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presstalk 671-TALK


• While some people were screaming about paying the overdue pension adjustment paid by the Town Board last week, I think it would have been instructive for the Board to reveal how much their pensions are compared to the Town staff, and whether their management had ever lied and misled them about their benefits. Thank you.

• This is in response to the caller who won’t let their kids be in band because it isn’t free. I think the caller must homeschool their kids, because all the public schools around here charge fees — not only for band and sports, but for English, math, science and every other class offered. I have three kids in high school — not at Hardin Valley [Academy] — and when you add up fees for band, orchestra, sports, classes, AP tests, parking permits, etc., it costs [more than] $1,000 per kid per year for their “free” public education. I wish these fees weren’t necessary, but the only way to eliminate them that I know of is to raise taxes. And I have a feeling that you would be opposed to that as well.

• Does anyone have any idea what the policy in the town of Farragut or the county of Knox regarding golf carts on the Farragut streets? It seems that we have kids in the neighborhood — underage drivers — driving even younger children on golf carts through the neighborhood, and it frightens me for the kids.


• To the parent who called in about her youngster not getting a job at the neighborhood pool: maybe the priority of the pool is swimmer safety, not providing jobs to neighborhood kids. My guess is jobs went to more qualified applicants, and that should be the priority for the neighborhood. Just a hunch.

• Hi. I’m just reading the latest issue of the farragutpress and I see your opinion poll for parks and I just want to say, I think it is wonderful what you’ve done with Farragut parks. I’ve had the privilege of having my grandchildren to McFee Park last week, and they had a wonderful time and were so pleased with it. And we enjoy all the parks, so thank you to everybody who’s responsible.

• Via e-mail: As a resident of the town of Farragut, I want to say that I think the Farragut Business Alliance is doing a great job of making the residents aware of where they shop. This Town’s budget is funded by Sales Tax dollars generated by businesses in the Town limits. SO, it does make a difference where you shop and I feel the FBA is making people think about where they are shopping.

• Via e-mail: “Board Approves New Retirement Plan.” I read with interest the above article in which the Town has narrowly voted to put its employees back into Social Security system after a 26-year hiatus of opting out. I am not taking sides or positions on this vote, other than to comment for the benefit of Town employees affected. I hope the Town clearly and transparently pointed out up front to all Town employees that once they are placed back under SS, under current law, they will eventually be hit with a little-known evil called the “Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).” Briefly, this means that when you hit 65/66, file for SS benefits and expect your full amount given you by your SS Statement of Benefits, you will likely get less than that. Why? It’s the law, to “even the playing field” for those who did not pay in to SS for a full career. In today’s dollars, the WEP-reduced SS benefit will be reduced about $300/month or up to 50 percent of your expected earned benefit, whichever is smaller. This is permanent. The only way to beat this hit is to have 30-plus years of SS-covered/paid employment. Space will not allow me to discuss the “Government Pension Offset” law. I suggest anyone affected by this look up these laws on Google for a fuller explanation. Welcome back to SS, folks.

• Via e-mail: I don’t think the town of Farragut should contribute any of its funds toward public schools. The schools’ budget currently is about 65 percent of Knox County’s 2011-2012 proposed budget, or nearly $400 million. A good portion of Knox County’s revenue comes from our Property Tax. Everyone in Farragut is already contributing to schools and taking a portion of the Town’s $6 million budget, or our Sales Tax money, doesn’t help bring in new business or increase Sales Tax revenue. I think the Town should take that school money and invest it back into the community by supporting our businesses and organizations such as Farragut Business Alliance.

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: Many of the requests for Town funds seem valid, particularly those that are education related, but I question the Farragut Business Alliance’s request for $44,000. What exactly does this group do, or provide, that the Farragut West Knox Chamber [of Commerce] does not? I hardly think that the “Red White and Blues” and “Taste of Farragut” events warrant a subsidization of such a large handout. If the town of Farragut coffers are so full that they are looking to give away money can’t they find a cause more deserving? Couldn’t the town apply the funds to the apparent tax deficit we are currently facing?

• Via e-mail: I think the parks in Farragut are great. Love that they have created McFee Park. Only complaint is the new splash pad is a disappointment compared to the one at Carl Cowan Park. There are no water fun things to spray water with like at Carl Cowan. The kids love that stuff. However, the playground is great and good provisions for shaded areas but not around the splash pad area. Yes, some of the parks are too crowded particularly the Cove where swimming is allowed. The children’s playground needs to be bigger too. Farragut has done a wonderful job with [its] park system. It is a real plus to the community. Love the one near the library, nice winding trails.

• Via e-mail: I understand that the town is working on the proposed budget for this coming year and I believe the town should allocate money for economic development. Organizations like the Farragut West Knox Chamber and the Farragut Business Alliance could be valuable allies in helping retain and recruit sales tax generating businesses.

