The Blount County Budget Committee has sent a balanced budget to the County Commission that has no tax increase, no use of fund balance, and has paid off more of our debt and created no new debt. I hope that is something that every taxpaying citizen appreciates about their government. Here are some of the important highlights from last night’s Budget Committee Public Hearing & June regular meeting:
The Budget Committee passed a recommendation for the County Commission’s consideration to extend the County’s fiber network to each school in the Blount County School System.
This is the culmination of a years-long effort by my office to create a fiber network that connects all government, public safety, and school buildings in Blount County. Of the 21 county schools, 18 will be able to take advantage of these improvements within the next two months. The remaining three, which are Prospect Elementary, Walland Elementary, and Townsend Elementary, are expected to be brought into the fold within the next twelve months.
This project, if approved, will add almost 17 miles of fiber connections to the over 120 existing miles that our Blount County Government, Maryville and Alcoa and utilities have been working hard to expand.
If this funding is approved, we would be adding to the investments already made by our utility companies here in Blount County. I am thankful that Maryville and Alcoa utility companies invested in optical fiber years ago. Without that investment, it would have been much harder to overcome the difficulties that COVID-19 caused. Our joint efforts are benefiting our citizens today and future generations as well.
The FY21-22 Recommended Budget Resolutions were passed onto the full Board of County Commissioners for their consideration.
I’ve already stated it, but I am so proud that we have sent a balanced budget to the Commission that has no tax increase, no use of fund balance and no new debt, and we continue to pay down our current debt.
It has been a commitment by me and my staff that every budget process for the last 11 years be totally transparent and open to review by the citizens of Blount County. This year, we have gone above and beyond in making sure that all of our budget review hearings were open to the public, not only in person but also by internet.
I want to thank each member of our Budget Committee who has invested countless hours of their time working on this budget. To my staff, especially Finance Director Randy Vineyard and his team, who year after year, work diligently on making this entire process, that begins in January each year, as smooth as possible.
Thank you to the Elected Officials and Department Heads who are committed to being good stewards of our citizens’ tax dollars every day while providing the very best service.
Next steps for the FY 21-22 Budget Process:
County Commission Agenda Workshop tonight at 6:30 pm
The June County Commission Meeting is Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 pm.