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Letters: Where's the payoff?

Johnson City Press • Dec 14, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected].

Where’s the payoff?

The total debt of the city of Johnson City is $315 million (page C-6 of the 2019 Budget). Over the life of the debt, that’s $221 million in principal and $94 million in interest. I have lived in Johnson City for over 35 years and I can’t recall any commission seriously discussing this very important issue. We are getting ready to spend several million dollars on a variety of events and projects associated with the city’s sesquicentennial.

We live in a wonderful part of the world. I love these mountains, but it is the people that make it so special. It is not some arbitrary city limit line that someone drew up 150 years ago. In my view, we don’t need new projects and parties to celebrate that fact. A great gift we could leave posterity is a debt-free city.

I would much rather have seen any commission put together a 10- 15- 20-year plan to make us debt free. That would have involved some tough decisions and taken courageous leadership. It’s not too late!

I have had fundamental disagreements with commissions over the years on their spending and borrowing, but that’s just me. For example, the last commission spent $1.4 million for a piece of property that sold for $600,000 five years earlier. That is just one of many.

The usual approach of political leaders is to borrow money for “projects” as long as repayment can be made over time without raising taxes. If certain projects are so vital to the future of our city then look taxpayers “in the eye” and raise taxes to pay for them. We are simply handing debt to future generations. Is debt the legacy we want to leave to our children?

FYI, total Washington County debt is $162 million.

DAVID MILLER
Johnson City

Thanks for protecting and serving

Last week, the home of a family member was broken into and several things were stolen. Apparently, the same burglars broke into other houses in the city that same day. Before dark, the Johnson City Police had caught the burglars and recovered all the stolen items, with the help of several observant neighbors.

First, "Thank you" to the responding officers and burglary detectives who worked on these crimes. Their prompt response, professionalism, courtesy and competence were obvious and are very much appreciated.

Second, all Johnson City residents should be proud that we have such dedicated, well-trained and highly motivated police officers. They are a credit to the city and to their profession.

JIM MOODY
Johnson City

Disrespecting the office

What has happened to us and what can we do to save ourselves? It was appalling to view the complete disrespect that a representative of the House and a senator could publicly relish criticizing our president who courageously stood his ground and stated that he would accept all responsibility for his planned shutdown of our government if $5 billion are not allocated in the forthcoming national budget for construction of the wall.

Our beloved country is under stress from both within and outside our borders. We have the national epidemic of addiction inside of our borders and the severe humanitarian need to assist fellow human beings outside of our borders. It makes one feel secure that the drug problem will be solved in short time, now that we have our beloved Senator Blackburn about to take her new position in Congress. She with Representative Roe and his fellow members of the Physicians' Caucus will provide the president with all the support he needs to quell this scourge.

Do not worry through. America is becoming greater every day.

JIM STAPLETON
Johnson City

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