Fore Note: You may want to scroll down and read the News Herald editorial before you read my News Herald editorial rebuttal.

I'm one who doesn't buy into the two part American thing. African American, Asian American, Mexican American, and so on. I'm like Teddy Roosevelt. You're either American or you're not.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith, becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.  But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American.  There can be no divided allegiance here.  Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all.  We have room for but one flag, the American flag.  We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."     
Theodore Roosevelt 1907 

In the same instance, I believe if you live in Loudon County, you are a Loudon Countian. Not a Tellico Village Loudon Countian or an Eatons Cross Roads Loudon Countian or a Greenback Loudon Countian. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks this way.

Below is one of the most unbelievable News Herald editorials I've ever read. "We should all give thanks for Tellico Village." The editorial appeared in the "Our View" section of the August 22nd edition of the News Herald and I assume was written by the paper's editor, Steve Meadows. It was unsigned.

The editorial, written in celebration of Tellico Village's twenty-fifth anniversary, essentially lays out the stereotypical view some have of the village. They pay all the taxes, they use no county services, they do all the volunteering, giving and are smarter and unfortunately some of us rubes just don't like them because their rich. This is essentially the crux of the editorial. Who ever wrote this is either an idiot or they just don't know Loudon County very well.

I've been working in the Village for nearly twenty years. I know a lot of villagers and have a number of friends in the village so I know what I speak of. Tellico Village, just like every other part of Loudon County has a lot of good folks and some real A holes. Let's look at some of the outrageous statements in the editorial. 

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. They pay a lot of taxes "without putting a burden on many of the services - the local public school system comes to mind."

Except for the narrow, sub standard roads in the village maintained by the village, villagers drive on the same roads I drive on. They use all the same local government services I use. The Assessor's office, the Trustee's office, the Deeds office, the clerks office and as for the law enforcement and the legal system, it might be noteworthy that there have been more killings in the village in the last few years than any other part of the county. Wasn't long ago that one of the county's largest indoor pot growing operations was busted in the village.

Currently, Loudon County has two school buses running in the village to pick up children who attend county schools. In a recent news article, a village official is quoted as saying there are around 100 children now living in the village. Loudon County's population is currently around 47,000. The Loudon County school system has about 4,800 students. You can do the math. By far, most residents of Loudon County do not have children in the school system, so by inference, most Loudon County families do not put a burden on the school system.

So let's go ahead and say the, they pay all the taxes but don't use the services, myth is debunked.

Let's hit the tax issue. In the editorial the phrase,  "Numerous homeowners with nice homes." There are absolutely some nice homes in the village but there are also numerous homeowners with nice homes all over Loudon County. The fact of the matter is, the high dollar property is the lakefront property and there are a lot of lakefront properties in the village. But, there are a lot more lake front properties in Loudon County than just in the village. Village lakefront is just a tiny portion of the lakefront property in the county. Loudon County has several hundred miles of lake front property and no matter if in the village or not, most lakefront property has a much greater value than non lakefront.

Currently, Tellico Village has some of the least expensive property in the county. In another recent news article, another village official tells that some interior lots will be sold for as little as $500.00. I personally know a few people who have tried to give away their lots in the village just to get out from under the enormous monthly POA fees. I think it's now better than ninety dollars a month.

There are currently, nearly 300 parcels of property that are more than three years delinquent on their county property taxes. In fact, the county commission opted to remove those properties from the most recent county tax sale for fear the lots would not sale and the county would then become responsible for the monthly POA dues. The 300 delinquents just represent 08 and 09 but does not include 2010 and 2011 delinquencies. The true delinquency numbers are much higher. The loss of the property tax revenues to the county just on the 300 lots would be hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

It's also hard for me to imagine that the 5,000 or so residents of the village spend more in the local economy than the other 42,000 county residents.   

I really, really don't want anybody to get the wrong idea. I am not trying to degrade Tellico Village. I'm just trying to set the record straight. Tellico Village is a fine part of Loudon County but no better or no worse than any other portion of Loudon County. The village has the same mix of good and bad as does Highland Park, Philadelphia, Stockton Valley, Eatons Cross Roads, Hinds Creek, Lenoir City, Loudon, Greenback, Dunn Ridge and so on and so on. You get the picture.

It's painfully obvious that whoever wrote this ridiculous editorial, just doesn't know or care what a great place Loudon County, all of Loudon County really is. 

We should all give thanks for Tellico Village
News Herald 8/22/12

A good number of Tellico village residents, as well as past and present developers and builders, will come together later this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the sprawling residential community along Tellico Lake. And while the tendency might be for most other county residents to think of the celebration as a "Village" event, it really should be seen as much more.

Simply put, Tellico Village is important to Loudon County. Yes, there are the obvious economic benefits. Numerous homeowners with nice homes in eastern Loudon County pay a significant share of ad valorem taxes without putting a burden on many of the services - the local public school system comes to mind - the rest of us depend on. Many of those same Village residents shop in local stores, pay for a laundry list of goods and services and have helped many local workers employed in the building trades keep food on the table. More than a few businesses here and in adjacent counties thrive because Tellico Village adds nearly 4,000 extra households to our county.

It's true that a few less fortunate or jealous local residents disparagingly view "those rich lake people," but that isn't the way a majority of locals feel. A rising tide does indeed lift all boats, and our county economy is more vibrant, at least partly, because of our friends in the Village.

Villagers also provide lots of volunteer labor for agencies and groups that do good things in the community. We're confident, and it is well-documented, that organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Good Samaritan Center, Loudon County Animal Shelter and a list of others too long to fit in this space simply couldn't function without caring individuals who call Tellico Village home. They give time, expertise and even money to help many people in the community they will never meet.

One of the attributes newcomers find most appealing about a majority of Loudon County's people is a willingness to accept outsiders and quickly make them a part of the greater community, and there are numerous Villagers who will tell story after story of how they've been welcomed with open arms. That isn't always the case in Southern towns and settlements, where there can often be more emphasis placed on where you are from rather than if you work to make the place better. It's a sad fact - but often startling reality - in many of our neighboring communities in East Tennessee. Loudon County is truly different.

That's why we encourage the entire community to celebrate with residents in the Village. Like many of us, they got here as soon as they could.