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


May Is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Listen up, Dad! Your teen daughter isn’t the only one at risk for skin cancer. An estimated 87,110 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma this year, with 1,840 cases expected in Tennessee alone. But did you know that more than half of those cases will be men? Males age 50 and older are at increased risk of skin cancer, and by age 65 skin cancer rates in men are double ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: DeVos Changes Everything

I believe that from every point on my moral compass the state’s hijacking of five public schools in Hamilton County is wrong. I also believe I can argue with success from any direction on my compass against any of the proposals or terms that Commissioner Candice McQueen just threatened to impose on the county’s Department of Education. But today let’s go to ‘True North’ on my compass ... (click for more)

Woman Found In Trunk Of Wrecked Car In Hixson Had Been Shot Multiple Times

A woman whose body was found in the trunk of a car after a wreck on Norcross Road in Hixson on April 7 had been shot multiple times, it was testified on Tuesday. Charges that included criminal homicide were bound to the Grand Jury against  Joshua Mincy, 25. He was also charged with aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm (convicted felon), ... (click for more)

Defense Attorney Wants To Take Jury To Scene Of 2015 Deadly I-75 Crash

Erin O'Leary of the public defender's office said Tuesday she wants to take the jury in the Benjamin Brewer case to the stretch of I-75 where six people were killed in a 2015 crash.   Judge Don Poole said a written motion should be filed on the request.   A jury will be picked on June 12 in Davidson County for the trial of the truck driver charged in a deadly ... (click for more)

Lennex Walker Wins A-AA State Pentathlon

MURFREESBORO -- The final Spring Fling is off to a roaring start for CSAS senior Lennex Walker. The most decorated track and field athlete ever for the Lady Patriots, Walker got the ball rolling with a victory in the Class A-AA Pentahlon at the Dean Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium Monday afternoon by winning three of the five events and finishing first with 3,306 points. Unicoi ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Reaches Class A/AA State Soccer Tournament

The setting was nothing new for the seven seniors on the Boyd-Buchanan boys’ soccer team, but this time the Bucs got to celebrate a different outcome.   Playing in their fourth consecutive Class A/AA state sectional, the Bucs put three years of heartbreak behind them by earning a 1-0 victory over Merrol Hyde and a trip to this week’s state tournament in Murfreesboro. ... (click for more)