Readers Write

By attending county commission meetings and questioning Blount County’s option to spend approximately $125,000 for a random industrial park, we have come to respect the Blount County commissioners.

Our four commissioners (Allen Armstrong, Dean Calvert, Mike Painter, and Nick Washburn), financial planner John Bullard, and county engineer are great assets to our county.

If you happen to be like me and had not been attending meetings, they are now live streamed on Facebook. Check it out and watch how your county is ran and how your money is spent.

The Veteran’s bridge project is beautiful and a testimonial to how our funds should be used. Right now we are questioning the spending of $125,000 for a random industrial park.

I am far from brilliant, but I can read. After reading the handbook for Blount County commissioners (available online) it clearly outlines the responsibilities of the county commissioners. It describes safety, roads, schools, etc., but there is not one mention regarding buying property for private corporations. In Blount County we currently have empty, established industrial parks. These cities have money invested in their industrial parks. Why would the county want to compete with existing industrial parks by establishing another one? Parks with appropriate water, electricity, and sewer needs?

Discussions to buy the land with our county money for private industry has been in closed sessions. Why the secrecy? We don’t buy “this is just how it’s done.”

The funds belong to the county and we have every right to question how they are spent.

Funds are limited in the county and at the last meeting it was outlined how a new security system at the courthouse would be installed. We are 100 percent in favor of supporting the safety of our county and this new equipment. As we understand the cost of the equipment is already covered, but the cost to county is for a sheriff personnel to monitor. If we have $125,000 in funds available, this is a department that we could support.

Drive the roads of Blount County. Yes, there is progress, but many many roads are in desperate need of maintenance.

Just like a family budget there are choices to be made. Do we maintain our roads, support our sheriff’s department and protect our citizens as mandated in the county guidelines, or do we buy random land when existing industrial parks are established with vacancies waiting for industry?

Our ancestors came here before Blount County or the state of Alabama existed and we are proud to call Blount County home, but with that comes responsibilities to protect this beautiful county for future generations. Blount County does not need to be buying land for private industry and popping up random industrial parks in areas with no infrastructure to support the safety of our water and environment.

Protect our county and our citizens. If you have $125,000 in surplus funds, we respectfully ask that it be spent wisely to maintain the roads and support safety of our beautiful county.

Karen Smith