They Took The Bait
Snake Oil Part IV

At least four of them did. At Monday's Lenoir City Council meeting, the first item on the agenda was a a vote to accept the request of Dr. Bob Overholt for the city to commit the city tax payers dollars to help finance Overholt's Town Creek development to the tune of twenty million dollars over the next twenty-five years. Voting to give Overholt the twenty million were councilmen Tony Aikens, Gene Hanby, Mike Henline and Blacky Johnson. Voting no were Buddy Hines and Eddie Simpson. Six more properties were added to the list of properties that will be included in the TIF boundary.

For a time in the meeting, it was not clear which way the vote might go. But as each councilman spoke it looked as if the vote would be close. A lot of the discussion revolved around the fact that LCUB will have to upgrade the sewer line in the area at a cost of three million dollars or more that they don't have. Sensing an opportunity, one of Overholt's lawyers had one last chunk of bait to throw to the hungry fish. He stated that the "principals" would loan LCUB the three million to upgrade the sewer if council will approve the TIF. That was more than the hungry carp could take. Hamby made the motion, Henline seconded by Henline and the other two chimed right in.

Simpson lead the opposition raising legitimate critical concerns with the plan and it's longevity. But the other four had already swallowed the hook.

It is hard to imagine that it only took four men to commit thousands of citizens and millions of dollars for twenty five years to line a private developers pockets with tax dollars. But they took the bait hook, line and sinker. Now everybody gets filleted, fried and eaten.

But wait. Council may have one last chance to slip the hook. By all accounts the Town Creek plan will also require the participation of Loudon County Commission. Overholt and company will now have to bait the county commissioners. Hopefully commission will be much smarter than council has proven to be. The developers may find their snake oil a little harder to peddle when they go before the commission. Article