|The State Comptroller's office
recently released their audit report for Loudon County for fiscal year
ending 2009. The report shows
that the county closed the fiscal year with well over $23,000,000.00 in
combined reserves. This includes $8,388,628.00 in the county general
operating fund, $8,887,562.00 in the school building fund and nearly 3.5
million in the school general operating fund. Combined reserves are up
from last year more than 1.5 million and up nearly ten million since
This is why I cringe when I hear folks talking about raising taxes. How on earth could anyone argue for a tax increase with such a balance sheet.
Commission should be commended for maintaining healthy reserve balances but to suggest a property tax increase with such reserves is absurd. The reason for such large reserves can be traced back to two property tax increases. Thirty-two cents in 2005 and another eight cents in 2008. Both increases were attributed to education needs, yet still no new schools. The tax increases and the revenue they generated have been gobbled up in increased spending on both the county government side and the education side.
The argument has been made that a tax increase is needed for the building program. This is flat wrong. The money for the current building program is in place now. The truth of the matter is that if the current funding for the building program is committed to the building program as it should be, that would prevent the commission from raiding the building fund to add more money to operating budgets. So in one or two of five years if the economy remains slow, commission might have to consider a tax increase. It's a lot easier to sell a tax increase to the public if you claim it's for schools (2005 & 2008) than it is if you have to tell them it's just for operating expenses.
$23,000,000.00 in combined reserves, $8,388,628.00 in the county general operating fund, $8,887,562.00 in the school building fund and nearly 3.5 million in the school general operating fund. How on God's green earth do you look people in the eye and tell them we need to raise taxes.
Don't just take my word on the facts. Click here for comptroller's audit.