Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Is Metro Government good for Farragut?

On three separate occasions Knox County and the City of Knoxville have voted on Metro Government. Each time the majority of voters have decided Metro is not a good deal. After each failed Metro vote the City of Knoxville has gone on an annexation binge.

Metro Government is controversial. One of the key selling points is the common sense logic that duplication of services cost more money. In the post Mike Hammond researches Metro Government for Knox County it has been pointed out by several commenters that our past history in Knox County does not prove that when consolidation of services occur that costs are reduced. In the case of the Knox County Schools and the Knox County Library system the costs went up and budgets expanded greatly.

Farragut was formed because the people here wanted more control over zoning and had no desire to pay Knoxville City property taxes. Some consider Metro as a form of annexation. When Knoxville City and Knox County public expenditures are compared one thing is clear. The City of Knoxville has a spending problem. Why should the people of Farragut have to pay for the mistakes made by the City of Knoxville?

Some people say that there are ways to have Metro Government and not penalize the taxpayers in Knox County. The urban services fee is one example. The problem with the urban services fee is that it only addresses the current debt of the City of Knoxville. It offers no protection from future foolish spending decisions for downtown projects. Knox County government has not been perfect. The Knox County Farmers Market was a mistake. On total when you compare the two governments Knox County has a much better track record on spending.

Both Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and Knoxville City Mayor Bill Haslam have publicly discussed Metro Government. Mayor Ragsdale has a project to study consolidation of services such as the codes department. Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond is one of seven people involved with the study.

Should Mayor Ragsdale openly discuss what plans exist for Metro Government before the election? Is there a responsibility for him to do so? Some say that after Mayor Haslam's reelection that the City of Knoxville may surrender its Charter and force Metro Government without a referendum.

Former Mayor Don Sundquist told the people of Tennessee that he would not push an income tax in his second term. He did push for an income tax in his second term. Before you cast your vote in early voting shouldn't you find out what Mayor Ragsdale and the prospective Knox County Commissioners will do about Metro Government in their next term? Don't you have the right to know before you vote?

Comments:
Good post. You cover some things the papers avoid.

I wonder what could be done to stop the City of Knoxville from surrendering their Charter if City Council choose to do that. Would a court injunction filed by Knox County Commission work?

Do the taxpayers have a defense to that kind of betrayal?
 
As long as Knoxville has bonded indebtedness they cannot surrender the Charter unless Knox County would agree to accept that debt. But the City can push off every service and department until nothing is left but the Mayor's office and City Council. The real issue is voter disenfranchisement.
 
Does government ever get smaller?
 
I will not use early voting. There are too many uncertainties. I want to hear a commitment about Metro before I vote. How many times must we vote on Metro? The people have spoken.

Will you post a list of write-in candidates for Farragut Voters?

Jenny
 
Why won't Mike Ragsdale talk about Metro before people vote?
 
Metro is the third rail of politics in Knox County. You don't speak its name if you want to be elected. You wait, and then spring the surprise later. Any bets on how it will be packaged this time? I'll be they leave out the top cop part.
 
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