Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

October 15, 2013

Panel suggests more study on incorporation

By Clinton Gill
Glade Sun editor

CROSSVILLE — The Incorporation Committee held two town hall meetings Oct. 9 to answer questions posed by the membership in regards to the proposal that Fairfield Glade become its own city. Two sessions were held in order to accommodate as much of the membership as possible.

Since 1994 there have been four independent committees that have conducted similar studies, all of which arrived at the same conclusion -– that it is in the best long-term interest of Fairfield Glade to incorporate.

“What we have concluded is that Fairfield Glade should remain essentially as it is, but that because of some financial benefits, we should become a municipality offering a bare minimum of municipal services. The recommendation has both pluses and minuses, and there are some hurdles to cross to do that,” said Committee Chair Phil Ogden.

The purpose of the committee was to prepare a report for the membership that would help them make an informational decision as to whether or not to contract with an independent, professional service for a feasibility study and detailed plan answering all incorporation issues such as:

• Pros and cons of incorporating;

• Financial impact to the residents;

• Services to be provided by the new town;

• Status of the club after incorporation;

• All other questions currently asked by members.

The incorporation committee’s final report was posted on the Community Club’s website Aug. 27. Members were encouraged to review the report and submit any and all questions to the committee. The committee then spent six hours reviewing questions in preparation for the Oct. 9 meeting.

“We received questions and comments from fewer than 100 people out of some 7,100 residents,” said Ogden.

At the end of the presentations, members who still had questions were urged to submit them to the committee for further review. However, there are many questions that go beyond the resources of the committee. In order to have all of the financial details and to set forth a detailed plan, a feasibility study would need to be conducted by an outside independent organization.

Moving forward, the next steps recommended by the committee are:

• Determine if there is enough interest to proceed with a feasibility study;

• Employ an independent, professional service to conduct the feasibility study and devise a detailed plan;

• Distribute the study and detailed plan to the members;

• Hold town hall meetings and discussion groups about the study and detailed plan;

• Have a residential vote on incorporation.

These are the beginning steps for a 12- to 18-month process that will rely solely upon the consent of the membership to proceed. Copies of the final report are available at the Community Club, and videos of the town hall meeting in its entirety are available on the Community Club website under the “What’s New” section.

“This is an extremely complex and mercurial subject,” said Pete Cahill. “The board has specific responsibilities regarding protection of the facilities and assets as related to possible incorporation. This board is neutral on the subject, but it is our duty to find out everything we can about it, and plan for this possible outcome,” said Cahill.