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Unicoi aldermen renew no-property-tax pledge

The town of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen has signed a resolution once again declaring no property taxes are to be collected while the current board members are in office.
The resolution was signed by Vice Mayor Doug Hopson, City Recorder Larry Rea and Aldermen Dwight Bennett, Michael Phillips and Mark Ramsey on Sept. 17 at a regularly scheduled meeting.
The resolution states the town’s government currently does not have a property tax and “will not entertain a property tax for the town of Unicoi as long as we are in office.”
Governmental initiatives were cited in the resolution, which states the town spends residents’ money conservatively; infrastructure improvements have been implemented; the town has more than doubled assets; and has seen significant growth of the fund balance since 2004 without a property tax.
Town of Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch said the board signed a similar resolution four years ago. “We had done that at the last election time, four years ago, because rumors started in the community that we were going to have property tax,” Lynch said. “This year those rumors started back again and also along with that we were concerned the citizens may get confused with all the talk about property tax in the county.”
Lynch said he hopes their actions of re-signing the resolution clarifies the board’s intent.
“We don’t need a property tax because our fund balance has grown significantly,” Lynch said. “Our net worth is unbelieveable. [The town] has really done well; financially we are not strapped.” Lynch credits the town’s success mostly to its use of grant funding for town improvement projects.
The agenda was amended to include the re-signing of the resolution, and the board also amended the agenda to include discussion of whether the governmental agency could repair any flood damages to private property.
The question was referred to the Municipal Technical Advisory Service because the town had received many requests, Lynch said.
“According to that letter … they told us that we are not allowed to go in on private property,” Lynch said. “The only exception is when it is for public use.”

By Kayla Carter
Staff Writer
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