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Town leaders ‘comfortable’ County won’t split Farragut


Knox County’s redistricting committee had positive comments for Farragut residents at a redistricting meeting Thursday, May 7.

Fifth District County Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs and Farragut elected officials implored the committee to keep Farragut’s two precincts, 66 North and 66 South, in one district, a request the committee seemed amenable to.

“The most significant thing that occurred … as far as Farragut is concerned, is that there was an agreement that we should not split communities,” Briggs said.

“In other words, if you had a community that was in two different precincts, we wouldn’t split the community by doing that,” he added.

At Farragut’s last Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Briggs told Board members the County had discussed splitting the two Farragut precincts, placing the north in District 6 and keeping the south in District 5.


“At the redistricting meeting, Dr. Briggs led off the discussion by making the case for keeping communities together in the to-be-decided district,” Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill said.

“Others on the committee also voiced the same sentiment, and it seemed that the committee was headed to a process that would start by defining the distinct communities in the County that should be held together,” he added.

“We’re going to lock those [Farragut precincts] together so you wouldn’t be able to split the community … that was agreed upon,” Briggs said.

“What it really amounts to is that [Farragut] will stay in the Fifth District, because [the Farragut precincts] are too large to try to move them in block to another place,” he added.

Currently, Fifth District has about 15,000 additional residents than any other Commission district.

“The Fifth District has to lose about one-third of the number of people in the district,” Briggs said.

McGill also addressed the committee: “I simply noted that I was happy with the resolve that had been expressed by the committee to keep Farragut … all in one district.”

Alderman John Williams said Farragut could be kept together more easily than an unincorporated community such as Halls.

“When I heard them talking about keeping communities intact, the one community that came up most frequently was Farragut because it’s the only one with an incorporated boundary; it’s easy to identify,” he said.

The committee seemed amenable, but Farragut’s representatives stated they would keep their eyes on the situation.

“Remember, we’re still at the committee level; the full Commission has yet to weigh in on all this … anything could happen,” Williams said.

“I left the meeting comfortable with the committee’s commitment to the county’s communities, including Farragut, and I believe that a plan reflecting this will probably emerge from the committee in their recommendations to the County Commission. We will continue to monitor the progress of this issue,” McGill said.

“I think we’re going to be in good shape, and I’m going to go to every meeting they have to be certain that we protect Farragut’s interests,” Briggs said.

Any citizen of Knox County can submit a plan for redistricting to the redistricting committee by May 14. The only guidelines are that voting precincts must be kept together; and now, communities should be kept together.

Each new district must be equal in population within a 10 percent margin, which comes out to between 40,000 and 45,000 people in each district. Incumbent commissioners also cannot be moved out of their districts.

 

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