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presstalk 671-TALK


• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: I am against the Community Center being built at this time. I’m sure with all the mistakes, etc. that will be made ... it will end up costing $20 million, not $13 million. Thousands of dollars were spent to build calming islands along Grigsby Chapel [Road], and TWIGS (not trees) were planted in them along with the cheapest ground cover money could buy. McFee Park was built out in the boonies. Hardly anyone goes to it let alone knows where it’s located. The red-light cameras have driven away many shoppers, thus losing Sales Tax revenue. Some of the 13 million proposed dollars should be spent to change our image to a more business friendly community, and entice entrepreneurs to fill some of the vacant stores that are along Kingston Pike ie... Food City, Ingles and Blockbuster to name a few. As for selling wine in the grocery stores; what a great venue for teenage shoplifters to acquire their weekend booze ... or have someone buy it for them. Wake up Farragut and stop being so naive.

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: Last week I read an article in farragutpress about compensation levels for town of Farragut employees. It was reported that these employees receive salaries below those of comparable positions at other communities, though with much higher benefits. I believe that low salaries for Town employees should not be a cause of great concern. Considering the low cost of living in Farragut and surrounding areas like Loudon County, one would expect salaries to be low. Keeping a lid on salaries helps to keep taxes low for Farragut residents, and this makes Farragut a desirable place to live. The mayor and aldermen must at all costs avoid a Farragut Property Tax, which would be a slippery slope to unlimited tax increases in the future. The town of Farragut should balance its budget the way everyone else has to by cutting back if revenues fall short. Seniors living on Social Security have not received an increase in two years, and may not receive one this year. Nor have most private sector workers received raises. This is certainly not the time for big salary increases for workers at Town Hall.

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: Community Center is a great idea. Vacant Kroger is a great location. WHO SAYS IT HAS TO COST $13 MILLION? Why can’t it start out modestly and build as it goes along? Making the space available is step one. Then ask for volunteers to get it going. There are lots of seniors who’d be willing, I’m sure. People and businesses in Farragut would probably volunteer furniture, appliances, paint, etc., too.


• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: While I think a community center is a good idea, I think the timing is off. Right now [with] so many people out of work, inflation becoming a major issue, it just does not make sense starting an estimated $13 million project, which would probably end up costing $20 million. As noted on the front page [Town administrator David] Smoak is already proposing upping property taxes “as possible future revenue shortfall solution” (quoting town administrator Smoak). Right now the federal government, almost all if not all states and a lot of cities are in financial trouble. Don’t these people ever get the message, they need to cut back spending, not keep sticking the general public, which are having their own problems. Fed up taxpayer

Editor’s Note: The Town administrator listed initiating a property tax as one of many sources for new revenue. A property tax has never been proposed. Knox County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and the lowest in the state of Tennessee. It is 8.2 percent.

• Via e-mail: Oh no! My pastoral views along the Interstate are gone — all gone! Now when I’m driving down I-40/75, just near the Campbell Station exit, I’m going to have to look at — of all things — the road! It’s a tragedy of epic proportions, and someone needs to look into this haphazard trimming of trees that has ruined my split-second view! Seriously, people. Trees get trimmed. Trees even, sometimes, need to be trimmed. And if trimming those trees makes the billboards a little easier to read, that’s great. That’ll just mean more drivers paying attention to driving, rather than attempting to read billboard text through tree leaves. Unless, of course, those drivers end up just weaving in and out of their lanes in full-blown sobs, mourning the loss of certain tree limbs. In that case, just forget everything I said.

• If the Town is projecting future financial problems, why is the Board even considering something as silly and wasteful as $500,000 decorative lights on Campbell Station Road? Capital projects should be prioritized by their long-term value to the community. Farragut doesn’t have enough resources to pretend it’s some idyllic, upper-class village. Get a grip. We aren’t Sequoyah Hills. Thank you.

