Mayors Meet With County's Legislative Delegation

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Mayors Meet With County's Legislative Delegation

Posted: 01/09/2009
Mayor Bill Haslam and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale hosted a luncheon for the county's legislative delegation Friday to discuss issues of importance to the city and county and to learn about the prospects of this year's legislative session.

Also in attendance at the luncheon, held at Calhoun's on the River, were members of City Council and Knox County Commission.

The two mayors hope the groups can work together to make positive things happen during what could be a difficult legislative session. 
 
"I think the things that are of primary importance to us are the same," Haslam said in opening the luncheon during which he and Ragsdale made brief presentations.

Mayor Haslam urged the group to protect the city's state-shared revenues and listed other priorities, the main one being the continued state support of Knox County Schools.

More than $100 million in sales tax dollars from the City of Knoxville goes to support the school system. That is about $35 million more than the city is required to spend on the schools. 

"Schools are really one of our key priorities," Haslam said. "About three-quarters of our sales tax dollars go to the school system. We like it being that way." 
 
He also asked the delegation to consider the possibility of creating a regional transportation authority and spoke briefly about the need for support of the City and County's Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. He noted that chronically homeless individuals put an enormous financial strain on government resources, both local and state, and the plan's goal is to get those individuals into permanent supportive housing.

Ragsdale told legislators, "We realize it is a very difficult economic year," but also urged them to protect the state shared revenues that the county and city receive.

He also said there are numerous local projects that could benefit from allocations from any federal stimulus package supported by the incoming Obama administration. 
 

"As the money comes down please remember we have shovel-ready projects ready to go right now," he told the delegation. "We could put people to work very quickly." 
 
State Senators Tim Burchett, Jamie Woodson and Randy McNally and State Representatives Harry Brooks, Bill Dunn, Harry Tindell, Ryan Haynes attended the luncheon.