Headlines from The Mt. Juliet News, August 13, 2008

‘It’s a mess!’ – Traffic at new MJHS a nightmare
Officials work to unsnarl traffic routes to and from new school
“Mile long delays that had some students 45 minutes late to class. . .”
“It took school officials and law enforcement officers nearly an hour to dismiss students Monday.”
Wow. No one expected this! It’s like they built the high school in secret and nobody in local government had any chance over the past two and a half years to even think about improving the road!

Old MJES site an overgrown eyesore
Knee high grass. Hasn’t been mowed in over two months. “Robertson said it could be another six months before the city owns the property because of significant delays in trying to work out an appropriate payment method.”

Elam seeks reelection to mayor’s position
[Wants to see projects through to completion. She doesn’t believe her censure by the City Commission last year will affect her reelection bid. She just got back from vacation and says she’s currently working for herself. Hasn’t that always been true?]

Former MJ Police Chief Ted Floyd to run for District 1 City Commission seat
[Justice has announced plans to “fight for another term.”]

Board of Education discusses Mt. Juliet’s annex of high school
Which of these comments, both by elected members of the school board, do you find more alarming?
1. “But Mt. Juliet doesn’t have fire and ambulance” – outgoing member Wayne McNeece
2. “Member Don Weathers said he was concerned that if the school were annexed, it could later have a property tax imposed if Mt. Juliet voted to put one in place,”

Bonus Leno-worthy headline:
Atheists to receive discounted tickets for God and Country Day

How’s that going to work exactly? What sort of bulletin to they bring? A golf scorecard? And won’t they feel a little uncomfortable?

– Publius

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89 Comments

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89 responses to “Headlines from The Mt. Juliet News, August 13, 2008

  1. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Regarding the annexing of the MJ High School comments. I would find the first comment more alarming because that didn’t seem to bother them when they selected the site to build the high school there, or the fact that it was going to be located on an unsafe road. If the fire protection of the new building was such an issue it should have been raised at the County Commission BEFORE it was built.

    It I remember correctly schools don’t pay property tax do they?? Am I wrong?

    Again, good planning

  2. Butch Huber

    The traffic issue and the Old MJES site are interconnected. I have found interconnectivity to be very interesting in my life. As I look back at the events in my life I realize that had one thing not happened another thing wouldn’t have happened. As a matter of fact, there are some major tragedies that I have endured that at the time seemed quite unfair, but that later in life I wouldn’t go back an change for all the money in the world because out of those tragedies came wonderful blessings that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred. Life has funny twists and turns and we are all along for the ride.

    Two issues:

    1) The road outside the school is not adequate for the school…hell, it wasn’t adequate for the regular traffic none less adding a school!

    2) The county owns a piece of property inside the city limits and inside the City Town Center Overlay District that it has had significant problems unloading.

    The county “is” responsible for upgrading the Reverse L portion of Curd Road. The county doesn’t “want” to upgrade that portion of the road because they fear that if they do the city will then annex the school property into the city and allow development along that portion of the road and thereby get a share of the sales taxes. The county has offered the city money for the upgrade of that portion of the road, not once, but twice, but the offer had conditions that the city didn’t and/or wouldn’t meet in order to receive the funds. Then, the horse-trading began. The county offered the city the Old MJES site for $2,000,000. The county clouded the issue by including in the offer the opportunity for the city to pay the county $1,050,000 in cash over 5 years, and the county would take $950,000 in the form of a credit toward the county’s obligation to upgrade Curd Road. The city, in return for the county’s gesture, acted like the county was selling the city the land for $1,050,000. Slap!
    I got involved and things really got sticky. The only way the city could complete the deal as offered by the county would be by illegally spending bond funds to consummate the deal.
    The city can’t enter into a deal that obligates the next commission. And the list of problems goes on.

    Now, I smell another rat. I sense that someone has been colluding with one or more members of the board of education and one or more members of the county board of commissioners in a plot. The plot I believe that is being developed is to get the BOE to launch an initiative to get the city to annex the school property into the city. If the city were to annex the property into the city the county would no longer be obligated to upgrade the reverse L portion of Curd Road. With all of the backroom meetings that go on around here, how are we to know that a deal hasn’t already been struck with the county that if the city were to annex the reverse L portion of Curd Road the county would reduce the price of the Old MJES site to $1,050,000 or make some other provision so that the city can give the YMCA this gift they are so damned determined to give them?

    Meanwhile, as I and so many other people have been saying, the school has opened with what has been termed a “mess”. Imagine that!

    This city and the school have been hamstrung by this hair-brained, cockamamy scheme to give the YMCA a gift of $1.3 million!

    AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Chris Sorey

    Let me say first, I haven’t even been sworn in so let me get my feet wet first. These issues did not happen overnight, and they will not be solved overnight.

