Headlines – Mt. Juliet News – October 31, 2007

City, county officials alarmed about Curd Road
Meet to discuss MJHS safe passage alternatives
[the meeting was between City Manager Randy Robertson, Police Chief Ted Floyd, and Wilson County Schools Director Mike Davis – all of whom appear to be trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it’s the elected officials who need to vote funding for the new road]

North end of Mt. Juliet booming with development
No longer in the shadow of Providence

[Coolview Commons, Mt. Juliet Commons, new Publix site – together they do add up to something]

City manager petitions state to clear road construction zone
Explores better animal control site
[Robertson thinks the city needs more park land, a property tax, another traffic light, and a different animal control site]

editorial teaser:
Curd Road: continuing to learn lessons from the mistakes
[or are they just continuing to make mistakes?]

– Publius

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Headlines – Mt. Juliet News – October 31, 2007

  1. Common Sense

    OK, so he has been here less than a month and is already saying we need a property tax? Wonder if he will make it through the first year or if he will leave in a few months like he did at his last job?

  2. Book Smarts

    You do need a property tax.

  3. Butch Huber

    Book Smarts,

    Why? I am not being smart or smug, I am not even saying that I feel you are wrong, I would really like to know why you feel we need a property tax.

  4. G-Man

    This is my first post to Radio Free MJ…great site. Mr. Robertson has a lot to learn about Mt. Juliet. If he continues to rattle the city property tax saber, he’ll need to polish up that resume pretty quickly. But, I have sources that tell me that he does not shy away from ruffling feathers, even to the point of coming off arrogant. Maybe he’ll fit right in after all.

  5. Bobby Franklin

    While I was City Planner a hundred or more people told me that Mt. Juliet needed a property tax. They all had one thing in common – none of them lived in the city.

  6. Common Sense

    See, my point exactly. The “book smart” say we need a property tax, but if you use your common sense and see that we have Providence and tons of other retail bringing in more revenue than we ever imagined a few years ago, we don’t really need a property tax now, do we?

    Unless you are in the market to sell something to the city of course… Such as rock disguised as a hill.

  7. Man of the People!

    The Beckwith-Curd-Clemmons-HighSchool-Industrial Eastern Bypass needs to be built asap. And we don’t need general industrial, with its semi truck traffic and permitting of ‘adult’ business, within two miles of the High School. Hopefully our ‘anti-hooker’ commissioner will join the two commissioners who are likely to vote against that bad zoning change.

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we need a property tax. If it’s implemented to pay four times too much for a remote park site and to fund other boondoggles, a lot of commissioners will be retiring next year.

  8. Butch Huber

    I don’t think we need a property tax either, but I have been hearing about people who do feel we need a property tax and I would like to hear some rational, logical, informed and educated reasoning as to why they feel that way. I go by the logic that nobody in their right mind would want to pay a tax they didn’t have to pay, yet there are people who want a property tax. There must be some logical explanation for why they feel the way they feel, right?

    If there is anyone reading this post who feels that we should have a property tax, I would like to know why you believe the way you believe.

    What would you use the money for? Would it be a permanent tax? How much is enough? Won’t the increase from all the retail be sufficient to meet the revenue needs of the city? If not, what will the shortfall be?

    If there is a property tax proponent out there who is willing to weigh-in, I would appreciate hearing your opinion. I am not looking to slam you, or say bad things, or anything of the kind. (Obviously, I can’t stop others from saying what they want.) I simply want to understand where you, and folks from your camp, are coming from. I keep hearing there are people who want a property tax for the city, and I have actually met one before, but I have never heard a good explanation for a need for a property tax.

  9. Butch Huber

    Is there anyone who can present a solid case for a property tax…even if you don’t believe we should have one?

  10. Bobby Franklin

    Mr. Huber,

    I am not in favor of a property tax but I do predict that one is coming. Here is why:

    The road projects recently completed or now under construction were started 4 to 5 years ago. It is easy for the public to see a picture of a ribbon cutting in the newspaper and mistakenly assume that the project was conceived, planned, started and finished all in just a few months. That is never the case.

    The current road construction projects going on in Mt. Juliet might also lead people to assume that all our traffic problems will soon be over. That, too, is not the case.

    You see the City Commission is not starting any major road projects right now. The projects you now see being constructed and completed were started in 2002 and 2003. That means in 2010 and 2012 no new road projects will be near completion. Do you think traffic counts will be the same then as they are now?

