In recent weeks I have had the opportunity to have numerous discussions about all of the hustle and bustle in our community. There are lots of building projects currently underway, new businesses opening, and companies such as Gander Mountain working their way thru the planning process in the hopes that they too can open their doors in Mt Juliet one day soon. I’ve also had other folks tell me that the city has no business granting any more residential or multi-family building permits since we already have times of the day when traffic is bad. Someday we may look back at this point in our city’s history as somewhat of a turning point; a reality-check if you may. Together we are going to need to decide what we want to be when we grow up.
For a city that essentially has a property tax rate of zero (since 100% of what is collected is designated only for emergency services) to fund things like parks and recreation, sidewalks, paving, city services, and such, sales tax is king. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that those services will not be any cheaper in the future than they are today. I’m also going to take a wild guess and assume that most folks do not want to pay more in property taxes either.
So the question begs to be answered; how do you raise more sales tax dollars and keep property taxes as low as possible? There may be many more, but two options readily come to mind. Option one would be for those of us who live here already to go out and spend a lot more of our money. Option two is to do what we can to get more people to live here so that they too can contribute to the sales tax base; i.e. grow the tax base. I’d say most are already spending about all they can and unless their income sees a significant increase then I doubt their spending will increase dramatically anytime soon. That means our current pie is pretty well divided up I’d say.
So, that now leaves us with the other option which is making the pie larger. How do we make the pie larger so there is more money spent in our community and thereby allowing us to grow the tax base? We need more “spenders”. We need spenders that are not even here yet to move into our community and to contribute more money to our local economy. These spenders need to represent as broad and diverse of a populous as possible. What are we doing to attract these folks? Where will they live and work? What can we do to help remove the “barriers to entry” into our community? If we don’t do that, then what happens? As for me, I’d rather grow the pie!