The Hard Sale
Snake Oil Part VI
|Monday, 11/5/07, the Loudon County Commission will
vote whether or not to sign on to the same ludicrous request that the
Lenoir City Council fell for. That is, to obligate the tax payers to pay
twenty million dollars to Dr. Bob Overholt's Town Creek development. For
what ever reason, four of the six Lenoir City councilmen foolishly felt
compelled to vote to give Overholt his millions. They obviously didn't
or couldn't grasp the implications of their actions and the cost it
would be to the tax payers. Overholt easily pulled the wool over the
council's eyes. He may find it somewhat harder to dupe the county
Unlike addressing the city council where one need only to sound like one knows what one is talking about, the county commission will take a much more critical and closer look at the proposal. Overholt may find that just sounding good and looking good and making big predictions might not be enough to to bring the county onboard. Numbers that don't add up, calculations that don't fit and predictions that are pure pie in the sky, will factor in the commission's decision.
Having attended all the Overholt TIF request meetings, it was obvious that Overholt and company had to alter their sales pitch to the county from what they had been touting to the city council. While before the Lenoir City Council, the big bonus for the city was the 1.3 million dollars that Overholt was going to donate to LCUB to assist them in the 4 mil. mandated sewer up grade before any more development could hook to the sewer. They even went so far as to offer to loan LCUB the other 3 mil. to do their sewer project. But when the question of sewer problems came up at the county commission meeting, Overholt and company suddenly didn't know anything about a sewer problem. Seems they didn't want to be seen as asking the county tax payers to foot the bill for a new LCUB sewer.
What's very odd, is the fact that at none of the meetings was there ever any mention of the Ed Loy's Creekwood development just across the street from Overholt's Town Creek development. Just a little over a year ago, the city's pet project was Loy's $250 mil. Creekwood development. Just like Overholt's Town Creek development, the Creekwood development would be 204 acres of commercial, office and residential development. It's just hard to imagine that Lenoir City could two developments within 500 feet of each other and that both developments will have a Krogers, both would have a Lowes, both will have dozens of medical and office buildings and that both will provide five hundred new residential dwellings. Two Lowes, two Krogers, two movie theaters, it's not going to happen. One of the developments is going to flop. What if it is Overholt's? In reality, neither of the developments will be anything of any magnitude for many, many years.
The only thing that may be standing in the way of the twenty million give away could be the Loudon County Commission. According to Overholt at one of the Lenoir City Meetings, if the county doesn't sign on to his deal, the project as proposed is dead. Given that far more than half of the twenty million would come from the county tax coffers, it's obvious that the proposed project could not fly with out the county's participation.
In an odd turn, it may very well be the County
Commission that saves the city tax payers from their own councilmen and
losing millions of dollars.