THE HUNTER REPORT
Why is the Public Last to Know & First to Pay?
YOUR TAX DOLLAR AT WORK
BY: PAT HUNTER
The guest column by Brian Jenkins published in the News Herald spoke in support of the 32-foot Marine Coast Guard water craft and surplus fleet; however, it appears that he missed the boat when it came to addressing other important matters such transparency, fiscal responsibility, and following rules and procedures. Brian Jenkins wears two hats with dual roles; commissioner and law enforcement officer (Loudon).
From my perspective, I believe that the public has a right to know how our government is proceeding.
How did a county employee supervised by the county mayor, acquire a fleet of military surplus vehicles (15 est.) without the approval of Commission?
There were many opportunities for open discussion during public meetings but nothing was said until after the fact; does that not concern Loudon County Commission?
Many budget committee meetings were held to discuss and review the county budget before eventual approval.
There was no open discussion about the need to acquire and budgeting for the surplus fleet/marine boat. Who’s looking out for taxpayers who must pay for all the related costs, maintenance and repairs?
The Capital Projects Committee met and requested that departments submit future plans and costs for 5-year Capital Project Needs. The Director of Home Land Security Emergency Management Agency (HLS-EMA) spoke before the committee and his request was for a new mobile command center/trailer and used car. Nothing was said about a need for the surplus fleet or participation in the 1033 Program (Department of Defense and Law Enforcement Defense Logistics Agency).
At the Sept. 19th budget committee meeting, the HLS-EMA Director disclosed that he had acquired the surplus military fleet/boat and he requested additional funding CLICK $34,400 (two pages of itemized expenses). Repairs would make the boat workable and vehicles serviceable for the first year. Volunteers would assist with boat repairs.
After a lengthy discussion, the budget committee voted to recommend $23,000 for marine equipment/repairs, and gas and diesel fuel. At least five agencies (publicly supported in whole or part) have boats including the Loudon County Fire & Rescue, Loudon City Fire, Sheriff, Tellico Village, Dive Rescue Team; and TWRA.
At the Oct. 4th meeting, Commission voted against the $23,000 additional funding request. Citizens were opposed for many reasons including budgetary concerns, fiscal responsibility, lack of transparency, and not following rules and procedures.
Brian Jenkins (commissioner) was astonished by some citizen comments who were concerned about the federal government and agencies. Why the surprise? National polls show that a high percentage of Americans distrust government for many reasons e.g. government waste and inefficiency, a lack of honesty and integrity among elected officials, special interest has too much influence, and high taxes. Just look at the Congress approval rating.
The military equipment/marine cruiser wasn’t free to taxpayers, federal budget, and nation’s debt.
Economic pains are far from over; pinch to budgets continues.
Just how much does it cost to get 'Free' government surplus?
New tax bills recently arrived and for many taxpayers including my family it meant another tax hike in 2-years.
Why is the public last to know and first to pay?
FUNDING REQUEST TO FIX BOAT & FUEL
BACK ON COMMISSION'S
NOV.4TH MEETING AGENDA
6:00 PM, ANNEX, LOUDON
At the Oct. 21, 2013 Commission workshop meeting, District 2 (Lenoir City) Commissioner Rosemary Quillen requested that the $23,000 budget amendment for HomeLand Security - Emergency Management Agency be placed back on the the Nov. 4th Commission meeting agenda. Please attend Monday's Commission meeting, or contact commissioners and voice your concerns.
CONTACT LIST -
LOUDON COUNTY COMMISSION & COUNTY MAYOR
District 1 Loudon
Brian Jenkins - W (865) 408-0408 / C (865) 660-6074, Email: email@example.com
David Meers (Budget Committee) - H (865) 458-2414, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2 Lenoir City
Rosemary Quillen - H (865) 986-8824, Email: email@example.com
Earlena Maples - H (865) 986-6772 / W (865) 988-0731, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3 Greenback – Ft. Loudon subdivisions
Bob Franke – (Budget Committee) H (865) 856-0303 / C (865) 257-0633, Email: email@example.com
District 4 Philadelphia
Roy H. Bledsoe (Commission Chairman & Budget Committee)
H (865) 458-2829 / C (865) 643-2829, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 5 Eaton Harrison Rd. Sugarlimb Providence
Harold Duff - H (865) 988-6647, Email: email@example.com
Sharon Yarbrough - H (865) 988-7772 / C (865) 850-7773, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 6 – Highland Park
Steve Harrelson - H (865) 986-5211 / C (865) 740-2715 / W (865) 986-1223, Email:
District 7 - Tellico Village
Don Miller (Budget Committee), H (865) 458-0658 / C (865) 406-5897, Email: email@example.com
Budget Chair Estelle Herron (Loudon County Mayor)
Phone: 458-4664, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org