By Lt Col. (Ret.) Brent Bush
4th District Commissioner
Change is hard. I understand why. It is the unknown. What does it mean to the individual? How does it affect my livelihood? Etc. However, in the real world change is an everyday occurrence. When government institutions don't change they become ineffective. Government is managed by people and they inherently make decisions concerning their own interest.
Don't be conned. As a member of our County Commission I have served in workshops and committees. Many hours are wasted in discussion. We struggle to define our problems. We merely discuss a perceived issue. The intent of understanding our problem gets lost in all the politics, so we avoid solving problems. We don't encourage change. We don't want to make anyone mad. We don't want to affect anyone's job.
Here are a few of our structural and organizational problems that we can't seem to address. In no particular order Solid Waste, Reach, the 1981 Act, Metro Government, and declining school population.
Solid waste; we exceed the amount of trash per person as compared to other counties. We have antiquated equipment, unsafe trailers, etc? The list goes on.
REACH; we are the only county in the state that manages an After School program by the County Government? The Comptroller's office recommends ending County government management of REACH?
The 1981 Act! Metro government! Declining school population! The list goes on. I will address these issues in later articles.
I don't apologize for being cynical. Maintaining the status quo is not the answer. Creating confusion, not addressing our problems, and creating roadblocks for change is the method. We are next door to one of the fastest growing areas in the state of Tennessee. However, Cannon County is virtually at an economic standstill. Peter Schuck's book, Why Government Fails so Often, presents enormous body of evidence explaining why so many policies go awry and the solution is not, Setting Aside More Money for the General Fund! If you address even a part of these issues, then you could be well on your way of solving our General Fund problem.
Since 2014, we have raised property taxes 23 cents. That is approximately 460,000 dollars. We are no closer to adding to the General Fund than when we started. We need law, property rights, and effective government. Effective government is hard work. Don't throw tax money at antiquated structural and organizational systems. Money will not solve our problems.
Money will only exacerbate the problem.