What’s wrong with the YMCA deal

The Y’s own survey research shows that only 10% of the households in Mt. Juliet will ever join.

It’s not just that the Mt. Juliet City Commission is GIVING eight acres of valuable land to the YMCA.

It’s that they’re BUYING eight acres of land to GIVE to the YMCA.

It’s not just that they’re BUYING eight acres of land to GIVE to the YMCA.

It’s that they’re BORROWING money in order to BUY eight acres of land to GIVE to the YMCA.

. . . for a facility that will be used by 10% of the households in Mt. Juliet.

And they can’t even get the procedural details right. They’ve voted on an ordinance three times now. They still don’t own the land. They still don’t have a signed contract with Wilson County. And they’re going to have to negotiate and approve a contract with the YMCA.

Is this what the citizens of Mt. Juliet want?

– Publius

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45 Comments

Filed under YMCA

45 responses to “What’s wrong with the YMCA deal

  1. Butch huber

    Publius,

    The commission was asked how they intend to pay for the land at the old Elementary School Site and Ray Justice in a very cavalier voice told the person asking the question that they were going to pay for it with the hotel/motel tax. However, they hadn’t voted to change the ordinance that enacted the hotel/motel tax to allow for the use of that money to go toward their gift to the YMCA. Later on during the commission meeting they voted on changing the ordinance on the hotel/motel tax and the motion failed! It’s kind of like; “I voted for the war, but then I voted not to fund it”!

    The idea that they are using two million dollars of borrowed money to pay for this purchase and then they intend to give 1.3 million dollars of it away is unbelievable! How can they get away with that?

    The people who live in Ray, Ed and Will’s districts ought to remember this come election time for their commissioner. Maybe we need an investigation to find out what kind of stupid drugs these guys are on! Borrowing money to give it away, who does that? Even a small child would know that borrowing money to give it away is about the dumbest thing you can do! Perhaps it should be mandatory for elected officials to pass basic economics and finance exams before they can run for office. Question number one should be: “Is it ever a good idea to borrow money so you can give it away?” Yes or No. Those who circle “yes” should be ejected from the testing center and should never be allowed to run for public office again!

    But on top of all the idiotic things we have seen concerning this, they went and amended the measure once again, and they amended the caption of the ordinance, which according to what the city attorney said during the meeting, requires that they vote on this again! Maybe there is a good reason that this ordinance is having a hard time making it through…maybe it isn’t making it through the process because it is illegal, immoral, unethical and just plain stupid! Borrowing money and then giving it away…who came up with that brilliant plan?

  2. Butch Huber

    Folks,

    Just a quick note to let you know some important information regarding funding the purchase of the old MJES site. Ray Justice told a citizen during the last commission meeting that the project would be funded through the hotel motel tax. The purchase of the Mt. Juliet Elementary School site is supposed to be paid for through four payments as I recall. (This doesn’t account for the 950K that the city will have to pay back toward the build-out of the Eastern Connector Road.)

    I went to city hall today and asked how much the city has collected from the hotel/motel tax in the past two months…I believe that they were the first two payments. The total was just over $15,000! That means that the city is only bringing in about $7,500 per month, and that amount won’t likely change much even with the addition of the new hotel because the hotel I visited only seems to be running an occupancy rate of about 50% or so. That means that the new hotel will likely be sharing the available pool of customers that stay overnight in Mt. Juliet. If you multiply $7,500 by 12 months per year you only arrive at about $90,000. That is a far cry short of the $250,000 per year payment the city will have to make to the city for the purchase of the Old MJES site!

    Ray, I think you have some explaining to do.

  3. Butch Huber

    Here is an interesting little tidbit:

    During the time of construction of this bond application it was believed that the county would be putting $950,000 toward the construction of the eastern connector road. The city took a bond issue in the amount of $10,000,000 even though they expected at the time that the county would contribute $950,000. As I understand it Bonds are usually issued in “Blocks”, and that it makes more sense to take a full $10,000,000 bond than it does to take a lesser amount and then put the difference in an interest bearing account until the purpose of the bond is complete. Upon completion of the purpose of the bond you then pay down the principle of the bond.

    Here is an excerpt from the bond issue for the $10,000,000:

    “(b) the remaining funds in the Construction Fund shall be disbursed solely to pay the
    costs of the Project. Money in the Construction Fund shall be secured in the
    manner prescribed by applicable statutes relative to the securing of public or trust
    funds, if any, or, in the absence of such a statute, by a pledge of readily marketable
    securities having at all times a market value of not less than the amount in said
    Construction Fund. Money in the Construction Fund shall be expended only for the
    purposes authorized by this resolution. Any funds remaining in the Construction
    Fund after completion of the Project and payment of authorized expenses shall be
    used to pay principal of and interest on the Bonds. Moneys in the Construction
    Funds shall be invested at the direction of the City Recorder in such investments as
    shall be permitted by applicable law. Earnings from such investments in the
    Construction Fund shall be retained in the Construction Fund or deposited in the
    City’s debt service fund as determined by the Mayor.”

    First of all, this is saying that the money used in this fund shall only be used for the purposes of this fund, however, when the city gives the county credit toward the build-out of the road when it purchases this school property it is co-mingling intended receipts, which to my mind is saying that “we, the city, will pay an additional $950,000 toward the build out of the road project with funds from our $10,000,000 bond if the county will in turn reduce the price we have to pay for the old MJES site.” I say this because the county has now proven its will to contribute $950,000 toward the connector road because instead of charging the city $2,000,000 for the Old Elementary School site, which was the asking price, it has reduced the price for the city to $1,050,000.

