Thunder Road Part 2
King George and the Paper Trail
By: Pat Hunter
Commissioners control the purse strings and wasteful spending leads to higher taxes. Residents and property owners face two double whammy taxes, a 8 cent property tax hike and a proposed $50 wheel tax. The Budget Committee would like for you to think that the proposed tax hikes are all because of some funding going to the Loudon County School system but even with a 8-cent property tax increase, the Budget Committee didn't recommend all of the proposed FY-08-09 School Board Budget. And without additional revenue from state coffers or local revenues, the School Board will still have to cut over $3 Million from their original proposed budget.
The Budget Budget Committee, in my opinion, did not trim the necessary fat from the budget before wanting to impose higher property taxes and a new proposed wheel tax. Commissioners finger point at the School Board's spending but what about Commission's spending? Case in point, paying nearly $400,000 for an access road to a gated community. Click here to read: Thunder Road - County Commissioners Misplaced Priorities & Spending
Why did the Budget Committee recommend paying off $390,000 a purported debt to Loudon City for the Tennessee National access road after comments were made that former Mayor-County Executive George Miller signed an interlocal agreement without first obtaining the necessary approval by County Commission, the legislative body? The 1.6 mile access road was annexed into the City of Loudon, which leads to an exclusive gated lakefront golfing community.
Video clips in blue
At the April 21, 2008, Loudon County Budget Committee meeting, Budget members discussed paying off the purported debt. Budget member Comm. Nancy Marcus asked, if former Mayor George Miller signed "it" (the agreement) and it wasn't legal and binding, why should Commissioners honor one person's obligation? Why are taxpayers saddled with this debt now, Commissioner Marcus?
Commissioner Don Miller insisted that the County had a "moral obligation" to pay the debt. Where's the "moral obligation" of cutting a school budget that proposes to spend about the same amount of money for new text books for students while Comm. Don Miller and other commissioners approved spending nearly the same amount for a millionaire developer's road?
It seems like Budget member D-5 (Eaton, Browder) Commissioner Chris Park's only concern seemed to be to make sure that the paper trail was taken care of and as Commissioner Marcus commented, get their ducks in a row, yeah King George, referring to former Mayor George Miller!
If Commission did not authorize former Mayor George Miller to enter into the agreement as commissioners commented and as the paperwork indicates, why did Commissioners pay this amount? Something doesn't sound right!
D-3 Commissioner Bob Franke made the motion to pay it, seconded by D-7 Commissioner Don Miller. Commissioners then followed the Budget Committee's recommendation to pay off the access road debt at the May 5th Commissioners meeting.
Commissioner Bob Franke will now take the lead to put the wheels in motion for a $50 wheel tax. Franke's proposed Wheel Tax Resolution is not on the Loudon County government website for the public to view even though the commissioners were furnished with copies.
The Paper Trail -
My first request to Mayor Arp's office was to view the signed Feb. 2005 George Miller agreement, which was discussed at several public meetings. I was allowed to see an Interlocal Agreement with blank information on the top 1st page and no 3rd page with signatures.
After contacting the Ombudsman's office, I was shown a copy of former Mayor George Miller's signed agreement, which included a cover letter from the City of Loudon to the Finance Director, Ms. Blair.