Jon W. Waliga
Candidate For Lenoir City Council

 

I would like to take this opportunity to share some information about myself and my candidacy for City Councilman:

 
     I am a retired Military Veteran with 21 years service in the United States Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard.
 
     I am the recipient of two National Defense Service Medal for service in the original Desert Storm gulf war and service on the Southern Watch at Al Jabar Air Base in Kuwait.
 
    I am the proud father of three beautiful girls: Heather Jo Waliga is 24, an honors graduate from the University of Tennessee and the Weekend News Anchor at News Channel 14 in Charlotte. NC where she is employed with Time Warner Cable. Abby Nicole Waliga is 15, a Sophomore at Hardin Valley Academy where she maintains a 4.0 GPA while playing First Chair violin in the orchestra and knocking heads on the rugby field. And of course, Olivia Grace Waliga, who is two days old and looking forward to turning the rest of her Daddy's hair gray.
 
     I have been a resident of the greater Knoxville area for the last 20 years and settled in the Historic Hill District of Lenoir City five years ago with my beautiful wife Melissa. We are both proud to be active in the community and call Lenoir City our home.
 
     I am the Sales Manager for Quality Machine and Welding Co., Inc. in Knoxville where I have been employed for the past 15+ years. Being responsible for $27 million in sales annually and keeping food on the tables of 130 families gives me the confidence that  the fiscal challenges facing the city government are well within the scope of my qualifications.
 
     I am the chairman of the Lenoir City Beautification Board. Along with Susie Strunk, Sally Solomon, and Freda Burnette the board is totally dedicated to enhancing and promoting the preservation and revitalization of our city's historical assets.
 
     I am not a career politician nor do I have deep family ties in the Lenoir City area. I'll let the voters decide whether this is an advantage or disadvantage for their choice of city leaders.
     I have two main visions as a City Councilman. PROMOTING PROGRESS and PRESERVING COMMUNITY. I am the city's biggest proponent of the revitalization of our downtown historic business district. This area is the "Root Ball" of our community and I look forward to, once again, making it a bustling center of commerce that we can all be proud of.
 
     I am also dedicated to the continued, yet controlled, growth of industrial and commercial development of our city. This growth is mandatory to keep our community competitive, on a state wide and local basis in attracting new business, jobs, and residents to enhance the growth of our tax base. As all of you are well aware, there are two ways to increase tax revenues. Through continued growth and development or by raising rates. I, for one, am not thrilled about the thought of paying higher taxes. Through aggressive, yet controlled, growth our city can continue to prosper while avoiding the "Tax Rate Gremlins"
 
     In closing, I cannot promise you that I will be the best Councilman that Lenoir City has ever had. This is an impossible commitment. I cannot promise you that I can be all things to all people. I'm just a little more realistic than that. And, of course, I cannot promise you a job working for the city. That would be immoral. All that I can offer is that I will give 110% for my voters in using the gifts and qualifications that God has blessed me with to represent my constituents.
 
Early Voting Starts Oct. 15th. I hope to see everyone at the polls.
 
Jon W. Waliga
Candidate For Lenoir City Council
 

Council Candidate Jon Waliga's responses to News Herald questionnaire

What is your background? :

I am a retired Military Veteran with 21 years of service in the United States Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard. I am the recipient of two National Defense Service Medals for service in the original Desert Storm gulf war and service on the Southern Watch at Al Jabar Air Base in Kuwait.

     I am the proud father of three beautiful girls: Heather Jo Waliga is 24, an honors graduate of the University of Tennessee and the Weekend News Anchor at News Channel 14 in Charlotte, NC where she is employed by Time Warner Cable. Abby Nicole Waliga is 15, a sophomore at Hardin Valley Academy where she maintains a 4.0 GPA while playing first chair violin in the orchestra and enjoys knocking heads on the rugby field. Olivia Grace Waliga is the newest addition to our family. At 3 weeks old sheís in charge of turning the rest of her Daddyís hair gray.

I have been a resident of the greater Knoxville area for the last 20 years and settled in the Historic Hill District of Lenoir City five years ago with my beautiful wife Melissa. We are both proud to be active in the community and call Lenoir City our home.

I am the Sales Manager at Quality Machine and Welding Co., Inc. in Knoxville where I have been employed for the last 15+ years. Being responsible for $27 million in sales annually and keeping food on the tables of 130 families gives me the confidence that the fiscal challenges facing the city government are well within the scope of my qualifications.