    Folks, when the construction is done and this bond issue is wrapped up, the city will not have this $950,000 to pay down the principle on the bond or to apply to additional road construction. Now, they could hide that fact if nobody was looking. But somebody is watching them…in fact a lot of somebodies are watching them.

    What they are doing, from my perspective, is a violation of the terms of the bond issue. I will make sure that the issuers of the bond know what is happening.

    I will also be letting any and all regulatory authorities involved with bonds know about this matter as well.

    Further, and I don’t know if this is normal or not, but did you see where this bond issue said that:

    “Earnings from such investments in the Construction Fund shall be retained in the Construction Fund or deposited in the City’s debt service fund as determined by the Mayor.”

    Shouldn’t that have said as determined by the commission? How did the mayor develop the right of unilateral control of this issue?

    If there is anyone out there that has a deep knowledge of bond, could you help out with that? This is a city manager-commission form of government, and not a mayor-alderman form of government, so how did the mayor end up in charge?

  4. Butch Huber

    Vice Mayor Hagerty,

    I can see that you are sponsoring an amendment to the hotel/motel tax.

    You should know that I have spoken with someone at one of the hotels here in town, a person who works behind the customer service counter, who told me that they have customers who actually leave when they find out about the taxes charged on hotel rooms in this city.

    He also told me that non-profit/tax exempt organizations are not exempt from the hotel/motel tax. This means that, if you amend the hotel/motel tax to enable the city to use those funds to pay for the donation to the YMCA, you will be taking funds from one non-profit entity to fund another. You may be able to make this legal, but you will never make it ethical.

    I have already shown that the hotel/motel in its entirety will not be sufficient to pay for your donation to the YMCA, which means you will have to draw funds from some other place to pay the remaining balance: that some other place is the pockets of taxpayers in this city.

    The commission enacted this tax on the basis that the revenues from it would go to pay for city owned projects, not for the funding of a non-profit organization! This is nothing more than using progressive tactical political maneuvers to attain a hidden objective. You (members of the commission) tell the voters that you are going to enact a tax in order to help fund city owned parks and recreation. You tout how the taxpayers here will get a break because people who don’t live in Mt. Juliet will be the ones paying that tax. You get people who are interested in city parks and park improvements excited because they are going to have a new source of funding. That tactic developed at least some public support from people who are interested in having more and better parks in this city. Then, when you get the tax in place, you simply amend the ordinance to enable you to spend the money where you really wanted to put it in the first place. Had you stated that your real purpose was to fund this donation you would have caught hell from the voters. By getting the tax in place the way you did and then switching gears you put yourselves in a much better place strategically because the issue of whether there is going to be a hotel/motel tax or not is no longer in question. Now the only thing in question is where we will ultimately spend the revenues. What you are doing is shameful!

    You obviously don’t understand business. Do you think the hotel/motel tax helps local business or hurts it? Do you think that what you are doing helps the hotel/motel business in Mt. Juliet or hurts it? While I recognize that a YMCA in this city is helpful as far as being able to use that fact in advertising for growth in the city, your continued underhanded tactics as a commission causes such harm that it offsets any gains you could have hoped to receive. Further, you could have gotten a YMCA without this tax and without this donation. They were coming here anyway….I heard that from the horse’s mouth! In addition, a local businessman was willing to donate the needed land, so there was no need for the city to contribute anything.

    How can you in good conscience do what you are planning.

    You are forcing all of the taxpayers of Mt. Juliet to pay for a facility that only 9% of the population responded that they would be interested in using…but that survey didn’t say anything about the city “donating” $1.3 million to the Y. Had that survey included the donation from the city to the YMCA in its narrative, I am quite confident that the response would have been much lower. This is especially true considering that the citizens get nothing in return for the donation.

    How on earth can you justify this action? How can you reconcile the drastic departure from your voting history on matters such as this? What in Heaven’s name has gotten into you, Ed?

    Ed, level with us before it is too late. What is going on? Who or what is really behind all of this? What kind of deal was made at that retreat the city leadership went on? The public has a right to know, Ed.

  5. Paul Deyo

    Butch, Nashville recently raised taxes on all tourist related services such as rental cars and lodging to finance a huge convention center they don’t need. So I don’t find the assertion that people are leaving Mt. Juliet’s two hotels because of a room tax plausible. If they are westbound, they may turn around and come back!

    Whatever my views on the YMCA plan might be, the percentage of Mt. Juliet citizens who will use our two (soon to be four) hotels is far smaller than the percentage that will join the Y.

  6. Butch Huber

    Paul,

    I am just relating what I have heard from a person working in one of the hotels. I have no reason to doubt him. Not intending to sound nasty, but you don’t work at the hotel…I don’t think that you are really in a position to say whether or not something is plausible in this matter.

    Taxes, regardless of who is paying them, need to be created and crafted with some serious thought and consideration. Once created, they need to be used for the reason they were enacted. If they are not going to be used for the reason they were enacted they need to be repealed. What has happened here with this hotel/motel tax is the commission voted to enact a hotel/motel tax as a means of generating money for parks and recreation. They, like you, seem to be of the same mind…let’s tax people from someplace outside the city. I am sure each township, city, municipality, county and state deals with the same mentality. It is easier to get voters in a city to accept a tax that they themselves don’t have to pay than to get them to buy-off on a tax that is coming out of their pockets. The people who are dealing with the new hotel/motel taxes are the owners of the hotels and their customers. That is much easier than to deal with 12,000 angry homeowners who can vote in elections…(Not that we are going to be anywhere near that number….{I have to put this disclaimer in here so Common Sense doesn’t blast me and say “Butch Huber says that there are 12,000 voters in Mt. Juliet”})

    However, each action has an equal and opposite reaction. We raise hotel/motel taxes, other cities raise hotel/motel taxes…etc. continuing to enact new taxes and increase taxes is not the answer. Not doing stupid things like give away money we don’t have it the answer. (More on this in a moment.)

