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Letters: City residents pay county taxes, too

Johnson City Press • Sep 20, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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City residents pay county taxes, too

The children of Washington County that live in this area need a new school, and Washington County is out of money.

Enter the town of Jonesborough, we'll build you a new school for $30 million. You can pay us back over the next 20 years at $2.362 million per year. That way you don't have to share any pennies (politicians call it pennies, I call it millions of dollars) with Johnson City. That is $47.24 million worth of "pennies"!!

The taxpayers of Jonesborough are on the hook twice for this county school, once with their taxes paid to the town to build this school, then again with their taxes to the county to lease it for the next 20 years.

Residents of Johnson City also pay taxes to Washington County, parts of which are supposed to come back to the city if used for schools, buses, etc. Washington County does not have to share money if this method of financing is used.

This is an underhanded way of depriving the children of Johnson City money to be used for their education.

Washington County collects money from everybody, pays Jonesborough $47 million, then uses a loophole to keep from paying Johnson City.

State law needs to be changed to keep city residents from paying taxes to the county. As a resident of Johnson City that pays double taxes, I would gladly pay more to the city if I didn't have to pay the same amount to the county, as I am getting no benefits from the money I send them.

As a former mayor of Washington County said, it's nor fair, but it is legal.

What a lesson for the children we are trying to educate.

DENNIS MILLER
Johnson City

Funding loophole deprives city students

You have to laugh about all this "regional cooperation" talk after members of the Town of Jonesborough and Washington County government (both past and present) have conspired once again to circumvent the state law by not sharing capital project funds with Johnson City schools. For the record, Johnson City residents pay more in property taxes to the county than they do to the city government.

There is no question that a new school needs to be constructed near Jonesborough, but it is a sad day when Washington County government even entertains the idea of "leasing" a facility from one of Tennessee's smallest towns to avoid paying Johnson City taxpayers and children their fair share of the revenue. Business 101: Leasing is financing (and there sure is a lot of leasing going on in Jonesborough nowadays).

I will refer to this proposal as "The Grand Scheme." Concocted and planned primarily from the backwards mentality of "us vs them" by "good ole boys" that think Gray, Tennessee, shouldn't be in the city limits and the size of ball fields are more important than classrooms. If you turn the rock over you will find the same players taking advantage of the taxpayer's apathy and complacency. Self enrichment is sinful and a disservice to the taxpayers.

To quote the late Ross Perot: "Get ready for that big sucking sound."

PAT COLLINS
Johnson City

Trail creates problems

There are potential plans in the works for a bike/walking trail from Maple Grove down to Dry Creek. The potential plan is to go down Highway 107 or Zane Whitson.

Even though there is some excitement by a few citizens who stood up at the BMA meeting, they are not the citizens who will lose between 14 and 22 feet from the road frontage from their homes and businesses.

What are our mayor and aldermen thinking? Probably not much. What about property rights, easements, cut of trees, disruptions of traffic, having to move water meters, flood concerns, just to name a few issues?

I feel this is again something that will not bring any benefits for Unicoi, much like the Mountain Harvest Kitchen.

DEBORAH McWHIRTER
Unicoi

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