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Legislation opens seats on LCUB board


The town of Farragut will soon have representation on the LCUB board according to Knox County Mayor Michael Ragsdale.

“One my first two appointments will surely be a town of Farragut citizen,” Ragsdale said via Michael Arms, his chief of staff.

Arms said that he has been “working for over a year now” on a plan to solidify relations with the utilities board.


“Last year we looked at in-lieu-of-taxes legislation,” Arms said, “and basically at [former State] Sen. Ben Atchley’s request we decided to pull that bill and do some face-to-face negotiations with [LCUB] on how we can really address some of our concerns.”

Arms added that in-lieu-of-tax payments were “wrapped up in a private act that would have taken a lot of legislative chits to cash in and we felt that since we would have only received a couple of hundred thousand dollars and would have paid at least that much in attorney and lobbyist fees once we started meeting with them on a monthly basis’ to negotiate.

Since that time, Senate Bill 1332 proposed by State Sen. Timothy Burchett, District 7, has passed on to Gov. Phillip Bredesen’s desk for approval.

The bill effectively “adds two members to the membership of the board or supervisory body of any municipal utility providing electric service in multiple counties; such members to represent any county outside of the county in which the principal office of the utility is located if a majority of the customers served by the utility receive services in the county.”

Arms said, “What’s really important to us is growing a relationships with west Loudon County. … We have the same air quality problems, the same congestion problems. We all shop at the same restaurants. We see tons of people from Loudon County coming to our restaurants and to our libraries. We have a lot of people from West Knox County that go there to shop at the nurseries and Calhoun’s on the River. We have a lot of common issues.”

Arms added, “Utilities drive a lot when you are talking about economic development and especially when you look up and down Pellissippi Parkway where we’re trying to grow our technology base. That’s all serviced by LCUB. … So, we felt like being a partner with them on their board was a lot more important than trying to get some money out of in-lieu of taxes.”

Arms said that, now that the legislation has passed, “the way it’s set up, we will submit candidates and they, the city council, confirm who from that list will become a member.

“One of the things I told them, certainly Mike Ragsdale will be looking at female candidates. I know we would like to have one of our first two appointments to be a female. That’s something that Mike’s pushed with all his boards is adequate representation and he works hard to look at diversity on all his boards when it is appropriate.”

Arms said the list of candidates for each seat “could be several to as little as one name” and added that Ragsdale would sit down with Ford to solicit input for candidates as soon as this week.

 

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