Guest column: Becoming a healthy community

Stability and growth of that complex system called a community depends on honesty, equality, fairness, balance, foresight, continuity, healthy relationships, maturity, safety, common goals, and recognizable successes shared among all community members and good leadership.

Industry and government facilities were having great difficulty attracting highly educated and qualified professionals to Oak Ridge despite competitive salaries in the new millennium. One of the attractions that might help this problem was thought to be the existence of superior schools for the children of those professionals, combined with attractive, upscale housing.

As is so typical in Oak Ridge, many bright minds saw only their need and targeted the solution they hypothesized would make it work. Also, as so often happens with brilliant focused minds, the complexity of the economic and social organization, its influence, and the needs of the whole community were not factored into the equation. There was an assumption that the hypothesis of good schools, combined with an abundance of attractive housing, would solve the problem. So, $67 million was spent on building and equipping a state-of-the-art high school with amenities usually limited to high-priced, private, college prep schools. This, despite the critical need for a new preschool facility having been very high on the official city list of capital needs for over a decade. [Read more…]

Theresa Scott to seek election to Anderson County Commission in District 7

Theresa Scott

Theresa Scott

Theresa Scott has announced her candidacy for Anderson County Commission in District 7. The seat is non-partisan and represents the Highland View, Pine Valley, and Glenwood precincts.

Having run previously in 2010, Scott said in a press release that she has been strongly encouraged by community residents to run again for County Commission.

“I am very humbled to see that people in my district continue to show their approval for me to step into this position. I want to be their choice,” Scott said in the release. “My platform remains the same—speaking up for and on behalf of the residents, taxpayers, homeowners, and voters of my district.” [Read more…]

New citizens group will serve as county government watchdog, spokesman says

Anderson County General Sessions Flagpole

Lynn Byrge, back left, spokesman for a new political study group in Anderson County, watches above as Brad Heun, right, commander of Oak Ridge Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Leon Jaquet, director of Anderson County Veterans Office, raise the flag on a new flagpole at the General Sessions Courthouse in Oak Ridge in September.

A new community organization formed to study contentious political issues in Anderson County will be modeled after the PolitiFact fact-checking website, a spokesman said Monday.

The group of Anderson County residents is called Friends of Anderson County Taxpayers, or FACTs, spokesman Lynn Byrge said in a press release. The release said members are concerned about county spending, debt, and the threat of property tax increases.

The formation of the new group comes just before the start of what is expected to be a busy election year in Anderson County, with candidates already announcing they’re running for election or re-election on county commission and for various seats ranging from juvenile court judge to chancellor to sheriff.

Byrge, who helped lead the effort to install “In God We Trust” signs on the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton, said FACTs has already organized study groups around specific areas of concern, including county commission’s legislative process, the sheriff’s department’s burgeoning budget, the role of the county law director, and the responsibilities of the county mayor. [Read more…]

Letter: Chamber asks city, county officials to endorse mall TIF

Note: This is a copy of a Nov. 6 letter sent by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce to the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission. The Oak Ridge City Council approved the tax increment financing for the Oak Ridge Mall redevelopment in a 6-0 vote on Monday.

Dear members of Council and Commission:

Today, in a full retreat attended by the board of directors of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and numerous Chamber Millennium Partners, our board unanimously adopted a position urging Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission to unanimously approve tax increment financing (TIF) for redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall property.

This is the most critical near-term economic development project in Oak Ridge and Anderson County. It will undoubtedly impact our economy, our ability to attract additional retail/commercial projects, and our community pride.

Some specifics are: [Read more…]

Guest column: Tennessee taxpayers the ‘real winners’ in last two years

Jobs are, hands down, the most important thing on the minds of Tennesseans as we approach the upcoming election.

We’ve watched the federal government fail time and time again as they have attempted to meddle in the economy. In the Tennessee General Assembly, we understood this would not work. Our approach is a proven path to prosperity.

[Read more…]