NEWS BRIEFS - By Lance Coleman

Charities on chopping block?
Commission could reduce amount of charitable giving by county government
The Blount County Commission may choose to reduce the amount of charitable giving it allocates from its annual budget.
During a budget committee meeting on Monday, March 19, several on the Blount County budget committee voiced concern over the growing number of requests from area agencies in light tight fiscal constraints of recent budgets.

The budget committee is made up Commissioners David Ballard, John Keeble, Mike Lewis and Kenneth Melton and Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham. They are currently meeting to hear budget requests for the 2007-2008 county budget.

Non-profit agency requests for the 2007-08 budget amounted to $246,630. This is $13,796 over the 2006-07 budget allocation. Historically, about a penny on the tax rate each year goes to non-profit organizations, Cunningham said.

"What concerns me is, it grows every year. I question, as I have throughout the years, whether it’s government’s role to take tax dollars and do charitable donations," he said.

Cunningham said each of the charities and organizations the county donates to is worthy and deserving. "To my way of thinking, giving starts at home," he said. "I guess it’s a question of where do you draw the line?"

Cunningham said it is a philosophical question. "I guess I’ll be accused of being the Grinch who stole Christmas. I don’t mean to be that way," he said. "Charitable benevolence should flow from individuals and not be impressed upon an individual."

The non-profit organizations who receive assistance are A Secret Safe Place, Blount County Boys Home, Blount County Children’s Home, Blount County Community Action Agency, Blount County Fire Protection District, Blount County Literacy Council, Blount County Rescue Squad, Birth to Three, Blount Health Educators, Disabled American Veterans, Douglas Cooperative, Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department, Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council, Inc., Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont, Greenback Fire Department, Haven House, Helen Ross McNabb, Johnson Group Home, Juvenile Diversion, Mane Support, New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center, Partners for Child Abuse Prevention, Peninsula Hospital, Safe Haven Center, Senior Citizens Home Assistance and Seymour Volunteer Fire Department.

The civic organizations assisted by the county include Maryville Kiwanis Club, Sam Houston Memorial Association, Mary Tippitt Memorial Library and Townsend Volunteer Fire Department.

Agencies which receive assistance include: the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the University of Tennessee Hearing and Speech Center.

Deadline to pay ‘05 property taxes is March 30
The deadline to pay delinquent 2005 Blount County property taxes at the trustee’s office before they are turned over to the court system is 4 p.m. Friday, March 30.

According to a press release from Blount County Trustee Scott Graves, if the delinquent taxes are not paid by that time, attorney fees, court costs and additional penalties and interest must be added.

For information, call 865-273-5900.

Alcoa spring leaf collection ongoing through March
The annual spring collection of leaves for the City of Alcoa began Monday, March 19 and will continue through Friday, March 30. Residents are asked to separate leaves from other wastes (brush, demolition debris, etc.) and place them near the street for collection.

Leaves should be placed behind the street’s curb or shoulder fronting the homeowner’s property. Leaves should not be raked into the street.

For more information, call the Alcoa Public Works Department at 865-380-4815 or 865-380-4800. Note that bagging of leaves will not be required during this 2-week period. Leaves may be raked to the curb for vacuuming by the City’s equipment. Following this 2-week period, leaves must be bagged for collection.

Jackson Hills, Edgewood residents can preview plans for Research Center
Resident of the Edgewood Acres and Jackson Hills communities are invited to review plans for the proposed Pellissippi Research Center Development. The development is on the grounds of the former Jackson Farm.

The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on March 22. The plans will be shown at the Blount County Chamber of
Commerce, 201 S. Washington Street, Maryville.

Jackson Hills and Edgewood residents are encouraged to stop by and review the proposed plans for the development.
Residents unable to attend may contact Bill Hammon, assistant city manager of Alcoa, to review the plans or comment on the proposals. Reach Hammon by phone at 380-4795.

The open house is hosted by the City of Alcoa, Blount County government, Blount County Industrial Board, the City of Maryville and Knox County.

Animal control officers outline pet ordinances
Maryville’s animal control officers say they experience an increase in calls from residents with concerns about loose or noisy animals in their neighborhoods once the weather gets warmer.

Maryville city ordinances regarding pets include:

  • When outside, pets must remain under the control of the owner. If outdoors alone, both dogs and cats should remain on the owner’s property
  • Animals must be on a leash at all times if off owner’s property. This includes the Greenway Trail.
  • Both dog and cat owners are required to purchase (or receive free) a license at the Animal Shelter, 426 Home Ave., every year at an annual cost of $15. Spayed or neutered cats and dogs are eligible to receive a free lifetime license and tag.
  • To be eligible for the free tag, an owner must provide proof that animal has been spayed or neutered or present the animal for inspection by the Animal Control Officer. The pet license tag must be affixed to the collar of the pet.
  • Maryville city ordinance prohibits any loud and frequent barking, whining or howling that disturbs the peace and quiet of any city neighborhood.

For other information about animal ordinances or the Maryville animal control shelter, call 865-681-2241 or visit the city’s website at www.ci.maryville.tn.us.

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