A Couple Of Things

I feel compelled to opine on a couple of recent articles.

First, "County commissioners caution BOE on spending".

I spent four years on the school board, 2008-2012. During this time, the board managed to accumulate better than six million dollars in reserves. According to the article, the current board will have spent nearly half that reserve in a couple of years and apparently, most board members are OK with that. But at their current rate of spending their reserves, it will be gone in the not so distant future.

The board is spending around a million dollars on two new football field houses at the two high schools. Were the new field houses a real necessity? Both schools currently have field houses. Those facilities are used what, five or six times a year?

The board has also included in their new budget request, raises for everyone even though the state did not provide any money for raises through the BEP (Basic Education Program) funding. All the costs for the raises will have to come from the reserves also. And remember, most educators will get their annual step raises along with the additional proposed raises. Again all from reserves.

Obviously, school board members feel these are all "necessary" expenditures, but as commissioners warned, at some point the money/reserves will run out. Then what?

My second opine concerns the article, "A taker for Seco facility?"

Last week I attended the meeting of the Loudon County EDA, (Economic Development Agency) where the proposed five year, $168,000.00 tax break for a new company to locate in a now abandoned facility in Lenoir City was pitched to Lenoir City and Loudon County officials. As usual, the proposal sailed right through with barely a question. Come to find out, the Lenoir City council had already approved the proposal before it had even been approved by the EDA board.

While it sounds good on paper, the facts aren't quit as they seem. The new business is an existing business located in west Knoxville. They will be bringing their current workforce with them. Not likely to hire any new employees at this time.

The deal to relocate to the Lenoir City industrial park was not contingent on receiving the tax break. In fact the work on the old building has already began and according to county records, the new owners took possession of the property back in March.

I guess it's a fine thing to offer big tax breaks to entice new industry to locate here but seems the benefits to the county should be greater than the hundreds of thousands of tax dollars lost.