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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  • Blount County Commission - Thursday Feb 20th, 7:00 pm, room 430, Blount County Courthouse
  • Citizens for Blount County's Future - Tuesday Feb 18th, 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

January 2013 - Blount County Commission Monthly Report

This report on the January Commission meetings is late. Since the Agenda Meeting was cancelled due to weather, very little was accomplished in the Commission meeting. Outside the meetings, various officials were using press releases, dutifully reprinted by our local paper, to put out all kinds of misinformation. I held the report a few days to be able to comment on the misinformation campaign.

Solid Financial Footing??
It was disappointing to see the Mayor’s office put out a letter, declaring: “Blount County is on sound financial footing”. His conclusion was supposedly based on the recently released audit for last year. His magical conclusion was really based on the condition of one, of approximately a dozen, county financial funds. If you read the entire Audit Report, reach a far different conclusion. Consider just a few of the facts included in the report.
  • The county is $220 million in debt.
  • The county debt burden is more than $1732 for every person in the county. The two Tennessee counties closest to Blount in size have a debt per person of half, and one-quarter,  of Blount’s debt load, respectively.
  • Blount County has an additional debt (unfunded liability) of nearly $20 million to fund medical insurance for its retirees (they can retire as young as 50 and the county pays their medical insurance until they are 65).
  • The county spent $6 million more than it received, last year. (It will do the same again this year.)

It is simply incredible that someone could look at these facts and pronounce the county on a “solid financial footing”, unless he believes in quicksand as a footing.

$1000 bonuses
All this solid financial footing hype had a purpose. The political clique wants to curry favor with the general fund county employees, in the coming May election, by paying them “bonuses” of $1000 each. This is in addition to the three percent increase in salary budgets this year. There is no question in my mind that there are some hard-working county employees who deserve a bonus. I am aware of a few who deserve far more than $1000. A real bonus program would have set goals and rewarded employees for beating those goals. The problem is that the county doesn’t have any bonus program. Instead, the political clique decides on a socialist bonus program, where everyone gets the same amount. Oh, and it just happens to be paid before an election.

The Mayor, and others, were quick to point out that they did not include themselves in the bonus program. However, Mayor Mitchell, Sheriff Berrong, Court Clerk Hatcher and many other high level county officials, already included 4.6% raises for themselves in the current budget.

$800,000 to shore up insurance funds
In addition, the Finance Director is proposing to take another $800,000 out of the county rainy day fund, to shore up our self-insured liability and workman’s compensation insurance funds. I guess this is another sign of the county’s “solid financial footing”.

$500,000 blank check
Last but not least, the Mayor and his Finance Director are proposing that we set aside more than $500,000 for unnamed “capital improvement projects”. Yes, I said unnamed. It is kind of like a blank check. They are asking that we set aside the money, and they will tell us what the projects are, later.

If this stuff seems does not make much common sense to you, please come to the February 20th Commission meeting and say so.

Only YOU can change YOUR government

Please attend the Commission meeting on Feb 20th at 7:00pm in Room430 of the Courthouse.