The largest financial venture the City of Crossville  has ever undertaken, doubling the annual city debt is moving forward-without regard to what the city taxpayers say. Council met Tuesday night and voted to not allow a survey or referendum of the public to get a sense of city residents opinion on the massive cost of an indoor recreation center. In a vote of 3-2, the council voted down the motion of a citizens survey on the indoor rec center.

Council members Mike Turner and Rob Harrison voted for a survey while Scott Shanks, Art Gernt and Mayor Crawford voted against. Afterwards, council unanimously approved a motion on a Memorandum of Understanding with the YMCA, as well as motions to sell the proposed rec facility property to the Sports Authority, a motion to begin the process of issuing bonds and to proceed with construction documents. During the public comment section of the meeting, Tony Perry spoke to the Council to encourage the members to listen to their constituency and prioritize other more important projects such as the need for new sidewalks which will lead to repaving of Main Street.  The following is Perry’s comments to the Council:

Distinguished members of the Council I appreciate the time to speak this evening.  It appears a public referendum on the indoor rec center is unlikely.  So, I had a referendum of my own so to speak.  Last week I published on Crossville News First a poll asking city residents over 18 to vote for or against the proposed rec center. The results as of today are 49 percent voted for and  51 percent against.   

I believe with it that close, it would behoove the council to commission a more precise survey to see if voters opinions are split 50 50.  If I were a council member I would like to see more of a 60/40 vote for the project from my constituents to be assured I was doing the right thing.

As I understand it, financially this would be the largest project the City has ever undertaken, doubling the cities bond indebtedness from 39mill to 79mill.and as much as I would enjoy having a rec center just down the road – I would prefer the City fix that road first.  Gentlemen, Main street is a disgrace to this town and has been for several years.   I am told that seven years ago TDOT informed the City that the sidewalks had to be upgraded before TDOT would repave main street.  The city received grant money to help with the sidewalk project and yet, seven years later…no new sidewalks, and no repaved main street.  What happened? 

 I am sure there are many more projects the city of crossville needs done before entertaining a 40 million dollar rec center.

 Council has said property taxes would not be raised to build and operate the rec center – but for how long.  Can we get a guarantee the property taxes will not be raised next year…or the next maybe for the purpose of building a new fire hall…or new squad cars for the police  or million dollar fire trucks- when in fact the tax increase could be needed due to the general fund  being depleted from construction  and debt service of the indoor rec center even if the YMCA runs the center.  An indoor rec center would be nice but not at the expense of other much needed improvements such as smooth main street that isn’t an embarrassment and upgraded sidewalks that are ada compliant and many other improvements.

No, I am not a city resident – but for the past 15 yrs I do own a business on main street. I would encourage the council to be wise in your actions which affect the voters who  entrusted you to be prudent, diligent and conservative when spending their money