Yes, the McFee Park Splash Pad is scheduled to open on Saturday, April 24! Now that I have your attention, I need to talk about something that’s more important but not nearly as splashy – Farragut’s FY2022 budget.
When you think about it, a fiscally-conservative budget is what allows a small town like Farragut to have assets like the splash pad and the rest of McFee Park, which will soon include features like a great lawn, additional walking trails, tennis/pickleball courts, a basketball court and a new large pavilion with a restroom. And the funding for the town’s 138 acres of park, 80 miles of sidewalks, 20 miles of greenway trails, 140 miles of road and $20 million in insured assets comes primarily through sales tax revenue because Farragut doesn’t have a property tax.
It’s no small feat to do so much with such a limited revenue stream. But the Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) have made it a priority to spend conservatively and sock money away for big projects, like the McFee Park Phase 3 improvements mentioned above. It’s an expensive project, but we began planning and saving for it years ago.
That’s why it’s frustrating when residents imply that instead of letting landowners sell their private property to developers, the town should purchase the property and turn it into a park, aquatic center or sports complex. Such projects cost tens of millions of dollars and would require additional taxation, something most residents oppose.
Budgets don’t just cover parks and greenways. They also cover necessary infrastructure like our stormwater system. At 41, Farragut is now middle-aged, so it’s no surprise that the town needs a little work. That means roads in subdivisions need repaving and public buildings need ADA updates. It also means that, as the town grows, we need to make changes to our transportation infrastructure to deal with high traffic areas.
If you’re interested in how the board makes decisions about funding, now is the time to learn more. Here is the schedule for upcoming budget meetings/workshops:
- Thursday, March 11 – General Fund Revenue/Expenditure Projections, BMA Workshop
- Thursday, March 25 – CIP Workshop
- Thursday, April 8 – Equipment Fund, CIP, Other Funds – BMA Workshop
- Thursday, May 2 – First reading of Budget Ordinance & Fee Schedule
- June 10, Thursday – Second and final reading of Budget Ordinance
The workshops will be held in conjunction with BMA meetings. For times, check the agenda for each meeting here. Meetings can be viewed live through the town’s website (townoffarragut.org/livestream) or on the town’s YouTube channel.
My subject was inspired by a column Vice Mayor Louise Povlin wrote in the farragutpress. She did a good job of summarizing the town’s current budget situation:
“Over the years, the town of Farragut has been able to grow and continue to provide an enviable quality of life through careful, thoughtful planning and budgeting. Moreover, we continue to thrive without a municipal property tax. If the citizens desire more than what we can afford with our current funding resources, a referendum that demonstrates that the majority of citizens support a municipal property tax would be necessary.”
Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.