As we delve into what could be the last city budget I work on as a councilmember, I reflect upon both the state of the city and my contributions thus far. I could boast that, during my tenure, no property taxes were raised and we’ve reduced total debt levels. However, those claims would be misleading … Continue reading A Tale of Three Cities – FY2017 Budget Column
The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the February 8, 2016 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet is found here, here and here and a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted on the city website in the March … Continue reading Council Votes: 2/8/16 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY
The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the November 16, 2015 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet is found here and here and a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will most likely be posted at the city website as … Continue reading Council Votes: 11/16/15 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY
The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the October 20, 2015 City Council Work Session and Special Meetings. The complete agenda packets are found here and here. Joint Work Session with the Board of Education: Presentation of the Preschool Committee’s Recommendation for a new Preschool Building Mayor … Continue reading Council Votes: 10/20/15 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING/WORK SESSION SUMMARY
Did you know that most of our local elections have historically been decided by less than 20% of our population? In fact, one of the biggest financial decisions ever made in our city’s history - the high school renovation project - was determined by only 11% (3,198) of our residents. A number of factors have … Continue reading 2014: The Year That Oak Ridgers Take Back Their Government
I was recently invited to speak to the Anderson County Tea Party. The following were my talking points. Critical documents are hyper-linked in blue. Why Your City’s Financial Matters Matter Just about anything that happens (or doesn’t) in Oak Ridge has a direct tie to money, your money. Local government spending directly impacts your wallet. Think not only … Continue reading City of Oak Ridge Financial Snapshot: Why Your City’s Financial Matters Matter
Happy Spring! Council’s schedule for the remainder of this month includes a work session and a special meeting scheduled for this Monday, March 24th at the Municipal Building. Details on the Special Meeting are provided below. The work session will follow and the agenda is located here. Results of the March 3rd regular city … Continue reading March City Council Update/Additional Special Meeting
The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the March 3, 2014 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the April 2014 Regular … Continue reading THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 3/3/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY
NOTE: The Oak Ridge City Council will hold a special non-voting meeting on February 27, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building to discuss the high school debt resolution as well as a request received by the BOE on 2/26/14 to approve an amendment to their annual budget in the amount of $1.75 million. … Continue reading The Oak Ridge High School Debt Chronicles – How a $40 Million Project Will Cost Taxpayers Over $126 Million (So Far)
For the first time in two years (and since I joined council), the Oak Ridge Board of Education (BOE) and City Council held a joint meeting. The agenda was heavy and the mayor unilaterally established a time limit of 1 ½ hours at the very beginning. The meeting room was packed and a crowd formed … Continue reading Report on the 2/21/14 Joint Meeting Between Oak Ridge City Council and the BOE
There is a tremendous amount of activity occurring in the very near future that will effect all Oak Ridgers in many ways. First, council and the BOE will hold a special called meeting this Friday at noon. The agenda is found here and was just released a few hours ago. The original purpose of this … Continue reading Upcoming City and School Meetings/Hot Topics
The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the October 14, 2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the November 11th Regular … Continue reading THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 10/14/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY
Hello and Happy Fall! Here is your update for October. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have anytime! The results of the 9/17/2013 special called meeting on the school’s demand for $250K by Oct 1st are found here and my complete analysis with the ramifications of council’s … Continue reading October Oak Ridge City Council Update
In order to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the recent school system fiasco, I’d like to expound upon my characterization of it as a “manufactured crisis.” I will first provide a brief summary and then, for those who are interested in the details, I will elaborate. I will conclude with my suggestion for … Continue reading Manufactured Crisis: A Joint Venture After All?
The following represents an unofficial account of the single item discussed and voted upon during the September 17, 2013 City Council Special Called Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the … Continue reading THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 9/17/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY – MOE/High School Debt
A number of people have sought my reaction to the city council’s decision this week. For those who have not heard, they voted to pay the school’s obligation on the high school debt by way of a deduction in their annual contribution and they essentially welcomed the state to intercede and look at our financials … Continue reading Because We Cannot Afford More of the Same
It's been over a week since I originally wrote this and given everything that has occurred since, it seemed inconsequential and I didn't want to bother posting here. But then I think back to the original impetus behind this particular piece and I realize how the current scandal (the principal's mysterious dismissal at WillowBrook 3 … Continue reading Sausage or Haggis?
BOE Treasurer Angi Agle responds to my challenge of the BOE's hijacking of the high school debt payment here. In her column and in her communications with council, she has called into question both my facts and my character all while perpetuating absolute fabrications about unwritten agreements and handshake deals. The BOE fully expected … Continue reading I Call B.S.
NOTE: The email from the city manager as well as his proposed resolution that I referenced are included at the end of this post. A majority of council have indicated that they will not approve the resolution that I referenced in the following column/post. This begs the question: Now what? Council should absolutely stand their … Continue reading More of the Same – Column Update, Contact Info and City Manager Letter & Resolution
Tonight for a third time, City Council was faced with a resolution to approve a $900K increase to the schools' 2012 budget. The administration appropriated this additional money PRIOR to receiving legal approval by council, some 9 months after council first declined a similar request. Though the mayor closed public comment on the agenda item, … Continue reading Strike 3!
If you weren’t able to make last night’s 2 hour meeting, here’s what you missed: City : Schools, you need to pay your part of the high school mortgage Schools: Um, yeah we know. About that. Let’s have another meeting sometime and work that out. Make that a couple more meetings. City: O.K. Cause like … Continue reading Summary of Last Night’s Work Session
Tom Bailey and John Smith are quoted as saying that they knew that the sales tax was still dedicated to the ORHS construction until that construction is paid off. I will have to scan the complete article in, but until then, here's the snippet from that article: Schools won't lose money? June 5, 2006 •• 350 words •• ID: … Continue reading Bailey indicated that the diverted revenue would still go to the high school debt service:
The following is directed to the Oak Ridge Schools Administration and Board of Education and shared with the citizens of Oak Ridge: In 2004, Oak Ridgers residing in Anderson County generously voted to increase the local sales tax rate from 2.25% to 2.75% in order to fund the high school project. The verbiage of that … Continue reading High School Debt Payment 6 Months Past Due