Commissioners to Serve Hot Potatoes -

Wheel Tax AND 8-cent Property Tax Hike!

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New Break Room - County Office Building

By: Pat Hunter

Why are commissioners holding these two hot topic issues in their brand new conference meeting room with a small seating capacity? As usual there seems to be little consideration for the public, not to mention, could it be that commissioners will be served a nice meal at taxpayer expense before the workshop meeting in the new break-room, which adjoins the meeting conference room at the county office building?  

Are you concerned about the Loudon County Budget's Committee's recommendation for a 8-cent property tax hike AND a wheel tax all in one fell swoop? How will these proposed two taxes affect your budget and finances? These issues will be discussed at the May 19th, 6:00 P.M., workshop meeting, at the County Office Building, River Rd., Loudon.

Who would have imagined a gallon of milk or gas selling for about the same amount? If you are feeling the high cost of food staples, you aren't alone, these commodities are at an all time high. The cost of utilities and health insurance and medicine continue to spiral. While individuals continue to tighten belts, our local county officials have plans to take more of your hard-earned money so they can spend,  spend, spend.

Lenoir City's current property tax rate is $1.30 and $1.74 for county tax, if you live inside Lenoir City, which brings the total tax rate to $3.14 per $100 assessed value. Loudon City's current property tax rate is $1.11 and the county's rate is $1.84, which brings the total tax rate to $2.95 per $100. Add a wheel tax and a county property tax hike to that expense and then ask city residents how they feel about an increase in taxes and a new wheel tax?

Its time for commissioners to sharpen their pencils and trim the proposed county budget. If the School Board is supposed to drastically trim school budgets, its time for commissioners to trim the fat from the County Budget 101 and lead by example. Taxpayers are being asked to sacrifice and make do, or do without, due to years of mismanagement and bad spending habits.

Please get involved and voice your concerns to all elected officials. Commissioners control the spending and the purse strings.    

 

Behind the Scenes

Spending and Higher Taxes 

Although D-7 Tellico Village Commissioner Don Miller brought up the proposed wheel tax at the April 21st Budget Committee meeting, fellow Commissioner Bob Franke is listed on the May 19th workshop agenda to make his pitch for the proposed wheel tax.

Comm. Franke, serves on the Budget Committee and his spending record speaks for itself.

At one recent Budget Committee meeting to discuss the proposed upcoming FY 08-09 budget, comments were made that Commissioner Franke was one of three commissioners who received a new laptop computer paid for with taxpayer dollars. The  other two commissioners named were  D-6 Highland Park Wayne Gardin and D-2 Lenoir City Shirley Reno,

Almost 1 year ago, the Budget Committee earmarked $900 for the purchase of laptops for each commissioner. Somehow the laptop cost soared to $1,519 bringing the amount of all three laptops to $4,557 plus software for a grand total of $4,734. That does not include the time, wages and benefits that it took for an IT county employee to prepare the laptops for the three commissioners. The laptops have not been seen at any meetings so what exactly are these commissioners doing with these laptops?

Last year, commissioners also voted to increase their pay. Commissioner's lofty pay is now calculated at 10 percent of the mayor's salary, yearly and automatically; sort of like our federal government! This does not include other perks including life, medical and dental insurance, which some commissioners receive.  A commissioner's pay went from $6,000 to $7,559 est. (yearly) in FY 07-08 budget. Now, the Budget Committee is proposing $8,437 per commissioner in FY 08-09. Is your boss this generous?

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East Tellico Parkway

A few years ago, officials met to prioritize a list of county roads that required fixing. It was next to impossible to find meeting minutes of who said what or the rationale behind the priority road list. But for some reason or another, the East Tellico Parkway, which leads to Foothills Pointe, a river-front community overlooking Tellico Lake in Greenback, ended up at the top of the list of roads to be paved. The cost of the road improvement was about $300,000 est. Coincidently, Commissioner Franke just happens to live in Foothills Pointe.

 

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05-15-2008