390k For Thunder Thornton
$0 For School Books

Inexplicably, county commission voted at Monday's commission meeting to pay the city of Loudon $390,000.00 to help foot the bill for the new 1.3 mil. dollar road into the gated Tennessee National development. Commissioner Earlena Maples tried valiantly to at least get the $20,000.00 owed the county by Loudon for five years from the payment but her attempt failed. Ultimately, the commission voted unanimously to make the $390,000.00 donation to Loudon. The city of Loudon will pay the balance of the cost of the road.

Commission was set to vote on the payment last month but after discovering the county had withdrawn from the project in 2002, put the matter on hold for more investigation. With no legal obligation to make the payment to Loudon, it is very surprising the commission voted for the developer donation.

In a related matter, I find myself in an awkward position. I strongly support the commission's current position on funding restraints on the board of education till they can get their finances under control. However, it's hard not to take note of the fact that one of the items the board of education may be forced to cut from their budget is $380,000.00 worth on new social studies books. The board had hoped to buy the books this year but may be unable to do so due to budget constraints.

So, given the option to throw away $390,000.00 for a private road for an out of town developer or buy $380,000.00 worth text books for Loudon County students, I'm thinking.......... text books? But what do I know?