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Triple the compensation for State legislature

Gee, this comes as a big surprise.  State legislators get triple what their actual pay is.  The State legislature must have been watching Commissioners Gary Farmer, Kenneth Melton and Bob Ramsey who voted to triple their pay without having Commissioner pay raises on the Commission agenda.  Bob Ramsey got promoted to the State legislature in all his glorious stupidity.

It’s time to throw out career politicians Gary Farmer and Kenneth Melton.  If you live in Commission District 4, please vote for Neal Hutchens and if you live in District 10 (Louisville) write-in Larry Henry for Seat B.

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/humphrey/2013/03/legislators-salary-benefits-pa.html

Commissioners who voted to disband the Ethics Committee

Current County Commissioners who voted to disband the Ethics Committee in June 2009.

Tonya Burchfield -defeated in primary by Archie Archer
Gary Farmer -defeated Linda King in primary – now facing Neal Hutchens in the general election
Brad Harrison -defeated in primary by Mike Akard
Scott Helton -running for School Board
Gerald Kirby -defeated in primary by Jamie Daly – running as a write-in
Holden Lail -defeated in primary by Tom Cole-
Peggy Lambert -didn’t seek election – is Republican National Committeewoman
Mike Lewis -defeated Douglas Benton in primary
Kenneth Melton -defeated Larry Henry in the primary by 6 votes – now facing Larry Henry as a write-in in the general
Steve Samples -defeated Sean Thompson in the primary

See page 3 the Commission minutes in the July 2009 Commission packet.

5 are off the Commission for good.  One is seeking a School Board seat.  We’re stuck with 2 for four more years (Lewis and Samples).  The voters can send 3 more home for good (Gary Farmer, Gerald Kirby and Kenneth Melton).

Roller Coaster Tax Rate

On page 35 of this June 2011 Commission packet you will find the property tax rate for Blount County for fiscal years (FY) 1991-2011.  The $2.21 that you see for FY12 on this chart is what was needed during that year to pay for the original proposed budget.  The Commission chose to raise the rate to $2.15, from $2.04 the previous year.  It has remained at $2.15 since the rate increase for FY12, which was voted on in June 2011.

While the $2.15 rate is the same for FY 2015 as it was for FY 2004, the rate has gone up and down during that time.  The lowest rate was FY 2011 at $2.04 because of the State mandated certified rate that requires the tax rate to be adjusted to make the tax revenue level the same as it was with the old rate after the whole County has been reappraised.  This usually means that the rate will go down because most home values have gone up, in addition to new homes that were built.  The highest rate was $2.43 in FY’s 2005 and 2006.  It is a true statement that the rate is the same as it was 11 years ago, but it hasn’t been a steady rate and the County is collecting more property tax revenue because home values have increased.  Most people are paying higher property taxes than they were 10 years ago.

Native Blount Countian takes the Mayor, School Officials and DA to task over political meetings

This is the off the agenda statement of Susie Bowman at the July 17, 2014 Blount County Commission meeting.

I am Susie Myers Bowman, 70 year old NATIVE of Townsend, TN. 44yr resident, same address in District 2, Alcoa.

MANY NATIVE Blount Countians….as well as the “transplants” mentioned in the July 4th article in The Daily Times are indeed AWAKENING to the travesties perpetrated against Blount County taxpayers.

The Mayor attacked newcomers. Mayor, don’t you understand, many of those newcomers come here and buy houses providing badly needed work for our unemployed construction workers. Several of my relatives make their living in construction. They were born here. They like newcomers. They don’t like you driving people away.

The Mayor & other Blount County officials called “faculty meetings” at 21 schools prior to the May 6 Primary Election. These political discussion meetings were NOT voluntary attendance (a violation). By their own admission in recorded evidence, they clearly violated more than one TCA law by using their official positions (a violation) in attempting to “educate the staff on the sales tax referendum” as well as addressing other political topics such as refuting “nearly a quarter billion dollars in debt” and inappropriate statements concerning more than one candidate for County Commissioner without providing an equal opportunity for opposing candidate(s) or position(s) to present their case as prescribed by Tennessee state law!

When the Mayor addressed the allegations in the media, he stated that the County Attorney had determined that no laws were violated! Blatantly false! There is no such official position as County Attorney in the Blount County Government!

It is entirely clear the Mayor and other “public servants” involved in these (& other horrific abuses of their oath of office that have recently come to light) cannot effectively cope with the stress levels incurred when confronted with actual FACTS concerning their actions. If there was anything resembling JUSTICE regarding the political machine in Blount County, significant prosecutorial action would be currently underway and in the obvious absence of such, if the Mayor & other involved parties had any sense of scruples they would resign their respective offices IMMEDIATELY!

The RESPONSE:

Well, as one might have expected—

The people who have been witnessing the abuses by the board were glad to see some of it addressed. Of course, there were a lot of government employees in attendance, those wanting the Kronos 2.2 million total computer overall which will end up being likely 2-3 times that initial estimate. They had the Kronos ‘salesman’ there and Jim Folts made everyone aware that that is all he was. They had NO ONE designated to head up the major project, could not answer specific pertinent questions regarding design for the roll-out or anything one would NEED to KNOW prior to embarking upon such an expensive major project. Jim Folts (made his living with his expertise of computer technology) suggested that choosing to upgrade one department at a time would be the wise thing to do rather than attempting a complete upgrade all at one time. Only about 3 voted against the expenditure (Burchfield, Folts & Murrell). It actually sounds like another ‘ObamaCare’ fiasco.

Monica Murrell voted against it. She is not going to be on the commission next term, having chosen NOT to serve again. She came up to me as I was going out of the building following the meeting and said she was glad I had spoken and that I did a fine job with my delivery. On occasion, over this past term, she would vote with Jim Folts to TRY to bring some restraint to the SPENDING and curtail the obvious deceptive violations of actual Tennessee law. No doubt, the corrupt ‘machine’ gave her a rough time for not consistently ‘toeing their line’.

Doug and Abby came as moral support for me. Mike had invited several of his friends who also came. The room was packed with mostly county employees who LIKE getting a BONUS. The Mayor’s secretary (who makes around 52 grand/year) of course stood to deny there is a ‘political machine’ in our county and government is being run by fine people. Phyllis Crisp (who had also received a hefty pay raise) voiced her commendation of our fine mayor and commission. What would one expect them to say?

Commissioner French got up attempting to refute my assertions that TCA had been violated, but he only read a portion of the law that was NOT the part that clearly states otherwise. Mike raised his hand (wanting to quote the entire law) but they would not call him up to speak.

Several rose to speak nice supportive commendations for the dedicated service of Jim Folts. One man (a machine reporter) said he was ‘glad to see Jim Folts go and good riddance’. Some applause from county workers upon hearing that very RUDE remark about such a fine wise man who has always said and done what would be in the best interest of the TAX PAYING citizens.

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Read more about the meetings here.