Budget time is upon us, again. I, along with my senior staff, have spent (and we are still spending) any spare time looking at possible ways to tweak the budget. Yet, we are still dealing with this year’s underfunded budget, as well.
These past weeks I have shared the law-enforcement needs with some of our citizens on an individual basis. One retired gentleman who lives in north Bradley County became quite animated, as he told me not to give up on seeking a properly funded Sheriff’s Office. He encouraged me to do whatever it takes to keep a strong Sheriff’s Office.
Another older gentleman who is still working, because of being hurt in the recent recession, became very passionate to the point of raising his voice at me. He said, “Don’t you let the peace and safety of our community fail and become like Chattanooga. Do what you have to do!” This man said that he had been hurt so badly by the recession that he had to borrow money to pay the taxes on his house and business properties.
This recession will pass, but if we lose our name of being a good, safe place to live, raise a family and work, we are not likely to ever get it back! This has been the typical response to my actions in trying to make Bradley County safer now, and in the future.
Someone in recent days told me that it would take only a few cents more on the dollar of our property taxes to fully fund the Sheriff’s Office properly. This would not cause a need for an increase in property taxes. As I have said before, funding the Sheriff’s Office, along with the school system and the Road Department is mandated. Funding other things is not mandated.
I am finding out first hand that people want to feel safe in their homes and at the places where they work and go with their families. That sense or feeling of being safe has been taken for granted by many of us over the years.
Most of us know that there is an ill wind beginning to blow into these parts. Perceptive individuals, also, know that the only way to keep a community safe is with a strong, competent and experienced law enforcement presence.
Let us be very straightforward about it; good law enforcement costs plenty. There are no shortcuts, no blue-light specials, and no discounts. This is the cost of living in a civilized society.
I have told our folks before, and I reiterate it that I, and my deputies, can keep Bradley County safe now, and we can continue in that reputation into the future.
Yet, our county leaders are going to have to be convinced that “being safe” is a top priority across the county.
Times are rapidly changing. Many of the old funding strategies that worked for Grandpa and Grandma will no longer work. Public safety being relegated toward the bottom of the funding list just simply won’t work, anymore.
I want to add that we at the Sheriff’s Office are being good stewards with taxpayer money. And, our best peace-keeping strategy is hiring and keeping good people. The best investment is people. Please think on these things.
I believe you will agree with the efforts we are making to make Bradley County an island of safety, as our people fulfill their dreams and goals of prosperity and happiness.
Thanks for reading.