Jim Folts Blount County Commissioner
“To stand in silence, when they should be
protesting, makes cowards out of men” - Abraham
Report on our County Schools
December 2013 - Blount County Commission Monthly Report
County is selling a large building without knowing what it is worth?
The Commission passed a
resolution authorizing the sale of a large
County-owned building and surrounding property.
The problem is the Commission did not bother to
request an appraisal of the value of this
property. Consequently, there is no way to judge
whether the taxpayers are getting a good deal
when the property is sold.
Most Commissioners seemed unconcerned about this un-business-like approach. Commissioner Burkhalter said at the Agenda meeting: "It is not our (the Commission's) responsibility to ensure they (the taxpayers) get a reasonable deal (selling the property)". I did not agree.
In our comparisons of the
spending of Blount County departments, with
those of other similar Tennessee counties, our
Circuit Court Clerk, Tom Hatcher, has repeatedly
been identified as a big spender of our
taxpayers’ hard earned money. Our Commissioners
have done nothing to rein him in. In fact, at
the December meeting, the Commission voted to
add a total of $57,708 to Hatcher’s budget for
additional manpower. I thought this was a bad
idea. I was the only Commissioner to vote
against this nonsense.
Our school administrators
have said they desperately need new textbooks
for our children. They have also told the
citizens that two of our schools need new roofs.
Yet, they came to the Commission for approval of
$186,500 to upgrade two running tracks and
replace some bleachers. This seemed to me, and
many other citizens, to be a very odd set of
priorities. Unfortunately, only Commissioner
Lambert and myself voted against this measure.
The County budget process is
dysfunctional. This past year, the full
Commission spent less than two hours discussing
the County’s $164,000,000 budget. It is simply
impossible to determine whether a budget this
size is serving the taxpayers’ interests, in two
hours. I have repeatedly requested that the
Commission set a budget schedule that allows
sufficient time for discussion by the full
$6.7 million bond offering – at least the
taxpayers are not on the hook
The Commission approved another bond offering by Blount Memorial Hospital for $6.7 million. The good new is that, unlike the $90 million Hospital offering that was done a few months ago, the taxpayers will not be on the hook to pay off the bonds, if the Hospital cannot. Yes, I know, it would have been better if the taxpayers were not on the hook for the $90 million, but at least this was a small step in the right direction.
Only YOU can change YOUR government
Please attend the Commission meeting on Jan 16th at 7:00pm in Room430 of the Courthouse.