The trash man cometh…er, returneth.

Darth Jewell soon to be ousted as Grand Wizard of WEMA will be making his return to rubbish in the coming days.  After a supreme stint of trashing the local EMA and filthing up the reputation of emergency services, DJ will now waste away in waste as he is now tasked with trashing the trash department.  He has traveled full circle now, it could only get better if they allow him to mobile transmit radio commercials from the dumpster hooked to the back of a truck.  His replacement?  A minion.  After what will be touted as an exhaustive search from sea to shining sea, my guess is they will “settle” on a mindless, clueless, spineless,  wannabe that made a nasty reputation at the county bus shop.  Oh well, at least Sith Hutto is trying to clean up his mess, hauling his own trash to the dump.  Priceless.

“Who says you can go back…”   Bon Jovi

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County-Wide Fire Department Law Changed!

2012 Public Act  Chapter 771 § 1 codified into law the renaming of “Fire Taxes” and “Fire Taxing Districts” to “Fire and Emergency Services Taxes” and “Fire and Emergency Services Districts” to reflect what they were originally intended to cover.  According to Representative Phillip Johnson, “All we did was clarify what the tax already was.”  Haven’t I been saying that?  Isn’t that what I have been telling the county all along, that the fire tax was for the purpose of covering the services contemplated in, enumerated in, and contained in TCA 5-17-102?  Haven’t I been telling the county that all emergency services provided by the county are part of the county wide fire department that was established for the purpose of providing fire protection services to all of Wilson County?  Finally, FINALLY, someone of authority did something brilliant.  They codified in law that the districts and taxes are meant for “Emergency Services” and not just “Fire Suppression.”  

TCA 5-17-101 says, in pertinent part:

 (2) As an alternative to fire and emergency services tax districts, the county legislative body is hereby authorized to allocate revenue from the general fund of the county to fund fire protection services to be provided to the unincorporated portions of the county. Any such revenues allocated for fire protection services shall be generated by situs-based taxes collected in unincorporated areas of the county or shall originate from other revenue sources that have already been shared with municipalities;

Here is the problem that the county is going to have.  First of all, it will be ever more difficult for them to convince a judge that the general assembly never really meant for the county wide fire department to include ambulance, rescue, and first aid, and that those services are authorized under TCA 58-2-101 et seq now that this law has been passed.  Clearly it was the intent of the general assembly to provide emergency services other than just fire suppression as a part of the countywide fire department.  The second thing is that, once they have to accept that all emergency services are part of the countywide fire department, they will not be able to cover the costs of those services using the alternative form of funding authorized in TCA 5-17-101.  If they can’t cover those costs with the alternative form of funding, they will have to levy fire and emergency services taxes.  That requires that they establish districts so as to closely reflect the costs of services provided in a district.  

Fire and Emergency Services Taxes are the only legal way that Wilson County can provide emergency services on the level and scale that they are providing them because they simply cannot find enough alternative forms of funding to pay for them.

Fire and Emergency Services Taxes are one of the most fair forms of taxes I have ever heard of, yet some don’t want them.  They would rather continue to have the rest of us subsidize Lebanon’s Ambulance Services.  You see, Lebanon receives so much ambulance service at county expense that it offset all of the costs of fire suppression provided to this city and still leaves a net balance in Lebanon’s favor.  It isn’t Mt. Juliet that is the problem after all, Mt. Juliet pays for more services than we are provided.  Lebanon is the problem.  Lebanon receives substantially more services than that for which they pay.  

This new law, for whatever reasons it was sponsored and approved, is a Godsend.  

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TCA 5-14-114

TCA 5-14-114

5-14-114.  Conflicts of interest — Illegal payments. 

(a) Neither the county purchasing agent, nor members of the county purchasing commission, nor members of the county legislative body, nor other officials of the county, shall be financially interested, or have any personal beneficial interest, either directly or indirectly, in any contract or purchase order for any supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services used by or furnished to any department or agency of the county government.

