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Farragut elections to coincide with Knox County

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved, on first reading, an ordinance that would change the time of Farragut’s elections to coincide with Knox County’s.

“The thought was this might improve the turnout of the elections if we coincided our elections with the County elections,” Town Attorney Tom Hale said of the change, one of the first taken up by the new Board.

“I think when we combine with the County election … we can probably expect around 4,000 voters or so,” Mayor Ralph McGill said.

By charter and state stipulations, the change in date must not shorten any elected official’s term nor extend it for more than two years. Also, the change must not go into effect until after the next election.

This means the next Farragut election will be held in April 2011 as normal. The August 2014 election would be the first in which Farragut’s and the County’s coincide.

“The two sitting members will have slightly longer terms than four years but not the prohibited additional two years,” Hale said, as would the three officials elected this year, whose terms would normally have ended in 2013.

Alderman John Williams cautioned the Farragut election information would be at the bottom of the ballot.

“I think it’s important to make sure we get people to go all the way to the bottom of the ballot,” he said.

McGill responded by explaining the way the voting machines currently operated: a voter is not allowed to vote unless he sees the whole ballot.

Williams also cited Greg Mackay, recently reappointed election commissioner, who warned Farragut officials it may be harder to get campaign funds during a County election year.

Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche reminded the Board the County’s elections were partisan.

“Our election will still be non-partisan,” McGill said.

Alderman Jeff Elliott said the Town should push education about the voting changes. He moved to approve the ordinance; LaMarche seconded.

The ordinance was unanimously approved with Alderman Bob Markli absent.

In other business, the Board approved, all on second reading:

• amendments to Farragut Zoning Ordinance and Farragut Municipal Code to clarify maximum finished slopes and stabilization requirements

• an amendment to Farragut Zoning Ordinance to define “junk” and “junkyard”

• an amendment to Farragut Zoning Ordinance to clarify application of outdoor site lighting.


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