Jun 7 2011
03:55 pm

This part 2 of how much I respect and admire our Commish, Sam McKenzie. While others have been totally stuck in the rut of name calling, racial baiting, and going nowhere, our Commissioner thoughtfully, and with great motivation and dedication to his County, came up with a solution of at least some of the draconian cuts in the County budget. It is an Amendment that would take monies which were offered to 'Public Works', over what they asked for and divided it among the most programs, that help the most in need.

Thanks so much, Sam. We knew our votes for you were not going to be wasted!!

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Mary, the KNS story citing Sam's amendment doesn't offer its full text, nor explain whether Sam makes any suggestion on how the county might immediately recoup its $1.8 million capital investment in the Beck.

Presumably, this concern would need to be addressed before commissioners would extend further monies to the Beck?

Does Sam possibly recommend that the transfer of Beck's property could quickly transpire before the vote on next year's budget?

Does he possibly make some other recommendation to comparable effect?

This would seem to be the hurdle his amendment would face in any vote...

Mary the prez's picture

Not sure about the details, but

I do know that Commissioner McKenzie also questioned the 'road project' in Farragut, at a cost of $2.1 million which was apparently approved by the Mayor without question. So if the Beck Center is mandated to 'repay' the county the amount of $1.8 million, then that little road's cost should more than cover the upgrades and the addition to Beck. Actually the Beck Center and its resources are used by voters living in the city AND in the county. Its education programs and facilities for young students are a welcome addition to area school systems.
The Dept Director of Public Works had to admit that the 'new road' would only benefit a few citizens and 'aleviate a traffic problem' in that area. Also, I personally was not privileged to see the entire Public Works budget. I wonder if all these county road problems (Halls, etc,)were already covered in this budget. He did state (the Director) that the $360,000 was given his Department IN ADDITION to the amount he requested. Apparently he DID request the $2.1 million!

Also, no one else, in the 'city' or 'county' has offered any suggestions on how to replace the $75,000 requested for the Seniors bus fees, and some of these Seniors definitely live in the County. Cutting the total amount for Seniors' Mobile Meals was providing vital food sources to the homebound, and many of these seniors do live in the County.

Don't any of the other Commissioners even question the budgets of the PBA, the 3 Rivers Golf program, the Chamber of Commerce, certainly not the Sheriff's Department? I do agree the Beck Center should be audited. Also, I do know that the Solid Waste Department has become another place where audits should have been more extensive. Even though the Commission is now considering hiring a new auditor, then the new one should take a closer look at THIS budget as well.

I don't know about the future ownership or who the future management for the Beck Center should be. The bottom line is that it must not be lost simply because a few who influenced this budget didn't think it added worth, value, and tourist interest to visit our area. And the cuts to Seniors' programs indicate to future residents of Knox County that WE do not care. All new people would learn if reading the Mayor's comments is that he thinks "these people should just get out and find their own money"...uh huh, little grannies in their wheelchairs asking for help on the corner...shameful.

Sandra Clark's picture

County vs. City

Good grief. It's no skin off McKenzie's nose to cut the county's public works department since the roads in his city-only district are maintained by the city's public works department.

We've got small dogs (and maybe even kids) getting lost in potholes in subdivisions such as Indian Ridge in Halls (scheduled to be paved this month). Public Works is one department that produces measurable results.

I predict an absence of support for this scheme from any commissioner who represents residents outside the corporate limits. -- s.

Bbeanster's picture

What do county taxpayers who

What do county taxpayers who happen to live inside the city limits get from county public works if they don't fix our streets? Can we get a rebate on our taxes for sheriff's patrols, garbage dumps and road work we don't use yet still help pay for?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I'm afraid I predict an absence of support for this scheme from any commissioner who can count to 1.8.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


The bottom line is that it must not be lost simply because a few who influenced this budget didn't think it added worth, value, and tourist interest to visit our area.

I have disagreed with other of Mayor Burchett's decisions since he took office, but in this particular instance I understand that the mayor and commissioners--acting for the county and its taxpayers--must necessarily untangle, examine, and ultimately rectify these confusing financial transactions between the Beck and the county, the legacy of a previous mayoral administration, to the ultimate effect of securing the county's ownership interest in the Beck's realty and ensuring that the county's future financial support for it is applied correctly and expeditiously. That's a long sentence, but it's just how much there is to be done, I think, before the county can reasonably advance further support to the Beck.

As for me, I certainly don't suggest this because I think the Beck doesn't "add worth, value, and tourist interest to visit our area."

Neither can I imagine anyone more qualified or deserving than Avon Rollins to lead the Beck's operations into the future.

Whatever differences we may share with Mayor Burchett concerning his budget priorities more generally, I personally trust that his thoughts on the Beck are rooted in his sense of obligation to be a good steward of taxpayer monies and not on any propensity to devalue the Beck and its record of good work.

On this one, I just don't see that ideology played any role in his budget recommendation.

Sandra Clark's picture

Gasoline Tax

What do county taxpayers who happen to live inside the city limits get from county public works if they don't fix our streets?

Let the city stop scarfing up gasoline taxes and sales taxes while maintaining a seat on the TPO which sets priorities for state road projects and we'll talk.

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