The town of Farragut will give $70,000 to Farragut Business Alliance.
Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted on the measure at their Thursday, June 9 meeting.
“We learned early on that if you throw a party, people will come, and they still come,” Mayor Ralph McGill said referring to the FBA’s events.
Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche moved to approve the memorandum of understanding. All others voted in favor, except for Alderman Louise Povlin, who abstained. She said she abstained due to perceived conflict of interest from her position as small business liaison with FBA.
Farragut resident John Neals spoke during the meeting against the memorandum of understanding. He said he was not opposed to giving
FBA money, but criticized the memorandum.
“First of all, talking about $70,000, the Town’s take on sales is one-and-one-eighth percent. So that would take six-and-a-quarter million dollars over and above not voting for this MOU just to pay for it,” he said. He said he had looked at the metrics but did not see 6.25 million in increased revenue.
Neals also said about $40,000 would be spent on contract labor.
“It says in there that it would be an independent contractor, not subject to the Town in any way. This is Town’s money we’re talking about. This is our money. Are we just going to give it to somebody as a salary and not have any accountability over that?” he said. He asked BOMA to amend the MOU so no funds would go to direct wages or salary or have the person paid be reportable to the Town. BOMA added neither amendment.
David Purvis, FBA president, said the salary was not tied directly to the $70,000. He said event income and sponsorships were other sources of revenue. He said FBA was going to be held accountable to the Town under the MOU because they would report quarterly to BOMA and the contract employee would report to FBA’s board, which includes Mayor McGill, David Smoak, Town administrator, and Gary Palmer, assistant Town administrator. He said the Town could cancel if the funding for FBA or its employee were not performing.
“We could not do what is
here without Allison,” Povlin said regarding Allison Sousa, FBA’s executive director and only paid employee.
“There are more accountability measures in this MOU than we’ve put on any employee in the town of Farragut,” Smoak said.
Purvis said FBA was working toward increasing Farragut’s sales tax revenue.