What Happened?

I may lose some "republican" friends over this one but if so, so be it.

Loudon County is supposedly a great bastion of conservative, republican citizens which is reflected in the fact that nearly all elected officials in the Lenoir City and the county claim to be republican. But I'm beginning to wonder.

Supposedly, conservative, republicans believe in small government, fewer regulations, low taxes and limited spending of tax dollars, i.e. other people's money. Conversely, democrats believe in big government, lots of regulations, high taxes and big spending of tax dollars, i.e. other people's money.

I can say that I personally know all our elected officials, some better than others, some long before they were ever elected to office. Most are just average, every day folks with common sense. But seems after some of them take an elected office many of them lose all sense and sense ability when it comes to spending tax dollars, i.e. other people's money. What Happened?

One of the latest examples is county mayor Estelle Herron and a number of commissioners seemed determined to evict the Loudon County School Board administrative offices from the county office building. Estimated cost, unknown but you can bet it will pass the million dollar mark on the run. And why?

That seems to be the literal, million dollar question. School board members are opposed to the move, the director of schools is opposed to the move and the problems that will be created by separating the two county departments by miles rather than feet are unimaginable. Director Vance made a very important point on the matter when he stated he hated to spend that kind of money of a few administrators when that money would be better spent on more needed school building projects.  


A few months ago, the commission approved three hundred thousand dollars to expand the current county office building to accommodate the ever expanding operations of county government. Problem solved, 300K to add a couple of offices. But apparently, that wasn't the true motive. The school board must go. I've reported before, it seems like every county mayor has tried to boot the BOE, just don't understand why.

Not long ago, the county tossed away ten or twenty thousand dollars to do a study to see if the county wanted to spend millions to build a horse rink. That money down the toilet. They picked up a multi thousand dollar tab to pave a subdivision after a private developer abandoned the project and repaired a church parking lot when heavy rains washed out their drain tile. Commission has passed out some pretty hefty raises in some departments including themselves and expanded at least one department far beyond it's capacity and capability and funding and don't think a multi dollar million jail/justice center isn't just around the corner or just beyond the next election. The list could go on and on.

But when it comes to spending, county officials look like piker's compared to Lenoir City officials. Former democrat mayors of Lenoir City would have never dreamed of spending tax dollars, i.e. other people's money, the way the current "republican" administration has. I'm sure you've been keeping up with the city hall, Broadway property, LCUB new building fiasco. And according to the emails I've received, the mayor and council have been on a hiring binge of unprecedented proportions for the last few months but we'll discuss that at a later date.

There seems to be no limit on spending for our fiscally conservative "republican" officials and you will never see them try to cut back or reduce the size of government.


Up until this year, Lenoir City officials raised property taxes after every reappraisal year for I don't know how many years. They try to deny it but it's just a fact.

County "republican" officials are far worse in this category. A couple of years ago while deciding on how to fund the school building program, commissioners raised property taxes by twenty cents when they absolutely knew they didn't need more than twelve cents or less and in fact had they followed the school board's plan there would have been no need for any tax increase.

Just a few short years ago, County "republican" officials voted to recommended to voters to raise the sales tax and add a wheel tax to the county revenue stream. The voters defeated both recommendations by wide margins.

Then there was the Adequate School Facility Tax passed by commissioners. The money was suppose to go for school maintenance. That's the fund they plan to rob to remodel the old Tech Center to move the BOE into. On a side note, contrary to what has been said, I did not help pass the ASFT nor did I vote for it. I wasn't even on commission when it passed. 

Rules And Regulations   

Both Lenoir City and Loudon County officials have had little problem passing regulations on their constituents. The first and most egregious in my opinion was county and city officials banned legal gun carry permit holders from lawfully carrying their weapons in any city or county facilities. In fairness, at the time Lenoir City was being led by a far left wing liberal but the county was being led by supposedly "republicans". What ever was, was, but the fact is the ban is still in place in both governments filled with "republicans".

Just a few months ago, the county planning department, led by Russ Newman who answers directly to the county mayor, went on a jihad all over the county attempting to regulate the rights of private property owners. That got nipped in the bud when citizens revolted. Of course the county also has mandatory building codes that are enforced randomly depending on the circumstances.

Did you know that in some areas of Lenoir City, you have to get governmental approval for what color you want to paint your house? Lenoir City also has mandatory building codes that are strictly enforced depending on who you are. Such as, if you are an individual, codes are enforced to the letter of the law. If your the city you apparently don't have to follow the same codes according to now fired codes enforcement officer, Lesley Johnson.   

Oh well, I've rambled on way too long on this topic. I think you all know what I'm saying. Most of our local elected officials are really nice people. You just have to wonder sometimes when they vote so recklessly to spend tax dollars, i.e. other people's money, what were they thinking.

I'm afraid when it comes to fiscal responsibility, taxes, big government and regulations the line between democrats and republicans is getting pretty blurry.