    So, after getting the hotel/motel taxes past the voters by saying that people who live outside Mt. Juliet will be paying the cost of our parks and recreation, the city commission is now poised to “amend” the tax so that they can use that money to fund a donation to the YMCA. Obviously, the city didn’t need the hotel/motel tax for parks and recreation after all…did they? It was a sham…a scam…a shell game. If they don’t need the money for parks and recreation they should repeal the tax, then if they want to fund the YMCA they should have to go through the process again from the beginning. How about starting from zero, meaning no hotel/motel tax, then voting to enact a hotel/motel tax for the purpose of funding a donation to the YMCA?

    I was asked by one commissioner why I chastise him. Well, this is the kind of thing that politicians do that simply gets under my skin. Why not be honest with us for a change? It is all really simple…just tell the truth. No playing games, be upfront and open about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Listen to the voters. And make good decisions. You don’t have to always be right, but you should always be honest.

    Paul, you can’t possibly think that what is happening here is right. We certainly have had our differences, but I think I can tell from some of your posts that you can’t agree with what is happening here.

    Now, back to the point mentioned above…

    This is right up your alley Paul. One of the commissioners said that the county wasn’t going to give the city a donation toward the eastern connector road because they had no cash…he said that the county told the city that the best they could do was to give the city a break on the price of the Elementary School site. Sounds benign.

    Let me slow that last statement down for you and fill in the gaps. The county decided to purchase a piece of land down curd road to build a school. A large percentage of the student body that will attend that school lives in the unincorporated portion of the county, and 100% of the student body are citizens of the county. I can’t remember how much the county has invested in the school, I have heard twenty million and I have heard over forty million. At any rate, they spent a lot. However, they created the need for an upgrade to the road by building the school down curd road, not the city. Yet, somehow the city seems to feel the need to build a road to the school. SO, here we are trying to get the county to chip in to pay for the expense to fix the road situation and they come back saying that they aren’t going to upgrade the road because they don’t have the cash and that the best they can do is to discount the price of a piece of property so the city can purchase it to give it away to the YMCA. How did that help the county? The new ordinance they passed (Or think they passed) doesn’t say that the county gets a credit toward the build out of the eastern connector, it just says “credit”. I can’t seem to get a straight answer as to where the credit applies…and I have asked. The county says that they don’t have the “cash”. Well, did the city of Mt. Juliet have the “Cash”? Apparently not, they went out and took out a bond offering to raise some “Cash”. So, in the end analysis, the city has borrowed money to fix something the county caused, and the best the county can do is reduce the price on a piece of land they have had a really hard time getting rid of so the city can give it away! Paul, is all this supposed to make sense?

    Wouldn’t it have been better for the county to reduce the price of the land in increments and put it out for bid to the local building community? If the county were to sell that land at a reduced price they would have some “cash”. Then the county commission, which by the way represents all Wilson County residents, could vote on donating the proceeds toward the eastern connector. How about if the city were to negotiate a deal with the county through which the county sells the city the land for full price and then apply the proceeds directly toward the eastern connector to help pay down their obligations for the problem they caused by putting the school where they put it? I am sure that the county was able to save quite a lot of money by selecting that spot for the high school rather than putting it along Lebanon Road, so why should the city pay the bill for the road to it?

    Paul, can you answer these questions?

  7. Butch Huber

    Paul,

    I don’t know whether have posted a response and it hasn’t been put up on Radiofree or if you just haven’t responded.

    It would be a shame if the reason there is no response to my post under this thread is because you aren’t going to post.

    I find it interesting that of all the people I have spoken to about the things that are going on in this city, and out of all the posts, there isn’t anyone who has been able to dismantle what I have been saying. The reason for that is simple…what I have been saying is true and the evidence is there in the public record so that you and I can go look at it. I may be mistaken on bits and pieces of what has been going on, but mostly those mistakes are minor and of no real substance. However, the main points are very serious and I am usually, if not always, on target about those things. If I weren’t there would be plenty of people willing to get on here with their own posts, systematically dismantling what I have been saying.

    Paul, Let me try another approach. I will ask you one question at a time.

    Let’s start with this one.

    Do you see how the city is borrowing extra money through the grant proposal, above and beyond what they need to build the road, so that they can purchase the elementary school site, so they can give the YMCA 8 acres?

    Paul, you were willing to challenge my post about the hotel receptionist’s comments, if you are going to engage in trying to discredit what I say, the least you can do is answer these simple questions.

  8. Butch Huber

    I am sorry, that question was stated incorrectly, what I meant to ask was:

    “Do you see how the city is borrowing extra money through the new bond issue, above and beyond what they need to build the road, so that they can purchase the elementary school site, so they can in turn give the YMCA 8 acres?

    Please answer this question and not the last one.

  9. Butch Huber

    Not willing to answer that question, Paul? Let me try another one.

    How will the new hotel/motel tax pay for the donation to the YMCA when the combined gross receipts of that tax, from every hotel/motel in town, won’t add up to even half of what is needed to cover that tax?

    If they can get one dollar in income to cover more than two dollars of liability they will have a job waiting for them in a Vegas Magic show any time they want it.

  10. Butch Huber

    Sorry,
    I mean cover that liability.

  11. Butch Huber

    Paul, still not willing to answer? Let’s try another.

    Do you think that the city should have to finance the development of the road that goes from Lebanon Road to the new high school or do you think the county should pay that bill?

    Careful, Paul, this one is tricky. You see, if you say “city” a lot of developers in this town will be alienated because the city forces them to pay for the upgrades to infrastructure that are necessary to accommodate their development projects. If you say “county” you will be saying that the city should be consistent in the way that it conducts its business; and we all know that the only thing consistent about this commission is its inconsistency.

    Hmmm…Will Paul answer?

  12. Butch Huber

    I wonder if the city should have divulged the various lawsuits against it in the written statement in the bond issue? I mean, after Bobby Franklin gets done I doubt that they will have a lot of money to spend on anything. This is especially true since supposedly the main reason they fired him was because of a misstatement on a grant application (One that he had nothing to do with.) and now the person who fired him and the mayor that made it all possible are both signatories on the written statement for the bond issue containing misstatements and yet they are keeping their jobs. I would say he might even have a discrimination lawsuit in the making now! I know if I were a bond investor I would want to know about the lawsuits, wouldn’t you?

  13. Butch Huber

    Oh Paul,

    Here’s another question of the day that you won’t answer.

    Do you think it is appropriate for the city commission to enact the new hotel/motel tax for the purpose of funding city parks and recreation, get a bunch of people excited because they feel that the city will update, upgrade and develop free usage city parks and provide for more free recreation activities, then once they get the tax in place, switch gears and use the tax to provide a donation to the YMCA where citizens will now have to pay money to use the facility?

  14. Butch Huber

    Ok, Paul, so I have done some research. Turns out that the city of Mt. Juliet is charging 80% to 100% more in hotel/motel taxes than any of the surrounding markets. Do you think that might have an impact on the hotels in this city? Consider when large groups are booking blocks of rooms, do you think saving 3 to 5 dollars per room could have an impact? (Would it have an impact on your decision if you were booking rooms for say one hundred people and paying for it out of your pocket?)

    How about this, Paul, most municipalities that charge hotel/motel taxes apply those taxes toward projects that actually help increase tourism. They spend money toward riverfront projects, convention centers, and attractions that would cause people to want to visit that city or community. If I were a hotel/motel owner I might even agree with charging those taxes because the increased tourism in turn increases room rentals.

    Now consider our hotel/motel tax. Its original intent was to fund city owned parks and recreation. How does city owned parks and recreation help the hotel/motel industry? It doesn’t increase tourism to have a city park, at least not by much. Perhaps if the city were to use that money to develop a major sports park so that they can attract sports tournaments it might sell some rooms, but putting in a few swings and sliding boards in small parks disbursed through the city, as it seems the commission really wants to do, will not help sell hotel rooms.

    So, in my estimation, charging 80% to 100% more in hotel/motel taxes so that the city can fund a 1.3 million dollar donation to the YMCA certainly won’t help the hotel motel industry in any measurable way.

    While it may be true that the casual traveler driving through Mt. Juliet won’t turn around and go back to the county, which only charges half what Mt. Juliet charges in hotel/motel tax, or go to Hermitage where they will only be charged 6o% of what Mt. Juliet charges in hotel/motel taxes, it could certainly have an impact on a more macro-level in the travel industry.

    Sorry to poke holes in your game.

  15. Butch Huber

    Paul, I am going to leave you alone at the request of a close personal friend of mine. He says you’re not a bad guy, and he asked that I take it easy on you. Paul, I don’t think you are a bad guy…I think you are a little misguided and perhaps a little biased, but I don’t think you are a bad guy. If I have been too hard I apologize.

  16. Butch Huber

    Silence! The silence that ensued when I asked the commission some very compelling questions was deafening! What is it that they are hiding? Why can’t they answer my questions? As a citizen I have a right to the answers to the questions that I posed to them, yet they refuse to answer. They don’t want me to know the answers to my questions because they know that what they are doing is wrong. So, they sit in silence for fear that if they actually answer my questions they will have to answer for their actions.

    Your city is hiding something from you…if nothing else…they are hiding the truth from you. I asked them a simple question…”where is the $950,000 credit that the city has voted to give the county going to be applied?” They wouldn’t answer. The city Mayor, the Vice-mayor, the other three commissioners, the city manager and the city attorney were all sitting there and they were all silent! Do you think I am asking the right questions now? They won’t answer them…of course I am asking them the right questions!

    The proposed change to the hotel/motel tax was worded so carefully that it provided a channel through which they city can fund practically any type of recreation they desire with that fund. I believe there are still some requirements and conditions that they have to meet in order to use them, but if they passed this amendment (I don’t know how it ended up yet), they have certainly lowered the bar and have provided a low key avenue for them to spend even more on YMCA related donations or other pet projects with that money.

    They are doing things that are intended to pull the wool over our eyes. They are playing us for fools. Ray Justice shaming those of us who oppose the city using tax money that belongs to the people to provide a gift to the YMCA is about as hypocritical as anything I have ever seen. Mr. Professional Courtesy himself shaming others. Isn’t if ironic that he, a Sheriff’s Deputy, would shame others for trying to hold this commission accountable to the law?

    The city attorney stated in the meeting that the statutes that Mr. Griffin brought forward were on the books, but that MTAS stated that it is standard practice throughout the state to vote to approve a measure then go back and certify that the funds will be available. First point, what good does it do to vote to approve something if the funds are not available to do it? Second, doesn’t the sound of your momma’s words ring in your ears over that one? “If you friend jumps off a cliff does that mean you should do it too?” the obvious meaning is that just because everyone else is doing something improper doesn’t mean you are justified in doing it improperly. The TCA is very clear about when things are to be done…the rest is hogwash!

