Spring Hill Alderman Announces Major Proposal & Gives Back Salary

Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Alderman member, Matt Fitterer (Ward 2), released an open letter Thursday, calling for a property tax increase in this year’s budget, which will be voted on in a few weeks.

He said it is the only way to get the needed funds for fire and police personnel and to widen Highway 31. His proposal will likely go before BOMA and be voted on this month before the final budget is passed. In support of his proposal, Fitterer said he will return to the city his salary as alderman.

Here is the full text of his letter:

Without doubt, Spring Hill’s greatest needs are maintaining public safety with police/fire personnel and improviing Highway 31.

Over the past 10 years, the City has lost 43 police officers to other departments and/or other professional opportunities. Per Springsted, the cost of training a new officer averages $32,000. This makes the officers lost an additional cost of $1,376,000. Spring Hill simply cannot afford to lose additional police officers or fire fighters due to poor wages.

A two-lane Highway 31 in not acceptable. Spring Hill can not afford to wait for improvements to come from TDOT. We must begin to make significant advances ourselves.

If we are to maintain our police and fire personnel, we need to pay a competitive rate, and to do so requires additional revenues.

Funding a NEPA study is the next step to advancing Highway 31 improvements, and to do so the city needs additional revenues.

Since 2006, Spring Hill property taxes have remained flat at $0.60, aside from tax appraisal changes leading to our current rate of $0.58.

Since 2006, the average annual inflation has been 1.9 percent. Had Spring Hill’s property taxes kept pace with inflation, our rate would be $0.7377.

Current and past BOMA’s have done outstanding jobs maintaining fiscal stewardship, showing great discipline and wisely spending tax dollars. But compounding effects of inflation over the past 11 years combined with our unacceptably slow pace of making roadway improvements and our growing population lead to no other solution. Unless the status quo is acceptable, the city must have property taxes catch up to their inflation adjusted rate.

Simply put, Spring Hill must raise property taxes to maintain our police and fire departments and make progress on Highway 31.

I will be proposing an inflation adjusted property tax rate increase to $0.75. This increase will allow the city to increase Police and Fire compensation to market competitive levels and fund Highway 31’s NEPA study in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

I am certain also that some will say our BOMA is wasteful. We spend too much money on road studies and Cadillacs. Spring Hill’s proposed Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget is in this link http://springhilltn.org/DocumentCenter/View/3492. I’d invite everyone to help identify wasteful spending that can be removed to avoid an increase.

My e-mail and cell phone number is below for your ideas.

My commitment is twofold:

1. All additional funds generated from this increase will be used strictly to maintain police and fire personnel and advance Highway 31 towards widening.

2. Since I am asking more of everyone, I will be returning to the city my Alderman salary as a sign of my personal commitment to our police and fire departments and improving Highway 31.

I do not expect this proposal to be popular. I’m certain some will adamantly oppose. But if we are to be serious about our public safety personnel needs, and if we are to be serious about advancing our most important infrastructure project, we have no other choice.

Respectfully,

Matt Fitterer

E-mail: [email protected]

Cell: 217-776-2343