The Mysterious Case of Amnesia & $50 Wheel Tax!
By: Pat Hunter
Why is it so hard for some public officials to be open and accountable for their votes and actions? Is it double-talk, which is intended to confuse or deceive: intentionally ambiguous or confusing talk or is it a case of amnesia?
The July 24th News Herald article captioned Forum puts focus on county school board candidates mentioned that …“incumbent Bill Marcus, did not attend the forum due to work obligations. Speaking after the meeting, Marcus indicated he had yet to make up his mind about the wheel tax. “I support the efforts of the county commission to get additional funding for the schools,” Marcus said. In one sentence he spoke about not yet making up his mind and in the very next sentence he spoke about supporting the efforts of commission. The definition for “support” still means to aid the cause, policy or interests of, or to argue in favor of; advocate.
Even though School Board member Nancy Paule voted to support the Wheel Tax Resolution but now she says that it’s a regressive tax. That’s correct Ms. Paule; the Wheel Tax hurts the elderly on fixed incomes, the working poor and poor single parents of children that receive free lunch and who live on the poverty level!
If the Wheel Tax is such a good idea, why didn’t Marcus, Chairman Bobby Johnson, Jr., Ms. Paule or other School Board members discuss this matter in an open meeting; what were they afraid of?
The Wheel Tax Resolution was added to the Agenda of the June 12th School Board meeting but there was no public discussion at the School Board workshop meeting held three days earlier. Chairman Bobby Johnson. Jr. brought up the Wheel Tax Resolution and then turned the matter over to former School Director Headlee. Headlee said that he did not have the wording actually prepared for that Resolution but that he did not see a problem with the School Board adopting a similar Resolution in acknowledging support of the Wheel Tax. Click School Board votes to Support Wheel Tax
Freddie Walker voted not to add the last minute item to the agenda and he questioned why the Wheel Tax was not discussed in public. Bill Marcus made the motion in support of the $50 Wheel Tax Resolution to send to Commission. Nancy Paule seconded his motion. Marcus could have easily voted to abstain or he could have voted no but he did not!
Freddie Walker and Leroy Tate were the only two no votes on the Wheel Tax Resolution!
Several months back, School Board Chairman Bobby Johnson, Jr., and Larry Proaps attended a Budget Committee meeting. Mr. Proaps spoke about cooperation and presenting a united front with commissioners and working on a good PR (public relations) campaign in support of the Wheel Tax.
When knocking on doors or talking to voters, it's time for School Board members who supported the Wheel Tax to be candid and face the voters and quit playing politics!
Property owners already face a proposed 8 cent property tax hike and now a proposed $50 Wheel Tax. These are tough economic times, just in case you didn’t know that!
(See below: School Board Wheel Tax Resolution and Minutes of June 12, 2008 School Board Meeting)
Whereas, the Loudon County Board of Education has planned a long range school facilities improvement plan, and
Whereas, the Loudon County Board of Education has experienced significant growth over the last several years, and
Whereas, this growth has necessitated the addition/construction of new school buildings in different areas of the county, and
Whereas, these facility requirements carry a major cost which must be financed by the Loudon County Commission, and
Whereas, the Loudon County Commission has approved a referendum of the voters to be decided at the August elections, and
Whereas, the question the voters will answer is should Loudon County have a fifty-dollar per vehicle wheel tax to be used for school capital improvements for both Loudon County and Lenoir City school systems, and
Whereas, the implementing of this wheel tax will reduce the need for the property tax rate to be increased significantly, now
Therefore, be it resolved by the Loudon County Board of Education meeting in regular session this 12th day of June, 2008, with all members present concurring that all
Loudon County Citizens
be strongly encouraged to vote for and support the passage of the wheel tax referendum on August 7th and that a copy of this resolution be spread upon the minutes of this meeting.
