THE HUNTER REPORT
Commissioners Spend and You Pay!
Hefty Commissioner Pay, Food, New Conference Room, Travel...
Everything's Coming Up Roses -
Commissioners 10% Pay Hike & other goodies!
By: Pat Hunter
The perks of being a county commissioner include allot of things including dining on the taxpayers dime. Should county commissioners and mayor eat on the taxpayers dime?
Click here to view FY 08-09 County Officials Pay-CTAS
Everything's coming up roses if you are a county official, the Tennessee General Assembly made sure of that. A state law insures that county officials receive pay increases just about every year. County mayors, registers, sheriffs, assessors, county clerks, judges, and election directors, just to name a few. County officials across the state belong to strong lobbying groups and associations that spend allot of time in Nashville with lawmakers. Its no coincidence that laws are passed through these various lobbying efforts that benefit local county and city officials.
Loudon County Commissioners seem oblivious to issues that affect everyday people such as a serious and bleak economy, decline in jobs, layoffs, foreclosures, bankruptcies, a decline in consumer spending, spiraling grocery prices and sky high gasoline and milk prices at $3.75 per gallon and climbing. The County Mayor has added two new offices to his administration with the blessings of County Commissioners.
On Jan. 28, 2008, the Loudon County Budget Committee made no recommendation on the Capital School Building Plan. Commissioner Miller felt that the School Board's proposed operating expenses was too high and would require large yearly tax hikes. Roane County Commissioners just voted down a $47 Million School Building Plan because taxpayers couldn't pay for it but not here.
The Wheel Tax Resolution is not on the Loudon County government website, although commissioners requested several versions from the lawyers. It appears once again that the public is left in the dark to try to guess and only commissioners, officials and VIPS know all the details about the Wheel Tax.
Last year, Loudon County Commissioners voted themselves a hefty 10 percent pay hike based on one of the highest paid county official's. That's right 10 percent of the County Mayor's salary.
At the last commission workshop meeting held in the newly renovated 40-seat conference room, one commissioner sitting in his comfy black chair at the head of the spacious table, blurred out something about state law mandates that commissioners be paid. I believe that State laws says that a greater amount may be voted in by county legislative body by Resolution. Pay shall be paid to commission members for each day's attendance at meetings, which are duly authorized. Since Loudon County is considered a Fourth Class county based on population, the minimum amount paid per meeting is $30. Most commissioners attend two meetings per month so that would be $60 per month. If a commissioner serves on the budget committee or the capital projects committee that would be three meetings or $90 per month. This is a far cry from what commissioners now propose paying themselves.
A generous ten percent (10%) pay increase for commissioners doesn't stop there, please look at the Chart, which I prepared of other county commissioners salaries in other counties. It would seem that the salaries of Loudon County Commissioners are a whole lot more than other commissioners with counties of Loudon County's population size. Even larger counties don't seem to receive the pay that Loudon County Commissioners seem to receive.
The true losers it would seem are the taxpayers for electing officials that either can't do the math or simply just don't seem to care. These same commissioners now propose a 8-cent property tax hike and a $50 wheel tax. County officials continue to spend public funds on generous pay hikes, food and meals before commission workshop meetings, travel, and benefits for some commissioners while they ask taxpayers to make more sacrifices.
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County Commissioner Salaries compared to other counties pdf files