By Charlie Reed
I really don’t know how to start this letter but, a quote from an old Laurel and Hardy movie comes to mind, “Well if this isn’t another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!” What I am referring to is what the Board of Mayor and Alderpersons did on June 9, 2015 when they passed RESOLUTION 52-2015 which is rescinds RESLOUTION 13-2013 of March 5, 2013.
The aldermen serving on the board on March 5 who voted unanimously to pass RESOLUTION 13-2013 which defined how the money collected from the .5 percent sales tax would be used and accounted for are the same ones who voted to rescind it on June 9. What happened in the intervening 17 months that changed the minds of four of the seven aldermen?
RESLOUTION 13-2013 is, or was, very explicit in how the monies raised by the .5 percent sales tax was to be handled and used. This resolution specifically stated how the money was to be accounted for, that it was to be placed ”in a special revenue fund”, and more importantly how it was to be used, to“…establishment and/or operation of a city school system!”
The following is quotes from RESLOUTION 13-2013:
“WHEREAS, the Board of Mayor and Alderpersons do not intend to for such tax to be used for general governmental purposes. (I think that is pretty straight forward!)
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Mayor and Alderpersons of the city of Millington, Tennessee that the City Sales Tax Fund is created as a special revenue fund and that all collections from the .5 percent city sales tax shall be deposited into said fund; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the intended use of this tax is to reimburse the City General fund for all costs incurred for professional fees, advertising and mailings in connection with the efforts to establish a city school system, costs associated with the proposed establishment and/or operation of a city school system and to the extent available for the acquisition of a new city library;…”
I have emboldened and italicized those portions of this resolution for the readers benefit. The part about the acquisition of a new city library is a moot point because the Ritter Telephone Company donated the library property and building to the City of Millington.
RESOLUTION 13-2013 is/was very specific about the .5 percent sales tax money as to how it was to be accounted for and specifically what it was to be used for, the establishment and/or operation of THE MILLINGTON SCHOOL SYSTEM!
So what happened to change the minds of four of the seven alderpersons between March 5, 2013 and June 9, 2015? The four alderpersons who voted for rescinding RESOLUTION 13-2013 were: Bethany Huffman, Larry Dagen, Thomas McGhee and Chris Ford.
Millington has really gotten itself in a very bad financial situation and look at the school .5 percent tax as a “Cash Cow!” Unfortunately, taking money from the schools is like, “Throwing the baby out with the bathwater!” The school system will soon incur some very big expenses. There are two abandoned buildings that need to be razed, the old science building and the old cafeteria. Plus the old Tech building desperately needs to be torn down and replaced! I have recently learned that to do this work will cost between 10 to15 million dollars. Where will this money come from if it is spent by the city “…for general governmental purposes” which was forbidden under RESOLUTION 13-2013. I think I know! Your taxes will go up. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
The Board of Mayor and Alderpersons
I have two things that I would like you to consider:
First: Why has every other municipality in Shelby County prospered and has grown and Millington has stagnated?
I was told almost 20 years ago, 1996, by an incumbent alderperson campaigning for reelection, that, “What was good for Millington in 1955 is good for Millington today!” Wow!! Look at where that thought process and mind set got us! For whatever reason why Millington leadership decided to cling to the past and make such a statement as that, I cannot understand. It defies all logic! Believe me when I say that I do not understand why any city would not want to grow and prosper and why Millington would deliberately want to stagnate! It is almost as if Millington has a death wish. If that is true the killing to schools will be the coup de gras, the merciful death-blow. That is pretty sad.
Second: What does Millington have to offer that would entice people to move here?
Right now the only thing that Millington has to offer that would entice anyone to move and relocate here is, the Millington School System.
I suggest that you, everyone who reads this letter contact these four alderpersons and ask why did they change their mind! It is important that we, the public, know what these four aldermen think about the Millington Schools, and whether or not they are playing political games and just paying lip service to the Millington School System or are they going to really support the schools and use the money that has been raised through the .5% sales tax for its intended purpose as stated in RESOLUTION 13-2013, “THE ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF THE MILLINGTON SCHOOL SYSTEM”.
It just don’t make sense to me. Please act today, right now! Do something!
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