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Economic Development Committee chartered

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a charter for the Economic Development Committee, and added two membership spots, making it a 15-member committee.

“It’s almost a moot point at this point how many [people] are on it,” Alderman Bob Markli said at the Board’s meeting, Thursday, Sept. 24. At its Sept. 10 meeting, the Board appointed 13 to serve on the EDC.

Alderman John Williams moved that the committee could have up to 15 members, but no more. Markli seconded. It was approved unanimously.

The Board then awarded one of those new spots to Turkey Creek Land Partners developer Jim Nixon, whom Markli attempted to appoint last meeting, to resistance from other Board members.

Nixon’s application was dated Sept. 11. The deadline for other applications, according to the application itself, was July 10.

Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer recommended Nixon be appointed.

“I would like to see him on this body; I think he would be a great asset to this committee. My recommendation is that he be added to the list and appointed to the committee,” Palmer said.

Alderman Jeff Elliott asked that the 15th person appointed to the committee be “a so-called independent, someone without a vested interest.”

He defined “vested interest” as financial or business interests in the Town.

Elliott moved to accept Nixon and an unknown 15th member. Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.

The Board also voted unanimously to elect members for four-year staggered terms, a time committee members in attendance at the Sept. 10 meeting were in favor of.

“Frankly, I favor four years, staggered two years,” Mayor Ralph McGill said.

In other words, half of the committee’s first members will be appointed to initial two-year terms, so the membership is staggered.

Palmer recommended letting the committee members themselves decide on who should initially serve two years and who should serve four.

Committee members will be limited to serving two terms.

“This is an important committee; they’ll have a budget; they’ll be able to do things with that money. I think it’s good to limit service on this committee to a specified duration,” Williams said.

Finally, the Board discussed criteria for membership on the committee, an idea set forth by Elliott Sept. 10.

“We [already] kind of have a variety,” LaMarche said.

“Do we need to spell out the categories?” Elliott asked.

Palmer said the specifics of requirements would be best worked out among committee members, and said the committee already had a good mix of backgrounds: bankers, developers, realtors, small business owners and independents/residents.

The committee could make a recommendation to be approved by the Board.

Palmer also said members should serve until a replacement is found; for example, if a banker’s term is up but no replacement banker applies, that banker can continue to serve.

“We don’t want to leave any seats vacant in this,” Palmer said.


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