Police protection or property tax?

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By Charlotte Underwood

For nearly three years, I have witnessed the way small town governments work.

I have gotten to see elected officials battle against falling revenues, downtrodden economies and shortages of employees. I have seen hours reduced, equipment reduced and even manpower reduced.

But when a mayor that truly cares recently made a suggestion for the betterment of his town, I was shocked that only two board members backed him up.

The town of Caryville is in a financial tailspin. There are no steady forms of revenue and the land sales that have kept the town afloat for several years now have declined along with the rest of the economy. Yet when Mayor Bobby Stooksbury suggested gathering information about establishing a property tax, Glenn Smith, Chris Stanley and Mark Stanley, voted down even looking into a possible solution that could better the town as a whole.

Now I know that tax is a dirty word. But the fact of the matter is this country relies on taxes and a willingness to band together as a group in order to survive.  Without taxes, many of the services people enjoy would be gone. Police protection, fire protection, road systems and even park and recreation systems are all a result of taxes.

Caryville has had to go to drastic lengths to ensure the bills continue to get paid. Town employees, including police officers, have all taken a large cut in hours in order to cut costs. I am shocked that the same board that is willing to lessen the level of protection for its citizens in order to save money is opposed to even looking into an alternate solution.

A property tax, if enacted would in my opinion, be the most equitable solution.

But instead, the town employees, the people that work so that others can have a better, safer life in Caryville are the ones who are taking the brunt of this decision. This in turn affects the residents because if police officers have their hours reduced, then that is less time out patrolling and catching criminals. And the police department is just one example of the consequences of this decision.