    The city could borrow money with a bond issue for 5 or 6 million dollars and start the Eastern Connector. I recommended that early this year. Instead, it appears, the city is going to borrow money to buy land for a new park. The money market is tight right now and the city can only borrow so much. If the city’s borrowing power is squandered on another park, the city can only borrow to build another road if it can find a way to increase its revenues. There are only a few ways for a city to increase revenues.

    You might ask yourself why the Commission would be motivated to build parks before roads. I think it has to do with an “instant gratification” ribbon cutting mentality. All of the current Commissioners would have to go through at least one more election cycle before a major road project ribbon cutting could happen – and then only if they borrowed the money and started today. A park can be constructed in one building season – and before the next election.

    If the city squanders its borrowing power on building a park before building the Eastern Connector it will then take a property tax to build that needed road. The new High School opening on Curd Road will add so much traffic the public outcry will be loud. The property tax will, of course, be “for the children” – not because of bad planning and misplaced priorities by the city commission.

    Bobby Franklin

  11. Butch Huber

    The instant gratification thing is a real disease in our country, and sadly, I can’t say that I have a total immunity to it. We get caught up in it as a society. We want, what we want, when we want it. That is why credit cards caught on. But it didn’t start with credit cards. Look at the national debt load this country has been developing. Go back and look at the history. The public debt soared around 1915-1917 then the national debt began to mimic the public debt a few years later. Then between 1920 to 1940 the public and national debt took a virtual vertical climb and it has been climbing ever since. Today, we spend about as much on servicing the national debt (Interest) as we spend on the defense of our nation (and we spend about ten times more on defense than the next country on the list which is China. Guess who also holds a lot of our debt…China.) Add the debt service for our public debt (Personal and private debt of the people) and you come to about 1 trillion dollars in debt service; about one tenth to one twelfth of our Gross Domestic Product!

    Not all debt is bad debt necessarily, but most is. If we start floating bonds for things that are unnecessary we will be robbing Peter to pay Paul. That debt has to be paid, along with the interest on the debt. That means that while we are out there swinging with little Tommy, having a good ol’ time, we are at the same time loading debt on his back. None of us (hopefully) would take our children to a movie and take the money out of their piggy bank to do it…would we? But when we build parks on borrowed money that is essentially what we are doing…we are using Tommy’s future earnings to pay for the privilege of taking Tommy to the park today. We are having a grand time on Tommy’s money. It is shameful!

    I have had my fill of debt in my life and I don’t need politicians helping me to build more of it.

    We have to remember that our government is made up of people, and if you look at the debts of this nation and its people, you will see that the “people” started it and that government soon followed. We can right this situation by developing personal financial integrity as a society.

    Developing personal financial integrity as a society means saying “no”. Saying “no” to ourselves. Saying “no” to our spouse (Husband “and” wife). Saying “no” to our children. And saying “no” to our government. I am preaching to myself as well, so don’t get in a huff.

    Debt is eating us from the core. It is like a great cancer in our collective soul as a nation. We need to stop the trend before we lose the bubble. Folks, all it takes is a few changes in our public policy or in the markets and we are in some serious trouble as a nation. If we ever go into a serious recession that has any length to it we are in deep-do-do. Right now the service on the national debt represents about one quarter to one third of what we pay in taxes each year, but that percentage would skyrocket if we went into a protracted deep recession. It could easily climb to half or more of our total national tax revenues. Then what? You guessed it, more taxes…right? However, that also has a trickle effect. Higher taxes also mean higher prices right? Guess who pays. You and I, right? I will spare you the details, but we are in serious trouble as a nation, both publicly and privately.

    Government knows that the people respond to gifts. They say:”You asked for a park, and we gave you a park”. But they don’t say; “Because you asked for a park, and because we gave you a park, we can no longer afford to operate the government without a property tax.”

    It would be very interesting to see what the response would be if we were to provide the citizens of Mt. Juliet with a master development plan for Mt. Juliet that included a 1, 2, 3, 5, 10,and 20 year projection, and a current and projected budget for the next 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, and 20 years and asked them if they thought it was wise to build a park now. It would also be interesting if we were to take that same example to the richest people in the area and ask them the same thing.

