THE HUNTER REPORT
Mayor blows stack & vents
Audience looks bewildered as Mayor gives tongue lashing about School Board budget
By: Pat Hunter
August 5, 2009
Earlier during the Commission meeting, it was hard to hear the mayor speak during his portion of the agenda. But at the end of Monday's August 3rd Loudon County Commission meeting, Mayor Doyle Arp pressed his microphone and announced an upcoming meeting scheduled for August 11 regarding Connect TN, broadband capabilities for Loudon County.
Mayor Arp also announced that a Budget Committee meeting would be held on August 11 at noon. The Mayor commented that he planned to serve light sandwiches and the Budget Committee meeting would follow immediately afterwards.
We need to move forward on the budget process. He mentioned that two school board members, Lisa Russell and Van Shaver, were present. Also in the attendance was School Director Wayne Honeycutt.
The Mayor referenced how the Budget Committee had requested a budget from the School Board and the deadline was April 15, 2009 and they were still waiting on the School Board to pass their budget. The School Board had issues. "We will be the laughing stock of East Tennessee." He looked toward the direction of the two school board members and School Director, "You can look at Mr. Honeycutt all you want, he don't have a vote, he's just like me."
Mayor Arp seemed to forget that he is the Chairman of the powerful Loudon County Budget Committee and he does vote when he wishes to do so. The Budget Committee votes on budget recommendations and sets the property tax rate, which is ultimately approved or not approved by Commission. As Mayor, he also has the power of appointing his legal counsel and his hand picked people to various committees subject to Commission approval. His appointees to the Budget Committee include Commissioners Don Miller-Tellico Village, David Meers-Loudon and two commissioners from District-5, Chris Park and Harold Duff.
As far as Director Honeycutt is concerned, he's a salaried employee who is paid $112,000 plus benefits. As school director he is charged with preparing "annually, a budget and submits it to the Board for approval. Presents approved budget to the appropriate local funding body for adoption."
Mayor Arp is a resident of District 4 and I suggest that he contact his very own school board representative, District 4, BOE Chair Leroy Tate to ask why he seems to be foot dragging or reluctant to make cuts this year but it was a far different story, last year.
Commission Chair Roy Bledsoe (r), Mayor Doyle Arp (m), Commissioner Bob Franke (l)
"We'll be the laughing stock of East Tennessee. Every newspaper and every TV camera will be here if you want, that's what your fixing to get" said Mayor Arp. Mayor Arp wanted to get on with the county's business. He spoke about how the School Board and Commission have a 10-member body and how the citizens of this county deserved a budget before the State comes in and sets it. "I know there's allot of people would like total chaos because that's what they thrive on but I don't thrive on chaos. I thrive on trying to work to make Loudon County a better place to live and newspaper you can quote me on that."
The Mayor had some valid concerns about the budget process however his message seemed lost with his rant as many audience members looked bewildered.
At numerous workshop meetings, the Mayor has commented that its a commission meeting and not a mayor's meeting but you wouldn't think so by how he dominates meetings as was the case when he waged his war of words.
He chairs the commission workshop meetings when in fact the workshop meetings should be chaired by Commission District 4 Chair Roy Bledsoe. Unfortunately, some of our commissioners seem to lack confidence, leadership and backbone and are quite content to taking a back seat to the Mayor who likes to set his agenda and run the show. But voters take comfort that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, elections are less then 1-year away!