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Hammond seeks first full term

Knox County District 5-A Commissioner Mike Hammond would like to finish the work he started during his first two years and is seeking voter support to do just that.

Hammond will face challenger John Sadler in the Aug. 3 general election.

“I’ve served for two years and I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, but there’s a lot more to accomplish,” Hammond said. “I want to see the job finished, and so I’m going to ask the citizens to give me a full four-year term to do that.”

Hammond said he feels he has accomplished much in his first two years. Normally commissioners are elected to four-year terms, but Hammond was elected in a special election to replace Mike Arms who resigned to work in the county mayor’s office.

“Well, first thing is one of my issues was the building of a new high school,” Hammond said. “We knew the overcrowding at Farragut was a huge problem, and so I was able to vote for funding for the new high school. We also were able to secure funding to help expand and improve Cedar Bluff. We have on the drawing board a new elementary school, which I’m going to be voting for. We have money in the capital plan to renovate Farragut High School in the next five years and I want to make sure that doesn’t get pushed to the wayside. That’s going to be badly needed, even with the building of a new high school.”

Hammond said he has successfully helped increase the efficiency of the Knox County government.

“I’ve been very pleased with my work on efficiencies,” he said. “We’ve been able to pass a resolution I sponsored which requires every county department to submit to county commission a six-month report on what they’re doing to save money. This is the first time that they’ve ever been asked to do that. I have found that governments like to spend money. They don’t necessarily like to save money. This was just a way for them to put in writing strategies they were going to use to look at becoming more efficient in their operations.”

He helped to increase the accountability of groups requesting and being granted money from the county, he said.

“I was also pleased to sponsor a resolution that commission passed requiring agencies that received community grants to give us a report on what that money was used for,” Hammond said. “The mayor’s office was getting these reports, but there was not a formal resolution requiring them to do so. This now gives the county mayor the teeth that they need to make sure organizations getting community grants file these reports so we can have an accurate reporting of what the money is being used for. “

Currently, Hammond said he is working on a couple of important issues that he would like to see through to the finish.

“The mayor asked me to be on a committee with seven other citizens to look at combining services between the city and the county,” he said. “I’m involved with that right now. We’re taking testimony from different people and we’re going to have a formal report on how we think the two governments can be more efficient. We’re not looking at combining governments. We’re looking at combining some services and just making sure that if there’s an opportunity for the two governments to work together to save some money, then they can do so.”

Hammond said he also wants to continue his work to protect the property rights of the citizens of Knox County.

“The other thing that I’m working on right now that I need to continue working on is I want to make sure that property rights are not taken away,” he said.” I know that there was a Supreme Court Ruling. I voted for a commission ordinance that requires two-thirds vote by county commission if any land is to be taken for commercial purposes. It’s going to be very difficult, I think, to do anything on an eminent domain situation with two-thirds vote of the commission. That means thirteen people would have to vote in favor of it. I don’t think you’ll ever get thirteen votes to condemn property for commercial gain. “


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