Bringing community together key for McGill

Apr. 15, 2013 @ 12:02 AM

Jim McGill seeks to add another job to his list of Sevierville official positions.

McGill, running for a seat on the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, currently works as membership coordinator for the city’s Chamber of Commerce. The 62-year-old has been with the chamber eight years and says he took membership up from 350 to 650.

“I do a lot of networking with the chamber,” McGill said. “I help the business members make connections and help advertise them.”

McGill said he enjoys his job and wants to stay with the chamber even if he gets elected.

“I know how to bring people together,” he said. “I enjoy doing that. I’ve done it for years and want to continue it.”

McGill cites a passion for the community as one reason he’s running.

“I want to maintain and improve community services, and as far as the business community goes, I want to see it grow and see more businesses come into Sevierville,” McGill said. “There are some needs that we have that would be helped if we had more sales tax income, and the way to do that is to get more businesses in town.”

He believes the city’s finances are in good shape because “city leaders and administrators are watching expenses and being careful about what they do.”

The city will soon have to pay back considerable bond debt that was used to create its Central Business Improvement District (CBID), which stretches from downtown to Interstate 40 along Highway 66. McGill acknowledges that there’s “a certain amount” of debt, but he said the recession had a lot to do with it.

“The plan was good but there were some unforseen circumstances that put a hurt on it in ’07 and ’08,” McGill said.

Moving ahead with the Dumplin Creek project and adding businesses along Highway 66 are ways the city can make up ground financially, according to McGill. Regarding Dumplin Creek, McGill said he supports the city investing in the necessary infrastructure for the project.

“It’s a step-by-step process; you can’t just automatically say ‘yes,’ you take baby steps and try to make some things happen,” he said. “But we’ve got to be cautious and do it the right way.”

Infrastructure in general is important to McGill. He supports extending Veterans Boulevard to Highway 66, but he also noted that other issues might take priority.

“With the funding right now, we’ve got to take care of matters at hand and then move onto that, but extending Veterans to 66 is something we need to keep in front of us,” McGill said.

McGill said he wasn’t really concerned about any current trends in the city.

“We’re doing well and I want us to keep doing well, and I want to do my part to keep that happening,” he said.

McGill previously worked at the Cherokee Textile Mills for 30 years. During that time, he was a bivocational pastor for several Baptist churches in Sevier County.

rhargett@themountainpress.com