Ever Wonder?

Originally Proposed City offices on Broadway

Ever wonder why it is that so many of us have such a distrust of government? I'll give you just one little example.

Back in 2008/2009 under the previous Lenoir City administration, city officials decided to build a new city hall. Most of those same officials are still serving with the city now. Officials spent way over two million dollars to acquire the property, clear the property and settle several law suits that arose from the acquisition of the property. The new site was to house city hall, LCUB, fire and police departments. It was a grand scheme. The 2.2 million spent on the property does not include the property taxes and sales taxes that were lost since those homes and businesses located on the property were destroyed.

Fast forward a couple of years and the whole plan changed. City officials decided to abandon the pricy Broadway property and spent $750,000.00 to buy an old bank building on Hwy. 321 to be the new city hall. That plan has turned into a big mess. The decision to go to 321 left the city holding the debt bag on the now abandoned Broadway property. But it get's better.

With the city drowning in debt, they had to do something with the vacant two million dollar plus white elephant on Broadway. Enter Lenoir City Utility Board. LCUB decided to buy the 2.7 acre, 2.2 million dollar, vacant lot from the city for $950,000.00. Now remember, the mayor and council are also the LCUB board of directors. You can't make this stuff up. According to Mayor Tony Aikens, LCUB bought the property from the city because "LCUB plans to build administrative offices on the property". Going on in the News Herald article from 11/12/12, Aikens said,

"I think it's smart on our part, business wise, to offer that to the utilities because we know in the future we're going to have to do something for the utilities to have office building or office space because they're crowded and there's leaks in the roofs," Councilman Eddie Simpson said. "We just have some major issues there with that (current LCUB) building." Other board member expressed concerns with LCUB's current office space.

Fast forward to now.

LCUB to get new complex
Board considers three sites, facility would cost $15-20 million
News Herald 11/20/13

The new complex going to be built on the $950,000.00/2.2 million dollar Broadway property? Not a chance. The Broadway property wasn't even on the list as possible choices. Looks like the new LCUB building will likely be built in the Creekwood development on the new road between 321 and Hwy. 70. You remember that development, the next Turkey Creek? Way back in 2006, city tax payers were told that development would generate 1.3 million dollars per year in sales tax revenue for the city and another 2.3 million dollars per year in property taxes. Anybody want to check the record on that promise? But I digress.

There's just no way to put lipstick on this pig. If this isn't a clear case of government incompetence, then there's never been one. You have to wonder if city officials manage their own finances the same way they manage the tax payer's and rate payer's finances. If they do, they've got to be in serious trouble.

The multimillion dollar vacant lot on Broadway is now a jockey lot for local farmers and a great place to put political campaign signs. The tax payers have been shafted, LCUB rate payers have been shafted and life's a bowl of cherries.