I am writing this letter to increase community awareness of how the cities continue to take revenue from our county and state only to increase everyone's taxes. In 2015, Tennessee legislators took away the cities' ability to forcefully annex and double-tax residents, but they continue to find ways to grab state and county revenue.
The cities continue to annex state roads and rights of way. This gives them an increased ability to write traffic tickets since almost all local and tourist traffic use these routes. Since these are state roads, the cities do not have to pay for the upkeep of these roads. Furthermore, the state of Tennessee writes a check to the cities for the upkeep of these rights of way. If the cities want these roads, they should absorb the costs, which in turn would lower fuel taxes or allow the state to make much-needed road and bridge repairs.
It is very disappointing to see Maryville take revenue from the county that was granted to fix Morganton Road. If the county could use the entire grant as it was intended, the repairs would stretch much further into the county.
I would like to remind all Blount residents of how city administrators have continued to aggressively take revenue from the state and county while maintaining higher salaries, higher per-pupil expenditures and budgets with luxuries. This practice costs all taxpayers more. When the cities take state- and county-intended revenue, it must be replaced. Remember state and county government budgets are mandated. Therefore, more people in the cities should be looking at de-annexation to lower everyone's taxes.
Ronald B. Harris
North Springview Road