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County could split Farragut

Fifth District County Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs discussed redistricting with Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its meeting Thursday, April 23.

“On the November ballot, there was an item that was passed that will reduce the size of County Commission from 19 Commissioners to 11 Commissioners,” Briggs said.

“The reason this concerns Farragut is that, in the past, we’ve had three Commissioners and have been roughly a third larger than any other districts,” he added.

In order to balance the population in each of the new districts, certain precincts within the 5th district will have to be moved to another district. Knox County Election Commission has requested precincts be moved between districts as whole parts. Farragut is separated into two precincts, 66 North and 66 South.

“One of the plans will take the 66 North, that’s the Farragut north district, and move that to the 6th district. That would mean half of Farragut would be in the 5th district and half would be in the 6th,” Briggs said.

The 6th district includes parts of Hardin Valley and continues to Lovell Road, Hall Road, Callahan Drive, Clinton Highway and Emory Road to Powell. The 6th district commissioners are Greg “Lumpy” Lambert and Brad Anders.

“It seems to me, what this may do is dilute Farragut’s voice at the County level. Farragut pays an awful lot of taxes to the County and … I think we deserve to have a say,” Briggs said.

According to Briggs, the 5th district pays about $55 million in taxes to Knox County; the 4th district, with the second highest tax amount, pays $29 million.

“After that, you can take any other three districts and add them together, and they do not equal what we [the 5th district] pay,” Briggs said.

Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche commended Briggs for his work on Commission and for his willingness to look out for the well-being of Farragut.

“I’m going to look out for Farragut’s best interest and try to keep this intact,” Briggs said.

According to Briggs, a committee of five, including commissioners Thomas “Tank” Strickland and Ivan Harmon, is studying the redistricting. Any citizen can submit plans for redistricting to this committee.

Briggs said each new district must contain about 45,000 to 47,000 residents. In the 2000 census, the 5th district had about 60,000 people. Farragut is estimated to have about 20,000 residents within Town limits.

“What we have to do is move a large precinct or [some] smaller precincts out … we won’t be gaining anything. All the other districts will be gaining,” Briggs said.

“The districts we have now were based on the 2000 census, and this redistricting is occurring because we have an election in 2010. We will not have the data yet from the 2010 census.

“But it’s estimated that the County has roughly 425,000 people now,” he added.

Alderman John Williams asked Interim Town Admin-istrator Gary Palmer to stay abreast of the situation, and Briggs told the Board he would return with updates as well.


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