Mixed Messages

In tonight’s City Council meeting, there was concern expressed about the 13-cent tax increase (on second reading).  The fact that these concerns didn’t arise until the second reading tells me that they’ve been getting some e-mails from the same folks who always want more, but always expect to pay less for it.

They ended up cutting $50k from the Economic Diversification Fund, but that’s less than a penny on the tax rate.  So, I’m not at all sure what the new tax rate will be — they didn’t cut enough to reduce the tax rate by a whole cent. 

In a similar vein, they voted down (3-3, as Councilman Hensley arrived later) a proposal to rezone a corner lot at Union Valley Rd and Illiinois Avenue, which had been slated for a Pilot gas station.  As Councilwoman Miller correctly pointed out, on Illinois Avenue from one side of the city limits to the other, there are only two gas stations: one at Hilltop, and the other, a BP station at Tulsa Rd.  Neither is known for being a low-price leader… but the Pilot could have captured some serious sales tax revenue from folks traversing through Oak Ridge, as well as those leaving Oak Ridge headed home to Knoxville each evening from Y-12 and other area employers.

In summary, no one wants to raise taxes, but they cut economic development funding, and rejected a reasonable rezoning request that would have brought new sales tax dollars.  We simply cannot continue to operate this way — if we do not want tax increases (and no one does), we simply must begin to allow some new business development in this city. 

Yeah, I should just shut up and be grateful that one one proposed a cut to the schools’ budget.  But unless we grow our tax base (with things like gas stations and hotels and new shopping centers that some people keep voting down), the schools cannot survive at the quality level that we expect.  Neither can your fire department, the police department, the library, our wonderful big outdoor pool, or lots of other things.

4 Responses to “Mixed Messages”

  1. on 20 May 2008 at 5:30 am voter person

    But they will get themselves re-eelected. It is not about what is right but what will get them re-elected.

  2. on 20 May 2008 at 7:02 am Joel

    Good post.

  3. on 20 May 2008 at 7:11 am Harry

    Maybe it’s time to give up the BOE and consider a city council seat. Think about it…..

  4. on 20 May 2008 at 4:11 pm Punk HP

    You have to admit, that “Some People” you refer to is pretty hot.

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