BOMA tackles budget, funding, speeding, overworked employees

In addition to reviewing budget issues and comparing numbers, Town of Farragut leaders looked at redistributing school funds, considered how to slow down vehicular speeders minus a Town police force and voted to relieve overworked park employees.

Such issues and decisions highlighted Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday evening, June 8, in Town Hall boardroom.

With a projected Town of Farragut revenue of $10.5 million for fiscal year 2018, David Smoak, Town Farragut administrator, said, “We’re running about 2.5 percent above last year’s numbers.”

He added revenues have exceeded expenditures over a 10-year period, with the Town building $9.9 million in savings.

Smoak said in reference to the 2015-16 fiscal year, which annually begins July 1, Sales Tax brought in $6,201,560. In the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, it is projected to be $6.1 million. In FY 2018, the projection is $6 million.

Expenditures in FY 2017 include $3,943,870 for personnel. The estimate for road maintenance this year is $595,000 and $2,692,427 for operating costs. Improvements on tap include $2 million for Campbell Station Inn, $500,000 for Smith Road greenway, $350,000 for designing the expansion of McFee Park, $75,000 for resurfacing McFee Park playground, $320,000 for improvements of turf fields at Mayor Bob Leonard Park, $20,000 for Concord Road lighting, $220,000 for a Kingston Pike sidewalk and $425,000 for Virtue Road phase 1 improvements. Another expense is repaving Parkside Drive from Campbell Station Road to town limits.

Smoak said the Town has set aside money to cover the revenue loss of the Hall Tax, a tax on investment income that is being phased out.

Although Alderman Louise Povlin said she is a “huge fan” of teachers, she doesn’t believe this is the time to begin funding $500 for each of 17 teachers who are named Teacher of the Year in the five public schools the Town supports, including Hardin Valley Academy.

“I’d rather do something that would affect the children of Farragut rather than give it directly to the teachers,” she said. 

However, “In our budget, we have eliminated funding for Hardin Valley Academy and their Foundation as well,” Smoak said.

“I have to agree with Louise as well,” Alderman Ron Williams said. “I think we need to focus on the students rather than the teachers.”

Povlin said employees are being overworked at the Town’s parks and that another employee should be added.

Bud McKelvey. Town’s Public Works director, said his crew is aging and the work is labor-intensive. “We’ve been behind since December,” he said, adding that the latest storm has set his crew even further behind.

“We gave a summer guy a weedeater for eight hours,” he said, “and he was gone. He said, ‘I’m not doing this.’”

The Board discussed hiring an additional worker.

“OK, I’m on board,” Alderman Bob Markli said.

“I vote to amend the budget to remove the teacher recognition and add an additional public works employee,” Povlin said. It passed unanimously.

Smoak asked if there was

any new business or thoughts and Mayor Ralph McGill spoke up.

“I do have something that’s bothered me that I want to talk about, speeding on Kingston Pike between Watt Road and all the way through,” he said. “Everybody’s speeding and it’s getting to be very dangerous. We have the red light cameras and they’re ticketing the ones running red lights. We all know that, but what we don’t know is the lights are recording the rates of speed.

“What’s the highest rate of speed recorded?” he asked and waited for responses. “104 miles per hour,” he answered. “Is that absurd or what?”

“I agree we have a pervasive speeding problem,” Povlin said. “It’s not just on Kingston Pike. It’s everywhere. We’re putting all these sidewalks in that nobody feels safe using because everybody drives too fast. Anything over 45, they suggest you do not have bike trails. We need to start being mindful about how we’re designing our roads. We can’t rely on having the police come and monitor speed, although that might be an aspect we need to look into.”

Williams said there are lots of different ways to slow down traffic, citing roundabouts and traffic light signals.

“If you’ve ever been hit by a drunk person, you’d never look at these issues the same way again,” McGill said.

“It took me 16 weeks to recover when it happened to me,” Williams said. “It took my wife longer when it happened to her.”