By | May 25, 2023

There is so much talk of money in this county. There seems to be not enough money for the school system, not enough money for jail improvements, not enough for EMS services, and Sheriff’s Office, yet projects such as a multi-million dollar plus science center for Isothermal Community College, rails to trails, and buying real estate seem to be funded.

Previous budgets show that money was given to the Sheriff’s Office for repairs for the last few years. So where did it go? Did the County officials who gave the money to them not follow up to see if it was used properly? The County is responsible for the building. Their maintenance departments went in there. Did no one tell anyone in the County offices that repairs were not done? Is the County Manager not in charge of seeing to this?

We know from the Hickory Nut Gorge EMS snafu (see link here) that the County did not do their due diligence by following up on their own suggestions to check out the nonprofit status of the group before giving them money. What else is “falling through the cracks” here in Rutherford County.

The Commissioners job is to be faithful stewards of the taxpayer’s money by providing a budget for it’s use. That is the primary function of their office. How can you be a proper steward if you don’t know where the money went and what it was used for? Just creating the budget is not enough. There must be a system of checks and balances that should show how and if that money is being used as designated. Blaming one department for the inability to fund another is not a valid reason for why something cannot be funded.

There are so many unanswered questions here. Tax reevaluations that have gone sky high. No money available to do much-needed repairs to the jail and the school system buildings. An EMS department that has been plagued with issues for years. The airport….oh goodness that is another can of worms. What exactly is happening here?

The infrastructure of our county is critical to us being able to continue to have any type of quality of life. The Jail’s condition, the Sheriff’s Office needing staff and equipment to patrol and keep us safe, the officers having proper training and safety equipment, the children trying to learn in substandard buildings, EMS not having proper staff and county wide coverage to care for us. Why is any of this OK with our elected leaders?

Instead of just saying there is no money show us where the money is. It seems that it is way past time to call for a comprehensive public audit of all County departments and grants. How much are we spending, where exactly, and for what? Yes, and then a forensic audit if indicated. It will be expensive and takes time but we NEED to know.

Accountability is not only important but also critical at this point.  Problems must be identified before you can attempt to properly address them. It’s time for Rutherford County Commissioners to not only identify the problems but also be transparent with its citizens about the problems they have.

DO THE AUDIT! Let the people know you have nothing to hide. Call your Commissioners today at 828-287-6060 and demand it. We the people deserve answers. Where is the money?