I read with interest an article in the April 29 edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner. The title of the article was "Fee to fund stormwater issues proposed.” In reality, it should have read, "Tax on rain proposed.” We, the taxpayers, have just been hit with a hefty property tax increase and a sales tax increase, and now our government wants to come up with a new tax to tax the rain.
May I propose a different approach? We should be looking at being more efficient in an effort to reduce taxes instead of raising them. We need to be looking at redundancy and duplication in government and taking steps to eliminate them. We need to be asking the hard questions such as why do we have two law enforcement agencies? Cleveland is in Bradley county, and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office can take care of any law enforcement needs in Cleveland. I do not know the personnel requirements, but I would guess by combining the two agencies it would result in a substantial decrease in existing resources. This would be a huge savings for the citizens of Cleveland and Bradley County.
Why do we need two school systems? Each school system has their own administration [and] that is a duplication. One school system could operate more efficiently and better utilize the schools and their resources. This also would be a huge savings to the citizens.
Why do we need two different fire departments? More duplication that would provide huge savings to the citizens if they were combined into one and eliminate the duplication.
The list goes on and on, and needs to have a serious look and action to determine the steps needed to implement a consolidated city-county government. To do anything less, in my opinion, is a grave injustice to the taxpayers of this great city and county.
If the answer to these questions is we cannot combine services to provide a cost savings to our citizens because we must protect our own jobs or we must protect our own turf, then that is the wrong answer.
I believe the time has come for our elected and appointed officials to come together and initiate the necessary steps to reduce the tax burden on the citizens. To achieve this, I believe a consolidated city-county government is the correct approach.
— Sherman Stephens