We want to hear from you – our dear readers and residents!!
• What do you think of incorporating?
• What are your concerns?
• What do you see at the Pros and Cons?
By BILL PIECUCH
Special To The Vista
Concluding that a city has more sources of funds available than a private club, a 19-page report produced by an incorporation committee recommended that Fairfield Glade would be best served by incorporating into a municipality.
A well-attended Town Hall meeting took place last week to discuss the issue.
After meeting weekly since June 2012, the report was completed on May 8, 2013 and revised August 14, 2013. Eight members were selected to form an Ad Hoc advisory committee established by the Fairfield Glade Community Club Board of Directors. Their responsibility was to investigate the pros, cons and legality of Fairfield Glade becoming a city.
In its concluding remarks, the report states that “it’s almost axiomatic that costs will go up. The question facing residents as (our) costs go up what is the best way to spend our dollars: through the Club or through a city? The committee concluded that a city provides the best long-term value to residents.”
The committee retained an attorney with expertise in municipal law and conferred with state legislator, Cameron Sexton, former Crossville City Manager Bruce Wyatt, Cumberland County Assessor, David Simcox and Bob Weber, General Manager of The Fairfield Community Club.
Additionally, individuals representing interests in Wyndham provided input to the final report. Other organizations furnishing information included The Attorney General of the State of Tennessee and Tennessee Municipal League.
The report states that there are some things that the Community Club does “exceedingly well” such as run the golf courses, pools, restaurants and other amenities. Traditionally cities excel in fire and police protection.
Some primary advantages of a city, the report cites, are the ability to fund itself through taxes, the ability to borrow money at a low rate of interest and the ability to shield itself from tort liability. The report notes that residents pay some taxes already with proceeds going elsewhere.
While the 2013 committee report lists the complexities and challenges of incorporation, findings are similar to those of previous committees. Almost 20 years ago in 1994, for example, that committee noted “….the long term requirements of the community would be best served by incorporation.”
The 2001 committee made no firm recommendations but was favorably disposed to incorporation. By contrast, a 2005 committee was more forceful recommending that “Fairfield Glade should incorporate after dissolution of the Community Club and the transfer of assets and liabilities. “
Incorporation is not a slam dunk and a number of legal and political hurdles remain including a surprising quirk in Tennessee law stating the borders of any new municipality must be at least three miles from another. Presently, both Crab Orchard and Crossville are within the current Fairfield Glade boundaries.
A more comprehensive look at the committee findings will appear in The Vista during ensuing weeks. That information includes possible next steps, finances, tort responsibilities, the potentially new look of the Community Club, upgrading of present facilities, police and fire protection and new sources of revenue after possible incorporation.
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(Send your views to Bill Piecuch via email to: [email protected])