  17. Brian Snyder

    Butch –
    I have to admit firstly – you were very calm and appeared well spoken.
    However – You asked questions during the Citizen comment portion of the meeting. It’s called Citizen comments, because thats where the board listens to comments. It’s not called Citizen debate, it’s also not a question and answer period. I believe that you left before the topics you had questions on came up for discussion. There was a discussion period for teh YMCA, but you were not there, you ran long before they could answer, and you obviously didn’t see the discussion on Channel 3, as your post was before it came up.

    It’s easy to be critical of the board, as many are. It’s much more difficult to be constructive and help find solutions to issues.
    You know the issues well, and you appear well researched and well spoken. Too bad you missed the discussion of building a city funded bomb shelter, you might have liked the idea.

  18. Butch Huber

    Brian,

    I received a call during the commission meeting, you may recall the old style phone ring during the commission meeting. That call forced me to leave at a critical spot of the meeting, and I was unable to hear the final outcome of the motion to amend the hotel/motel tax. It was not for lack of interest I assure you.

    Brian, it is easy to be critical of others when they attempt to hold public officials accountable. It is much more difficult to take a stand against a mayor, a vice-mayor, three commissioners, a city manager and a city attorney as they attempt to use tax payer money that we don’t have to spend or as they try to use bond money improperly, or as they ignore what is going on right under their noses.

    Brian, perhaps you should go back and read the statement that the mayor makes during the prelude to the citizen comments portion of the meeting…I do believe that she says that we may ask questions.

    Your comment about the city funded bomb shelter proves that you aren’t interested in finding the truth about what is going on in this city.

  19. Butch Huber

    Hey Folks,

    Just want to catch you up on some of the affairs that are going on in this city. Today, I informed the city commission, the city manager, and the city attorney that I had sent a letter to the proper authorities so they can determine if the events and issues surrounding the bond offering are proper and legal.
    The following is the response that I received from Commissioner Ray Justice;

    “Harold

    I will respond to the only part of this that you directed towards me. I never mentioned your name. I never mentioned anything that directly related to you other than to say anyone who looks for all the bad in something good and tries to tear down when the right thing to do would be to try and build, should be ashamed of themselves. Those people are not good people and their motives are not good. I cannot be held responsible for any insecirities you might have.

    Any direct contact with me from this point forward should be directed to the city attorney. If you file the proper paperwork and I am notified in the proper manner I will advise you of how to contact my personal attorney. I will not correspond with someone who regularly advises they are trying to have me put in jail.
    Please have a nice day.

    Ray”

    Interestingly, I have not regularly advised anyone that I am trying to put them in jail, in fact, if you go back and read my posts on this site you will find that what I am seeking is truth and justice with mercy. “IF” any member of a governmental body is guilty of intentionally committing a crime they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, “IF” a member of a governmental body is guilty of committing an act that they were unaware would constitute the commission of a crime, and “IF” a reasonable person would not have known their action was a crime, then I certainly would support a decision not to prosecute. Further, in cases where a member of a governmental body intentionally commits a crime, I believe that the gravity of the crime must be weighed in tandem with other mitigating factors to determine a proper and just punishment. I am not sure where Mr. Justice ever heard that I wanted to put “him” in jail. Perhaps this is just another case of “hit dog barks”, but I can’t recall saying that I was trying to put him in jail.

    For the record, so that he and the whole world can read it for themselves…I am not trying to put Commissioner Justice (OR ANY OTHER PERSON) in jail! I AM TRYING TO FIND THE TRUTH!!!! They seem to be trying to HIDE the truth, which makes me even more suspicious!!!!!!! Once the truth is found in all of this the job of deciding what action would constitute a proper response can begin. I am not a judge, nor am I a prosecutor, so it is not up to me to decide who goes to jail and who doesn’t go to jail. My job as a citizen is to hold my government accountable.

    I once heard on television a historian talking about the foundations of this county. He said that during that time there was a law that required parents to teach their children to read by the age of six. He stated that the fine for failing to teach your children to read was an amount something like $5,000. (You can only imagine what the fine would be like in today’s dollars.) He said that congress enacted that law stating that if children don’t learn to read they won’t read the bible. He said that congress further stated that if children don’t read the bible they won’t learn right from wrong, and if they don’t know right from wrong they won’t be able to hold congress accountable to the law. I think the founding fathers knew that a society of people who were either unaware of the difference between right and wrong, or didn’t care, was a society destined to fail. While there were a lot of things wrong with early America, I believe in the ideals that those early Americans stood for on a basic level. Those ideals were passed from generation to generation until the early 1900’s. I remember the older generation from my childhood…those folks had a keen sense of what was right and what was wrong. There wasn’t any gray area for them. Those folks are leaving us today, and with them will go the last human hope for a civilized society in this country. If we don’t stand for law and order as a society we will most certainly fall as one.

    The government of Mt. Juliet has shown its resolve to conduct its affairs behind closed doors. Rather than endeavor to stay well within the lines of the law they seem to want to skirt the edges. When given the chance to straighten out obvious violations of the law they tend to attack the messenger rather than own up to the mistake and fix it. I for one believe government officials should not seek the answers to how far can we push the boundaries, but rather should constantly conduct a self assessment to determine how close to the center of the law can they land. If the law is wrong they should work to fix it, but they shouldn’t ever seek out ways to avoid the law or circumvent it as seems to be the case in Mt. Juliet.

