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Smoak featured at Farragut Rotary regular meeting

Farragut Town Administrator David Smoak admitted the Town was in a crunch from the recession while speaking at Farragut Rotary Club’s meeting Wednesday, Sept. 29.

“As the economy goes, so do we go,” Smoak said.

According to Smoak, he recently had heard The University of Tennessee professor Matthew Murray, who delivered an address on the economic recession.

“It ended in September 2009, apparently,” Smoak told the Rotary members to some ironic laughter.

Murray and other economists have said the recession “bottomed out” last fall, and that the country is slowly recovering.

According to Smoak, Murray, who is often called “Dr. Doom,” estimated the housing market would not recover to 2005 levels until 2019. But, Murray also predicted there would not be a feared double-digit recession.

Smoak said the Town had five building permits from June to August this year.

“We’re booming right now,” he joked.

Compare those numbers to Farragut’s busiest (development-wise) year of 2005, when the Town had around 200 building permits.

But, Smoak said, 2010 has been a slightly better year than 2009. Sales tax revenues for the Town are up 7 percent from last year.

“The Town has been somewhat insulated because we have seen commercial growth over the last four to five years,” Smoak said.

However, Smoak said he expects the Town’s sales tax revenues to level off in the future as commercial spaces fill.

“We are hanging on, just waiting to see what’s going to happen.

“It’s pretty quiet out there,” Smoak said.

Smoak also took questions from Rotary members.

Noah Myers, a local developer and businessman, asked Smoak for an update on the community center.

“A committee is looking at that,” Smoak said.

“We’re probably several months away from a final report from them,” he added.

The expenditure of financing a community center could mean some difficult decisions, Smoak said, especially for a Town that normally pays as it goes.

“That’ll take a lot of pay-as-you-go money, so you’re probably looking at some debt,” Smoak said.

Jeffrey Reed asked about the future of Outlet Drive.

“I think that’s ripe for development when that is completed,” Smoak said of the Knox County plan to extend Outlet Drive from Lovell Road to Campbell Station Road.

Bruce Williamson asked if the Town had plans for the Russell-Campbell House at the corner of CSR and Kingston Pike.

Smoak said the Town was in preliminary discussions to possibly preserve the home.

Finally, one Rotary member asked Smoak about the rumors of Costco locating in Farragut.

“We’ve heard all the rumors. We’ve not received any kind of correspondence from them,” Smoak said.


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