Comments by Bill_Lyons

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Written on Henley Bridge is Falling Down :

I appreciate this timely article and the depth that Jack Neely provides in regard to this very important structure. However, given that nuance is often everything, I thought I would take the time to comment and provide clarification on one small section.

While I am correctly quoted in the article I do have a bit of a quarrel with the paraphrase that precedes the discussion of traffic counts - "Lyons says the city accepted TDOT’s recommendation to widen the bridge to six lanes." In this case Jack's construction of my intent was a bit off. I was careful in the interview to avoid discussion of any specific design of the bridge including any reference to the number of lanes, which I never recall even coming up in explicit terms. I responded to a tangentially related question by indicating that I was not in a position to challenge TDOT's projected future traffic volume and it was not a city goal to use the bridge as a device to slow down traffic.

I understand the flexibility that authors must use to construct an article and understand the inference that Mr. Neely apparently drew, but, given the discussion of the bridge design, including the public discussion of providing for bicycles, I want to make it very clear that I never had any intention of communicating that I, or the City, had "accepted" any final design at this time. Thanks again for the excellent article and for the opportunity to comment.

Written on Financial Breakdown:

Obviously local government budgets are critical to our community dialog. Unfortunately, this article suffers from a number of major flaws. Here are a few.

"And, to cap it all off, the mayor has proposed $27 million in infrastructure improvements, largely helped, of course, by the $10 million the city stands to get from the federal stimulus package."

Response - No stimulus money is reflected in the City of Knoxville's capital budget


" seems worth mentioning that the city has been quietly cutting its community grants for the past few years as well. In the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the city gave out $1.9 million. The next year, $1.5 million, this year down to $1.13. And finally, for 2009-2010, Haslam is proposing a $996,000 grant budget, about half what it was three years ago."

Response - Community grants funding has not been cut. What appears to be a reduction in the total reflects changes in categories for some projects. The Affordable Housing funding shown in 2007-8 ($323,000)that is not shown as a community grant in 2008-9 and 2009-10 was not reduced. Rather it was moved to the Community Development Department. The same year funding for the rescue squad ($41,500) was moved to the Fire Dept. Both were done because these were more contracts for services otherwise performed than community grants. Once this, and a few capital projects that have been completed, are removed, an apples to apples comparison of community grants funding has increased to its highest level in the last five years.. $765,700. This is up from $640,900 in the 2006-7 years.


"Local health clinics for the uninsured are facing city and county CUTS (emphasis added) just as their caseloads might see a big increase." ..... "Haslam’s budget has only $5,500, SAME (emphasis added) as in the 2008-09 budget.

Response - Somehow the same funding = cuts.

Thanks, Bill Lyons, Sr. Director of Policy and Communications, City of Knoxville

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