To the Editor:
It's budget time in Wilson County, and it's always a shock to find out how fast our county is growing and how much more expensive goods and services become each year. While we understand that costs to operate government increase over time, it is our responsibility as county commissioners to be good stewards of Wilson County taxpayers' money. We hear the budget of each government agency, and funding must be shared between all of them including roads and public works, emergency and police, the school system and several other important agencies.
Last year, Wilson County taxpayers saw their property taxes increase 35.17 cents for every $100 of property value, or an approximate 18-percent property tax increase. Now we are being asked to consider a budget for Wilson County Schools that, if funded as submitted, would result in another property tax increase of approximately 60 cents per $100 of property values assessed. The property owners of Wilson County would be asked to absorb another tax increase which will have seen their property taxes increase by approximately 36 percent in three years.
The budget our school system has presented this year has several items that are of concern, the foremost being the $110,000,000 requested to build a new high school in Northwest Mt. Juliet. We understand there is an increase in student population each year, but that population is growing overwhelmingly in our county's southwest (Providence) area. More so, the plot of land the school system has purchased, while located in a desirable area, hasn't been developed before for a good reason. It is a 100-foot-deep depression located on the corner of North Greenhill Road and Highway 70. If you get a chance, go take a look at it. Adding the $5,850,000 purchase price, the $115,000,000 estimated final cost of this new high school will exceed the combined costs of the new Mt. Juliet and Lebanon high schools, both of which were built in the last 10 years.
We ask that you help us allocate the hard-earned money you pay in taxes by educating yourself about the needs in your area. And, after learning the facts, let your county commissioner know how you feel about the proposed school site and potential tax increase. No matter if you are for it or against it - your voice should be heard. Contact information for county commissioners can be found at www.wilsoncountytn.gov.
Wilson County commissioners Joy Bishop, Cindy Brown, Frank Bush, Bobby Franklin, John Gentry, Jerry McFarland, Dan Walker and Diane Weathers