Waste not, want not

Published 9:07 am Monday, July 31, 2017

The Elizabethton Star shared with us on Wednesday that the Carter County Republican Party called for a primary election in May 2018. Do you know what a primary costs the taxpayers in Carter County? Do you know that even if a candidate does not win the primary that their name can be written in on the August general election ballot? For a candidate to run after losing the primary costs the taxpayers even MORE money due to the extra employees the election commission must hire to meet statutory deadlines. Therefore, what real purpose does a party primary serve if any candidate’s name can appear on the ballot in the general election? Is a local primary in Carter County not a complete waste of taxpayers’ money?
The last primary election held in 2014 cost the Carter County taxpayers approximately $60,000. In consideration of elections being held every two years and the cost being $60,000 had there not been primary elections held between 2000 and 2016 approximately $540,000 (over half a million) hard earned tax dollars would not have been spent. Not having a primary next year would result in a $60,000 reduction in our tax burden.
Looking to what the other 95 counties in the State of Tennessee do pertaining to burdening their taxpayers with unnecessary primaries and especially in a county like Carter, I contacted the State Election Commission to ask which counties don’t have primaries. They shared with me that the comparable information to use would be the 2014 County Primaries. A copy of which is posted on http://www.cartercountytn.gov/public-documents/general-information-notices/ in the Public Notices section for you to see. It is important to note that over half of the 95 counties in the state did not have a Judicial/County, Republican or Democrat Primary.
I would like to share some of my findings with you. Wilson County having a population of 125,376 has historically never had a primary. It is obvious the Wilson County parties have determined that it is not worth having a primary in that the cost would be over $100,000. Also, in 2014, Montgomery County with a population of 189,961 did not have a County primary. The estimated cost of a primary there was just over $150,000. Other counties that are similar in size to Carter County that historically don’t have primaries include Robertson County with a population of 68,079, Roane County with a population of 52,748, and Dickson County with a population of 50,575. I think it is important to note that our neighbors in Johnson County also do not have a primary.
As I shared with you last Sunday, I encourage every County Government elected official and Department Head responsible for revenues and expenditures to take a look at where expenses can be cut and revenues increased to ensure that going forward our citizens are not burdened with additional taxation. I encourage you, the citizens of Carter County, in these challenging financial times to help us find opportunities to reduce and avoid costs. I think we will see that it adds up to more than just pocket change, and you, the taxpayers and citizens will be the ones who benefit.
If you feel that Carter County should join the other counties in the State of Tennessee who don’t have County Primaries and would like for our taxpayers to realize a considerable cost savings, I encourage you to contact Carter County Republican Party Chairman Rusty Barnett at (423) 512-1988 and Carter County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristi Carr at (423) 297-5552. Let them know you don’t want the taxpayers to be burdened with the cost of a primary in 2018. Although the Republican Party Call for a primary has gone out and was filed with the Election Commission on July 21st, Chairman Barnett can file to rescind the Call. The time limit to do so is November 17, 2017. The Democratic Party Call has not been filed yet.
Let’s work together to keep track of how much money we can all save the taxpayers for fiscal year 2017-2018 and not forget the fact that we are all taxpayers. A penny saved is a penny earned and a penny property tax in Carter County currently equates to approximately $82,000. Pennies truly add up!
If you have other cost savings and cost avoidance ideas that you feel the County should review, please feel free to contact me at mayor@cartercountytn.gov or by phone at 423-542-1801 if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance to you. My office is located at 801 East Elk Avenue, Suite 201 located in the County Courthouse in Elizabethton. I have an open-door policy and everyone is always welcome.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox