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Tax hike fails, ends plan for K-8

In an almost unanimous vote, county commissioners defeated the proposal for a 23-cent property tax increase, effectively ending the discussion on a new K-8 for Boones Creek students.
“It’s dead,” Commission Chair Greg Matherly said after the meeting. “I had hoped it would be referred to a committee because I’m for the school, but tabling just delays it.”
Commissioner Joe Grandy made the motion to table, saying there won’t be money in the General Fund left for anything else if the proposed $3.6 million is used. The motion passed in a voice vote.
A corresponding motion to bring the issue back up for consideration is the only way it will be discussed again.
Commissioner Robbie Tester said the county has a big spending problem and needs to get its house in order before looking at a tax increase. Tester’s motion to return the proposal to the Budget Committee failed in a voice vote.
“I think we should just vote it up or down,” Commissioner Joe Wise said. “We need to mail tax notices in nine days.”
Commissioner Danny Edens said board members should not forget why they were elected. “We’re not here to vote up or down, we’re here to be an extension of our constituents,” he said. “I think we may be doing the right thing, but at the wrong time and in the wrong way.”
Commissioner David Tomita made a motion to approve the increase, but said he wasn’t going to vote in favor.
Matherly said a commissioner can’t make a motion in favor of an issue he or she opposes.
Commissioner Lynn Hodge then made the motion, which Tomita seconded. The motion failed in a 22-to-3 vote, with only Commissioners Hodge, Skip Oldham and Tom Foster in favor.
Despite voting down the funding mechanism, commissioners approved the Capital Investment Plan that lays out a 10-year schedule of possible capital projects.
Commissioner Todd Hensley said he thinks the commission is smart to be looking forward, but many citizens are misinformed.
“There’s a notion out there that we’re sitting up here on this throne making decisions that don’t affect us,” he said.
Commissioners in favor of the plan were Hodge, Oldham, Wise, Foster, Grandy, Hensley, Rick Storey, Larry England, Mitch Meredith, Katie Baker, Lee Chase, Gary McAllister, Mark Larkey and Forrest Boreing.
Mayor Dan Eldridge said the plan doesn’t accomplish anything without funding. “These capital needs are not going to go away,” he said.