Bobby Johnson, Jr. A. Edward Headlee
Chairman of the Board Director of Schools
June 12, 2008
Present: Chairman Bobby Johnson Jr.,Vice-Chair June Klinstiver, Larry Bass, Steve Harrelson, Bill Marcus, Scott Newman, Nancy Paule, Larry Proaps, Leroy Tate, Freddie Walker
Director Edward Headlee, Assistant Director Gil Luttrell and Board Secretary Nancy Carpenter
Principals: Joey Breedlove, Mary Hill, Tiffany Ratledge and Jason Vance
Central Office: Ramona Best, Kathy Greene, Tom Hankinson and Kim McGimsey
Motion by Proaps with 2nd by Marcus to add the agenda with the addition of the two items: Resolution for Support of the Wheel Tax and Student Fees for LHS. Walker No. Nine Ayes.
Motion by Proaps with a 2nd by Klinstiver to accept the agenda as amended. No Walker. Nine Ayes.
Motion by Klinstiver to approve the May minutes. 2nd by Paule. All voted Aye.
Presentations to retiring teachers – Chairman Johnson presented bells and congratulations to the teachers.
Presentation of Resolutions – Angie Lucier GBS, Mayor Peeler GBS, Eaton Elementary School
Recognition of Visitors – Lisa Russell spoke about the capital budget requests. Andrea Westby asked questions about moving the CDC classroom from LES to Steekee. Ms. Foster explained the reasoning and the guidelines for changes to the classroom.
Resolution for the Wheel Tax – Motion by Marcus for the board to send a resolution to county commission in support of wheel tax funds going to the school capital projects. 2nd Paule. Walker and Tate No. Eight Ayes.
Student Fees - John Bartlett presented a list of proposed list of fees for LHS. Greenback would like to investigate the situation until next year. Delay action until a later date.
5K Run/Walk proposal – Melisa Fuhrmeister (CSHP) – Motion by Proaps to approve the 5K Run/Walk with 2nd by Harrelson. All voted Aye.
Approval of Summer Camps – Philadelphia Elementary School Motion by Proaps with 2nd by Klinstiver to approve camps as submitted. All voted Aye.
Facilities Maintenance Coordinator Monthly Report: Dave Hemelright
1. Modular Educational Unit at Greenback is still working with SFMO Nashville. SFMO Knoxville, originator of the concerns has “washed hands” of the entire situation. Unit at North Middle will undergo re-inspection week of June 2nd.
2. Additional Fire Alarm work required by SFMO Knoxville at Greenback is underway. Completion is expected on the additional work by week of June 9th.
3. Preconstruction Meeting for Phase I of the HVAC replacement was held on 29 May. Four Seasons Company has commenced work on the project. Plans are presently being reviewed by SFMO Nashville. Completion date of project will be last week in July.
4. The incessant “beeping” of the FACP at Eaton has continued in spite of the dedicated circuit. Power test on the circuit for 8 days showed absolutely no power fluctuation beyond normal. Gallaher and Associates will replace the control panel to see if it was not, in fact, a defective replacement panel.
5. The completed “Our School” design fair was given to all middle schools, Loudon Elementary, CTE, Food Service and Family Resource Center for implementation over the next few months.
6. Attended Budget workshops for the Board of Education.
7. Upland Design Group is working on the Loudon High School Auditorium renovation project.
8. County Maintenance repaired substantial roof leak at North Middle School caused by roof inspector not re-sealing “core” sample area.
9. Investigated program to monitor the kitchen walk-in refrigerated boxes that will notify some one of authority to correct problems if the temperature rises above a critical set point. This program will prevent food loss in the event of a refrigeration failure during unoccupied times.
10. Conducted workshops on Insulated Concrete Forms for our Architects and Construction Managers.
11. Attended Solid Waste Commission Workshop. There will be some recycling programs forthcoming that will benefit the schools and county landfill.
12. Scheduled summer kitchen hood cleaning.
13. Scheduled required (NFPA 25) five (5) year inspections on fire sprinkler systems.
14. For CTE, met with Electrical Contractor to provide primary electrical service and distribution to the free greenhouse at Greenback, and the no cost pole barn at Loudon High School.
15. Community Tectonics is preparing plans to submit to SFMO Nashville for the required work by SFMO Knoxville for Greenback School.
16. Handicap lift requirements for the middle school stairs will be investigated at the same time for Greenback School.
17. Obtained keys for the affected facilities for the HVAC replacement contractor.
18. Responded to calls for assistance and conducted follow up visits to facilities to ensure that the work orders are being accomplished, and that the schools are being taken care of properly and punctually.
Consideration of 2008-2009 School Budget -
Motion by Bass with 2nd by Proaps to approve the Capital Budget Requests 2008-2009. Nine Aye. Walker No.
Motion by Tate to send the 2008-2009 budget to county commission with all positions and 1% raise. 2nd Bass. Nine No.
Bass Aye. Motion Failed.
Motion by Marcus to remove the list of recommend items from the 2008-2009 budget to reduce the amount by $2,343,995. 2nd by Paule. Harrelson, Proaps and Walker No. Seven Ayes. Motion Carries.
Motion by Harrelson to amend Motion by Marcus to add salary for board back to items removed. 2nd by Proaps.
Tate, Klinstiver, Paule, Walker, Marcus and Newman No. Harrelson, Bass, Proaps and Johnson Aye. Motion Fails.
Motion by Bass with 2nd by Newman to add additional funds for a 1% raise to the 2008-2009 budget.
Amendment to motion by Marcus with 2nd by Klinstiver to increase budget amount to include a 2 % raise for all employees, including their step increases. Walker Abstain. Nine Aye. Motion Carries.
Other budget considerations:
Motion by Proaps to remove Family Liaisons and Guidance Personnel from cuts with 2nd by Newman.
Newman, Klinstiver, Marcus, Bass and Tate Aye. Johnson, Harrelson, Paule, Proaps and Walker No. No action taken.
Motion by Klinstiver to remove Family Liaisons from the cuts 2nd Marcus. Newman, Klinstiver, Marcus, Bass and Tate Aye. Johnson, Harrelson, Paule, Proaps and Walker No. No action taken.
Motion Proaps to leave all positions in the budget and request an additional $737,272 funding. 2nd by Paule. Tate, Klinstiver, Walker, Marcus, Johnson and Newman No. Harrelson, Paule, Bass and Proaps No. Motion Failed.
Motion by Marcus to cut the attendance position with 2nd by Paule. No Newman. Nine Aye. Motion Carries.
Motion by Marcus to keep CTE guidance personnel in budget with 2nd by Newman. Tate and Walker No. Klinstiver, Harrelson, Bass, Proaps, Marcus, Johnson and Newman Aye. Paule Abstain. Motion Carries.
Motion Marcus to leave central office personnel position on cut list with 2nd by Newman. Harrelson, Bass and Proaps No. Seven Aye. Motion Carries.
Motion by Bass to separate maintenance personnel and vote individually on position. Motion failed for lack of second.
Motion by Walker to send maintenance personnel to county budget with the contingency that if they do not hire they return to our budget. 2nd Marcus. Newman, Harrelson, Marcus Walker and Tate Aye. Klinstiver, Johnson, Paule, Bass and Proaps No. No action taken.
Motion by Proaps to leave Family Liaison and Maintenance positions in budget and approve the 2008 -2009 budget with cuts. 2nd Bass. Tate, Harrelson, Walker, Johnson and Newman No. Klinstiver, Paule, Bass, Proaps and Marcus Aye.
No action taken.
Motion by Newman to send maintenance personnel to county budget. 2nd by Tate. Newman, Harrelson, Marcus, Walker and Tate Aye. Klinstiver, Paule, Bass and Proaps No. Johnson Abstain. No action taken.
Motion by Marcus, 2nd by Newman to leave the Family Liaison positions in budget. Walker No. Nine Aye. Motion Carries.
Motion by Marcus to send budget as amended to County Commission 2nd by Klinstiver. Tate, Harrelson, Walker and Newman No. Klinstiver, Paule, Bass, Proaps, Marcus and Johnson Aye. Motion carries.
Motion by Walker to adjourn with 2nd by Newman. Tate, Walker and Newman Aye. Seven No.
Budget amendments – Bennie Sims - Motion by Bass with 2nd by Proaps to accept the amendments as presented. Walker No. Nine Ayes. Motion Carries.
Larry Bass - Thank you Director Headlee for all the years of service and the dedication you gave to Loudon County Schools.
Motion by Harrelson with 2nd by Marcus to Adjourn. All voted Aye.
Bobby Johnson, Jr., Chairman A. Edward Headlee, Director