letter to the editor

Town needs ‘better transparency’

The Town of Farragut must do better with transparency. In the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting packet for this week (May 25) is a large proposed transfer from the General Fund to purchase land on McFee Road for unknown purposes.

Why does the Town of Farragut budget large items without allowing the residents to be heard and their concerns recognized? No workshop has been held on the use of this land on McFee Road. The farragutpress reported the land would be used for ballfields. Later on social media, it was claimed by a member of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen no purpose had been decided yet.

Do the residents of Farragut feel they are informed and part of the Town’s decisions? This is legal, but it is a bad habit. Participation by residents in Town government is very low.

• From the BOMA packet this week: Capital Investment Program Fund

“The Capital Investment Program (ClP) Fund budget has a total of $17,267,500 in projects planned to get under way in (fiscal year) 2024. These projects include sidewalk and greenway extensions, Town Hall improvements, turf field replacement and ADA improvements at Mayor Bob Leonard Park, pedestrian crosswalk improvements, improvements to Union Road and purchase of parkland.

Revenues for the CIP come from Town resources in the form of a $7,500,000 transfer from the General Fund, $1,679,428 from CIP Reserves, $1,958,072 in land acquisition reserves and $5,930,000 from federal and/or state matching grants. Overall, the FY2024 projected fund balance is $7,277,353.”

The Town of Farragut spent $54,500 with the consulting firm Raftelis to construct the resident outreach for strategic planning called Farragut Forward. The farragutpress reported 570 residents visited the Farragut Forward website. Of those 570 residents, 98 left comments on the website and 28 residents spoke in person with Raftelis personnel. These figures are from one of the southside aldermen.

The 2020 census showed Farragut’s population at 23,506 residents. Less than one-half of 1 percent of the residents participated in Farragut Forward. Is a reason for this low turnout the perceived lack of transparency?

The purchase of the land on McFee Road is being fast-tracked at the last minute before the 202(4) budget is voted on. Much of that land is in Loudon County. No property tax will be paid to Knox County when homes are built there.

However, the traffic will enter and exit from McFee Road. Shouldn’t the people that live on McFee Road be made aware of this before the purchase of the land is budgeted?

Mike Mitchell, Farragut

Editor’s Note: farragutpress reported Town leaders are considering such ballfields along McFee Road, but we did not report the land “would be used for ballfields” without question.