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BOMA partially funds two community grants

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved two community grants at its meeting Thursday, Oct. 8, although it didn’t fully fund either.

The Board first approved $2,000 for Farragut Business Alliance. The group asked for $2,500, but the Board decided not to fully fund the request because of a number of other upcoming community grant requests.

“We want to work with the Economic Development Committee on branding the Town and the businesses in the Town,” David Purvis, FBA representative, said.

The Board approved the $2,000 to go to advertising meant to educate Farragut residents on the benefits of buying in Farragut.

“If you spend $100 in Farragut, $68 of that money will stay in this community if it’s spent with a locally-owned business,” Purvis said.

“Forty-three dollars stays in the community if it is spent with a national chain, and zero stays in communities if you buy on-line,” he added.

“Our goal here is to get people to understand that if you spend money in the Town limits of Farragut, they’re not only benefiting their community through payroll taxes and other expenditures, but they’re driving sales tax revenue through the community.

“And as we all know, we’re a sales tax driven community,” Purvis said.

Alderman Bob Markli asked if the Town wasn’t already spending money for a buying local initiative with the Town through the “Buy in Farragut” campaign.

Purvis said FBA’s advertising is education-specific, not spotlighting local businesses, as the Town’s “Buy in Farragut” campaign does.

However, Purvis said he wanted to run FBA’s advertisements before or in conjunction with the “Buy in Farragut” ads to boost participation in the campaign.

Next up, the Board approved $12,000 to the Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce, out of a $15,000 request.

“I think you’ve been a wonderful asset through the years. … Your Chamber enhances the businesses here; you help the Town,” Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche said.

Chamber president and CEO Bettye Sisco said she was upping her normal request ($10,000) because of the economy: membership had dropped, and she didn’t want to raise membership dues.

Mayor Ralph McGill asked Sisco how many of her members actually were in Town limits. Sisco estimated about 33 percent.

McGill also asked how much Knox County and the City of Knoxville contributed to the Chamber. Sisco said they paid nothing more than their dues.

“The town of Farragut has been incredibly supportive of us, but I think we’ve been very supportive of you guys too,” Sisco said.

“I think we’ve worked very hard and very close to make people understand this is a place to live, and to grow, to go to school and to work, and to do shopping and everything.

“We want all businesses to prosper as we want Farragut to prosper,” she added.

Alderman Bob Markli moved to fund the Chamber’s request for $12,000, a motion Alderman John Williams seconded. That motion was approved unanimously.

“We have budget constraints too,” Markli said.

“I appreciate whatever you can do for us. … You can’t blame a kid for asking, right?” Sisco said.

Sisco said she would be using the funds for everything from Chamber events and programs to software and equipment upgrades at the Chamber office.


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