County Spending Our Money Wisely?
- Population growth from 2003 to 2006
was 6.3%. Inflation (CPI) was 10.0%. Therefore, we should have expected
spending increases over the period of 16.3%
- The school budget went up by 17% over
this period, reflecting good expense budget control in the past.
- However, we are spending money to
build new, $15 million schools, while some are operating at less than
50% of capacity.
- The highway budget went up by 17%,
also reflecting good expense control.
- Unfortunately, the County General Fund budget increased by
more than 24% over the period from 2003 to 2006, exceeding
the combined total of population
growth and inflation by nearly 50%!
- To be fair, some County departments
appear to be well run. Those who kept their budget increases over
the last three years to approximately 17% were: Register of Deeds,
Commission, County Buildings, County
Technology, Juvenile Court, Clerk and Master, Communications
Center, Risk Mgt, and the Highway Dept.
- But other departments were major
contributors to this runaway County budget, from 2003 to 2006. For
- Building Commissioner
- up 530%
- Records Management – up 87%
- Stormwater – up 82%
- Human Resources – up 69%
- Health Center – up 67%
- General Sessions Court – up 59%
- Tourism – up 59%
- Accounting and Budgeting – up
54% (Shouldn’t this
department be setting an example of fiscal
- Purchasing – up 45% (See explanation
of this increase)
- Field Line Inspection – up 40%
- Circuit Court – up 37%
- Property Assessor – up 34%
- “Other” – up 29%
- Parks and Fair Board – up 26%
- Sheriff’s Department – up 24%
(The Sheriff controls more than 1/2 the County budget)
- Planning – up 23%
- There may be good reasons for a few
of these increases, but the overall effect has been to drive the budget
out of control.
Commissioners aggravated the budget problem by paying $785,000, more than 2.2 times the new full
value assessment, for the Smoky Mountain race track. They added
to the taxpayer risk by voting NOT to hold the owner responsible for
any pollution found at the site! (The site was an auto race track for
School Board is about to vote on paying 2.7 times the
new full value assessment for land for a school. Look at your new assessment. Multiply by
2.2 or 2.7. See what a great deal this is - for the seller! Only the
taxpayers get hurt.
debt has increased by more than 70% between 2003 and the new budget
year. Nearly 25% of
our taxes go to making the payments on the County debt!
- Over the
last three years most of us
have been trying to get by on total increases of 10%, or less. We are
struggling, trying to do more with less. Blount County wants to do
less, with more!
the budget is not brought under control, quickly, Blount County
residents may face years of double digit tax increases.