The Oak Ridge Schools are requesting a substantial property tax increase to fund items they see as essential to their future.
Yet an Oak Ridge tax hike will markedly reduce our city’s ability to recruit new U.S. Department of Energy workers. According to the latest DOE report, Anderson County is losing over $300,000 per week to Knox County in DOE payroll. That loss rate is increasing, and a tax hike would make this serious problem worse.
Unfortunately, our city has a DOE “isolation fence” around it. In most cases, new workers are sent by the DOE system directly to Knox County—mainly to Farragut. And as a result, their important housing decisions are made without talking to an Oak Ridge realtor. They never get an opportunity to find out how wonderful it is to live here.
The new Kroger store won’t affect this uneven playing field. A property tax hike (of any size) will simply make the problem worse—giving Farragut an even greater advantage over us. [Read more…]