A Lump of Coal

Even though January first is still several months away, it is the first month of the new fiscal year. Santa brought us a nickle property tax increase and the promise of an argument on whether or not to purchase a building in downtown Dandridge for the relocation of the Mayor’s Office and the Finance Office. One has already been delivered and one is still to come. In fact it is on the agenda for this week. For my part, I have been expecting the property tax increase for a few budget cycles. As far as the new building goes, it is a decent fix to an ongoing problem of space for many of the county offices. Will it fly? Who knows. Some of the powers that be are opposed because the motion to purchase the building ( which passed the budget committee on a split vote) was tied to a motion to sell the current Finance Office and put those funds toward the renovation of the Clerk’s Office. They want it one step at a time but I really don’t see the issue. The work needs to be done and, frankly, in the total scheme of county funding it is a relatively small amount that will be generated by the sale of the Finance Office. That building is not ADA compliant and if we hold onto it for any amount of time we will have to make it compliant so why not go ahead and designate the funds from the potential sale?

Anyway. Just another minute caveat that will likely hold up progress. And speaking of holding up progress, I find it just a little scary that some of the folks that are making monetary decisions for Jefferson County can’t (or won’t take the time to) read the budget. In the last meeting of the previous fiscal year there were those that voted to approve the budget but balked on the five cent tax increase. Now, I am not sure how they intended to fund the budget, because there was clearly a deficit, but they seemed to miss the connection between the budget and the tax rate. In true Christmas in July fashion these Commissioners will be receiving a lump of coal in their stockings. Maybe they can sell it for profit and come up with some funding. Or better yet, maybe they can take a stab at understanding what they are voting for before time to cast their ballot.-an original concept but one that might have a chance at working.

I know some are shaking their heads at the Christmas in July concept but I am for anything that can get my mind off the heat both in and out of the meeting venue. The real truth is that we have five months to determine just who is on the naughty and nice list. Should we hold the new bee notions from the past budget cycle against those that just didn’t get it? Those that run for public office should know the scope of their duties and hit the ground running. When it takes 21 to play the game there just isn’t time to ride the learning curve.

We are making a list and checking it twice. While we might not know when the powers that be are sleeping or awake (unless of course it is during a meeting) we are watching and waiting to see what comes next.