Williams, ‘a doer,’ aims higher

Farragut Alderman Ron Williams, Ward 2, takes pride in labeling himself “a doer” — doing his homework on how to make the Town of Farragut a better place to live.

As the first announced candidate seeking to become Farragut’s next mayor in 2018 — and fourth in Town history after current Mayor Ralph McGill steps down — “We had to have somebody that wants to be a doer and actually get out there and try and make all this work,” Williams said. “I look at who has participated in a lot of the classroom training that has gone on the past few years. I’ve been doing it since I’ve been on the Board of Zoning Appeals.

“Once I was elected [Alderman in 2016] I really kind of amped it up and started going to everything that had to do with planning for the Town,” he added.

Also vice chair on BZA and well into his second five-year term there, Williams said he and fellow Alderman Louise Povlin have attended “well over 50 classes of various types.

“I think I’ve got the foundation that it takes to go ahead and do this,” he added.

Williams said he hasn’t focused on just one or two areas of need within the Town, but instead emphasized he has “a good mix” of focused concerns.

As a retired engineer — 28 years as a process engineer and a design engineer prior to that — “I’m all about doing my research prior to any sort of a meeting or any sort of a class,” said Williams, a resident of Farragut for roughly 25 years.

With revenue from the Hall Tax being phased out in addition to less revenue due to a reduction in Sales Tax on food, “Right now we’ve got kind of an uncertain revenue stream,” Williams said.

As a result, “Taking care of the roads and infrastructure, doing the parks and looking ahead to a town center, and then trying to get the tourism program going, those are the biggest challenges right there,” he added.

Williams said he recently got a firm grasp on the Town’s strategic planning, which included “What the current mayor and your fellow aldermen and what your department heads all think.”

That also included Town resident feedback. “We asked a lot of questions and we got a lot of answers. I think we had 259 or 260 people responding to it,” he said.

“The five of us sitting on that Board, it’s not necessarily what we want, or what the Town administrator wants, it’s more of what the people of the Town want,” Williams added.

However, Williams said the Board — including himself if elected mayor — has to be reasonable when handling certain constituent requests.

“A good example of that, you hear people in the older subdivisions that want sidewalks. Well, you know, that’s something we can’t do,” he added. “If we were Knox County where every one of those homes in that 16 [square-mile area] we got [Town] property tax out of [them], it might be a different story.”

Before being elected in 2016, Williams’ first attempt at elected office was a loss to Ron Pinchok in 2014 while vying for the other Ward 2 Alderman seat.