(b) Nor shall any such persons accept or receive, directly or indirectly, from any person, firm or corporation to which any contract or purchase order may be awarded, by rebate, gift or otherwise, any money or anything of value whatsoever, or any promise, obligation or contract for future reward or compensation.

(c) A violation of this section is a Class D felony.

Is it a felony to own communication equipment in a county that is leased to the county for financial benefit to the owner while the owner of that equipment is also serving in an appointed position for the county?

Go to the link below and make up your own minds.

http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op/2012/op12-65.pdf

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The overlooked losses we suffer.

While our city commission struggles and pontificates over things such as “how much shall we pay the new fire chief”, “when should we hire the fire chief”, “what kind of fire equipment will we purchase”, “who will provide EMS” and other such questions, ignored entirely is the gapping hole through which the county is sucking this city and North West Wilson dry through.  

Last Winter the city commissioned a company to conduct a study of the revenues the county receives from Mt. Juliet in comparison to what we get back.  If my memory serves correctly, we contribute 25% of the county’s receipts and they spend 21% of the money they take in back here in Mt. Juliet.  However, I am not sure that is even an accurate picture.  You see, the county takes money in from those who live outside of this city as well, and most of the expenditures the county makes in this area of the county are actually spent here or they are spent on things such as the Jail in Lebanon, etc.  I think the guy who conducted the study did a good job, I am just not sure that the disparity isn’t even greater.  However, even if you consider the numbers I have stated, it means we are missing 4% of the county’s budget being spent here in this city.  That translates to about $8 million to $9 million per year that isn’t be spent here in Mt. Juliet!  That, my friends, is a huge amount of money considering our city budget is only around $14 to $15 million.  Can you imagine if the county spent another $9 million per year on infrastructure and services in Mt. Juliet?  Can you imagine if they were equitable to all north west wilson county citizens?  We would probably see somewhere in the neighborhood of an extra $15 million or more being spent here in this area of the county.  Can you imagine what that would look like?  

Now I want you to consider the time value of money and consider inflation.  If the county was being equitable and fair, and was spending that money back here instead of in Watertown and such places, we would not have to pay city taxes to pay for those amenities and services.  This city and north west wilson county would boom that much more.  Now consider the growth that doesn’t happen here because that money isn’t being spent here.  Now consider the tax revenues that the growth would generate.  Now consider what that new tax money would do for us.  Are you getting the picture?  

This city should float a committee that sticks its nose in every knook and cranny of the county to study what they really do with our money. I am talking about taking a look at things like the student/teacher ratio in each of the county’s schools.  I would personally be interested to see if the student/teacher and student/administrator ratio is as high in Mt. Juliet and the surrounding area as it is in Watertown and in Lebanon and in the unincorporated portion of the county.  I would like to see where the money for emergency services comes from and where it is spent.  I would like to see where the road money is spent.  I think such a study would be quite telling, don’t you?  

Think about what $15 million being spent here this year, and next year and the following year would look like.  Can you start to develop an understanding of the real issue?  I can’t seem to get this commission to recognize this issue.  They are myopically looking at the fire issue and are knit-picking that.  

Okay, here is an analogy for you, “you are in a boat, you find that you have sprung a leak and it is a fairly bad leak.  You are miles from shore.  You have nothing to bail with.  I roll up in a boat.  I hold up a thimble and a bucket and say, “you can have either, but not both, choose.”  Which will you use?  The bucket, right?  What the city is doing is tantamount to asking for the thimble.  They are focused on a million or two per year when perhaps as much as $15 million is disappearing from right before their very eyes.  Let’s say it is only $5 million per year instead of $15 million.  Can you imagine what even an additional $5 million would look like over time?  Five Million per year builds a new Mt. Juliet High School Building ever 8 years.  It builds a connector road.  I builds a really nice library.  It builds cultural centers.  I builds a medical center.  I builds an emergency services operation second to none.  It builds a civic center.  Yes, even just five million per year as a steady flow would be huge.  This becomes especially true when you factor the growth that money would foster and the compounding effect it would cause.  

