Other county commissions are in the thick of budget
debates. They are worrying about out-of-control
pension costs. They are talking about how to reduce
medical costs. They are looking at ways to cut the
bloated budgets of wasteful departments.
Meanwhile, the Blount County Commission has not
spent any time discussing the budget. Blount County
has all the problems mentioned above, plus a few
that are unique to our county. The budget proposal
includes a salary increase for all county employees.
The Human Resources Committee, where nearly all of
the members are county employees or close relatives,
has refused to consider any employee payments to
defray the cost of their free medical insurance.
Very little is being said about the plight of our
county taxpayers. Yet, the Commission is content to
do nothing. The Budget Committee has not even
briefed the full Commission on where it stands in
its budget work and what size tax increase we may be
That is why nothing very significant happened at the
April Commission meetings.
A new zoning ordinance, that is supposed to provide
for better quality development aimed at preserving
our beautiful mountain vistas, was sent to the
County lawyer for more review.
A resolution permitting the establishment of "no
parking" zones on county roads was about the only
thing of significance passed by the Commission last
month. But even this resolution manages to offend
our citizens. It provides for citizens in an area to
petition the Highway Department and the Sheriff to
establish "no parking" zones in a neighborhood.
Then, the resolution insults our citizens by setting
a charge of $75 for the privilege of submitting a
petition to their
government. This is nonsense. I pointed out that
many of our citizens are scrambling to find enough
gas money to get to work. Commissioner Scott Helton,
a county employee himself, said it should be no big
deal for citizens to raise $75. I was the only
Commissioner to vote against the resolution.
The new budget has to be approved by June. Perhaps
the Commission will get around to some serious
budget discussions in May.
It would probably be a good idea to call the
Commissioners and remind them that the plight of the
hard-pressed citizens needs to be considered in the
can change YOUR government PLEASE come to
the Commission meeting Thursday, May 17th
at 7:00pm in Room 430 of the Courthouse