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



Roy Exum: ‘Mom Don’t Have…I Do’

It’s hard to know what goes through the mind of a five-year-old, particularly one who watches her mom go in and out of jail due to drug addiction. But little Sunshine Oelfke is obviously being raised right by her grandmother because the other morning, the five-year-old came into the kitchen before leaving for kindergarten with a baggie full of coins from her piggy bank. “I asked ... (click for more)

Problems With The Key Staff Findings On The Landfill

Concerning the proposed C&D Landfill in Harrison, on Sept. 11, the staff of the Chattanooga Hamilton-County Regional Planning Agency made a presentation to the Planning Commission for the rezoning request.  Mr. Schultz for the staff made the following statements which were titled "Staff Key Findings."  I would like to contend with their findings.  1. "Proposal ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Committee Says Pulling Away From County Schools Is "Feasible"

After eight months of investigating the viability of Signal Mountain establishing a separate school district, a committee of six has determined that it is feasible and would meet the goal of improving the education provided to students. The committee was also tasked with identifying obstacles and if possible to find ways to overcome them.  Results of the report were presented ... (click for more)

Alexander, Corker Are Among Sponsors Of Bill To Stabilize Premiums And Access To Insurance

A group of 24 senators - 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats led by Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) - on Thursday released short-term bipartisan legislation to stabilize premiums and access to insurance in individual health insurance markets. Senators Alexander and Murray said: “We have reached an agreement ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Hits One Last Bump In The Road At State Volleyball

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – It’s not like Signal Mountain hasn’t been down this bumpy road before. Despite the obstacles created by losing early in the TSSAA state volleyball tournament, the Lady Eagles have proven to be cautious, but relentless drivers on a path back to title contention twice before. They’re on the same course this October. After losing to Knox Catholic ... (click for more)

Baylor Advances To State Final; Sale Creek Ousted

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Baylor Lady Red Raiders are one win away from another D-II Class AA state volleyball championship. Facing the Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles for the third time this season here at Blackman High School Wednesday morning in the winner’s bracket final, Baylor was able to advance by winning in four sets, but it was a battle for the ages where two really good ... (click for more)