Tax increase, education department discussed at recent County Commission meeting
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tennessee (WDEF) – The County Commission passed the Mayor’s 2018 Fiscal Budget 2 weeks ago and the county has heard some amid complaints that not enough money is going to the education department.
Its been 12 years since the last tax increase for Hamilton County government.
There was more discussion of that at this morning’s regular meeting.
Even without a tax increase, Hamilton county schools got another 8-million dollars this year from growth in sales and property. In fact, it’s grown every year. But how long can the county continue living on growth alone?
Commissioner Warren Mackey, District 4 said, “The school buildings are getting older by the day. And we’re still talking about the kids, and some of us up here try to talk slick. And we’ll say, only we’ll raise taxes only if necessary, well, it’s necessary now.”
The budget is 691-million dollars.
Mayor Coppinger stated, “The county budget’s that large, but uh, the fact of the matter is that 62 percent of that money, in this particular budget, 425-million, plus whatever we do in capital investments to the school system, goes to the department of education.”
Commissioner Mackey asks the Mayor, “If I didn’t get a pay raise in 12 years–by the 12th year all of the fat would have been taken out of the budget. And Mr Mayor you would assume..and this is a question, that the county’s budget after 12 years of no additional revenue…we’ve cut all the fat.”
Mayor Coppinger replies, “I’m concerned as you are Mr. Mackey about the, about the future. We’re not at that point yet, but I would agree with you that, uh we have to take a serious look at this within the next uh, you know one to two years, and see where we are.”
Commissioner Joe Graham says the county has used the last tax increase wisely—-preparing infrastructure..including preparation for Volkswagen and other industries.
“We’re not falling behind. As the mayor said, we’re actually updating our fire departments, we’re updating our sheriff’s department, we’re updating our schools and our buildings ..we still very much have to address that, there’s still a whole lot of work to be done. But we also have to take into consideration our constituents…that are paying the bill,” added Commissioner Joe Graham.