• Before everyone has a conniption about property taxes, let’s do a little simple arithmetic. If each cent of assessed value would raise $74,500 — as claimed by Mr. Smoak — then a quarter-mil tax would raise nearly $1.9 million, resulting in a 25 percent increase in city revenue. The impact on property owners would be relatively small. A $200,000 home would owe only $125 a year; a $400,000 home, $250; a $600,000 home, $375, an amount equal to or less what most of us pay in homeowners’ dues. I could support a property tax if, and only if, it is limited to real needs, such as new or improved city services, and not just feel-good fluff, or donations to organizations that can stand on their own.

• Hi. I saw your article, “Through the Lens,” and I just do not think this is the time for the community to develop or pay for a community center. I think Farragut is doing so many wonderful things, and I do not mind the property tax if it goes to pay for salaries, [which] I saw that we pay below, and other services that we now have. But I just think that the community center is a good idea, just not at this time. Thank you.

• Regarding the community center: I think it’s ridiculous to pay $13 million when most of the activities in the community are centered around either the school or the church. The Town is going to have a shortfall in revenue; this is not the place to spend the money. Thank you.

• Property tax proposed by [Town Administrator] David Smoak make us believe he does not live in Farragut. He thinks that every household in Farragut is rich. Don’t [sic] he know that there’s thousands of Farragut now having a very hard time [sic]? The Mayor [Ralph McGill] needs to get behind his statement before he was elected mayor there would not be a property tax under him. Making a statement like Smoak made, they need to cut his salary. If they now have to have more money, let them add it to the wine, beer, whiskey and tobacco. Everyone can do without this, but if they drink or smoke, they’ll pay whatever it costs. To save money, they can do without that woman that’s run off all the businesses in Farragut. The people who have jobs look at what they have to pay for; also, retired people: gas, gas heat, groceries, sorry water, sewer, electricity, county taxes, car license, insurance, clothing, school payments. A property tax is just another jab at businesses moving to Farragut and now the hundreds of homes can’t be give away [sic]. It will hurt these people very bad [sic]. So stop the talk about the property tax in this little one-horse town.

• I read with interest the comments from the administrator David Smoak in the March 31 edition of the farragutpress, particularly with regards to a proposed tax increase. Let me just say that, as far as I’m concerned, Brother Smoak needs to contact Delta, ‘cause they’re ready when he is, and he can go back where he came from. Because Farragut was organized for the sole purpose of not getting annexed by the City of Knoxville, and thus having an additional property tax. So perhaps he needs a history lesson ... so he can get a clue as regards to why people moved down here to Farragut in the first place. Thanks. Have a nice day.

• The proposal for a property tax is both absurd, unwarranted and certainly something the voters in Farragut need to jump up and down in opposition to. In fact, I think it would be an excellent idea if we jumped up and down and possibly cut a Town Administrator’s salary, so we could possibly use those funds to balance the budget, given the fact that the Town staff underpaid in the study reveals indicates that they’re not [sic]. And I’m sure that Brother Smoak would be willing to sacrifice part of his salary to help us with a balanced budget. How ’bout those apples?

• I would really appreciate the farragutpress looking into the hideous mutilation of trees along a stretch of the Interstate across from Turkey Creek. About a one hundred [foot] stretch of trees, including some flowering red buds, have had their tops cut off. For what purpose, I ask. I surely hope this wasn’t done by TDOT in order to enhance visibility for some developer or so we could see the back of some business. I much prefer a green screen and red buds.

• My question is, who paid for the Town staff underpaid study results? If they think they’re underpaid, let them go get a job elsewhere. I do not believe they need to compare salaries of other places; it’s a quality of living. If they don’t like it here, let them go elsewhere, to Ohio or somewhere else, Chicago, where they think it’s higher paid salaries. They’re not forced to work here. Comparing salaries is, regardless of what they make, if you want it, keep it; if not, go elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a not-to-exceed amount of $18,500 to Springsted Consultants Inc. for the Farragut employee classification and compensation study. The Town is funded largely by Sales Tax revenues. Town staff salaries were compared to comparable and local cities, including Maryville, Alcoa, Knoxville, Oak Ridge, Collierville and Brentwood.

• Hey. I’m just a kid, but why does it take three days to mulch one calming island? Have a good day.

 

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