Knoxville council candidates worried about slowing growth



The potential for the City of Knoxville to fall behind in population growth relative to the Chattanooga and Knoxville property tax rate is behind some candidates challenging the holders of Knoxville City Council races in this year.

Their supporters cite the same reasons for making changes in Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, where incumbents are running for a second term in the non-partisan election.

The primary is August 31 and the general election is November 2. In the primary, voters will vote only in the districts where they live, but in general elections, voters can vote in all district races.

For the most part, some supporters of the Knox Liberty Organization, which seeks to petition to cap the city’s tax rate at the current rate of $ 2.4638 per $ 100 of assessed value, also support the committee. political action from Scruffy Little City, which assists at least two candidates for Knoxville City Council, according to a financial disclosure statement filed with the Knox County Election Commission.

August 31 Primary:Who is running for Knoxville City Council? Here is the full list

Former Deputy Mayor of Knoxville Joe baileywas involved early on in the formation of the Scruffy Little City PAC, he admitted, but has not been involved since becoming director of US Sen’s East Tennessee office. Bill hagerty, R-Tenn.

“I am not involved in anything and I have not been since working for Bill Hagerty and Jim Henri(director of Haggerty’s Tennessee). Out of respect for (Hagerty) I’m not doing this, ”Bailey said Thursday.

He said he got involved because “business people were scrambling to try to figure out how to do it. We met and discussed it. I gave them my opinion, ”Bailey said.

Georgiana vines

Robert petrone, a partner of B&T Distributing Co., said small businesses fear the city’s direction will not be good in the long term. This group includes Mike chase, owner of the Copper Cellar restaurant on Cumberland Avenue, among others, and Helen Morton, which has a liquor store on Cumberland Avenue, which contributed to Scruffy Little City. They are among the business people unhappy with the traffic changes in Cumberland over the past few years.

“We are not seeing growth in small businesses. In two and a half years, Chattanooga will be bigger than Knoxville, from a population perspective, ”said Petrone. He also predicted that Knoxville, currently the third largest city in the state behind No.1 Nashville and No.2 Memphis, would have a higher property tax rate over the next two years, to which he opposes.

Candidates who feel the same are downtown restaurateurs Jim Klonaris, which seeks to represent the 4th arrondissement, and Elizabeth murphy, in the running for the nomination of the 1st District. The 4th arrondissement is currently owned by Lauren Cavalierwith the 1st by Tommy smith.

Klonaris has already received some support from the Scruffy Little City PAC, as has Garrett holt, candidate for the seat of the 6th arrondissement held by the vice-mayor Gwen McKenzie.

Klonaris and Murphy were contacted on Thursday when they said they were campaigning with supporters and had little time to speak.

“I’m a local businessman and really frustrated with the direction the city is going,” Klonaris said. “We have become a city that has more paperwork than a red carpet when it comes to business. It’s not as user-friendly as when we started businesses 13 years ago. Him and his wife, Lori, own Kefi, Café 4 and Vida.

He said he would bring business acumen to city council. His website says he supports the petition campaign to cap the property tax rate. In the petition campaign, 7,500 city voters are needed for a change to the city charter amendment to go on the ballot. The city council should first decide.

Murphy said in an email that she had “concerns about our city, that the town of Chattanooga will soon overtake the population of Knoxville (which makes us the 4th largest city in the state).” Also, and not mentioned, the city has no one in the upper echelon of leadership with a background in business. She is a conservative activist and lobbyist and has been active in groups that pushed back county health policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Holt’s website also cited issues of high poverty, increased crime, slowing economic growth and an imbalanced budget. “We need to change course and find solutions to these direct problems,” he said.

As for the city’s budget, it was adopted by the city council as balanced. The city has prepared an infographic that shows the city’s tax rate is 27 cents lower than it was five years ago; the city’s current debt is more than 30% lower than it was 20 years ago; that in 2020, the city issued building permits for projects valued at $ 597 million, and the number of building permits valued at over $ 1 million increased by more than 400% in a decade.

The information will be part of a press release related to the city’s finances at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, a spokesperson said.

Regarding population, the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Office provided information showing that the population growth of Chattanooga between 2018 and 2019, the latest data available, was 1.25% and that of Knoxville, of 0.05%. One graph showed that between 2010 and 2019, Chattanooga grew more while Knoxville’s was constant. If this trend continues, Chattanooga is poised to overtake Knoxville.

On another measure, geographically, Chattanooga has more undeveloped areas within the city limits to develop than Knoxville.

Other candidates running for the August 30 primary: 1st arrondissement, David Hayes; 2nd arrondissement, holder André Roberto and Kim smith; 3rd arrondissement, holder Seema Singhand Nicolas Ciparro; 4th arrondissement, Jen mcmahon, and 6th arrondissement, Deidra Harper.

You will find more information on the next primary elections on


Meaning of the United States. Marsha blackburnand Bill hagertyjoined Republicans on Tuesday in blocking a Democratic Voting Rights and Government Ethics Bill, which sought to restrict voting laws passed by state legislatures held by the GOP.

Hagerty said the bill, For the People Act, should “more accurately be called ‘For the Politicians Act’. “Blackburn said Democrats were trying to destroy the democratic process through the ‘partisan’ election bill.

The House passed its version of the bill in March with representatives. Tim burchettfrom Knoxville, Chuck fleischmannOoltewah and Diana harshbargerof Kingsport voting no.

President Joe biden first choice of the court of appeal, Ketanji Brown Jackson, was approved 53-44 for the mighty District of Columbia circuit. Blackburn and Hagerty voted no although three other Republicans joined Democrats in favor of confirmation. The vote elevates Jackson, who is black, from the District of Columbia US District Court to the influential US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, which is seen as fertile ground for Supreme Court justices.

A resolution designating June 19, 2018 as “Juneteenth Independence Day” in recognition of June 19, 1865, when slavery was legally ended in the United States, was passed by the Senate unanimously. Earlier in the House, Burchett, Fleishmann and Harshbarger voted yes.


Marianne Wanamaker, associate professor of economics at the University of Tennessee, has been appointed executive director of the university’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. It begins on July 1 and replaces Matt Murray.

State Senator Ken yager(R-Kingston) was elected chairman of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The 25-member group is made up of officials from state, county and municipal governments, as well as two private citizens and two members of the executive.

LeAnna R. Wilson began her tenure on June 1 as clerk of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. she succeeds John L. Medearis, who retired after serving on the bench for more than 33 years. She has been Deputy Chief Registrar of Medearis for the past three years.

Georgiana Vines is a retired Associate Editor of News Sentinel. She can be reached at


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