letters to the editor

A view on Vice Mayor Polvin’s ‘BOMAview’ about Town budget, plans, wishes

Regarding the March 4 BOMAviewPovlin by Vice Mayor Louise Povlin, “Time for Town leaders to prioritize for fiscal year 2022.”

Does Ms. Povlin want a municipal property tax or is she saying we don’t need one as a result of excellent Town budget management?

Why would a politician publish such a piece if not to advocate for a new tax?

She cites BOMA’s “wants and needs of the Town” along with the annual loss of $1.6 million of Hall Tax and Improve Tax revenue.

Nonetheless, “The Town continues to thrive without a municipal property tax because we have managed our budget extremely conservatively.”

She notes that there is a “lot of talk” and (would be) “nice to have” (concerning) an indoor aquatic center.

There has been a “lot of discussion” for the need of a Farragut police department. It is said when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Would a police department be just another source of Town revenue through the writing of tickets and the issuing of fines?

The $1.6 million revenue loss amounts to $67 annually for each man, women and child in Farragut’s population of 23,778 (2019 figure, Wikipedia). Gov. (Bill) Haslam didn’t say in 2017 when the Hall Tax elimination and Improve Act legislations were signed that local governments should replace them. The point was to unburden residents and make Tennessee a truly income tax-free state.

I always wonder why government officials are so fond of central planning.

However, as much the five members of BOMA get around and talk with residents, they cannot possibly know how what even a tiny slice of the population wants, especially given that our wants and desires change continuously. So BOMA central planners substitute their own collective wants for those of the residents by relying on a “lot of discussion,” a “lot of talk” and “nice to have” to justify BOMA’s “wants and needs” over those of the residents.

A prime example of this substitution is exemplified by Ms. Povlin saying, “We still need to determine a use for the Campbell Station Inn … .” The Inn and surrounding property were purchased in 2012, but our politicians still do not know what they want to do with it! This is but one example of how politicians managing projects, which they want, often over-promise and under-deliver.

Had the Campbell Station Inn property been sold to a private concern, the Town would be richer and the management burden would be out of BOMA’s less-skilled hands. The private owners would have had “skin in the game” and would have managed the project with greater attention.

Further, the Town website indicates that an additional $2 million dollars are yet to be spent for a project, which as far as I know, has never received popular support from the residents. That is $2 million out of an annual Town budget of $12 million.

And what has been the total cost for the project to date? The Town website does not say.

So, given that the “The Town continues to thrive without a municipal property tax because we have managed our budget extremely conservatively,” why do we need a municipal property tax? I submit that politicians always and everywhere wish to extract more money from their constituents for the “lot of discussion” and “nice to have” items.

Farragut has no crime problem that needs a separate police department, and the tiny proportion of residents who would utilize an indoor aquatic center does not justify burdening the vast majority with a municipal property tax.

Thomas Knapp, Farragut