I am not usually one to fuss about "Ask Mongoose" because I agree with most of what you have to say, but! It was the simple fact that most people, apparently including MONGOOSE, do not understand what taxing districts are and how this article can cause confusion. I was reading one of your replies when you wrote “Example, if you feel too much of your taxes go toward, let's say the library, but you'd rather it go towards our parks, “ and it kind of aggravated me. This is the thinking of most people in this county, and probably lots of others. There are several different TAXING DISTRICTS on there that get tax dollars from people like you and I. They include County, School, ambulance etc. There are a total of 7 on your property tax bill and there is one more that is not on there but it is a separate taxing district which is the Water District, which is the only other one that I know of. Oh wait I forgot that Fire Dept. dues are on there now. Fire Dept. dues are not actually taxes but they are on the bill now so most people probably view them as such.
This means that each of these taxing districts receive their own tax dollars and that their budgets are not intermixed with the county budget. That being said I guess you can see how I believe this article can confuse people and cause problems for the county government. I think this should be explained and corrected. I think it would give Mongoose a little more credibility with people in the county that do know how taxing districts work and enlighten those that do not understand the system. It may even help out our Fiscal Court if people understand how it all works.
Let me first make it known how refreshing it is to have a knowledgeable reader engaged in what’s happening in his/her community. Secondly, let me apologize if you or anyone feels as if my aim was to mislead John Q Public in any way. On the contrary-- my focus has been, and always will be, to motivate my readers to do their own research and form their own opinion, although I do hope I influence opinion somewhat; the last thing I want is a bunch of little Mongeese running around.
However, I'd like to take a moment to defend/justify the highlighted portion of my answer. "if you feel too much of your taxes go toward, let's say the library, but you'd rather it go towards our parks, then talk to your magistrate first, then attend the next meeting. If he doesn’t voice your concerns, vote him out."
Had I written the following, “if you feel too much of your federal taxes go towards Social Security, but you’d rather it go towards LGBT, then talk to your Congressman first, then see how he votes, if he doesn’t voice your concerns vote him out”, the advice remains the same. Understand that FICA is not unlike the Library tax in that it is a separate “tax district” also understand that in our representative style of government, the only way to pursue change is to communicate the changes you want to your representatives. Am I proposing raiding the library revenue to fund the park system? No more than I would be raiding social security/Medicare to fund rainbow sidewalks. What I am proposing is for individuals to be informed and involved. If Edmonson County taxpayers want better parks, better libraries, or better anything, WE need to tell our representatives where to spend OUR money.
We've got gluten and msg in our food, tobacco causes cancer, office jobs are causing obesity, football causes concussions, and now makeup parabens are causing cancer, too. Should I just go ahead and roll myself in bubble wrap?
Dear Bubble Boy,
Did you know that being born is the number one cause of death?
When I get a question like this I think about George Burns: smoked cigars all his waking hours and from what I hear drank like a fish, yep it finally caught up with him at the young age of 100.
In our days of 24 hour news cycle and everyone being able to make money off the cause or the cure, the best thing one can do is enjoy life and don’t believe everything you read. In 6 months gluten and msg, whatever the heck msg is, will be touted as the next big cancer preventer and I’ve seen some of those “Stars Without Makeup” pictures, trust me they’d look better with cancer than without makeup.
My daughter just turned 10 and was pretty disappointed when she didn't get a new iPhone for Christmas. I don't think she needs one because she has one of our old phones she can use on wifi, but her mom thinks Santa shouldve bought her one of her own. What age do you think it's ok for a kid to have a cellphone?
Dear Mr. Grinch,
I’ve been asking for a dirt bike since I was 7. I'm still waiting for it and there have been several years where I was real good.
Some parents never cease to amaze me, first of all, they’ve completely forgotten what things were like when they were their kids’ age. There was no such thing as a cell phone when I was 10 and guess what, I survived. Not only did I survive I learned 3 things by not having "Satan’s CB”: 1) to listen 2) to remember 3) to improvise.
Let me explain; if I were to do something outside of the normal routine that required my mom or dad to pick me up etc.. I had to 1) listen to the plan they had mapped out for me to make it work. Not only did I have to listen, I had to 2) remember the plan. For instance, “mom, can I go to Jim Bob’s house after school, his mom said it was ok.” “Sure son, I’ll pick you up from there at 6:00, make sure your shoes are on, don’t forget your book satchel and be out front, I don’t want to have to come in and get you or I’ll be there till 10:00”, said mom. Now, I had to listen carefully to the plan AND I had to remember it all day long. But, But what if an emergency came up? That’s where the improvisation comes into play. I didn’t have the luxury of sending my parents a text to tell them that Jim Bob’s brother swallowed an entire bottle of Flintstones vitamins and we were at the Emergency Room, I had to figure out a way to get word to them—improvise. First I’d call home, no answer, no machine. Next, call grandma; “your mom is at the grocery store”. Then, call the grocery store, “Betty said she just left but mentioned she was headed to bank”. You get where I’m going with this.
The problem is this; we do our kids a disservice by not putting these responsibilities on them because we haven’t trained them to handle such. On the other hand, we give a 10 year old a $600 phone with the capabilities to look at naked pitchers of strangers and classmates and expect them to handle that responsibility. If your kid can afford both the phone and phone bill, let them have one. If not, they’ll survive just like you did without one.
My sister and her family recently bought a very expensive SUV, over $50,000. She loves to brag about it but constantly overdraws her checking account. Back in the fall, she borrowed $700 from me to catch up on her bills. I drive a $8,000 car, but thankfully it's paid for. When should I start asking her about paying me back?
