|There it is. That's the magic number everybody's been
waiting for according to commissioner Don Miller. At Monday's commission
workshop, Miller presented a report (see below) generated by himself and
finance director Tracy Blair that the county could only afford to borrow
$11,000,000.00 for the school building program. That's a far cry from
the $37,000,000.00 needed to fund the Phase 1 building program or for
that matter, the $18,300,000 needed just for the new Loudon Middle
School and the Philadelphia cafeteria.
Just last month, a majority of commissioners voted to rob the building fund to give the school board an additional one million dollars for new operating costs knowing that vote would kill the building program yet some seemed to be surprised that now there wasn't enough money to build anything.
Miller's handout also included the conclusion that commission would now need to raise property taxes twenty to thirty cents next year to fund the building program.
As the meeting progressed, other suggestions were made from raising property taxes right now to voting to obligate the commission to the building plan but not voting to raise taxes till later. Most commissioners were hesitant to discuss moving forward with the building program till the funding is in place.
Sitting in this meeting was something akin to being in the twilight zone. Those of you who have followed the building program odyssey here already knew the money was gone. We knew it when they threw away the million dollars to the school board. But that's all water under the bridge or in this case money down the toilet.
Miller's exactly right with his figures. The building program is dead without a property tax increase. The tragedy is that it didn't have to be. Fiscal irresponsibility on the part of a majority of the school board and the commission will cost all of us.
The definition of insanity from Albert Einstein. Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Elections have consequences.
If we continue to elect the same
or same kind of people to office, we should expect no different results.
Tax and spend.