Jim Folts   Blount County Commissioner


“To stand in silence, when they should be protesting, makes cowards out of men” - Abraham Lincoln

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Next Meetings

  • Blount County Commission - Thursday November 15th, 7:00 pm, room 430, Blount County Courthouse
  • Citizens for Blount County's Future - Tuesday November 13th, 6:30pm, Blount County Library

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Feel free to let me know your views on county issues
. Just send me an email at jimfolts@gmail.com, or give me a call at 995-9476.

The Blount County Commissioners

Citizens for Better Government

Current Information

October 2012 Report

Good News
The October meeting produced an item that may signal the beginning of some improved fiscal responsibility from your Commission.

If the increase in the sales tax passes on Nov. 6, the Highway Department will be receiving an extra $500,000 per year that Superintendent Dunlap says he does not need. At the meeting where this originally came up, I tried to amend the ballot resolution to specify that this money be used to pay down the crushing quarter billion dollar county debt. No one on the Commission would even second this motion.

At the October meeting, Commissioner Samples decided to take another run at it. He introduced a non-binding motion to recommend to the Budget Committee, that if the sales tax increase passes, the $500,000 be used to pay down the debt. I seconded his motion and it passed with only Commissioner Lail voting against it (Commissioners Burchfield, Burkhalter, Farmer, and Lambert were absent). It is non-binding but at least it is a start.

Business as Usual
In a demonstration of business as usual, the Commission passed two resolutions that provided for budget increases by taking the money from county fund reserves. The Schools said they needed $46,700 to pay for a program that was forgotten in the budget. The Juvenile Court said they needed an additional $12,000 to pay for a temp to replace an employee on medical leave. Why these items could not be covered from reductions in other areas of the $80 million school budget and the $450,000 Juvenile Court budget is a mystery. Pulling money from reserves is a bad practice. The reserves are at the bare minimum needed to cover unforeseen events, like recovering from a major disaster (hurricane Sandy again showed us these disasters do happen). Stealing from reserves to cover current expenses also builds in a higher expense rate, and the need for higher taxes. next year. To combat this dangerous trend, I requested that Finance Director Vineyard provide a monthly public report that shows what is being taken from the county reserve funds and why. He has already produced the first report. It should be very helpful in discouraging the Commission from frittering away the county reserve funds, as happened early in the last decade, when the county reserves were reduced to near zero by the Commission and Finance Director Bennett.

As usual, no serious work is taking place on next the budget for next year. The county budget process needs major improvements and far more involvement by the Commission. So far the Commission seems unwilling to make these improvements.

Please VOTE November 6

Only YOU can change YOUR government

Please also attend the Commission meeting Thursday, November 15th at 7:00pm in Room 430 of the Courthouse