Residents seek specific answers at aldermen forum

Four items — Town of Farragut’s budget, establishing a hotel-motel tax, updating the status of Farragut Business Alliance and zoning — topped discussions when two Farragut aldermen held their first Community Conversation meeting.

Aldermen Louise Povlin and Ron Williams sat down with the five residents who attended the gathering held in Knox County Sheriff’s Office Turkey Creek precinct Tuesday, Feb. 7.

“I think it was a good opportunity to talk to a couple aldermen in an informal setting,” Ray McAdams, Farragut resident said. “You can go to the Board meetings but it’s not the same. I thought it was nice of [Povlin and Williams] to hold this. “It’s like sitting around the dining room table,” he said.

“We’re going to start doing these [community conversations] quarterly,” Williams said. “A lot of the perception in this Town is misdirected or you have these types of things that have never happened before.

“We’re going to try to have one meeting every quarter and have guest speakers at every meeting,” he added. “Hopefully, that will draw more people.”

“It’s real educational on some of the items in the community,” said Jan Ghorashi of Farragut. She said she came for an update on Virtue Road and preserving the Mill Wheel area in that location.

“I appreciate the new aldermen being available to address citizens’ concerns,” she said.

One issue discussed was the state’s Hall Tax. “The Hall Tax is going away,” Williams said.

McAdams estimated that tax brings in $300,000 to $400,000 a year. “Has there been any discussion on what you would do if the Hall Tax does go away?” he asked.

“We’ve talked about instituting a hotel-motel tax,” Povlin said. “I would like to see us implement a tourism bureau that would bring people into our hotels.”

“That’s the kind of stuff we need to be tapping into,” she said.

Residents asked about the FBA. “Is there some way to measure that in terms of results?” McAdams asked.

“FBA has done community events,” Povlin answered. “I don’t know how you would measure that relationship. It’s still struggling to make Shop Farragut a year-round program. We did get the Shop Farragut app up and running.”

McAdams suggested the number of businesses FBA has contacted could be another measure.

“For a long time, Shop Farragut has been a seasonal thing,” Povlin said. While the FBA was trying to make the program go year round, she said the group lost its direction after former executive director Allison Sousa resigned to take another job.

Attendees also asked about developments, such as Glen Glafenhein’s and David Alley’s proposed residential development off Virtue Road, across from Willow Creek Golf Course, and an O’Reilly’s auto parts store being built at the former Saplings site, just outside Town limits off Kingston Pike.