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
May - Blount County Commission Monthly Report
Budget Spending Exceeds Revenue By $4.5 million - Not Even Discussed
The Budget Committee did such a bad job on the proposed new budget, they would not even put their names on it. Yes, Mayor Mitchell, and Commissioners Lewis, Kirby, Moon and Samples were so ashamed of their work, they passed it on to the full Commission, without any recommendation. They had every reason to be ashamed. The budget includes more than $4.5 million in deficit spending. Unfortunately, Chairman Moon did not think the problem was important enough to put on the May Commission agenda. I guess the Mayor and his Budget Committee did not get the message the voters sent on election day.
Miser Station School Being Returned to County - Nobody checked the deal
A resolution was proposed where the old Miser Station School would be returned to the County and it would immediately be declared surplus and sold. Unfortunately, the Mayor and his staff did not do their homework on this transaction. The resolution called for the return of the school building and just one acre of property. However, at least five or more additional acres were originally part of the school property. Ownership of the school and its property was transferred to a community group in the 80's. The community group now wants the County to take the building, and just one acre, back (the building is in a terrible state of disrepair). When I asked how many acres of land were transferred to the community group in the original transaction, the Mayor and his staff could not answer. When I asked whether the County was getting back everything it transferred to the group, no one could answer. It seems they did not even bother to do check the ownership records. Unfortunately, this is typical of the sloppy way surplus property is handled by the Mayor. You will recall that just a few months ago, another large building was declared surplus, and ready to be sold, without any appraisal of its value.
In the end, sanity prevailed, and the Commission voted unanimously to postpone action until these questions were answered.
County Leases New Copiers
A resolution was introduced to spend more than $180,000, not including per copy charges, to lease new copiers for several County departments. Several big departments, including the Schools and the Sheriff were not included and will add large additional costs later. Gordon Wright, who was recently appointed to the Commission to fill the seat of his deceased father, said that some of the pricing in the contract looked high. Since he works in that industry, he knows what he is talking about. He suggested that the Commission and Purchasing Department take another month and try to renegotiate some of the prices. I made a motion to postpone for one month. Commissioners Helton and Samples quickly moved to kill the discussion of the motion to postpone. Their attempt to kill the debate failed. Unfortunately, only Commissioners Harrison, Kirby, Wright and myself voted to postpone action to get better pricing. The Commission then went ahead to accept the deal with only Harrison, Wright and myself voting against it.
Contract to Provide Free Medical Services to County Employees - But Nobody Knows the Costs
A resolution was introduced to provide free, walk-in medical services, including xrays and lab tests, to all county employees and their family members. I asked what the annual cost of this program would be. No one in the room could answer that simple question: including Mayor Mitchell, the head of the Budget Committee; Finance Director Vineyard; Human Resources Committee Chairman Gary Farmer; and Budget Committee members Moon, Samples, Lewis and Kirby. Mind you, the Human Resources Committee and the Budget Committee supposedly thoroughly reviewed this resolution before it came to the Commission. I made a motion to postpone action until the costs could be obtained. Only Commissioners Burchfield, French, Gamble, Greene, Harrison and myself voted to wait to see the cost information. The Commission then went ahead and passed the resolution, with no cost information, with only myself voting against it. It was truly a "you can't make this stuff up" moment, where common sense was thrown out the window.
Only YOU can change YOUR government
Please attend the Budget Public Hearing on June 9th at 5:30pm in Room 430 of the Courthouse.
Please attend the
Commission meeting on June 19th at 7:00pm in
Room 430 of the Courthouse.