Citizen Donna Wright’s comments to the commission on the proposed tax increase

The job of the county departments head and the mayor is to ask for more money.  You could give them a 100%  increase in their budget request and they would come back tomorrow asking for more. That is their job as bureaucrats and I understand that. But your job as county commissioners is to stand in the gap to stop the runaway budget because of their personal agendas and excess spending and stop this foolishness because the citizens of Blount County, who are under tax payer duress anyway, cannot afford this added burden. We need you as county commissioners to grow a backbone and demand that department heads reduce their budget costs instead of just automatically granting their current requests.

Some of the proposed money brought in from a property tax increase would be to fund the short fall of the health care fund.  Why are you not currently pursuing the options of making the county employees pay for more of their health care benefits or make some plan changes first before you put forth this proposal to raise taxes.  You have a 1.8 million short fall year to date. What are you going to do next year when that will more than likely increase.  Implement the wheel tax possibly?

My husbands insurance rates increased this year by 36% and who pays for it?  He does.  He doesn’t have the advantage of passing that increase onto someone else.  Our sheriff has a 10.6 million dollar budget.  You mean to tell me he cannot reallocate his budget to give his deputies a raise.  We just passed  the 22% sales tax increase last year which I thought was for education.  Why do they keep coming back for more?  If you make the money available they will find ways to spend it and next budget they’ll ask for more.

My family runs a fiscally responsible household and when we need to cut that’s what we do. And if you pass this property tax increase guess what we will be doing?  Making more cuts.  It is your job as commissioners of this county to be fiscally responsible stewards of the taxpayer’s money and right now some of you are failing miserably.  I know some of you have your mind made up already, but those of you on the fence, I ask that you do the fiscally responsible thing and vote no on the property tax increase.  Thank you.

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