Dear Facebook-only Rich:
This one’s easy, you should have never loaned them the money! Lay off the 'that’s too harsh stuff already' and listen to me: the number one root to all problems we as Americans face today is THERE IS NO SENSE OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. This starts at the top of our government right into our living rooms. What your sister is most guilty of is the thought that someone else owes her something. Be it a bail out when she overspends or that she truly deserves a $50,000 SUV.
Call me a Bible thumper, prude, or whatever you wish, but two different verses come to mind when I hear stories like this. (paraphrased)The borrower is slave to the lender and owe no man nothing but to love him. Unless your sister cosigned a loan for you, she put herself in this predicament. If you continue to bail her out well, you’ll continue having to bail her out. She will have to ultimately realize that if you have more $ going out than you have coming in (and you’re not the US Government with money printing presses), you will not only run out of money but you will owe someone more than you’ll ever be able to pay back unless you cut expenses or bring more in. It sounds simple and all ties into personal responsibility.
On the lighter side try this, if you have a soft spot and feel the need to bail her out again, at least get something in trade. It doesn’t matter if its house cleaning or using her fancy truck, don’t just “loan” her the money without something imminently in exchange.
Well, we lost another county advocate to another county because Edmonson County government don't care. Our parks system is one of the bright spots in this county so why in the world don't our magistrates care?
Dear Ballpark Ranger,
Have you ever been to a fiscal court meeting? Neither have I but I’m a fictional character that writes advice columns. How do you know they don’t care? I don’t know if they do or not because I’ve never been to a meeting. Looking at it from my view of things, it sure seems like they don’t, so with that said, I share your sentiment.
I've never been to a meeting and am solely judging this book by its cover. The county is broke, the Sheriff’s office needs more money from what I read, other emergency services have radios that don’t work from what I read and the list goes on and on. When money is tight, be it with your family budget, business budget, or county budget, you only have two ways to make it work: You can either cut expenses or increase revenue. It really is that simple. If I had to guess, the county government works on this mantra: The squeaky wheel gets the most grease. If you are concerned enough, go to a fiscal court meeting and squeak. When you hear that there is no money (which I can almost guarantee you will), ask why. Hold your magistrates accountable, they work for you. Example, if you feel too much of your taxes go toward, let's say the library, but you'd rather it go towards our parks, then talk to your magistrate first, then attend the next meeting. If he doesn’t voice your concerns, vote him out. I had a family member attend a meeting once and they told me one of the magistrates was actually asleep during fiscal court. That should tell you plenty, right there.
If that doesn’t work and you are truly passionate, start a fundraising campaign, bake sale, yard sale, GoFundMe, who cares... Talent such as Greg Hudson costs money, upkeep of parks costs money. If you can’t find it in the budget, you have to get it outside the budget, it is truly that simple. Of course, taxes could be raised, but then you'll have a large majority crying over that as well.
If our elected officials don’t care about these concerns it is because we haven’t shown them we care enough to vote them out. That’s the bottom line. You, as in the community, show them we care, and they will have to-- or they will have to find another job. Or at least another place to take a nap.
So our state government is in turmoil again with sexual harassment claims. Our own state rep, Michael Meredith has yet to say a word. Don't you think he owes it to the voters to say something?
Dear No Sleaze Please,
Hero to zero, back to hero, then somewhere in between. Imagine if there was a microscope on your life, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You reckon there would be things you’d be ashamed of? Would there be things that might elevate you to hero status? Sure, but people don’t care about those things, they want to see someone fail to make themselves feel better because it's much easier than doing something yourself to elevate your status. I’m not making any excuses for any politician. Trust me, no one alive loathes them as much as me, and I write about politics for a living.
I’ll tell you the same thing (kinda) I told another reader, if you care about something such as hearing Rep. Meredith’s story, let him know, and you can do that by clicking here. Nothing moves without pressure, that’s physics but it works for politics, too. Remember that he works for us-- we pay his salary, he is a representative of his constituents, which are you and me. Personally, yes, I think he owes us an explanation, and based on it or lack thereof, I will form my decision as to whom to vote for next time.
My grandson just turned 16 and he's begging for one of those big diesel trucks. He doesn't work, in fact, I'm not sure the kid has ever got his hands dirty. What's the big deal with these big trucks?
Dear What the Truck:
Fads will be fads, and this diesel truck thing is certainly that. I've seen plenty of kids driving these things around, and I know their parents are footing the bill. Back in my day, everyone wanted a Monte Carlo or a Buick Regal, jacked up in the back with big tires. My parents couldn't afford to buy me one; that's why I drove an '81 Datsun...(it's what you buy when you work part-time at a gas station). While I have no idea why anyone would drive one of these trucks unless you are either: a farmer, a construction worker, or a transporter, in which all three jobs require hauling equipment and/or heavy loads, I'll never understand parents furnishing the money for the fuel they guzzle and insurance, much less the costs of the trucks themselves. Most of these things get about 10-12 mpg and they're not easy to drive. My thoughts are this: it's another way parents can make up for a life they didn't live as teens or for the dads to make up for their very small... ability to teach work ethic and responsibility, which will get kids much farther in life than fads.
I saw where Adidas is deep doo doo for allegedly paying players to play for certain schools. What's your favorite brand of athletic shoe and type (current or past) and why?
Dear NC doubleAdidas,
Back when I was in school, Adidas was an acronym for "All Day I Dream About Sesame Street." Or something like that. My favorite shoe of all time was the original Nike Air Force One. That being said, my favorite brand of shoe is Red Wing. How's that for contraindication?
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