Thirty-nine years ago, I taught in Chattanooga City Schools. There was no school tax then in Tennessee except for a .5 percent addition to the sales tax in Hamilton County, which was permanent and could only be used for building construction and maintenance. Of course, we had the tourism dollars, but in the pre-aquarium days, you were only talking about several thousand people daily, mostly on Lookout Mountain, and after we shared the revenue with them there wasn't that much left.
So what does all this mean? It means that if that was the year the county commissioners wanted to pave roads or extend sewer lines to an outlying area, the kids used their old textbooks for another year and the teachers made do with whatever raise the state gave, if any.
Dalton, on the other hand, has been spoiled. We've had 45 years of people driving here four or five days a week to work who had no qualms about spending money while they were here. The best part of it is we didn't have to build schools for their kids or sewers for their houses or hospitals because they had all of this in their hometowns.
But all good things must come to an end, and this party is winding down. Those out-of-town tax dollars aren't buying what they used to, and the property owners are increasingly unwilling to make up the difference. It's time to go to the legislature and come up with a Plan B. Our Plan A is no longer a viable option. The future of Dalton depends on it.