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Town ranks No. 2 in state
Farragut beats out Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis in Most Business Friendly City listing

Farragut won recognition last week, when it was announced that the Town landed near the top of a list of most business-friendly cities in the state.

The Town was second on the list, ranked by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, which judges cities based on economic vitality, business tax burden and community allure.

Farragut was the only East Tennessee city to make the top 10.

Three of Tennessee’s “big four” cities — Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga —finished in the bottom 10 of the ranking.

“Like Mt. Juliet [which ranked first], Farragut boasts no property tax and has maintained average job loss during the recession. Its high marks in education and low crime rate led it to the top ranking in the Community Allure category. It also received a perfect score in the Business Tax Burden category, finishing second overall,” the report states.

“Local policymakers who seek to make their cities more business-friendly should follow the path[s] of Mt. Juliet and Farragut, lowering their tax rates on businesses and families, focusing on education, and eliminating burdensome and unnecessary red tape that stifles business growth,” it continued.

Mayor Ralph McGill said he was proud of the ranking, but knew Farragut needed to continue to improve.

“Based on the criteria they were judging by, I think it’s a tribute to what we’ve been able to maintain here in terms of low taxes; we charge no separate property tax for Farragut,” McGill said.

Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer agreed.

“It’s an honor to receive that type of accolade and recognition. And we will always try to keep at the forefront in our business relations and economic development initiatives,” he said.

“This is good recognition and it gives us some exposure,” McGill said.

But McGill said Farragut couldn’t take the credit for judgment criteria such as high school graduation rates.

“While we’re proud of that, Knox County deserves some of credit for that,” McGill said, since Knox County administers the schools in Farragut.

David Purvis, founder of Farragut Business Alliance, said “Based on their criteria, it shows us in a favorable position, but we’ve still got a way to go in capitalizing on those positive criteria.”

Purvis said Farragut needed to work on its own identity outside of being a bedroom community of Knoxville.

“But if people are regarding Farragut in a much more positive way, that’s good,” Purvis said.

McGill agreed that Farragut still had work to do in improving relationships with businesses.

He said he’d like to see Farragut enact a business license “as some way of registering who is operating a business.

“That’s something we need to fix,” he added.

McGill said while the study took into account job growth and business taxes, the future of the Town’s revenue was unknown.

“Everybody talks about revenue, and where it’s going and what we can speculate. Who knows? I don’t know who can predict that right now.

“We’ll continue, at whatever level, we’ll continue trying to be good stewards of the money,” McGill said.

But however it turns out, McGill said, “it’s a no brainer: we need to support our businesses since we rely so much on the revenue from sales tax.”


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