    In no case have I threatened to put any of these characters in jail…that isn’t my job. However, I did give them fair warning that they should take my complaint very seriously because I would not stop. They ignored me and illegally dismissed my complaint. I am simply being true to my word. I believe that laws have been broken and I feel that they and others are ignoring that fact. I feel that they continue to violate laws and are doing so at an ever increasing rate.

    Mr. Justice may think that I am a bad person because I feel that this matter and others should be fully and professionally investigated…Mr. Justice is entitled to his opinion. However, I for one see nothing wrong with a little sunshine. I have heard that when an Eagle gets sick it flies to the top of a mountain and opens its wings and lets the sun beat down on it and basically cook out the sickness. Perhaps if we open things up and let the sun shine in here in Mt. Juliet politics it will cook out the sickness.

  20. Brian Snyder

    I was wrong…
    I meant to post Wednesday, but never got to the computer after work. In the Mayor’s pre-public comment disclaimer – she does state that you can ask questions, and the 3 minute limit can be taken up by answers.
    I was wrong. I suppose all I was trying to say was that it might have been more productive to ask the questions during the discussion of that topic, where answers may have been more realistic. I do not believe anyone was ready to address the questions, and possibly felt that you were not really asking them for answers sake, but possibly more for a dramatic effect.

    Just my 2 cents. I understand what you are asking and why. I think with a full time city attorney, and Mr. Robertson really getting into the work at hand – the public might see the change that City employees see happening. Mr. Robertson is fair, and I believe him to be very intelligent, I believe he will make a positive difference in Mt. Juliet. There are already many new policies and practices – and I believe you will see the evidence of those changes shortly.

    Again – just my 2 cents as a resident of Mt. Juliet – not speaking as a City employee.

  21. Butch Huber

    Brian,

    Thank you. It is refreshing to witness someone else admit when they are wrong on here.

  22. Butch Huber

    Folks,

    Perhaps I have acted to rashly. Perhaps there isn’t any subterfuge going on here at all. Perhaps I have given these folks in city government way too much credit. You see, I have felt that they are sharp enough to actually pull a fast one if nobody was looking. I say “perhaps”. However, I am now open to another possibility! I am open to the possibility that they are so inept, so incompetent, so ignorant, and at the same time so arrogant, that they give the appearance that they are up to something when in fact they are just idiots! Perhaps the blank stares and silence I received in the commission meeting on Monday was because they are simply out of touch and don’t have a clue what is going on around them.

    So what has me up in a roar? I am glad you asked! Today, because I can’t seem to get straight, correct answers from anyone in the city of Mt. Juliet, I went to the source of the land deal with the county and I got the resolution they passed through which they offered the city of Mt Juliet the opportunity to purchase the Old MJES site. It offers the city the opportunity to purchase the property for $2,000,000: with the city paying the county $1,050,000 in cash over 5 equal yearly payments of $210,000 each starting on or before Sept. 1, 2008 and the city providing the county with a credit of $950,000 to be applied toward the road improvements of curd road. This offer from the county will relieve the county of any obligation to contribute to the construction of improvements to Curd Road in order to enhance public safety and to provide improvements to the New Mt. Juliet High School.

    There it is right in front of me in black and white as I write this post. I have the ordinance in my possession!

    But wait, there’s more!

    The county resolution 07-12-3 states:

    Whereas, Wilson County, Tennessee owns approximately twelve (12) acres of land located in the boundaries of the City of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee being the former site of the Mt. Juliet Elementary School, with said property having been appriased at a value of more than Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000); and

    Whereas, the city of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee has expressed an interest to purchase the twelve (12) acres of property located on North Mt. Juliet Road, formerly the site of the Mt. Juliet Elementary School; and

    Whereas, Wilson County, Tennessee has previously indicated its willingness to contribute Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($950,000) for the construction of improvements to Curd Road in order to enhance public safety and to assist with traffic flow to the new Mt. Juliet High School but no official action has been taken; and

    Whereas, the city of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee has indicated that they will present this proposed offer to the Mt. Juliet City Commission for their consideration;

    Now, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of County Commissioners of Wilson County, Tennessee that the Twelve (12) acres of land located in the boundaries of the city of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee being the former site of the Mt. Juliet Elementary School, is offered for sale to the City of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee at a total cost of Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000), exclusive of closing costs.

    However, within the County Resolution 07-12-3 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED section of the resolution, part 6, it says that should the city of Mt. Juliet fail to act on this offer within sixty (60) days from the date of the adoption of this resolution, the offer shall be considered withdrawn.

    WITHDRAWN!!!! They let the 60 days expire without acting on it!!! The offer is DEAD and can now only be revived by another vote of the county commission!!!

    The resolution was adopted by the county on the 17th day of December of 2007! Sixty days later would be on or around the 15th of February! That means the offer to sell this property has been withdrawn and the only way that the county can accept the city’s offer is to pass yet another resolution to authorize it!

    The city has voted to direct the city manager to purchase land from an offer that has become null and void!

    But wait, it gets worse…they voted to give away land to the YMCA that they do not own, and which has no longer offered to them under this structured deal!!!!

    But wait, it gets worse….in order for the city to purchase this property from the city under this offer the city must absolve the county of any further obligation on its part to contribute any further toward the construction costs to improve the road to the school!!! That means that if the construction costs to improve the road to the school actually runs up to say, three million dollars, costs that normally would be attributed and passed on to the entity that cause the need, the city would be responsible for all of the additional $1,950,000 in construction costs!!!

