Ding Dong The Wicked TIF Is Dead
Snake Oil Part VII
|At least as far as the county commission is
concerned, it's dead. With a unanimous 10-0 vote, the commission voted
NOT to participate in the twenty million dollar tax give away
requested by Dr. Bob Overholt for his Town Creek Development. According
to Overholt, "without county participation the project as planned is
Word had leaked out last week that Overholt and Company felt that they didn't have the votes needed to pass the TIF and were going to have the question removed from the agenda. In their words so, "they could spend some one on one time with certain commissioners to help them better understand the benefits of the Town Creek Development." County Mayor Doyle Arp made an attempt to pull the question from the agenda for the developer, but was quickly overridden when commissioner, Wayne Gardin made a motion which was seconded by Commissioner Don Miller, to leave the matter on the agenda. All commissioners voted to leave the TIF question on the agenda except Commissioner Shirley Reno who wanted to remove it from the agenda.
Having been assured by Mr. Arp that the matter of the TIF would be removed from the agenda, only two members of Overholt's entourage were present at the meeting. However a number of citizens were in attendance to speak in opposition to the TIF. County resident, Larry Hawk, even presented the commission with a petition with more than three hundred signatures opposing the TIF. No one from the Overholt group spoke at the meeting.
When the time came for the official vote, Miller made the motion, seconded by Gardin not to participate in the TIF. All other commissioners voted in agreement.
Any time a developer shows up at the government trough with their hand out, that's a big red flag. If any development is worth the dirt it's built on, a ligament developer will not be looking for a hand out. The Loudon County Commission should be applauded for their firm stand and the message they sent to developers. Even under pressure from the developer and Mr. Arp, the commission held firm to protect the county residents from what could have been a twenty million dollar disaster. Unlike the Lenoir City Council members who voted for the TIF, commissioners saw through the mumbo jumbo dished out by Overholt and company and saw the TIF for what it really was, a tax payer subsidy for a developer.
The scary question is what's next? It's hard to imagine that the developer will be put off by a simple matter of losing a vote. I expect they will regroup, evaluate their mistakes and come back for round two. Stay tuned.