Another Morristown Tax Increase? Garbage!

How much more of our money does Gary Chesney and the Morristown City Council insist on taking?

As a representative of Campaign for Liberty and a citizen of the city of Morristown, I attended the March 6 City Council meeting to speak for the people of Morristown about the proposed garbage fee increase. (Campaign for Liberty was correct when it predicted last year that the city would increase the garbage tax.)

I took my three minutes to speak to the city council about the amount of $300. That’s how much the average household annual expense has increased since Tony Cox became the city administrator. This number was intended to be a very conservative figure. I reminded the council that elderly citizens in the community went almost eight years an increase in Social Security benefits. I also reminded them that the tax increases they have imposed in the past 10 years came at a time when most working-class members of our community were receiving little-to-no raises in wages or salary.

As expected, Morristown City Council voted to pass the garbage fee increase, with only one member (Chris Bivens) voting No. And Mayor Gary Chesney had some very choice words in reaction to my comments. He claimed before the council that the $300 figure was “a random number”, in essence, calling me a liar.

So he says, but I want you to look at your bills and judge for yourself how much your taxes have increased in the past 10 years. Granted, some will be higher and some will be lower, but here is a simple way to break it down:

Property taxes. The City of Morristown raised property taxes in 2007, and then again in 2016. In 2017, the Morristown property taxes on a typical $100,000 property rose about $25 per year. 

Garbage fees. Why not call it what it is? It's a fee you are forced to pay for garbage service, unless you pay for privatized trash disposal. The current proposed fee increase is $15 per month, totaling $180 per year.

Sewer fees. The City of Morristown has the third highest sewer rate in the state of Tennessee, thanks to poor management by Mayor Chesney and the City Council. Since 2010 when the sewer fees were $4.59 per 1,000 gallons, the fee has increased a whopping 125% to $11.50. The average family of four uses about 8,000 gallons of water per month, costing the family $1,104 per year, which is a staggering $660 per year more than what it cost in 2010.

All told, taxes on a family of four have increased by about $850 per year since 2007! For a City of Morristown resident on Social Security, this increase in fees and taxes is almost equivalent to an entire month’s pay and more for many other Morristown residents!

When you go to vote, please remember that these same people are forcing you to pay these astronomical taxes and fees!