Headlines – Mt. Juliet News – November 14, 2007

Search committee pinpoints nine potential park sites
Teams will investigate

[with price tags that range from $2 million to $9 million – and that’s just for land!
PARTAS presented its 2006 study – again!
Team 1 to investigate Feener property
Team 2 to investigate other 8 properties
Next meeting of the PLSC will be Dec 10 at 5:30]

City overcomes right-of-way stall to progress safe road to new school
[ed. note: “progress” is not a verb
ed. note2: The text of the article refers to “Curd Road,” but the jump line says, “see CURB, page 9″ and the heading for the story continuation on page 9 is also “CURB.” Tends to undermine the readers confidence in the paper’s attention to detail and commitment to accuracy
comment: The owner of one of the parcels has agreed to give the city “possession” of the needed right-of-way across their land and postpone the question of compensation for a later date. One hopes the leaders of the City realize that once the City takes possession, the City is then obligated to pay the owner the fair market value of the land, if the owner insists. And that the owner can request that the question of what the “fair market value” of the land really is be decided by a jury. Why go to Vegas when you can do some high-stakes gambling right here at home?]

editorial teaser:
Why not explore a joint county / city animal control facility?

[What a novel idea! Wonder why it hasn’t been attempted before now? </sarcasm off> ]

Discuss amongst yourselves . . .

– Publius

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Headlines – Mt. Juliet News – November 14, 2007

  1. Butch Huber

    Publius,

    You have me in stitches!

  2. Glen Linthicum

    Publius,

    Could you enlighten us as to who is on the Feener property team? An are the teams looking at the Cumberland property on Mt Juliet Rd.?

  3. Glen Linthicum

    Opps! I forgot to add my comment about the Joint venture on Animal control with the county. You don’t think they are crying WOOF? 🙂

  4. The newspaper account did not mention who was on the Feener team and who was on the other team.

    Has anybody out there in cyberspace heard?

    – Publius

  5. Butch Huber

    To Publius, Mr. Franklin, and to anyone else who may be able to help me out with something.

    As I understand it, the city has a twenty year growth area that will eventually become the boundaries of the city of Mt. Juliet. Currently, the city only takes up a percentage of that area and the county maintains the rest.

    My first question is: When there are retail sales inside the county, but outside an incorporated city, does the county keep all the local sales tax revenues?

    My second question is: If they do keep all the local sales tax revenues, wouldn’t it be in their best interests to invest into areas where they will permanently retain the entire sales tax revenues before they invest inside our twenty year growth area where they only get half? I realize that if they invest in our area, and that area explodes with retail growth, the county would benefit from shared sale tax revenues, but if infrastructure costs for investment in either growth in the county or growth in the twenty-year growth boundaries were the same dollar-for-dollar, the growth inside our twenty-year growth area would have to equal or exceed twice the county’s growth in order for the county to come out even, Right?

    If I were pro county and negative about Mt. Juliet I would be a proponent of spending county money where it gives the county long-term control and the biggest return.

    What incentive does the county have to help Mt. Juliet with its growth? Sure, it gets tax revenues when we grow, but what incentive does the county have to help with our infrastructure when they can spend the same money on their own infrastructure?

    What I am driving at is that the county seems not only not to have an incentive to work with Mt. Juliet, it seems to be in their best interests to focus on areas of the county that won’t be a part of Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, or watertown. If I am right, why would they want to help us? What’s in it for them? I mean, they should want us to grow, but I don’t see where they would be motivated to invest in things like curd road when curd road will eventually be inside the city. Sure, they need to take care of the school issues, but doesn’t the county public education system have one agenda and the county administration have another?

    Why do I ask this? Because negotiating requires that you understand the person on the other side of the table. You have to know his motivations, his desires, his passions. You have to figure out what makes him tick, so to speak. Until we identify the agenda, motivations, aspirations, and desires of the county, we won’t ever be able to have a good relationship, one with a spirit of cooperation, with the county.

    As I see it, the poor relationship the city has with the county is a major stumbling block for the city, but how does that bad relationship hurt the county? How does the county suffer if Mt. Juliet struggles? Lost income? Perhaps, but growth is going to happen in Wilson County whether it happens in Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, or in the County. In fact, the argument could be made that the more Mt. Juliet struggles, the more the county benefits. If retail is developed just a few miles down the road from Mt. Juliet it benefits the county long-term, right?

    I think we need to look at things as if we are not ever going to get any substantial cooperation from the county, develop a master growth plan, develop a funding strategy for our master growth plan, and set up the city so that it is no longer dependant on the county for anything. When we get to that point it will be Mt. Juliet that is in the cat-bird seat, not the county. It is extremely difficult to negotiate from a position of weakness and need. It is extremely easy to negotiate when you are not in a position of need, but the other guy is in need. We need to turn the tables.

    Nothing in this post is geared to put the county down. I can’t really blame them for not wanting to help Mt. Juliet when I look at if from their point-of-view, and through the eyes of someone who is motivated to maintain power and control. I am simply saying that we need to take the blinders off so that we can see clearly, and that we need to develop a comprehensive, over-arching plan for the development of the city without the prospect of having county support, and then we need to play hardball. The county needs to keep up its end of the bargain, they take our tax money and they need to represent us equally, but until we have a big stick in our hands they have little incentive to change their ways, Right?

    I say that it is time for Mt. Juliet to take matters into its own hands by eliminating county influence through high quality strategic and tactical planning, by taking whatever measures are necessary to ensure that we are not even in a position of weakness so that the county never has to be called in to bail us out or help us, by continually offering the county an olive branch, and by seeking out high-quality legal assistance to ensure that we are getting everything that is rightfully ours from our tax investment in the county.

