Here’s a humorous, while direct letter to the editor on the employee bonuses.
Item F6 took an interesting turn when Commission Jim Folts pointed out that there was no such parcel of land on the State Comptroller’s website maps. Commissioner Burkhalter, who is running for Juvenile Judge, tabled the motion, only to bring it back up at the end and claim that he had found the parcel on the State’s website. Then the County Purchasing Agent, Theresa Johnson, said that the parcel number was a typo, that the parcel number is 062.25 not 062.65. This made Burkhalter look bad, because he claimed he found something that didn’t exist and said he needed to abstain after misreading the State’s website. That wasn’t the only problem. Commissioner Ron French inquired what the last Assessor’s appraised value was. It was $150,400 in 2010, about half of what the resolution authorized purchasing the land for. More waste from the Sheriff’s Dept. The matter was tabled again. This issue will likely be back.
Commissioner Folts, tried to find out what happened to the wrecked Animal Control vehicle, budget increase item F3. A man in the audience said he knew, but he was not recognized and the Commission passed the purchase of a new vehicle at $24,295, without learning where the wrecked vehicle is.
Today’s article in The Daily Times does a decent job of reporting on part of the meeting. The one thing that doesn’t come across in the context that it was spoken was Karen Miller’s statement about using the children as an excuse for tax increases. She is very much concerned about the children and the people of Blount County. If you want the full story, listen to her comments at the Commission meeting last night, here online.
Candidate comments for the orders of the evening.
Good evening Mr. Chairman. What a beautiful day. After you weather the storm, out comes the beautiful sunshine. The people of Blount County have been weathering a storm on the level of a tornado bearing the burden of $221 million in debt. Tonight you have the opportunity to let the good people of this County to see a little glimmer of sunshine by rejecting this bribe called a bonus.
This bonus is about buying votes. Furthermore, it treats all employees the same, regardless of merit. Communism offers the same pay, regardless of effort. Is that what you want for Blount County? Show the people of Blount County a ray of sunshine by sending all the turn back money to the rainy day fund to weather another storm or better yet, pay down some of this County’s astronomical debt.
Secondly, item F6, approving the purchase of 4 acres of land for $300,000. Does this land contain gold or oil on it? Why would anyone in their right mind spend $300 grand on 4 acres, unless it was sitting on a gold mine?
There are more problems with tonight’s agenda than I can cover in 3 minutes, so I’ll finish with item F8, increasing the sales tax. Haven’t we been there and done that already, multiple times? Didn’t this Commission waste $80,000 last year on a wheel tax referendum? Einstein is credited with saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The people have spoken several times already. Enough is enough.
Vote down all these spending increases on the agenda tonight and you won’t need a sales tax increase. Then Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, the people of Blount County will finally be able to see a ray of sunshine.
Tona Monroe Candidate for Commission District 7 Seat B
Hey there, my name is Douglas Benton from Alcoa and after reading the paper on Feb 2, about the “GRAND REWARD”, I became…well, sad and disgusted.
I am old now…and looking back, there are lots of things I would do different. There are lots of things I did that were against the law, and thank goodness, I never got caught and went to jail. I have told my share of lies…hidden the truth from people…spun a story in a certain way. These things I wish I could change. Do you ever feel that way? When you are young…you really don’t understand how you are hurting the other person or people…but you know why. Those lies are important now. Every night, when I lay my head on my pillow, I think about what happened that day and re-evaluate the decisions I made. Do you all ever do that? YOU SHOULD !!!
You are NOT telling the taxpayers that WE are ~208 MILLION dollars IN DEBT. YOU ARE LYING TO THE TAXPAYERS !!! Does that bother you? Are you grown-up enough where the LIES start to bother you?
I have been coming to these meetings for a couple of years now and I watch a couple of concerned citizens come before you and express their opinion…and then, you vote the way you want…without thinking about what the people want. Why do you think they voted you here?…because they trust you to make the RIGHT decision. The truth is…you don’t care.
BlountCounty employees earn a good living…paid for by the taxpayers. They get a CADILLAC health plan that cost us TAXPAYERS “900 and something dollars a month per employee”…Mr. Vinyard couldn’t even give me a correct dollar amount last week in the Budget Meeting. To me, that is a GIFT…THAT KEEPS ON GIVING !!!! I don’t know anyone, in the private sector that is paying $25/month for their health plan. And with this governmental takeover of our healthcare system…Obamacare…everyone I know is paying double and some are paying triple for their plan. A friend of ours came in from Los Angeles on Wednesday, and we started talking about Obamacare…and he told me that his plan WAS $316/month with a $1k deductible and no copay…now it is $1,367/month with a $9k deductible and a $50 co-pay. “If you like your health plan…you can keep it” . Obummer also said that every family would save around $2,500/year on their health plans. These are the biggest lies of the century!
Did he learn to lie from you all or did you learn to lie from him. No one trusts you all to do the right thing…that’s why they don’t come to these meetings. They hate watching liers!!!
Mayor Mitchell, why DIDN’T you put in the article that BlountCounty was ~208 MILLION dollars in debt…instead of having them print “This resulted in a $2.3 million turn back from appropriations in the general fund” and “according to the state Comptroller’s Office’s audit, the county ended fiscal year 2012-2013 with an $11.4 million fund balance”. Talk about spinning some BULL. I AM VERY ANGRY NOW!!! WE ARE AROUND 208 MILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT AND YOU WANT TO GIVE AWAY ANOTHER 543 THOUSAND DOLLARS OF MY MONEY…FOR WHAT???…FOR VOTES???? STOP GIVING AWAY OUR MONEY!
Douglas Benton Candidate for Commission District 2 Seat B
Douglas Benton’s comments off the agenda
I knew you would pass the $543 thousand dollar “GIFT”. That’s why we call you the “bobbing heads of Blount County”…you can’t say no. Mr. Mayor, here you go again, giving away our money. A couple of months ago you were going to give the Park Service a chunk of our money for the government shutdown…and you didn’t even have the Commission’s approval…now you have given away ½ million dollars of the taxpayers money to buy votes from the employees of Blount County. If you want to give them a gift…pull out your wallet.
I can’t wait for the Property Tax increase coming next year. You are going to whine and say “its for the kids”…or “we’re going to have to lay off thousands of employees”…or something ridiculous like that. I wish it was a law that you had to let the citizens vote on every expenditure over $25 thousand dollars. That might stop you spending our BORROWED money…that you don’t have. Or did you forget that we are ~208 MILLION dollars in debt? And Mr. Vineyard….DEBT IS DEBT !!!!!!!!!