KEEPING IT GREEN

Understanding the need for our city tax increase

Cameron Fisher
Posted 8/12/17

For about a year now there has been increased talk around town of improvements we need in our city, such as a faster paving schedule, new and upgraded sidewalks, downtown redevelopment and other …

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KEEPING IT GREEN

Understanding the need for our city tax increase

Posted

For about a year now there has been increased talk around town of improvements we need in our city, such as a faster paving schedule, new and upgraded sidewalks, downtown redevelopment and other vital additions to our community.

A survey was taken and the people spoke about what we needed and what we would like to see happen. The survey also recognized eventual redevelopment of the old Whirlpool site as a priority. Also included in the survey was a positive response to having the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway in our community and the desire to see it improved.

We (as a community) should be proactive rather than reactive to these and other growth and redevelopment challenges. Of course, all of these changes will cost money.

The current city budget does not have provisions for most of the desired improvements, so seeing the vision for the future and in response to their constituents, a majority of the Cleveland City Council voted late last month to raise the city property tax from $1.77 to $2.06, to begin to make some of the needs become reality. They will vote again later this month to either pass or reject the measure.

Since that first reading, there has been a backlash of negativity toward the tax increase. While some might see it as a large hike, if we are to see any of the dreams and visions take place anytime soon, a tax increase is inevitable. For those who I have heard support the increase, the sentiment has been to “rip off the band-aid” all at once rather than spread it out (the tax increase) over several years.

And, as has been pointed out several times publicly in this process, we (Cleveland) would still have one of the lowest property tax rates in the state for a municipality comparative to ours.

Lest anyone misinterpret my intentions here, even though I am chairman of the Greenway board, I have not been privy to how much of the tax revenue would be directed toward Greenway projects, or what part of the Greenway might be improved or lengthened. All I know is what I read in an article about the survey results in the Cleveland Daily Banner on Aug. 2: “… The survey mentions possible expansion of the Cleveland Greenway, and quality of parks and recreation services.”

Three of the five phases of our current Greenway had to depend on grants from TDOT to be funded. However, every community is going to have to depend more on local dollars to move forward.

While I am an advocate for the Greenway, of course, I am more passionate about the overall improvement of our community. Like thousands of others, I own property in the city limits, and am willing to support the tax increase. No one likes to pay more taxes; that’s a given, but the time has come for us to realize how good we have it here in Cleveland and Bradley County, and to take the next bold step.

I hope everyone who feels as I do will voice their support for our city council as members make the courageous move to infuse the funds necessary toward a future that can be brighter than we have ever dreamed.

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Online:

www.cbcgreenway.com

Facebook: The Greenway

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