Beware The Silence

Thursday, August 31, 2017

It is a well know fact that most people tend not to react to something until reality smacks them square in the face. That stone cold reality will begin to occur in late September as property tax bills find their way into our respective mailboxes. At that point, it will be too late. Most likely, the county commission will have already voted on whether or not to keep the millage rate at its now inflated rate for property owners in Hamilton County. In effect, raising property taxes for Hamilton County property owners. It is only then that most citizens will understand what has just happened. 

We have started hearing all of the wonderful things that will be done with this new windfall. Building new schools, renovations and expansion of our detention centers, a new wastewater treatment plant, etc. Wow, that all sounds great! Except, these are very large brush strokes. Which schools will get build? How will the new money be used for education? Will the new education funds be allocated only for specific purposes or will the HCDE get to decide how these funds get spent? Where did you get the estimates on the new wastewater treatment facility?

These are very basic questions. These and much more detailed questions are normally answered during the budget process. In this case, the budget process has been skipped entirely. It seems that our county mayor is saying, don't worry, just trust us to use the money wisely. Sorry, but my trust in government to spend money wisely went out the window about the time the tooth fairy stopped leaving money under my pillow. 

If this is such a wise decision to raise property taxes, then why wasn't this done in the light of day during the budget process, rather than trying to snake this through at the last minute? This just doesn't pass the smell test for me. 

Just for the record, I may or may not be opposed to a property tax increase. It depends on the justifications and whether or not it can pass the scrutiny of a budget process when much more details can be examined and far more detailed questions can be asked and answered. That is not the case here and for that reason, I and many others should be opposed to this maneuver. 

Mr. mayor and county commissioners, I again say, beware the silence! The citizens of Hamilton County may be silent now, but once they fully understand what you are attempting to do, I dare say they will not be silent come next May for your primary re-election bids. 

John Hodge
Hixson



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