The Knoxville Focus, which I've long erroneously called the “Fountain City” Focus (I'm issuing my correction here, unlike TV which doesn't issue any corrections – you know who you are), has a new feature thing type deal that publisher Steve Hunley is doing.
He's got one of those phone soliciting companies calling people up, to ask a weekly question. According to last week's Focus “those being polled will be registered voters and this will give folks a unique opportunity to voice their thoughts and opinions.”
The paper, which you can find right smack here, says the point is “to get a genuine sampling of the prevailing opinion among those who care enough about our community to participate.”
Hunley said the poll is conducted by an independent, professional company and is not a push poll. He said he and the company craft the question and then the researchers ask a “statistically significant sample” of people near their phone until they get 500 responses. Then, the Focus will publish the results.
Hunley said the questions will be about taxes, schools, local government, etc., and that they'll come from his staff and readers.
“We want to know what the people think,” he said.
The paper posed its first question on Friday. The survey said:
The current Knox County property tax rate is $2.36 per $100 of assessed property value. Knox County School Superintendent James McIntyre has requested $35 million in new revenue for the school system. This would require an additional 35 cents or 14.83 percent increase in property taxes. Do you support this proposed tax increase?
The results? 25.95 percent of the people said “Yes” and 74.05 percent said “No.”
Again, you can find all this right smack here (just click on this week's edition). Hunley told me that he's got the results broken down by district, age, gender, etc., but he wasn't going to give me all that info. Heh. But, he said, no district favored raising taxes. He said the closest was a roughly 60-40 vote, but didn't tell me which district. I think I can guess. Probably the hippies.
By the way, there isn't technically a proposed tax increase at this point, but county Mayor Tim Burchett has said that the only way to pay for the school system's request is through one. The County Commission, ultimately, will have to make the decision.