System and county can’t agree on tax issue

Oneonta City Board of Education

“I’m just really disappointed that money intended to go toward the children of this county and their education is not used for that purpose,” Oneonta Supt. Jack Housch told the Oneonta City Board of Education during Monday night’s meeting.

At issue is $60,000 to $75,000 in automotive sales tax revenue collected by the county over a period of approximately 10 years that was not forwarded on to the city system.

The Blount County Board of Education reached a settlement agreement with the Blount County Commission earlier this year in the amount of $44,482.73, an amount roughly equivalent to one year’s tax collection.

The city board of education and the Blount County Commission have been in negotiation for several months but Housch and Probate Judge David Standridge have not been able to reach agreement.

“I want everyone to understand that nothing was done intentional (by the county) but it needs to be rectified. It was simply an accounting error that resulted in automotive sales tax being underpaid,” said Housch. “I just don’t understand the logic in asking us to accept one year’s worth (of tax revenue) instead of the full amount.

“We’ve agreed to compromise but haven’t been able to reach an agreement (on the amount). This has happened in other counties and I don’t know of a oneyear settlement anywhere else.”

Housch made no formal recommendation to the board but did advise the board that he would consult with the system’s attorney and have a recommendation at the November meeting.

Board member Geoff Smith seemed to sum up the board’s stance when he said, “I believe the taxpayers would want that money to go to our children – where it was meant to go to begin with.”

In other business, the board received a summary of class sizes for the elementary school. The system tries to maintain an average class size of 18 in grades K-3, 26 in 4-6, and 29 in the high school.

The current class sizes are: 17 in kindergarten; 16 in first grade; 21 in second grade; 17.5 in third grade; 26 in fourth grade; 23 in fifth grade; and 23 in sixth grade.

The board closed with a discussion of the process to be used in selecting the next superintendent. Housch announced in September that he would be retiring at the end of the current calendar year.

The deadline for applications is this week and the board has scheduled a work session for Monday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. to begin the process of going through the applications and resumes that have been received.

Board president Bill Burdette said that 25 applications have already been received for the position.