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The Scoop - Analyzing the winners, losers
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As the dust settles and we begin to analyze the results of Monday night's Warren County Commission meeting, some clear winners and losers have emerged.

Here are a few:

WINNERS: The clear-cut winners are the Sheriff's Department and Warren County School System, the two entities that will enjoy the windfall of a 28-cent property tax increase.

I think it's time we shelve the narrative that this community is not dedicated to funding what's needed for "progress." In the past 15 years, we've built a new jail and two new schools, while doing extensive expansion work at five other schools. That seems like a firm commitment to me.

LOSERS: Cookeville, Manchester, and Murfreesboro, which missed out on getting all our employees.

I heard numerous times through this whole process about how our underpaid employees were on the verge of leaving town and finding work elsewhere because all of the surrounding areas reportedly pay so much better.

Whew! It's a good thing that tax increase passed or Warren County as we know it would have shut down Tuesday and Cookeville would be looking for a way to hire 450 teachers.

WINNERS: All of our nonprofit organizations.

One recurring theme that was conveyed during budget discussions was that the county is in poor financial shape. I would think tough times might lead to a few cuts, but nonprofit organizations received their largest annual contribution from Warren County government in history.

That's a puzzling contradiction.

LOSERS: The 24 Warren County commissioners.

There was considerable talk about making budget cuts during these tough times, but the only thing that actually got cut, to the best of my observation, was the $25 paid to county commissioners for every meeting they attend.

I completely disagree with this decision. 

Commissioners still get to keep their $260 monthly salaries, but taking away the $25 meeting pay was an unnecessary gesture. I understand the $25 is not going to make a difference in anyone's lifestyle and commissioners don't serve for the money, but it's still a nice token of appreciation.

Based on my experience, it's hard to attract quality people to run for office. As a perfect example, look no further than the 6th District of the Warren County Commission where only two candidates ran for two spots in last August's election. They took office by default.

Four years earlier, the 1st District only had two candidates.

Holding an office where you determine what people pay in property taxes is by no means an easy job. And $25 is very small compensation for that work. 

County commissioners can vote to reinstate their $25 meeting pay and I think they should.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.