J1 housing slap in face to Sevier County workers

Dear Editor:

I read with interest the June 19/20 article about the subsidized housing project underway for temporary foreign workers in Pigeon Forge.

It’s a great deal for Dollywood, the Holtz company and for the foreign workers. It’s not so great for Sevier County workers or the broader local economy. In fact it’s a slap in the face to those working two to three jobs just to keep their heads above water.

Where are the living wage jobs for local workers? Answer they pretty don’t exist in Sevier County. There is no need for J-1 housing in Bradford, Missouri. Why? The tourist/service industry jobs there pay a living wage.

If the Pigeon Forge City Commission decides to subsidize the J-1 housing via tax abatement why not demand that Pigeon Forge residents have first chance of living there?

I suggest to Mr. Newton of the Economic Development Council that the council endeavor to develop living wage jobs for Sevier County workers. Then there would be no shortage of workers. And the wages paid would be spent here in Sevier County not sent back home by foreign workers.

That would be a huge step toward a robust local economy enjoyed by many not just a few with big pockets.

Donald Carlton