We need to address the fire issue, no doubt, but we have to take a candid, sober and serious look at the lost opportunity that comes from what this county government is doing to us.  

 

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The importance of rule of law…

Politicians ask for our support when they run for office.  When they win, they take an oath to uphold our Constitutionally Guaranteed rights.  They promise to abide by the charter or governing authority over their offices.  They promise to uphold the law.  They promise to uphold the ordinances and/or resolutions of their political jurisdiction that are applicable.  They promise to do their duties.  Then, once in office, they too often set about doing whatever they want and whatever they think will get them re-elected.

What is the difference between Constitutional Rights and Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights?  The Bill of Rights are our Constitutionally Guaranteed rights.  I would go as far as to say that the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution as originally drafted and approved, along with all amendments to the Constitution, are our Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights, but they are not Constitutional rights.  We derive our rights, not from government or any construction of man, but from our Creator.

When man endeavors to enter public office and finds himself violating our Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights, that person is necessarily, at the same time, at odds with God.  God institutes governments among men to serve His good pleasure and he turns men’s heads to the left and the right like the waters of a river.  However, that does not mean that God ignores our Constitution.  I think God very much acknowledges our Constitution and I believe He was the true author of it.  Obviously, I take the Constitution very seriously.  But what is most important for all of us to understand as citizens, in my opinion, is that we all recognize that we not only have been given tremendous and awesome powers to create, within God’s will, our own destiny and craft our our own futures, but we have also been given a tremendous charge to keep the republic.

It is not fitting that we should put people in public office and then turn our heads and our backs on them and not support them when they are correct and not hold them accountable and responsible for what they do or do not do when they are wrong.  In the immortal words of Clint Eastwood, that great philosopher and spaghetti western actor, “we own this country….”  We, ultimately, are answerable to God Himself for how we have taken care of His nation and His people.

The Constitution doesn’t give us rights, it acknowledges rights we have had all along.  It codifies in law that our government cannot infringe on the rights that God has given to us.  So, while we interchange terms and call our rights, “Constitutional Rights”, what we mean to reference are our “Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights.”

Our Wilson County Government has infringed on our Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights. It is incumbent upon us, as caretakers of God’s nation, state, county, and city, to hold the county accountable for its actions.  If we are unable, or unwilling, to take a stand here, then what are we willing to stand for as a people?  Any violation of our Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights, however small, in any area of this country, no matter how small the area may be, is a violation against all citizens of the United States of America.  No government should be allowed to infringe on the rights of any one of us, and we should, in my opinion, be willing to take the attitude, you trespass against one of us, you trespass against us all.

Our society has been split in two, those who do not see the value in a common set of rules, and those who don’t care that the other side is violating the common set of rules.  That always leads to one of two extremes.  With this apathy and attitude, we end up with either anarchy or totalitarianism, but we will meet with one extreme.

Isn’t it time we took a stand?  Isn’t it time we ended the rein of a certain group of people in this county where citizens talk about the “good ole boy network” and the “hillbilly mafia”, and where we know that they are about their work and yet do nothing about it?  Isn’t it time for us to introduce home rule to the county?  If politicians can’t be trusted with our powers, shouldn’t we take them back?

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Lynn vs. Elam?

Is it on?

The Tennessean thinks so: Susan Lynn files to reclaim former state House seat.

My new district

Susan put this map up on her Facebook account.

On the other hand, just a few months ago, former Rep. Lynn was complaining on Facebook that the legislature had deliberately drawn the new district lines to move her out of her former district and into the the 46th (currently held by Rep. Mark Pody).

See here: Susan Lynn: I can see my house from my old district.

Pull up a chair. Pop some popcorn.

This should be entertaining.

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Election/Re-election. 2012

Election and candidate info, issues, or just simply VENT!!!

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