Town, FBA discuss funding for FY 2016-17

Farragut Business Alliance requested $70,000 of Town funding for next fiscal year.

David Purvis, FBA president, and Alderman Louise Povlin, FBA Board member, explained their reasoning for the request and the actions of Farragut Business Alliance at a Board of Mayor and Alderman Workshop Thursday, May 12, at Town Hall.

“FBA funding is not for the businesses. It’s for the Town,” Purvis said. “To be honest with you, if I was not involved in FBA, my income would go up.”

Purvis said 68 percent of the Town’s budget came from Sales Tax, yet the Town spends less than 1.64 percent of its total budget on economic development activities.

FBA sponsors several events and projects. Purvis presented a budget of the organization’s proposed expenses and income for next fiscal year.

Under the proposed budget $61,226 would be for general expenses, $30,000 would go to Shop Farragut, $2,500 would go to Art in the Park, $27,500 would go toward Farragut Food Festival, $2,000 would go toward Light the Park and $4,000 would go toward attending the International Council of Shopping Centers and attracting business from it.

Purvis said total expenses for the year would be $127,226. Purvis predicted a net gain of $2,774 for the organization this year.

Purvis said about $45,000 out of the general expenses category was slated toward salaries. The category also includes the FBA website and storage facilities.

He said that amount for salaries will come out of the total budget, not just the $70,000 he requested from the Town. He said FBA had a goal to increase sponsorship dollars from other sources as well.

Separate from the workshop, Allison Sousa provided a budget detail via e-mail, which listed the amount for contract labor as $46,500.

Shop Farragut, which includes a mobile app and e-mail notification project, would receive $25,356 more under the proposed budget than last fiscal year. The app includes links to a business directory, which is searchable for businesses by business name or category. It has links to businesses’ social media, events and deals.

“We’re trying to expand it. We’re trying to get outside the market, meaning outside of just Farragut and drive more traffic with that. We’re trying to expand the time frame we’re doing it as well,” Purvis said.

Sponsorships would pay $5,500 for events at shopping centers. Purvis said these events would replace the Red White and Blues event, which was dropped from the FBA event calendar during a recent Board meeting.

Farragut’s Economic Develop-ment Committee previously approved the FBA Memorandum of Understanding proposal at its meeting Wednesday, May 4.

BOMA could vote on the FBA MOU at its meeting Thursday, June 9, according to Town administrator David Smoak.

Carol Christofferson, president of Sweetbriar Homeowners Association, said she was delighted to see homeowners associations mentioned as partners for the FBA. She also said accountability was important.

“What are the results? Seventy thousand dollars in the cosmos of things is not that much, but it is certainly enough that the people of Farragut want to know that we’re actually having progress with our Town’s future,” she said.

“I haven’t read it enough to really make a comment,” she said following the workshop.

Povlin said Farragut/West Knox Chamber of Commerce could not do FBA’s job because only 31 percent of its business members are located in Farragut.

“Extending the services the FBA provides to businesses outside of Farragut would not serve Farragut at all,” she said.

Purvis said, “People look to [FBA] as an events organization, but we’ve done so much more behind the scenes … They only see the events, the fun stuff that we do, but that’s not what our Board’s here for. They’re all serious about trying to help the economic condition of this community. They don’t really want to be party planners. They want to be engaged in helping do the economic development.”

He said FBA works on drawing in businesses and consumers from elsewhere to come to Farragut.