Citizens for Better Government

Blount County Tennessee

 

How the Road Department Building will cost millions and increase our taxes

 

Blount County Finance Director David Bennett and the Mayor Cunningham are asking the Commission to rush into multi-million dollar real estate deal with absolutely no plan. What started out as a project to build a new 27,000 sq. foot building for the County Road Department “at no cost to the taxpayers”, has turned into the acquisition of a new campus, for most County departments, that will cost the taxpayers at least $7 million before it is done. Beneath the surface, this nonsense is being propelled by an initial project that got to be 33% over budget before the foundation was poured; a real estate agent, who is part of a powerful political family, closely allied with the Blount County Machine; an artificial, rushed, decision time frame being pushed by Bennett; and, a lack of any plan.

 

Unless some rational planning starts immediately, the result will be significant tax increases, a major addition to the County debt burden and a fiasco far greater than the County’s infamous purchase of an auto race track a few years ago.


Here is how this mess developed.


So here we go again. The original project was started without a plan and is out of control. Nearly $1 million that should have been spent fixing roads is now needed to bail out the project.

On top of all this, the County is being asked to increase its overhead and, ultimately, add millions to its debt burden at the very moment that our country is on the brink of the worst recession in 70 years. Mind you the County has already doubled its indebtedness since 2002.

Who will pay the down this debt? The taxpayers, will through a tax increase. All this at a time when we desperately need another new school in the County.

How will Commissioners explain tax increases to unemployed taxpayers, and school overcrowding to parents?

The result could be a fiasco far worse than the infamous racetrack purchase.