By Wes Duenkel
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the commission for having the courage to put Sumner County in a better financial position for our children. By voting to return our tax rate to what we paid 13 years ago, they put community before politics. In the face of mounting financial challenges, they made an unpopular vote; not because it was easy, but because kicking the can down the road is not how a responsible government behaves.
I understand some of my fellow citizens are angry.
They're angry that those commissioners "raised our taxes" (albeit to a rate we paid a little over a decade ago).
But I think they're angry at the wrong commissioners.
You see, I was at the November budget committee meeting, and the specially called commission meeting on November 3rd. I saw several commissioners gathered in the lobby, outside the budget committee meeting while the County Finance Director delivered a presentation on the dire financial future our county faced, and why he recommended returning the tax rate to $2.50.
Then, I saw the finance director deliver the same presentation to the full commission.
But was flabbergasted with what I heard next: some of the same commissioners who gathered outside those open doors claimed that they were surprised the commission was considering a tax increase!
Those commissioners, after they were notified of the meeting that was called with the “INTENT TO EXCEED THE CERTIFIED TAX RATE” claimed . . . they didn’t know what the meeting was about!
Those commissioners, who were elected, and are paid $500 a month, didn’t know what the meeting was about?
Those commissioners didn’t offer any alternative proposals. Instead, they complained about how long the meeting was lasting!
You bet I’d be angry. I’d be really angry if commissioners I elected, and I paid $500 a month, didn’t take the first step to understand what a meeting was about, and then complained about how long the meeting was lasting.
Rather than be angry with the commissioners that had the courage make this tough decision, I’d be angry with those commissioners who didn’t want to do the most simple aspect of their jobs: KNOW THE PURPOSE OF A MEETING.
Those looking to reduce government waste need to look no further than the salaries paid to commissioners who don't put the slightest effort toward what they were elected...and are paid...to do.