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Knoxville City Council at Large Seat A

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Lynne Fugate CEO Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians

Biographical Information

Campaign Phone (865) 566-7414

All cities want to attract new businesses that will provide its residents with well paying jobs. What qualities do you think a city should have to attract these kinds of businesses?

The most critical thing that a city needs to attract well-paying jobs is a workforce with the skills those companies require. I know from my years on the Board of Education that excellent schools are the first step in meeting that requirement. Therefore the city must continue to work with the Board of Education to make sure that our public schools are the best in the Southeast. We are fortunate to have several wonderful post-secondary educational opportunities in our community. These institutions allow our citizens to continue their education and improve their skills so that they have options for employment. Another factor considered in corporate relocations is a community’s quality of life. Quality of life issues typically include; a thriving downtown, low cost of living, affordable housing, public safety, access to healthcare, access to recreational areas such as parks, greenways, and other public spaces, and a vibrant arts community.

What is the best use of the former St. Mary’s Hospital campus?

City Council has already approved the purchase of the site and is moving ahead with the relocation of the Police Department, Fire Department, and City Court. Therefore what is left to be developed is the historic hospital site and adjacent property. At this time, LMU is already using some of the hospital for its nursing school so I think that should stay and perhaps other health science programs could be added there. The expansion of post-secondary healthcare programs would be good for the area since there is typically a shortage of trained healthcare workers. This also would complement nicely the School of Health Science that is at Fulton High School today. The city should work closely with the area neighborhoods, as the city has said it would, to see what types of businesses and services residents would like to see on the adjacent property.

What do you think are the best ways for the city to generate increased revenue?

The two major sources of revenue for the City are property taxes and sales taxes. The best way to increase property tax is to put more property on the tax role. One way to do that is for the city to continue its efforts to reclaim blighted property and get it in the hands of someone who will rehabilitate the property and make it more valuable. I would also like to see the City look at using current incentive tools and look for new ways to stimulate commercial and mixed use development on the corridors leading from downtown; Magnolia Ave, Chapman Hwy, Broadway, and Kingston Pike. This would also increase the property tax base. The creation of new businesses in the city along these corridors and elsewhere will also create more sales tax revenue. The city must grow its tax base especially because the Hall Income Tax is being totally phased out within the next couple of years. Any loss of revenue needs to be replaced or the services the city provides can be affected

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Charles Lomax Senior Pastor, St. John Missionary Baptist Church

Biographical Information

Campaign Phone (865) 405-1485

All cities want to attract new businesses that will provide its residents with well paying jobs. What qualities do you think a city should have to attract these kinds of businesses?

Of the qualities desirable to attract new businesses, I believe affordability and great schools are two of the most important components that need to be considered. Corporations and businesses of every type are concerned about their bottom line. Relocation has to be financially feasible for the organization itself, as well as for its employees. Employees also want to work and live in areas that have a quality education system for their children. Matters of connectivity and a sustainable infrastructure also should be taken into consideration, especially if the relocating businesses are hauling or moving freight. Additionally, a city that does not have amenities such as parks, greenspace, and diversity of culture are often overlooked by businesses looking to expand into other locations.

What is the best use of the former St. Mary’s Hospital campus?

I believe the best use of the former St. Mary’s Hospital campus would be a hospital. Tennova’s decision to vacate the area left a noticeable gap in emergency medical coverage in East Knox County, and as a result, lives are potentially placed in jeopardy. Because we cannot undo what has been done, I support efforts to convert the campus into the new home for our police officers and firefighters. The location is convenient, and the neighborhood appears supportive of the endeavor. With the additional space, I would potentially like to see another place, similar to the Change Center, for youth in the community or an area promoting entrepreneurship for members of the community.

What do you think are the best ways for the city to generate increased revenue?

First, I think you have to investigate wasteful spending (if there be any) to see where we might be able to save funds in that way. As far as generating revenue, it can be generated by minimizing the number of blighted properties and getting them back on the books. There are a number of properties throughout the city that are not meeting their maximum potential and as a result are costing the city money. Also, I believe that we have to be more judicious in the disbursement of PILOTs and TIFs so that those entities who can still proceed without them are still moving forth.