    My contacts and those I confide in and I were wondering why there was such a rush…now we know…they fumbled again!!!!

    But then again, it gets worse…..the county in this resolution is stating that they were willing to contribute the $950,000 to the construction costs to improve curd road but that the city took no official action on the offer!

    But then again, it gets even worse….if the credit to the county is supposed to be applied to the Curd Road improvement costs, then the city cannot use the bond funds to offset the $950,000 credit. Didn’t we hear recently about how badly in debt and how far short the city is running in its budget? Wasn’t that all over the news just a while back? So if the city is so broke, how on earth will they make up the $950,000 they need to offset the credit toward curd road improvements if they can’t use the bond funds? I will be asking the city government what fund they intended to draw the finances from to offset that $950,000 credit. I hope they have some good answers for that question. Because if it can be proven that they were really intending to use bond funds to offset that credit I think they are in big trouble.

    Folks, isn’t it great when you open things up and let a little light shine in?

    The resolution to offer the city this deal was passed in the county commission by a vote of 16 yes, 7 no, and 2 absent. I wonder what the new vote would be like when the county realizes that the city does not have the kind of money it needs to pay that credit back, and that they intend to donate $1.3 million dollars worth of the property to the YMCA.

    But then it gets worse…nowhere in the resolution does it say that the county is offering a free and clear title for the old elementary school site to the city of Mt. Juliet…Besides, what kind of fools would the county be to offer the city of Mt. Juliet free and clear title to this property so that they can give it away? I am sure the county will not allow the city to act so stupidly….will they? I hope there is someone in the county who realizes what kind of a stupid mistake it would be to give free title to the city so they can release the title to two thirds of the property…there is someone there that is at least that smart…right? Without free and clear title, how on earth could the city give this land to the YMCA????

    Now, wouldn’t it just be better to let the YMCA take the offer of the 12 acres at Beckwith Road?

    Now, I want to know….”WHO THE HELL IS RUNNING THIS SHIP”?????!!!!!!!!

  23. Chris Sorey

    The deal has been all along to put the 950k credit towards the road improvement. No big news there, and it was in the papers as well as being stated at the meetings. Free and clear title means nothing, in that the real estate contracts will take care of those issues, just the same as when you bought your home, and a title search is done. I’m not a real estate agent, but that seems easy enough.

    In case you didn’t hear, I decided to run for the county commission seat that was vacated for while back, and they will appoint someone Monday night to fill that seat. The election for the seat is in August. I had not seen the resolution from the county, and even though I like the idea of the Y, it is obvious that an overwhelming majority of the people do not. (At least not if it costs us that much when there is donated land right down the street)If I get the seat in the county commission, I will do my best to defeat the resolution the next time it comes around.

    As far as the road, there are many different scenarios that I have been told. One is that former employees slow walked the right of way. Another is that a very wealthy individual was holding up the right of way when it got to his land. The other is funding. As of now, it is a good guess, but I tend to lean more towards the land owner not giving the right of way due to the source. Can’t say for sure on any of them at this point.

    Another problem I have with the entire school issue is that I was told that the contractors who are building the new school have not seen any building inspectors from the city. The city is extremely unhappy with me given that they are going to Nashville soon to mediate the complaint I spoke about a few weeks ago, so it is unlikely I could get the records of the inspections at the new school. Anyone want to see if what I was told about the inspections at the high school is correct since our kids will be in that school very soon? I would hate to think that they were given a free pass.

  24. Chris:

    Congratulations on your candidacy. Are you sure you know what you’re signing up for?

    I recommend you read at least this column by Jimmy Joe Meeker about the qualifications for becoming a Wilson County Commissioner.

    In response to your other points, since the City Commission had never voted any money for the acquisition of right-of-way for the Eastern Connector prior to May of 2007, exactly how could any former employee have slow-walked the purchase of right-of-way?

    Oh, and there’s a simple explanation for why the contractors at the new high school have not seen any building inspectors from the City of Mt. Juliet. The new high school is not located inside the city limits. That’s right, it’s in unincorporated Wilson County. Which has no building code… but that’s another story.

    – Publius

  25. Chris Sorey

    Thanks for pointing out where the new city limits are. I wouldn’t say that the county doesn’t have a building code though. With the city annexing something every other week, it’s a little difficult to keep up with what is the new city limit.

    Has the city voted to spend any money on the right of way as of yet?

  26. Chris:

    The city limits along Curd Road haven’t changed since 1987. Zoom in on this map from the City’s web site and you can see for yourself.

    Wilson County has never adopted any building code. Lebanon and Mt. Juliet have.

    Don’t know whether the city put money in this year’s budget for ROW purchase for the reverse “L” road to the new high school. Perhaps someone who has been attending Commission meetings can enlighten all of us?

    – Publius

  27. Chris Sorey

    It appears that MJ Storm water inspected the new school, so the argument of the building being in the county should go out the window. The county building inspectors issue permits and final inspections, and yes, there is a building code in the county. Since it is our children who will be attending this school, and tax dollars paying the bill, it would have been nice to have some inspections during the building phase.

    On another note, I missed the planning commission meeting on Thursday, but it sounds like some of the builders that are fed up and standing up for themselves.

  28. Chris:

    When did Wilson County adopt a building code? and which code did they adopt?

    – Publius

  29. Butch Huber

    Chris,

    I think we are going to learn more and more about the right-of-way issue as time passes. Ray Justice wanted to paint these folks as being bad people for saying that they will donate the right-of-way and then changing their minds, but I think there is more to this story than what has been made public so far. Stand-by for the whole truth in days to come.

