What About Newman?

Seems the pressure of being broke is really building on Russ Newman, director of Loudon County Planning. Last month Lenoir City voted to pull out of the long standing arrangement between themselves, Loudon and Loudon County that funded the planning department. Lenoir City rightfully decided that they could better manage their own planning needs.

We learned back in November that through gross management of his finances Mr. Newman's planning office is nearly broke. Newman was going to be asking for additional funding from all three governmental bodies to keep the office afloat. Then Lenoir City decided to pull out all together. Lenoir City will be officially be out of the agreement as of June 31st of this year.

Historically, Lenoir City has paid their share of the funding, 21k, at the end of the fiscal year which would be June 31st. However with the money crunch on, back in December Newman has asked Lenoir City to go ahead and send half of their annual payment. LC officials have not yet sent the payment. Last week, LC officials received a second request for the half payment. Some city officials maintain that they do not plan to send the payment till the end of the fiscal year as has been the normal practice.

The bigger story is not when Lenoir City will make their payment but what is the county and Loudon going to do with Newman. Newman's office was in major financial trouble before Lenoir City pulled out. Now the funding shortage will be insurmountable.

Loudon County and the City of Loudon are now faced with their own version of a bail out to keep the office going. Of course both governments have a much cheaper solution. Before the creation of the planning office, local governments used the services of the state planning office and could again do so. The cost would be far less than propping up the current planning office. 

Community planning and zoning are not necessarily a bad thing and can actually be beneficial if administered in a way that reflects the will and needs of the community. Unfortunately for Loudon County, Russ Newman has never acted for the good of the community but has always been the friend of big developers and special interest at a great cost to our county.

Hopefully Loudon County and Loudon officials will not be willing to cough up another fifty grand a year to continue supporting this failed bureaucracy with Newman at the helm that has done so much irreparable damage to Loudon County.