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


Oversight Needed In CVB And Chamber Of Commerce Spending

The Hamilton County Commission adopted a resolution that requires that all taxpayer-supported agencies receiving 25 percent or more of their annual operating income to adhere to Hamilton County purchasing policies.  For the commissioners that voted to protect the public tax dollars, you get an A plus in elected representation.  It is about time that the CVB and Chamber ... (click for more)

Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly. By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect ... (click for more)

Public Markets To Manage And Operate Finley Stadium

The Stadium Corporation has selected Public Markets, Inc. as the primary management group for Finley Stadium/Davenport Field and the First Tennessee Pavilion. Public Markets, which stepped in as interim managers in April, will take on broader responsibilities and oversight moving forward. “We evaluated several strong candidates and management options, but ultimately felt ... (click for more)

UTC Tuition Increase Approved; 1.8 Percent Increase Is Lowest In More Than 30 Years

UTC students this fall will see the lowest tuition increase in more than 30 years. An increase of 1.8 percent marks the third consecutive year of record low tuition increases approved by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees for the system’s campuses. For 2017-18, an in-state, full-time UTC undergraduate student will pay combined tuition and fees of $4,332 per semester, ... (click for more)

Chattanooga FC Moves Into First Place

Chattanooga FC is building steam, winners of two straight home matches, with two games remaining in the current home stand. Last Saturday, the boys in blue knocked off division leading Inter Nashville FC 2-1 thanks to some late game heroics from a Danny Reynolds free kick.  Tuesday  night, CFC opened the proverbial flood gates and scored 4 goals to beat Birmingham Hammers ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)