I am the chairman of the Lenoir City Beautification Board. Along with other board members, the board is dedicated in enhancing and promoting the preservation and revitalization of our cityís historic assets.


Why are you running for office and what are your qualifications for this position?
:

Lenoir City is on the verge of a growth and development era like no one in the community has ever seen or imagined. Several issues are going to continue to drive our growth over the next 20 years. The collapse of the Florida economy due to excessive living costs is forcing the retired demographic group to look elsewhere, in the Southeast, for places to live out their years. In the last 5 years the 65+ age group, in Loudon Co., has increased by a staggering 23%.

     Taking into consideration the regionally central location of Lenoir City, itís recreational assets (lakes, mountains, golf course, etc), new medical facilities, and close logistics to four major metropolitan areas, we are perfectly set up to cater to the increasing migration of this demographic group. That being said, it is going to take business minded leaders to push Lenoir city past the tipping point to maximize our communityís benefit of this growth. With 30 plus years of fiscally responsible business experience in the construction and development industry combined with 21 year of military leadership experience gives me the confidence that I can be a great asset in managing the cityís future growth and lead our community into a very successful future.

 What is your opinion of the controversy between LCUB and Elm Hill/Wamplers regarding utility fees and how do you think this matter should be resolved? :

The last thing that any growing community needs is the discouragement and penalization of businesses for being successful. Successful, tax-paying employers are the main drive gear of every municipal entity and deserve to be treated as such.

I must admit that I am not fully educated on the legalities of the controversy, however, as a business leader, I am aware of the fact that, if a long term, strategic growth plan had been in place, LCUB would not be looking to the Wampler businesses to solely finance the much needed upgrades to our infrastructure. Proactivity in lieu of reactivity is desperately needed to lead us into the future.

     At this point, we need to find an amicable way to resolve this issue without risking the loss of one of Lenoir Cityís oldest and best employers. I would suggest that, in lieu of spending our money on outside legal counsel to prepare for future litigation over this matter, we use the attorney that the city has on staff to revisit the contractual agreement with the Roane Co. Business Park and TDEC to see if there is any way to alleviate the stress caused by the 750,000 gallon / day allotment, of which, only a small fraction is actually being used.

4.)    How do you feel about the plans for the new city facilities and how they should be funded:

I am in total agreement that the city is in dire need of new facilities, large enough to house all of itís offices under one roof, however, I feel that there is a much better way to accomplish this task.

     In lieu of the city purchasing land and pursuing the financing and construction of such facilities on their own, the facilities need to be constructed as an integral part of a larger, privately developed, Town Center type development. This type of development would result in a winning situation for the city government as well as itís tax payers by getting the city into itís new facilities faster and cheaper, generate much needed, new, property tax revenues, generate new business and jobs, as well as allow the city to keep itís liquid assets in tact for other concerns.

     As part of the development agreement package, the city would enter into a long term lease/purchase agreement with the developer allowing the city to acquire equity and eventually ownership of the facilities without increasing itís debt ratio and depleting itís cash reserves while enjoying the benefits of increased revenues.

5.)    What is your opinion of the growth in the city Ė both residential and commercial: First off, from a growth plan standpoint, you cannot separate the two types of growth for analytical purposes. They must go hand in hand and work harmoniously together. That being said, I have addressed most of these issues in my previous response so I will try to reiterate without redundancy.

In addressing the influx of retirees to the area, more affordable retirement communities are needed to cater to this group. A very small percentage of retirees are in a position to spend $500K-$1Million in their retirement years for housing in The Village, or Rarity communities. Affordably priced, active adult communities are required to sustain continued growth of this group. In return, the community will prosper through continued commercial growth, more jobs and an increased tax base.

6.)    What do you believe is the most pressing problem facing Lenoir City and how would you propose that the problem be solved? :

Three words! Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure. The most pertinent part of any communities economic growth plan is a long-term strategic infrastructure growth plan. I would propose that the City, County, LCUB and TDEC start immediately in working together to develop a 20 year strategic infrastructure plan, using projected growth and demographic data, which would address both short term and long term requirements in keeping up with our current and projected, future growth. This plan would need to be broken down into four 5 year plans implementing critical path planning and scheduling tools.

Jon W. Waliga

Candidate For City Council

BACK