Gold Mine for Commission - More Lavish Spending
Loudon County Commissioners & Mayor Doyle Arp
Taxpayers to Get Shaft – Higher Taxes!
By: Pat Hunter
August 3, 2008
With hard economic times facing our community and nation with $4 gallon at the fuel pump or $4 per gal. milk and escalating food prices, higher utility bills, foreclosures and bankruptcies, consumer confidence is down, people are shopping less, thousands of state workers face lay offs and incomes are flat, why would Loudon County Commissioners even consider voting to increase property taxes? An article in USA Today mentioned that “The high cost of food is now becoming a financial hardship, which is predicted to only worsen.”
Its time for a realty check for our commissioners. If they want to impose higher property taxes its time to lead by example and for them to get off the gravy train. They can start by paying their own way just like everyone else. Lets cut out Commissioners nice meals and beverages, which are served to them before workshop meetings and other meetings such as budget meetings.
Lets cut some more fat from the budget, how about cutting commissioner's yearly 10 percent pay raise? Who besides commissioners gets an automatic 10 percent yearly pay raise?
Lets park all the county cars and save a mint in fuel and insurance costs. Lets cut out the cell phones while we're at it.
Here's some more cost saving measures, put a freeze on all hiring and adopt a nepotism policy. Why does the IT person need a part-time assistant, the propose pay for the cushy assistant's job is about $18K?
County Commissioners have not voted up or down on the School Board's $147 Million School Capital Building Plan. If the public can't afford the plan vote it down and ask the School Board to come back with a School Building Plan that the public can afford. Instead, commissioners voted to recommend a $50 Wheel Tax referendum, which is now before the voters. Even if the Wheel Tax ballot initiative fails or passes, officials were recently informed that the estimated County General Ending Fund Balance would be over $5 Million!
Last summer, the Budget Committee openly discussed an Ending Fund Balance of over $6.2 Million while looking for other ways to spend the money. And Commissioners voted to reduce the School’s Budget by 7 cents and the Rural Fund Debt remained at 10 cents.
At a recent Finance 101 meeting, Budget Committee member, Tellico Village Commissioner Don Miller spoke about the time County Commission raised property taxes by 32 cents. At the time, Commission had underestimated what the Fund Balance was going to be on the County General Budget. The County had received bad information from CTAS about three or four revenue streams. The County doesn’t know its exact Fund Balance until long after Commission sets its property tax, at least one month afterwards. Commission set the property tax rate thinking that the Fund Balance was going to be a lot lower then it actually turned out to be. Some of the money also went to other departments and some money was just not spent and the Fund Balance grew by $5 Million dollars. Video clip Finance 101 Commissioner Don Miller.
Next year, Commissioners are promising a huge property tax increase in a re-appraisal year as per Budget Guru Don Miller's numerous comments.
De Ja Vu, three years ago, Commissioners voted to raise property taxes to $1.84 per $100 of assessed value. The previous year, the tax rate was set at $1.78. Since properties were reappraised, the County was supposed to rollback taxes to $1.52. But instead, commissioners voted to increase property taxes by 32 cents going from $1.52 to $1.84, which was a hefty 21 percent increase. Taxpayers were led to believe that the increase was necessary because of the County was almost broke but that wasn’t true. You heard Commissioner Don Miller’s explanation and now he proposing an 8 cent tax increase.
Why are Commissioners proposing another tax increase while they sit on over a $5 Million ending Fund Balance? Is tax money needed for more lavish spending, such as Commissioner Miller’s proposed pet project, $1 Million Tellico Village Library to be located on Irene Lane?
Are you concerned with all the wasteful spending and the proposed 8-cent property tax hike and new wheel tax? County Commission did not vote on the School Board's $147Million School Building Plan. What happened to the Adequate Facilities Tax earmarked for schools, what happened to that money?
Please voice your concerns to your elected representatives:
Mayor Doyle Arp Phone: 458-4664 office, 458- 3980 home
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chairman Budget Committee)
1st District - Nancy Marcus, Phone: 458-8581, Email: email@example.com (Budget Committee)
1st District - David Meers, Phone: 458-2414, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2nd District - Earlena Maples - Phone 986-6772, Email: email@example.com
2nd District - Shirley Reno - Phone 986-1256, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3rd District - Bob Franke Phone: 856-0303, Email: email@example.com (Budget Committee)
4th District Roy Bledsoe (Chairman) Phone: 458-2829
5th District Harold Duff - Phone 988-6647, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5th District Chris Park - Phone: 986-1229, Email: email@example.com (Budget Committee)
6th District - Wayne Gardin, Phone: 988-4433 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
7th District - Don Miller, Phone: 458-0658, Email email@example.com (Budget Committee)