    We hear it said that the United States has gone from the richest nation in the world to becoming that biggest debtor nation in the world…and it is true…but we have to learn what drives us. It is the bigger houses, nicer cars, better furniture, diamonds, watches, clothes, entertainment, lifestyle, etc. that drives us. We are becoming slaves to our own insatiable appetite for more and more…yet we never reach our nirvana.

    Imagine yourself sitting in traffic trying to get home from work, getting frustrated, feeling overwhelmed, finally getting home, rushing in grabbing the kids, rushing out to get some fast food before heading to the park so the kids can play, rush rush rush at the park so that you can get the kids home to do homework and get to bed so that tomorrow you can repeat the whole process. The kids really had quality time didn’t they? Isn’t that how life should be?

    Our families get what is left of us after we slave away to pay the debts we have hanging over our heads (both public, national, and private.) but we never pay them, we pay the interest on them!

    There is a better way. It starts in the home. When Americans regain the wholesome lifestyle again they will demand that the government change its ways as well. We will begin to elect politicians that will enact laws and pass budgets that reflect the ideals of a wholesome nation.

    The war on terror needs to be fought in two directions…one direction is head-on, taking the fight to them…but the other direction is here at home. We need to change our lifestyle. We need to quit trying to keep up with the Joneses and begin to prefer a more humble life through which we can actually enjoy our children and our families, a life that is not so caught up in the trappings, a life where we can have mothers home raising their babies, a life where we can grow together instead of apart, a life where children are no longer drugged into a stupor so they can endure the unnatural setting of being trapped in a desk all day with a bunch of people who they don’t really know, a life where children grow up with parents that are not stressed to the limits, a life where we are able to take a break and enjoy one another. We need to work together in a real way to solve the dependence on foreign oil. How will you and I ever be able to work together to solve real problems if we are slave to the debt machine and never really get to know one another? Do you think big business will solve the energy problem? I seriously doubt it. Do you think government will solve it? How many backroom deals do you think have gone on at the national level that you and I don’t know a thing about?

    Folks, we need each other. Citizens taking charge of their lives, preferring a wholesome lifestyle over the keeping up with the Joneses will give you “Time”. Prefer “time” over “things”. I promise you will be glad you did. Test me and see if you don’t enjoy “time” more than you enjoy “things”. The most contagious thing in the world is a smile, when is the last time you saw a sincere and honest smile from a person? I am not talking about a smile because they heard something funny…I am talking about that deep down, warm, honest, happy smile that can’t suppress itself and has to emerge on the face of a contented soul. Not that common anymore is it. Our lifestyle in this country has practically eradicated the most contagious thing there is, and we hardly noticed even though it has been right under out noses.

    We can take the sting out of terrorism if we redirect our focus. If we allow what they are doing to cause us to place God in the center of our family, family in the center of community, community in the center of society and society as the compass for government we will take what they mean for harm and turn it into something good. From that a strength will emerge that is more dangerous to the terrorist than all the other weapons we have combined…a United State of the American People; a people that are determined to protect a life they would truly die for. We need something to believe in again.

    I know this is a long post about many things other than the issues of curd road and property taxes in Mt. Juliet, but it is all connected. How are we ever going to change the nation if we can’t develop small models from which to build? We will never change America from Washington, so we might as well stop trying. We need to change. You need to change, and I need to change. We need to have a more wholesome approach to life as a society.

    Life in Mt. Juliet will be just fine if we never build another park. But if you and I and the rest of the citizens roll up our shirt sleeves we together can build a park without debt, but more importantly, we could get to know one another, which is the beginning of change.

  12. Glen Linthicum

    Bobby,

    Your observations are spot on. As much as I would love to see a Drakes Creek or Moss Wright type park build in Mt Juliet, the Eastern Connector should be a major priority for this Commission. I know that I pressed the issue during my tenure on the Commission but unfortunately the Commission seems to be forgetting that it needs to stay above the special interests and keep their eye on the big picture. I know that others have brought this up but building the Eastern connector will help to ease traffic with a new High school and as an alternative to N. Mt Juliet rd when this project begins. I spoke on several occasions and continue to believe that the Commission needs to pull together and create a Strategic plan, Mission statement and goals for the next 3-5-7-10 years and beyond. Any well run organization has a plan; the City Commission is not exempt. When you have a frame work (plan) by which you can base your decisions, it will create a more productive organization. As it stands now there is little by way of a coherent plan being followed other than “gotcha politics”.
    “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” William Penn

    Glen

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