    I, too, would like to know when the county adopted building codes.

    And builders should be fed up with what has been happening here. I feel like what has been happening to them is nothing more than extortion.

    Folks, it’s like I said, this whole mess is going to get worse before it gets better. But the good news is that it will get better. All we need to do is cut out the cancer and the rest will begin to line up and take care of itself.

  30. Bobby Franklin

    I can only speculate about what happened to the Eastern connector right-of-way after July 13, 2007. That is when I was terminated. I do know where it stood up to then.

    The landowner had requested three things to be done prior to giving 50 acres of land ROW to the city.

    1) He wanted the centerline of the designed road staked on the property.

    2) A contract needed to be signed by the city designating a start date for the project. The landowner wanted the land back in case the city did not build the road.

    3) He wanted the project to be graded for a five lane cross section. It was understood that the road would be built for three lanes to begin with.

    I had accomplished the first item and requested the Planning Attorney write the contract to fulfill the second. I called a couple of Commissioners about the third request and was met with some resistance but was terminated before inking the deal.

    This was not the first land ROW deal negotiated and I was pretty confident it was about to happen. The other donated ROW deal between Division and Beckwith Interchange has a sunset clause too. I sure hope the city doesn’t forget about that deal or there will be another 30 or so acres to buy.

  31. Butch Huber

    It seems to me that Ray went out there dealing with those landowners who were going to give the city a ROW and the next thing we know they have changed their minds. I wonder what happened there?

  32. Liberty

    Anyone hear of a class action law suit coming to town
    5 to 6 people involved?

  33. Sword of Fire

    EEOC will begin their investigation in a week. The city still needs a lot of work. Amazing that people assume just because it is on this website that it is true. Or that just because they say things under oath that they are not telling lies.

  34. common sense

    Most likely what you heard about is the EEOC mediation that is taking place next week. If they don’t agree to a settlement, it will go to court after the mediation. Since they have decided to meet in Nashville, and not here in the city, they probably won’t offer up any info about it if you call.

    Then again, it could be one of the many other issues that they are facing.

  35. Butch Huber

    There will eventually be depositions, and those depositions will be public information, so we will soon hear the rest of the story. With so many lawsuits and mediations going on, and without a layer of protection that has been provided in the past, it is only a matter of time before all is exposed. Hopefully, all of this will come out before election time so that voters can be fully informed before they enter the voting booth. I believe a well informed public is a wonderful thing…how about you?

  36. Common Sense

    It would have been public information if it had gone that far, but the city just backed out of the date for next week saying they need more time. Stall tactic, and nothing more.

  37. Uncommon Sense

    Does anyone remember when the Mt. Juliet Commission considered buying property at the end of York Road for 2.5 million dollars? The 10 percent grade sports field park?

    I wonder if that prompted our state elected officials to propose this bill? –

    Independent Appraisal Prior to Purchasing Real Property: SB 3363/ HB 3306 (Beavers/ Lynn), as amended, requires a municipality to obtain an independent appraisal of the fair market value of real property prior to purchasing or entering into a contract for the purchase of real property.

    I hope it passes!

  38. Liberty

    Changing the subject are we ?

  39. Liberty

    How’s Bobby’s lawsuit coming along ?
    How’s the city getting things done with all this
    litigation going on ? You would think any reasonable
    person would want to tell the truth, and take the woopin .

  40. Butch Huber

    Senator Beavers,Congresswoman Lynn, if you are reading this post, I have a recommendation for an amendment to the Senate Bill and House Bill…you should include any other vehicle through which a municipality could transfer ownership. The operative word in those bills is “Purchase”. Back here in Ray-Ray land…I mean Mt. Juliet, they like to do some horse tradin’ from time to time. If you will remember, Ray wasn’t trying to purchase that land as much as he was trying to purchase the Old MJES site and then “Trade” those twelve prime acres in the heart of Mt. Juliet for the “10% grade sports field park” up on York Road.

    Senator Beavers/Congresswoman Lynn, I appreciate your help in trying to hem in the Mt. Juliet commission so that they do the least harm possible, but you have to get up pretty early in the morning ’round here, every morning, if you are going to keep out in front of them. I bet they stay up all night thinking of ways to put the screws to the citizens of this city, and I say that because there just isn’t enough time in a normal workday for them to mess things up this bad. The best way to write something so that it would keep this commission from doing something outlandishly stupid would be to ask the most low-down, sneakiest, most unethical person you can find how he would get around your bill and then close the holes he points out to you…Ahem….I mean that you should find the second to the most low-down, sneakiest, most unethical person you can find…you can’t use the most low-down, sneakiest, most unethical person because he isn’t available, he has a personal interest in the outcome and wouldn’t tell you the truth.

    Anyway, I sure do appreciate it that you members of congress are trying to help us here in Mt. Juliet. Probably the best thing that could happen here is to surrender the city charter and start fresh…it seems like it will be the only way to cut out the cancer.

    Good luck with your bill.

  41. Butch Huber

    Thank you common sense.

    It appears that all of our commissioners have finally filed their disclosures. Now the question is…are the disclosures complete and do they really include all sources of income. I know at least one that doesn’t. Can you guess which one?

  42. Lori

    I have two points to make. One is that I am the original Liberty. Any postings made after 3/21 are not mine. I have been without access for almost a month. Second, I too feel for the builders. But, I want to make clear that the variances that are coming before the planning commision are due to buildings being built that were NOT what the planning commision approved. There is a break down between the PC and public works. I don’t know what the problem or answers are but would like to know and soon!

  43. Pingback: April, 2008 Archive « Right Minded Online

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