Budget season kicks off in Farragut

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

It’s amazing to me what we take for granted. The roads we drive on, the parks we play in, the greenways that allow us to walk safely around Farragut – they don’t just spring up on their own. They require planning and funding, and in most cases, this is a multi-year process.

Part of my job as the PR & marketing coordinator is to update the Farragut Annual Report, which used to be a printed publication but is now a website. Working on this publication has helped me better understand the town’s budget process. The annual report has a colorful budget summary, as well as a heaping helping of useful information about the town. (Take a look at the videos and photos. You just might see yourself!)

This is the time of year when department managers start preparing for the budget season by assessing last year’s accomplishments and considering the future needs of staff and the town. This information is passed on to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to use during its annual planning retreat. The task of the board is to set priorities based on Farragut’s Strategic Plan, a document created in 2017 to guide the work of the town.

“Setting priorities for next year’s budget tends to come down to addressing the maintenance of the town’s buildings, parks, roads, stormwater infrastructure, as well as the wish list provided to us by our constituents,” says Vice Mayor Louise Povlin. “Many of our projects are the result of feedback and input from residents. For example, the second lane on Campbell Station Road from Snyder Road to I-40 was the result of an email from a resident in Weatherly Hills.”

These priorities are incorporated into Farragut’s Capital Investment Program. This six-year plan includes how each project is funded, the expected schedule of spending, and start and completion dates. Projects are broken down into the categories of general, engineering and parks. If you look at this year’s CIP, you’ll see when and what the town plans to spend renovating the Campbell Station Inn (general), on improvements to Virtue Road (engineering) and on reconstruction of fields at Mayor Bob Leonard Park (parks), among other projects.

A note on funding – because road construction is so expensive, the town takes advantage of state and federal funding whenever possible. Federal funds are distributed through the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization and are typically an 80/20 match, meaning Farragut bears 20 percent of the total cost.

The CIP is just a small section of the town’s budget document. There is also in-depth info about Farragut’s revenue stream. Take a look and you’ll see that the town’s largest source of funding comes from local sales tax, meaning sales tax of purchases made within town limits. The second is state sales tax revenue, which is based on population. As I mentioned last week, the town of Farragut doesn’t have a municipal property tax.

Almost 70 percent of the town’s expenditures are for personnel. That includes equipment used by staff to serve the community. It’s noteworthy that the town hasn’t carried debt since 2001.

The budget process starts in January and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen give final approval in June. Workshops are scheduled along the way, and the public is always welcome. Follow the Town of Farragut on Facebook for information about upcoming meetings and agenda summaries.

Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.

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