Maintenance Of Effort

There is a state law that most folks have never heard of but it's actually a big deal and your county commissioners know it well. It's called "maintenance of effort." The effect of the maintenance of effort law is that the county commission can never reduce the amount of funding it provides to the schools. What does this mean to you and me? A property tax increase.

The decision of the county commission to give the schools another million dollars in property tax for the next school year brings the total property taxes going to the schools to well over 10 million dollars. That's a nearly five million dollar increase since 2004.

Unlike other county departments and funds, the commission can never reduce the school funding below the current 10 million plus mark. This guarantees that if there is ever a school building program, it will require a hefty property tax increase.

The law of maintenance of effort makes the commission's decision even more insidious. The money wasn't just thrown away once but will be forever. Those six commissioners who voted for the increased funding may just as well have lined up on top of Fort Loudon Dam and thrown a million dollars over the rail. Either way that million's gone forever.