Citizens groups meet to hash out goals, make plans

Two local community groups who often raise questions about county spending met recently to chart new courses for their groups.

Citizens for Better Government and Citizens for Blount County’s Future met Tuesday evening to discuss their objectives.

“The major focus of the meeting is to set our goals for probably the next two years,” said Jim Folts, founder of Citizens for Better Government. “What we’re trying to do is, we’ve been involved in a lot of different areas of the county and it’s very difficult to make progress in the county and we’re going to try and decide with the group what that very small list of things we’re going to focus on is going to be.”

Folts said the meeting was a work session. “We believe we’ll accomplish the most by focusing,” he said. “It’s just the first step, we’ve got more work next month and then we’ll be organized to pursue goals. We’ve got a lot of participation and lot of good ideas.”

Citizens for Blount County’s Future founder Linda King said no marriage is in the works for the two groups. “We’re not going to combine, Jim’s group and my group are going to stay separate,” she said. “Our group works on a variety of issues and Jim’s group looks at financials.”

King said the group’s organizers want to get more people out to vote and they also want to get more involved with fund raising to support candidates in the future. They also want to help more in the community. “In the past we’ve been labeled as being negative. The only reason we’ve been negative is because the commission has so often done things against citizens,” she said. “We want to start doing things for the community. We’re going to collect money for meals on wheels as a Christmas gift. We’d like to do a fund raising effort and present them with a check.”

King said she would like to see more support for the senior citizens in the community and for the property tax freeze for seniors.

Folts said he’s getting a good response. I’m getting calls all the time wanting to know when and where we meet,” he said. “They’re energized.”

Folts said that while King’s group has been focused on growing, his group has stayed steady with about 20 to 30 people showing each month. Folts said those attending Citizen’s for Good Government meetings are different from those attending the Citizens for Blount County’s Future meetings.

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