Wednesday, November 21, 2007

City of Knoxville Needs To Mind Its Own Business On The Town of Farragut

The City of Knoxville because of the political grandstanding of one City Council member (Robert Frost) have opined that the Town of Farragut should give additional sales tax revenue to the Knox County Schools. The mighty Oz, that is the News-Sentinel has opined and agreed with the City of Knoxville in telling the Town of Farragut what to do with its cash.

Now, before I give my opinion and thoughts. I am no stranger to this issue. While serving on the school board, I authored and presented a similar proposal in the Summer of 2004. It passed the board on a 9-0 vote. I was reacting to the Town of Farragut's statement on a zoning issue. It was a knee jerk reaction and I should not have done it. But, now Robert Frost has picked up the mantra.

The Town of Farragut should make one statement (two words) to the City of Knoxville and the News-Sentinel. "Get Lost!"

Here are several reasons.

First, the City of Knoxville abandoned the concept of a school system. They operated until the late 1980's a failed attempt of a school system. When the buildings were beyond inhabitable and the academic rigor was a failure. The City of Knoxville asked its voters and they voted out of the school business. Knox County by state law had to assume control of the failure that was the City of Knoxville school system. The Knox County School system had to spend millions of dollars on renovations at nearly every savable City of Knoxville building. They had to build a new Christenberry and close several small schools that were not savable. Knox County had to assume a costly City of Knoxville pension that had golden parachutes opening for the past twenty plus years.

Second, in addition to giving us their failure of a school system. They also developed and for the past twenty plus years have conducted what is a money grab of the City of Knoxville. They have been annexing County properties making them City properties. Granted the schools get a larger share of sales tax dollars, but the City gets a cut. Instead of the county getting all of the sales tax collections. The County in receiving a reduced percentage of property tax from annexed property is unable to utilize more dollars for school buildings. Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale touched on this issue at last weeks Knox County Commission / Knox County School Board round table lunch discussion on Capital budgeting.

Third, The primary sponsor of this City of Knoxville resolution Robert Frost is a graduate of a private high school, not a public high school in Knox County.

Why the supposed interest now?

It could be to bolster Frost potential candidacy for City of Knoxville Mayor in 2011. It could be an effort to bolster the "news" for his former client. He was the legal counsel for E.W. Scripps owned Halls Shopper News, prior to it being taken over by E.W. Scripps. This item was on the front page of the Shopper on the Monday that they increased their coverage into the Town of Farragut.

While, I am not a resident of the Town of Farragut or the City of Knoxville. I am a resident of Southwest Knox County. I haven't been a fan of the Town of Farragut. But on this issue, I say to the Town of Farragut. "I have your back." To the City of Knoxville for all of its great grandstanding, I say "Get Lost!"

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