forgiven” in the name of “ temporary jobs”. That is malarkey – only the developer benefits from apartment / housing construction. Tell me who is going to rent / purchase those places – construction workers? Millions and millions of dollars being spent by those at the visitors bureau?

Trim that budget.  It all boils down to the bottom line, look everywhere, scrutinize expenses just as we private (ie. tax paying) citizens must do. Any time a taxable property is exempted the burden on John Q Public is increased. 

The school system has not shown (and based upon recent reports is not showing) any desire to fully utilize the possibilities within their power to solve the very problems they claim they don’t have funds to address. Redistrict students, move CSLA into current classroom space, behead the overloaded staff at the central office. I heard one news report that said their budget does not include money for maintenance repairs – is that really true?

You quoted the averages spent per student – that average is realistically the total school budget divided by the number of students. What is the real expenditure? Central staff salaries? Travel? Training? Seminars? How do those expenditures benefit the student? Yes, they are expenses but the true amount is what is paid in teacher salaries and classroom materials / facilities. Compare that cost against the remaining line item total – which is greater? If the direct classroom cost isn’t higher then you’ll see where the school system places their emphasis on a quality education. 

Yes, there are some hard decisions that have to be made. We the public understand that – the easy answer is to increase our taxes. The hard answer is to really comb those budgets. We all know that each county department will spend every penny in their budget so they can ask for more next budget cycle. 

Oh, and by the way, you mention 3 percent.  Check with your friends and neighbors – ask how many of them have been getting a yearly 3 percent increase on their social security or retirement checks for the past 12 years. 

And lest I forget, 2017 will be a “tax neutral” year for property owners in Hamilton County, but what will we face in 2018 when the county is allowed to tax based upon the “increased” property values? Did not Mr. Haynes state that all property values have increased? Sounds like a tax increase to me. 

Roy, one day you criticize the school system, the next day you justify their situation. 

Tom Wheatley
Soddy Daisy



Protecting The Teaching Profession

I describe myself with the following identifiers: son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, U.S. Marine, educator and friend. Follower of Christ. It is who I am, and who I was, and all that I hope to be. A retired Marine Sargent describes Marines this way: the Marine Corps uniform doesn’t come off when our active duty is over. We wear it daily in our attitude and our love of ... (click for more)

More Insanity, Or Is It Something Else? - And Response

The news continues today. The tragedy of still another mass shooting and the defense for any restrictions on guns brings such an array of believers in a gun right to own and further to own as many as one can afford. Collecting guns, usually, are innocent people that like the history of guns. So do I. My first 22 was a single shot and my first BB gun was a Daisy complete with the ... (click for more)

Witness Says Christopher Turner Shot Jamichael Eddins Multiple Times After He Was Already Down At Carousel Road

Police said Christopher Lashawn Turner stood over 24-year-old Jamichael Eddins on Carousel Road late Tuesday afternoon and fired multiple shots into him after shooting him moments before.   Turner, 26, of 1203 Sholar Ave., was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a firearm.   Randall Davenport, 28, was ... (click for more)

County Commission Approves Sizable Pay Increase For Magistrates

The County Commission has approved a sizable pay raise for its four magistrates, taking them from the current $66,000 per year to $92,000 by 2021. The raises will take effect beginning with new terms for magistrates. Two of the current magistrates are up for re-appointment in May. Their pay level will become $80,000. It will rise by $4,000 per year until reaching the $92,000. ... (click for more)

Ware, Raiders Light Up Walker Valley, 81-36, To Win 5-3A Title

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – After one quarter, Cleveland needed to get junior workhorse Dionte Ware “involved” in the offense during Tuesday’s District 5-3A tournament championship game against Walker Valley. After scoring zero first-quarter points, Ware showed some life with six points in the second period, but he wasn’t yet weaponized. At halftime, Cleveland coaches addressed ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Sweeps 6-AA Tournament Titles

The third time was the charm for the Signal Mountain boys, but not so for the Red Bank girls. The second-seeded Eagles avenged two regular-season losses to Tyner on Tuesday night at Howard’s Henry Bowles Gymnasium to win their first District 6-AA championship by a 46-40 final. The second-seeded Lionettes were facing the top-seeded Signal Mountain Lady Eagles.   The third ... (click for more)