The citizens of Blount County have asked this commission to reduce both borrowing and taxation for years. Today you present us with a $2.41 budget, and a $2.15 property tax rate, which represents an increase of both borrowing and spending. It is not enough to vote against a tax increase, if you vote for a budget that will later require a tax increase. We see through that now. I implore you. Vote against both bills.
Just in case my simple request is not enough, I am presenting to you two petitions. In accordance with the rules and regulations recorded in TCA 67-6-706, and with 7,200 signatures, the people of Blount County will force a measure to be entered onto the ballot, which will reduce the sales tax rate from 2 ¼ percent to 1 ½ percent. This is equates to about $3.6 million revenue, which is roughly how much you will raise by increasing the property tax $0.11. Although sales tax revenue is earmarked for schools and roads, the maintenance of effort requirement for schools called BEP, will require you to divert funds from property tax revenue to pay for the lost sales tax revenue. The citizens of Hamblin County recently succeeded to change their sales tax rate with a petition. The citizens of Blount County will use petition drives to cut sales tax as you raise property tax, to starve this tax and spend government, and force you to balance the budget, if that is what it takes.
Furthermore, in accordance with Article XI Section 9 and TCA 5-1-204, and with 3,000 signatures, the people of Blount County will force a measure to be entered onto the ballot, which will require Blount County to adopt a charter, which can include provisions such as term limits, recall provisions for commissioners, non-partisan elections, and reduce the number of commissioners to 1 per district. In 2010, the citizens of Giles County succeeded in reforming their government in such a manner.
As we speak, these petitions are circulating around this court house, and volunteers are lining up to circulate them throughout this county. Article I Section 1 of Tennessee’s Constitution, affirms the people have, “an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.” I assure you, we’ll continue to act in a manner consistent with our unalienable Constitutional rights, which provides a peaceful, lawful path to resist government. Furthermore, we have statesmen, such as Mayor Mitchell on our side, who has vowed to veto this budget. When you cast your votes tonight, you should ask yourself, are you going to continue to act as Rehaboam did, by increasing the yoke of government, and force the people to rebel, especially now you see how we can do it?
Citizens will be gathering signatures soon if the Commission votes to override the Mayor’s veto. If you’d like to help gather signatures contact Samuel Duck by email.