Let's Vote On It

As bad as some would like for it to, phase one of the school building plan just wont go away and that's a good thing.

At Monday's commission workshop, Commissioner Bob Franke once again brought the question of the building program to the floor. Franke is asking the commission to vote to fully fund the building program which includes a new school in Greenback and a new middle school in Loudon. Of course once again, Franke's proposal met with the same tired arguments which have continued to delay the entire building program.

There are several reasons for commission to act now on funding the building program not the least of which just how desperately it is needed. But also important is the fact that right now commission can take advantage of the lowest interest rates in history which cannot last much longer. Each quarter point rise in the interest rate cost tax payers an additional million dollars over the life of the loan.

Another concern is the fact that right now the funds are in place to pay for both new schools without any tax increase. But the next budget cycle is just getting underway. There have already been some commissioners and school board members who have suggested taking money away from the building program to fund other operations of county government and the schools. Such a move would have a devastating impact on the building program. 

There is no reason to continue to hold up the building program. It must be done. The comptroller's office just released the results of the 2009 county audit. The audit shows that the county ended the year with more than 23 million dollars in combined reserves which include 8.3 million dollars in the general fund reserves.

Another no vote on the building program simply prolongs the inevitable and just continues to delay the building program that would bring new schools to both Greenback and Loudon. Seems any commissioner who is running for re-election who is facing opposition would have a hard time explaining to the voters why they continue to vote no.