6, 4, 3

With some forty thousand plus residents and some thirty thousand plus registered voters, the fact of the matter is 6 people will decide the direction of Loudon County. The Loudon County commission is comprised of 10 members representing seven districts of the county. A majority of the 10 person board is 6.

6 members of the commission will decide every aspect of our local government. They will decide how high your property taxes will be, how high your sales tax will be, all rules and regulations pertaining to property rights through zoning and codes, pay scale and benefits for county employees. 6 individuals will determine the direction of education in Loudon County by control of the purse strings. Whether Loudon County ever gets any new schools will be up to 6 votes.

The most recent budget passed by only one vote, 6-4. The last two property tax increases passed by only one vote, 6-4. You can see just how important these 6 votes can be.

In Lenoir City the margin is even slimmer. With just 6 council members it only takes 4 votes to pass legislation that effects everyone in the city and beyond. The mayor only votes in the case of a tie vote of the council. In Loudon the margin is even less. With just 4 council members a majority of just three makes law.

With so few people making such major decisions that have so much impact on all of us, one would like to believe that these elected officials make their decisions on sound doctrine, the facts of the issue and most importantly what's best for the citizens. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

More often than not, elected officials make their decisions based personal agendas, and personal feelings. Sometimes it's a vote for or against a particular issue depending on how another elected official votes. Some of our elected officials do not possess the mental capacity to even comprehend many of the complex issues of the day and simply have to relay on how others vote to make their decisions. Many times an elected official will make a vote out of spite for another elected official.

It wouldn't be fair to say that all of our elected officials are incompetent. We do have a few who truly have the citizens best interest at heart, and will do the study and research needed to make an intelligent vote but they are a small minority.

Elections are just around the corner for county commission and city council seats. I challenge the voters to do their homework and learn about those who ask you to let them lead our local governments. Ask them the hard questions. Are they tax and spenders, are they blind followers, can they think for themselves, will they just be more of the same thing? One vote by one elected official can make all the difference.