Markli points to roads, property rights, lean govt.

Until a few weeks ago, “I can honestly tell you I was counting the meetings until I would be off the Board in August. I didn’t have any intention of running for any office,” Farragut Alderman Robert “Bob” Markli, candidate for Town mayor, said during his address to Concord-Farragut Republican Club.

“I was kind of looking forward to a lot of other things I had going on.

“But then a couple of things happened in pretty quick succession,” he added during the Thursday evening meeting, May 3, in Knox County Sheriff’s Office West Precinct in Turkey Creek.

“Four things, essentially.”

Ward I (North) alderman for nine years and a developer, Markli pointed out “kind of a confused set of priorities. … We were getting ready to spend $6 million for a park expansion, and we’re going to get out of that a great lawn and a couple of bathrooms. I was like, ‘what?’

“Meanwhile, we’ve got six old, dilapidated county roads in Town that have not been improved in 50 years, and that just seemed wrong,” he added.

“… And then about 2004, someone down in the bowels of Town Hall got the bright idea that we could hold hostage landowners who had been in Farragut before the Town had ever been dreamed of … and make them pay for fixing those roads.”

Pointing out the Swan and Ivey Farm properties, “these folks have been trying for 14, 15 years to sell their property,” he said. “And every time a prospective buyer would come along, they’d get shot down because as soon as they found out what the price of the property was, then add on top of that build(ing) a half mile of road for the Town.

“… There’s something really, really wrong with that, particularly when you consider that this Town was founded because we had unsafe roads and the Town wanted to take responsibility for that,” Markli added. “They were told, ‘you can develop your property if you’ll pay for this.”

The Hotel/Motel Tax issue “reared its ugly head again, after we had shot it down five years ago,” he said.

“Then I saw the candidates’ deadline drawing close; and this is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Markli added about no opposition for mayor, with only Alderman Ron Williams (Markli’s opponent from Ward II South) running at that time; his North Ward alderman position having no opposition, with Scott Meyer the lone candidate; and no opposition for Vice Mayor Ron Pinchok’s re-election bid as the other South Ward alderman.

As a result, “Three-fifths of Town government was going to be replaced without a single vote being cast,” he said. “I thought, ‘that just doesn’t seem right.’

“And then that board would get to pick a fourth alderman (Williams’ open seat due to running for mayor) who would be unelected. Four-fifths of the Board essentially unelected, unopposed.

“I said, ‘this is a bad time to be bailing out on the Town,’” Markli added.

“I think if you’ll check the record, I have the best attendance of anybody who has ever been on that Board.”

Markli also said he served on the Visual Resources Review Board for six years “before I ever ran for elected office, and then I was hand-picked by (former Mayor) Eddy Ford to serve on his Blue-Ribbon Committee looking what was going wrong with the Town … around 2004, 2005.

“That’s where I got to know (former Alderman) Tom Rosseel up close and understand the dynamics of what was going on inside Town Hall. … That train was basically running off the tracks. Things were bad.”

Saying he’s “pro-2nd Amendment, pro-life” and “pro-business,” Markli also said he has closely studied the U.S. Constitution. … And I’ve actually studied economics and I understand how things work.”

Advocating “a small, lean, efficient, responsive government,” Markli added, “I’m the only one on BOMA who can say that with a straight face.

“When I came on this Board there were 42 employees in the Town of Farragut. Nine years later there’s 53. I was the only one on that Board who cast votes against adding all those new people.”

Looking back on his professional career as a general contractor, “I’ve signed my own paycheck for the last 44 years, with the exception of two years — when I hung up my tools and paid my own way to France to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a post-Christian nation,” he said.