Andrew Roberto - Knoxville City Council, District 2
During my term on City Council, Knoxville has been a leader on sustainability issues by meeting our 20% CO2 reduction goal and already achieving results towards our new goal of a 50% municipal CO2 reduction by 2030.
I have been a vocal advocate for Community Solar, which would expand the number of people in our community who can benefit from solar power by creating a solar farm that city residents and businesses can buy into. Participants don't need to own property to benefit from the electricity generated, which gives everyone, at every economic stage, the opportunity to invest in their future power needs and receive a monthly credit on their electric bill.
In a second term, I am committed to making Knoxville a hub for green energy entrepreneurship. The recent announcement that Techstars is launching a startup accelerator, positions Knoxville to take a leading role in green energy job creation. I will continue to work to encourage innovation and investment in our green economy.
As a small business owner, I want to encourage small business growth. I believe more small businesses will emerge and thrive when Knoxville takes advantage of the unique opportunities available to our city as a technology hub. Our proximity to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, The University of Tennessee, and Tennessee Valley Authority creates an environment for high-tech economic growth that is the envy of many metropolitan areas. These key regional partners can provide a competitive advantage for Knoxville in many developing technologies, including clean energy, advanced materials, and additive manufacturing.
While we have made progress in leveraging these economic advantages because of the research and innovation taking place here, we can and should do more. The conditions exist to accelerate the creation of new companies and attract and expand existing companies in advanced manufacturing and other emerging technologies, providing a sustainable network of opportunities and new jobs.
I would prioritize investment in traffic calming, new sidewalks, and greenways to expand pedestrian infrastructure. Currently, 59 applicants are awaiting funding for traffic calming projects citywide. This important program had no funding in the 20/21 budget and only $250,000 was allocated in the 21/22 budget.
New funding could advance projects proposed in the draft sidewalk study, which identifies 410 miles of new sidewalks citywide. Likewise, the Greenway Corridor Feasibility study proposes 24 miles of new greenway expansion. One important future project planned is the 2.27 mile Corridor A - extension which would connect Jean Teague Greenway to Weisgarber Greenway. Another key project which is partially underway is the Corridor B - Third Creek Greenway extension connecting Western Ave. to Victor Ashe Park. Future extensions could connect Middlebrook Pike to Weisgarber. Also, connecting the Sequoyah Hills Greenway to the Bearden Village Greenway is a potential project to consider.
Kim Smith City Council district 2
Currently, all the large diesel KAT buses are driving around mostly empty or completely empty throughout any given day. We should look into investing in smaller KAT buses that would have a smaller carbon foot print and cost taxpayers less money. The idea of converting the current KAT buses to electricity is not only a misuse of taxpayer dollars but not feasible given the current number of riders.
With the current high poverty that we have in Knoxville, we must see more jobs and investment from businesses. Everyone wants good paying jobs. Unfortunately, too many business owners and home builders are choosing to only open businesses outside of the city limits because of their experience with how difficult city administration is to work with. A change must occur in the culture of city government to support economic growth so that we can create more jobs and reduce poverty. By increasing economic growth, more tax revenue will be generated so we can avoid raising the property tax rate.
We need to make public safety the #1 priority. As much as possible, we must support our front line workers so we can reduce the current high crime in city, stop the record murder, and fill the large number of police vacancies that currently exist within KPD. We must have safe communities for all our citizens.