Darts and Laurels
A laurel to letting your voice be heard — it CAN make a difference!
A dart to increased taxes — no matter how good the cause. Most folks are just tapped out!
A laurel to ‘McTeachers’ nights at McDonald’s — great way to support our schools!
A dart to vandalizing the property of others — whether the cost is small or large, SO wrong.
A laurel to Apple Festival pageants — the frills and frolics are fun!
For the common good
So often, taxpayers and voters complain their voices are not heard by those they have elected.
However, that was not the case this week when local citizens showed up to express their opinions at a public forum held to discuss a proposed tax increase by the Johnson County Board of Education.
Though notably upset, those in attendance chose to behave civilly, expressing their concerns regarding both their personal finances and the county school system.
Many pointed out not having had a raise in several years — some in as many as ten. Living expenses are rising while paychecks remain stymied. Understandably, a rise in the cost of anything — food, gasoline, utilities — translates to a hardship on those living on meager paychecks and fixed incomes. It’s plain to see that a proposed tax increase of 19.7 cents per $100 assessed property value could create mild panic in a community of low to middle income workers.
It’s also pretty plain to see — in light of the same rising costs mentioned above, in addition to a need for textbooks, facility renovations, state mandated pay raises, and classroom materials — that mild panic could unleash among board members elected to provide for these needs for an entire school system. Ranked third to last in the state on tax rates, no one can fault the Johnson County Board of Education for seeking an increase in revenue.
Just not that much — and not all at once, the people said.
And — it doesn’t happen often but it did happen this time — our elected officials listened.
Striking down a motion to adopt the proposed 19.7 cent increase, board members (save for one) voted instead to settle on a four percent increase, with a recallable nickel — an increase of just over eight cents. It’s perhaps more than many taxpayers would want, and less than what the board orginally proposed, but, it’s a compromise. And a workable compromise at that.
Perhaps our nation’s Congress would benefit from taking a look at what happened in Johnson County this week. As usual, we’re pretty proud of our folks — all of them.
Darts and Laurels
A laurel to the county’s Conservation District for educating children on the importance of conserving our natural resources — snakes, included!
A dart to those slow moving wheels of justice — a family awaits closure.
A laurel to moving ever closer to gaining an animal shelter for the county — lots of hard work is about to pay off!
A dart to those who propose to uphold the legal system while working against it when they think no one is watching.
A laurel to this week’s ‘First Day of Autumn’ — we welcome the season!
Are we broke?
By Tim Pelphrey
Breaking down proposed tax rate ~
Property Value: $100,000.00
Property Tax: $1000 x $.56 =$560.00
School tax = $560.00
A new tax rate increase proposal, that all five Johnson County School Board members passed last week, has caused some stir amongst the natives.
New Superintendent Tom Salyer asked the board to approve a 53% tax increase during the last meeting and, as usual at a Johnson County School Board meeting, the Super got what he asked for.
Salyer’s reason for the hike was blah, blah blah blah blah, which is all I read, because increases of taxes, at such rates, only come when the school district is in dire need of money.
Salyer said something to the effect that he wanted the district to stay ahead of the game when it comes to student’s classroom needs, if I’m not mistaken. These aren’t dire enough needs to raise the taxes at the rate he has proposed, as the classroom conditions are well better than par at Johnson Central and its feeder schools.
In other words, there are school districts across the nation that would be tickled pink to have the equipment and facilities that the district possesses.
Now, if this new Super was a younger man who wanted to push his power around, maybe not a Johnson Central graduate, and out for glory, I could buy the reason given.
But this is Tom Salyer. One of the most respected men and educators in the system. I do not believe that he would raise taxes on anybody unless it was absolutely necessary.
So, are we broke? And if so, HOW? And who is to blame? Those are questions that need to be answered by this school board.
Salyer is sitting in a chair that he was meant to sit in. There is no doubt in my mind about that as a Johnson Central graduate of 1990. I’ve witnessed his humble and deserving rise to where he is from the classroom and coach at Flat Gap, to a principalship, the board office and now to the man that has to make the tough decisions.
The school year is less than a quarter of the way through and he has to raise taxes. Imagine how long and hard he thought before he had to present that to the people. If he thinks it has to be done it probably needs to be.
He just stepped into the job, and, more than likely, into a system that has been spent out.
We cannot blame him if this is the case. And we should be glad we have a man with the guts and fortitude to ask the people for help. Just don’t pee down our backs and tell us its’ raining again. Be honest, regardless of where the blame lies.
But if this is not the case and every board member voted yea again, then this is ludicrous. It would be time to talk about how much salaries have increased and if there have been any high paying positions created by this board over the past few years.
It’s time to tighten the belt and cut spending and it may be time for some of the board members who have not been vocal for the people, to resign immediately.
The board is elected to make decisions for the tax payers. This board has agreed to every dime that has been spent. The fault lies with them and the former superintendent if this school system is out of money.
This is subject to voter referendum as it is over a 4%, which means that it can be petitioned and put on a ballot for the people to decide.
Darts and Laurels
A laurel to remembering the 9/11 tragedy -- lives lost should never be forgotten.
A dart to more flash flooding -- lightning may not strike twice in the same place, but floods do!
A laurel to cooler temps that make football season so much fun! Time to tailgate!
A dart to waiting to hear if FEMA help is coming to those affected by recent flooding -- many are in need now.
A laurel to Apple Day preparations -- from pageants to pies, it’s going to be great!