Sun
May 19 2019
09:38:am

Alcoa City Schools teachers would see no pay raise for the third consecutive year under a proposed 2019-20 budget that includes only the annual step increase. “We just can’t find it in our budget,” Director Brian Bell told the Alcoa Board of Commissioners during a budget workshop Friday.

Maryville City Schools is planning a 4% raise for employees in the coming year, which will raise the starting pay for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree to $43,160. In Alcoa the starting teacher salary is $37,800.

From what I can find on the Internets,
Blount County starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree is $35,885.
Knox County starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree is $38,295.
Oak Ridge starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree is $40,380.

Alcoa School's base teacher salary = $37,800.

$5,360 (12.4%) less than Maryville City Schools
$2,580 (6.4%) less than Oak Ridge City Schools
$495 (1.3%) less than Knox County Schools
$1,915 (5.3%) greater than Blount County Schools

There can be other factors that change overall compensation, such as benefits (health insurance), bonuses, etc.

In my opinion, the City of Alcoa needs to be more careful. There could be too much encouragement for growth that cannot be sustained by the City and its citizens.

Sun
May 19 2019
09:17:am

On May 14, 2019, the Maryville Daily Times reports that "The Blount County Public Library needs local governments to kick in an extra $372,676 or it could lose up to 10 employees and put library programs, services and operating hours in jeopardy — turning the library into a “building with books,” library officials said."
...
A decrease in part- and full-time staff would force the library’s operating hours to shrink, annulling a contract with the state and effectively cutting off the library from $2.5 million in funding, Williams said.

A Daily Times follow-up article on May 19,2019, indicates the county and funding cities (Alcoa and Maryville) are working to raise some of the needed funds while also working on library budget cuts.
...
"Each government currently contributes a set percentage to the library’s budget — Blount County 50%, Alcoa 10% and Maryville 40%."

In one of the articles, it is stated that Louisville, TN, has more library card holders than Alcoa, but does not contribute to the library's budget. That's kind of sad considering Louisville's population is just over 4,000 and Alcoa's population is more than double that at over 10,000. It is hard to know how good any of these numbers are since library Director K.C. Williams "provided The Daily Times with a library data report showing active card holder numbers from each funding body at 46,791 from Blount County, 25,628 from Maryville, and 5,387 from Alcoa." Thus, indicating Alcoa has to have more library card holders than Louisville, especially since the 5,387 number for Alcoa is larger than the entire population of Louisville.

“This is your county library,” Dick Burgess, president of the Blount County Friends of the Library, told commissioners. “It’s our hundredth year. Is this the year you want to destroy it?”

Let's hope they get this figured out. The Blount County Library is a great asset and needs to continue as is and possibly grow for the future.

Thu
Apr 25 2019
06:52:am

TDOT is holding a community outreach meeting to learn more about the Alcoa Highway Improvements project, specifically the section from Hall Road (Alcoa Hwy/129/Bypass split) to the airport interchange (Tyson Blvd) in Blount County.

Who: TDOT
What: Alcoa Highway Improvements

When Today, April 25, 2019
5 PM to 7 PM

Where: City of Alcoa Service Center
725 Universal Street, Alcoa TN 37701

The Alcoa Service Center at 725 Universal Street is the only thing on Universal Street. It is located off of Wright Road. From Hunt Road, you can take Wright Road to the stop sign, turn left, then an immediate right. You can also come from Springbrook Road, where at the intersection (four way stop signs), go west away from Hall Road then Universal will be on the right.

All but one of 20 county commissioners at a commission workshop do not want the proposed Tennessee state law "that would allow courts and police officers to restrict guns from people deemed an extreme risk." "Under the bill, courts could be petitioned to issue an “extreme risk protection order” against an individual, prohibiting them from purchasing, possessing, or being in control of firearms or ammunition." "The petition can be filed by law enforcement officers or by those with a close relationship to the respondent, and must demonstrate evidence that the respondent poses a “significant risk” to themselves or others by possessing a firearm."

The Blount County resolution filed by Commissioners Steve Mikels and Nick Bright declares that commissioners “each took an oath to support and defend the United States Constitution and the laws which are not deemed unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution,

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I'm thinking the "insure domestic Tranquility, Promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty" parts should allow us to "restrict guns from people deemed an extreme risk where evidence can be demonstrated that the respondent poses a “significant risk” to themselves or others by possessing a firearm."

Many thanks to the sole county commissioner voting against this resolution. We appreciate your concern for our safety.

But, whatever. It is a sad state of affairs.

Tue
Apr 16 2019
09:34:am

Blount County sent out the 2019 Property Assessment change notices.

The Blount County Property assessor's office is allowing property owners three days (4/15/2019 to 4/18/2019) to discuss the new values by calling the office (865-273-5879).

We received our notice on 4/15/2019 around 4 PM, thus we only have two days to contact the property assessor's office.

There are approximately 50,000 property owners in Blount County. It's a good thing most property owners will probably not call the property assessor's office since in the assigned time frame that would be 1,851 callers per hour.

What the heck is going on?

Our property increased by 20% since the last county appraisal 5 years ago. I don't think the increases can be sustained, but who knows.

