Commission Chairman speaks out

I stand adamantly opposed to the Oct. 19 surprise decision of the County Commission to set aside $455,000.00 from the county’s general fund to be used for future road projects. While road funding is a very serious issue facing the County Commission, I maintain that redirecting revenues from the county general fund, as unanimously approved by the county commission less than a month after adopting the fiscal year 2016 budget, is simply irresponsible. Should the County Commission continue the current course of action to remove $455,000.00 from the general fund, many county services and support for various county agencies will have to be reduced or possibly eliminated.

The county currently supports a variety of programs that, in my opinion, are essential to the quality of life for our county. I do not support jeopardizing funding for our public libraries, chambers of commerce, volunteer fire departments, aging programs, veterans service office, juvenile probation office, soil conservation office, Auburn Extension Ser vice, and many other agencies supported by the general fund. I do not support reducing the number of law enforcement officers needed to protect our county. We need to be in the business of moving forward and providing maximum service to our county’s citizens. I do not want waiting lines in the courthouse, like those in Jefferson County, to ever be experienced in Blount County. I do not want the citizens of West Blount County to ever have to drive to Oneonta to simply have their driver’s licenses renewed or to purchase their car tags.

Yes, we need more revenue to maintain our county roads and bridges. I have been advocating that since becoming the Commission Chairman in September 2012. The county must come together to support an acceptable revenue measure to address our deteriorating roads and bridges. Robbing the general fund and starting to dismantle county government is not the answer. The $455,000.00 divided between the commission districts equals only $113,750.00 per district. This amount of money will have only a negligible positive impact on county roads. Much more is needed.

Chris Green, Chairman
Blount County Commission