Higher Taxes For Us
Free Money For Developers

With higher property taxes and wheel taxes hanging over the heads of Loudon County residents, it's very surprising that the Loudon County budget committee will be recommending to the full commission to pay $390,000.00 for the new road into Thunder Thornton's  gated Tennessee National Development. Last week I brought you the story of the City of Loudon's decision to build Thornton a new road with tax payer money. And after the fact, wants the County to chip in 390K. Loudon claims the county committed to the project back in 2001. However the county opted out of the project in 2002.

A vote on the matter was set for earlier this month, but when commissioners learned the county had pulled out of the project in 02, the vote was postponed for further study. Apparently, commissioners on the budget committee have had enough study.

The first obligation facing the commission is to the tax payers and they have made their feelings clear on subsidizing developers i.e. Dr. Bob Overholt. Secondly commission has an obligation to honor the votes of the previous commission who voted in 2002 to withdraw from the project. There was never an agreement signed prior to commission's vote to withdraw and certainly former County Mayor, George Miller, had no authority what so ever to unilaterally obligate the county to such a large commitment.

Speaking of obligations, Loudon has never felt any moral obligation to repay the county the 20k they have owed us for five years for our portion of the parking lot taken by the state when the new bridge was built. Also, in 2005 after completion of the new Health Department, Loudon cut the power and refused to reconnect until the county paid them 14k for what they called line upgrades which the county never requested nor agreed to pay. Nonetheless, the county had to pay before they would turn the power back on.

Legally, the commission has absolutely no obligation to pay. In absence of an agreement predating July 2002, commission would have no authority to even make the payment. It would require a vote of the commission to sign a new agreement.

The fact that Loudon preceded with the road after the county withdrew was their mistake. The same argument that was made in 2001, 2002 and 2005 is still valid. If local government is going to subsidize one developer then how do they say no to the next one and the next one and the next one.

If the Loudon City Council feels the need to donate city tax payers money to developers, then that's their decision. But that in no way obligates county tax payers to help foot the bill.