Wed
Apr 10 2019
10:17:am

Blount County is looking into purchasing a glass mill machine that will produce sand from recycled glass. The sand "is smooth enough to dip a hand into without getting cut"

The sand "could be used to partially fill county demand for gravel, and eventually even generate revenue."

[County Mayor Ed] "Mitchell said glass is “probably the largest” contributor to volume in the landfill."

"The department has been taking notes from Cumberland County, which currently hosts a glass recycling mill."

Pretty cool. Seems like a great idea.

Tue
Mar 26 2019
06:41:am

Rumor is the Pine Lakes Golf Course will be closing at the end of March, 2019.

Pine Lakes was built in 1971. Nearly 50 years later the course is being closed to make way for an unnecessary road.

Alas, more unneeded pavement. What are you gonna do?

Wed
Mar 20 2019
10:36:am

TDOT is currently doing road work around the Alcoa Hwy., Hunt Road, and Hall Road interchange. I requested a map of the changes from TDOT. Here is what I received. The notations with green arrows are my additions to better identify some of the changes.

Click image for bigger.

Temporary lane closures -

BLOUNT COUNTY, US 129 North and South between SR 35 Hall Road and Tyson Boulevard:

On Monday, March 18, 2019 through Friday, March 22, 2019,

motorists should be alert for brief traffic stops to occur at various times between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.as crews perform tree removal in this area. Motorists should expect potential delays, be alert for stopped traffic and use extreme caution through this roadway construction project.

Fri
Feb 8 2019
01:52:pm

Bloomberg: The company will separate into one company focused on parts making and another on the production of aluminum sheets, Arconic said Friday in a statement as it reported fourth-quarter earnings. One of the units will be spun off, and Arconic will consider a sale of any operations that don’t fit into either of the businesses.

The company also cut their dividend by two-thirds. The rolled sheet business presumably includes the plant in Alcoa. And they only recently finished changing their iconic tower sign after splitting off from Alcoa.

Topics:
Thu
Jan 31 2019
07:55:am

The [Blount County] Election Commission is in the process of replacing the county’s voting machines in time for the 2020 elections.

Blount County Democratic Party officers made a push at the Blount County Election Commission meeting Wednesday for the county to switch to a voting system with a paper trail.

Election Commission Chairman Larry Garner said after the meeting Wednesday that the cost would be a “big” factor in deciding what voting systems to evaluate.

The commission has put roughly $1.2 million toward the purchase of new machines.

Tennessee is among the 13 states that are either completely or partially paperless.

Sevier County switched to paper ballots shortly before the November 2016 election. “It’s slightly more expensive,” [Sevier County Elections Administrator Ed Kuncitis] said, but adding that because the blank ballot stock is generic, and unused ones can be carried over to the next election, the cost is not as much as he anticipated.

We can only hope the Blount County Election Commission makes the right choice and selects machines with a paper ballot.

Sat
Dec 1 2018
07:32:am

Once known as Wallace Hills Golf Course, before any residential development, Royal Oaks was developed in 1993 with a new 27 hole golf course and housing. After years of struggle, the Royal Oaks Golf Course is closing.

Knoxville-based Alley Realty and Auction has been hired "to sell the golf course and its assets, which include the events center." This sale opens up 120 acres for some sort of development. "There are approximately 500 homes in the Royal Oaks subdivision now. Alley estimated that anywhere from 400-600 homes could be added." It is being reported that someone is "interested in converting the land to a nine-hole golf course while maintaining the prime real estate for residential homes."

The Royal Oaks Golf Course is/was an 18 hole par 72 public course. There are several public golf courses in Blount County. The two that seem to have the most problems, Royal Oaks and Laurel Valley, included residential housing amidst the golf course.

We lived in the Royal Oaks community for three years in the early 2000's. I cannot imagine how I would feel if we had purchased a house there on the golf course to eventually no longer have a golf course in the back yard. It happens. I hope they carefully consider the existing residents when making such massive changes.

Sat
Nov 24 2018
07:04:am

It’s time for the downtown Maryville Holiday Craft Market!

For the 3rd year, Downtown Maryville will be celebrating Small Business Saturday by hosting a Holiday Marketplace filled with local business and local/regional makers.

Over 60 Vendors signed up so far and Main Street (Broadway) in downtown will be closed.

Barley's will be open for breakfast from 9 AM to 11 AM, then lunch/dinner as usual.

10 AM to 3 PM, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.

Wed
Nov 7 2018
06:50:am

Julie Rochelle, incumbent, retains her seat on the Alcoa City School Board. Brandy Bledsoe is a newcomer and won the second seat on the Alcoa City School Board. Congrats to both.

Still waiting on final results for Alcoa City Commission. Current commissioner and mayor, Don Mull, has a one vote lead over newcomer Tanya Martin. Absentee ballots are still being counted. Vaughn Belcher and Clint Abbott Jr., both incumbents are ahead with 1,927 and 2,009 votes.

Update: Tanya Martin wins by 5 votes. Congrats Ms. Martin.

Mon
Oct 22 2018
12:41:pm

Saw a gentleman riding up on a horse to go to the liquor store in the Rockford area of Blount County. A beautiful, sweet horse he is.

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