• Via e-mail: I noticed that several members of the Farragut Business Alliance helped Meksiko Cantina sponsor/promote [its] “Cinco De Mayo” celebration and I wanted to say congratulations. I attended the event and it was a resounding success not only for Meksiko, but for all those who attended. This was a great example of what can happen when the business community rallies together!!

• Via e-mail: So, the Farragut Business Alliance is asking for more money? Let them have it; they have held several events that have shown this town what can happen when we all work together. What a breath of fresh air! Let them show us what they can do next. At last the town is developing an identity!

• Via e-mail: We had eaten [twice] at the Jim & Nick’s off Lovell Road in Knoxville and thought it was the best restaurant with reasonable prices in Knoxville. We were telling our friends how great it was. We couldn’t believe they have closed it already!!! Our family is really upset about this! Please open another one in the Knoxville area as soon as you can. It seemed to have a great business the short time it was open. Please bring it back to Knoxville. A very sad customer.

• Via e-mail: I just want to say “hats off” to the members of the Farragut Business Alliance. Since they started getting involved the Town has become just that, a town. Now we are having more social activities that bring people together, [such as] Taste of Farragut, Red, White & Blues Festival and Art in the Park. It not only gives the residents of Farragut things to do but is also attracting people from outside Farragut, which brings in more business. I say the Town should support them in any way possible.

• Via e-mail: I can understand what most of the groups vying for Town funds [are] going to do with their money, but what exactly will the Dogwood Arts Festival do with the $10,000 [it is] requesting? If it had not been for the farragutpress promoting the Farragut events, I (nor anyone else) would have known that there were DAF activities going on in Farragut. All the handouts I found all over Knoxville (and in Farragut businesses) only listed activities in Knoxville and never mentioned Farragut such as Historical Russell House tours, Art in the Park and Bookfest. I had to search and search to find any mention on [its] website. I believe Farragut should keep [its] money and promote [its] own activities. We did just fine without DAF’s help.

• Via e-mail: I noticed that the Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce is asking for $15,000. Since this chamber (according to [its] membership list) covers Sweetwater, Monroe County, Loudon County and businesses in Bearden and downtown Knoxville, how much do these outlying counties give? Does Knox County give any money to help support the Farragut West Knox Chamber? If not, then if they (FWKCC) want money, should it not be just the Farragut Chamber of Commerce if Farragut supports it?

• Via e-mail: After reading “18 groups vie for Town funds” I would like to support the issue that the Farragut Business Alliance get some funding. I know that these business owners are volunteering their time and are doing as much as they can for the good of the community at no expense to the Town, so if it will help create more Town activities and help promote the businesses in Farragut, then a part-time employee is justified. Why not take the parking lot for KAT that was mentioned in the article and move it to someplace that will not charge for the use of the parking lot and take that $14,000 that is being paid for the use of the lot and pay a part-time employee to help the Farragut Business Alliance? I am sure that the old Kroger, Ingles or Food City parking lots are available and free. They use the old Kroger parking lot for football games and other activities plus it has easy access with red lights so it would make a good KAT pickup location and it is free.

• Via e-mail: Can’t the Town save $14,000 and use a free parking lot for KAT? That would greatly reduce the Knoxville Area Transit’s $80,000 request and free up some money to go elsewhere.

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: I wanted to thank the Farragut Business Alliance for the great work [it is] doing. [It is] definitely raising awareness regarding where my purchases are made. Ultimately, this will help our town. Keep up the great work!

• Via e-mail: The [Farragut Business Alliance] is a volunteer committee. This committee of about eight people has put on two-to-three events annually, attended by over 5,000 people in Farragut. These events have cost taxpayers and residents zero except an admission fee. No one on the committee is benefiting financially from being on this committee. The events have been funded by Farragut businesses, and I might add, the same businesses over and over. Rather than bring down the FBA through negative conversation, why not thank them for trying to make Farragut a better place to do business? To criticize, denigrate and run down what the FBA has accomplished and does for this town is beyond any type of common sense to me. Why would we criticize events that benefit our town? Why would we criticize people who are trying to improve our town?

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: I wanted to take a moment to thank Farragut Business Alliance for all the good work it does for this community. My neighbors and I are so pleased that the FBA has founded fun, new local traditions such as Taste of Farragut and Red, White and Blues. I feel that both events serve as creative ways to bring the people of Farragut together, and that they do an excellent job of showcasing our municipality. Additionally, I appreciate the fact that FBA has donated the funds it has gleaned from these events to the local schools. Finally, I think it is admirable that the business leaders of our Town are willing to devote their time and energy towards the advancement and progress of our dynamic community. These are small business owners who are already wearing many hats, and so they deserve our Town’s gratitude for sharing their time and talents in this manner.

 

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