    If the county knows that we don’t need their cooperation in order for us to thrive, if they know that we are willing to work hand-in-hand with them if they are willing to work with us, if they know that we are willing to help them achieve their goals if they are willing to help us achieve ours, if they know that we have a high-quality long-term, comprehensive, vibrant growth plan that will work with or without their involvement, if they know that we want to develop a mutually beneficial spirit of cooperation, and if they also know that we will pull out all the stops to fight them if they don’t represent us according to law and according to what is right and just, perhaps we will be able to get some real cooperation with the county. What do you think?

  6. Bobby Franklin

    Mr. Huber,

    If you would look at the county district map –
    http://www.wilsoncountytn.com/planning1/Redistric%20Map.pdf you will find the answer to most of your questions.

    Compare the number of County Commissioners that are mostly inside the City of Lebanon. Now look at Mt. Juliet. There are 11 or 12 with population inside Lebanon compared to 4 or 5 inside Mt. Juliet. Which City do you think will be better represented given the makeup of those districts?

    Its gets worse – if some of the County Commissioners inside of Mt. Juliet’s city limits “sell out” their vote to the county faction, and they do, then you see why Mt. Juliet has so little representation at the county level.

    For example, it wasn’t really the Lebanon County Commissioners that kept killing the funding to improve Curd Road – it is the Mt. Juliet County Commissioners that are voting against it! Even the Commissioner of the Curd Road district voted against the road!

    Bobby Franklin

  7. Bobby Franklin

    The Mt. Juliet City Commission continues to ignore its own ordinances and resolutions. In doing so, every elected official violates his or her oath of office. Their oath requires them to uphold the city charter, state law, and the ordinances and resolutions in place in Mt. Juliet. Granted, the Commission has the authority to amend, repeal, and / or pass new legislation – but they do not have authority to ignore the ordinances and resolutions in place.

    The current parkland search violates several Mt. Juliet policies, ordinances, and resolutions. Mt. Juliet established a Parks Board, by ordinance in 1984. That ordinance can be found on the city website here: http://www.cityofmtjuliet.org/citycommission/Ordinances/1984/1984-05o.pdf
    In section II, number 5, the ordinance states the role of the Parks Board: “It shall recommend to the Board of Commissioners the sale or purchase of any land desired to be acquired or disposed of, now owned or used by the Mt. Juliet Board of Parks and Recreation”. They are supposed to find and recommend new parkland.

    The Commission has recently appointed a special committee to recommend the purchase of parkland to the City Commission. That is in clear violation of ordinance 1984 – 05.

    That appointed committee is considering property inconsistent with the Neighborhood Parks Plan resolution passed by the City Commission in 2002. 2002– 20: http://www.cityofmtjuliet.org/citycommission/Resolutions/2002/200221.pdf
    That resolution set specific goals for the Parks Board to adhere to when adding parks in Mt. Juliet. The first goal stated: “Attempt to add at least 1 neighborhood park to each commission district”. Goal three said: “Attempt to place a park within 1 mile of every residence in the City of Mt. Juliet.

    The property being considered at the end of York Road is inconsistent with both those stated goals. In fact there is no Mt. Juliet resident within 1 mile of that property. So we have an illegitimate committee considering unusable property.

    In 2004 the City Commission committed to fund a Greenway from the new Mt. Juliet Elementary School to Mt. Juliet Road. That resolution referenced resolution 2002 – 20:
    http://www.cityofmtjuliet.org/citycommission/Resolutions/2004/200406.pdf.
    It should be noted that the West Division Greenway is consistent with all ordinances and resolutions and was recommended by the Parks Board. The Commission is capable of adding parkland correctly – at least it could back in 2004.

    The Parks Board was searching for parkland back in May and June of this year and finding it. Why is the City Commission violating its own law to circumvent the duties of the Parks Board?

  8. Butch Huber

    Thank you Mr. Franklin. I went to the website you suggested.

    What would it take to annex the rest of our twenty-year growth boundary?

    What would become our responsibility if we made such a move? How could we afford it?

    If we were able to annex the rest of our twenty-year growth boundary we would have 13 or 14 commissioners representing Mt. Juliet; I think that there would be a majority of the commissioners on the county commission representing Mt. Juliet. We might need to vote in some new commissioners to represent us, (Commissioners that wouldn’t “sell out”) but wouldn’t it be interesting if we suddenly had a majority of the commissioners (Commissioners that actually represent Mt. Juliet’s interests) on the county commission representing Mt. Juliet?

    We also would then be the largest city in the county in terms of population (At least I believe we would be) so if someone started squawking about becoming a Metro, Mt Juliet would become the county seat (Wouldn’t it?)!

    If we had a comprehensive, cohesive, well-designed, well thought-out growth strategy, and a comprehensive, cohesive, well-designed, well thought-out public relations and marketing strategy for the development of Mt. Juliet, for the power players of Wilson County politics, Mt. Juliet would be like a storm on the horizon, you know it is coming, but there is nothing you can do about.

    Just beginning the process of developing a strategy to marginalize the influence of the county on the City of Mt. Juliet would shake things up, wouldn’t it? Developing a strategy for taking over control of the county commission would really shake things up! I think that the county commission would be much more agreeable if they recognized that Mt. Juliet could, and would, soon be in control if they don’t act civilly toward our fair city. Right now, whenever the city needs to take the county to the mats on something it is like taking a knife to a gun fight.

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