    The County Commission did not ask for the school to be annexed, the County Board of Education did. If they had asked that before the school was built, so that we could have had city inspectors in there during the building process, it might have been different. At this point, the city has little incentive to annex it. What do they gain? The only plus that I see (remember, I’m still on the outside looking in) is the improved police protection. Maybe I am missing something else and I’m sure there will be different opinions on this. Can anyone think of any other benefit, good or bad for the City or County?

    As far as the land swap deal goes, I know the county will most likely have to vote again on the deal. I support a Y, and if the city were going to give them city purchased land, I had hoped the city would give them enough land to be able to use, such as eight acres versus the four. At the same time, I and it seems most people believe that the offer from the Beckwith road property owner is and should be the best way to go. If a private entity wants to donate land to a private entity, fine. So, even though I had accepted that the city would give the land away, I was in no way enthused about it and not many of the people I spoke to were either. Not trying to flip flop, just giving my opinion. For what it is worth, unless my phone rings off the hook from people in MY district, if the County votes again on the sale, I plan to vote no.

  4. Butch Huber

    Chris,

    The county “has” to vote on the issue again. The original county resolution has long expired. The city of Mt. Juliet has yet to make an offer on that property. The County Attorney or the County Executive do not have the authority to accept an offer from the city and the original deal is dead.

    Many county commissioners have already expressed that they will not support any deal that does not require that the city accept full financial responsibility for the upgrade of the Reverse L and that the city must upgrade the reverse L by a deadline or there will be no breaks for the city.

    I realize you are for the Y, hell, I am “for” the Y. I am just “not for” the city giving away land to the Y.

    Anyway, since you will be serving on the County Board of Commissioners, you should be fully aware that in order for this city to effect a deal on this property you will have to vote on the matter. If it happens any other way, meaning if the city is able to somehow close this deal without it going before the County BOC, you should be up in arms.

    BTW, 8 acres for a YMCA is still to small.

  5. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Hmm.. Lets see the positives of annexing….. I agree with you Chris. They would have more PD to direct traffic and respond for any accidents. Oh that’s right that already happening. From what I’ve read in this weeks paper MJ is already sending officers over there to direct traffic!!!

    Politics in motion.

  6. Chris Sorey

    There was only one MJPD unit there on Wednesday.

    Might not have to vote on it again after all Butch. Don’t forget, there is another city election coming up soon… Most likely it won’t matter, but who is to say? It was 3-2.

  7. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Big city election for sure now. Having 4 running for Mayor and now 3 for District 1. Hagerty seems to be the only one running alone.

    Can’t wait to read the platforms

  8. Butch Huber

    Having been an atheist I can tell you that they won’t feel uncomfortable at all…in fact, when I was an atheist, I would have been very proud to assert my right to equal privileges and benefits as believers.

    In reality, it probably isn’t a good idea to give discounts based on religion in the first place. It sounds good, and the intention is good, but in practice, atheists use things like this against the believer.

    Everybody has a right to their own beliefs, no matter how misguided and/or wrong they are.

  9. Chris Sorey

    Four are runing for district one. Justice, Floyd, Brydalski and Dyer.

  10. Man of the People!

    Ted Floyd will be a formidable challenger. Wondering if one of the remaining challengers is Ray’s ‘Wing Man’? Plenty of speculation that Jarod Scott was in there to soak up some of the ‘anti-incumbent’ vote back in 2004.

    Mayoral race will be fun to watch! Especially if they have debates.

  11. Looking Toward The Future

    Man of the future, I must say you are wrong about one candidate in District 1. I have spoken to Jonathan Brydalski several times. He is a formidable challenger as well. I know he is NOT a “wing man” for Ray. He is well educated about the past workings of Ray and Ted for that matter. This should be a good election.

  12. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Dyer should have some good support there too. He’s a Firefighter Paramedic with WEMA with a very good reputation. We need more people with fire protection safety experience on the Commission to bring some reality to their thinking.

    We already have two on there who think that a CERT is the way to go to boost fire protection effort here. The people who volunteer with the CERT are all great residents, but working as functioning firefighter would require a lot more training above basic first aid.

  13. Larry Whitney

    Lebanon Democrat reports today that the County Commission Finance Committee approved a 20 cent property tax, with the majority to go to schools, the school board needs an extra $7.5M just to maintain a status quo budget!!!! When did “status quo” mean $7.5M extra?????

    It now goes to the Full County Commission. The rate will go from 2.23 to 2.43, a 8.97% increase.

    What is the county spending the increased sale tax revenues from Providence on that they need an almost 9% property tax increase??????

    I’ve read one blog’s analysis that this increase is a money grab by the new Director of Schools, Mike Davis. Students have been barred this year from going on field trips until he gets his budget passed, due to the high cost of diesel. Essentially using them as pawns with the Commission. Meanwhile he goes on business trips to Gatlinburg using county vehicles. Hypocritical and Shameful.

  14. Butch Huber

    Wow, is this website ever growing up. Before long, with a little work and perhaps a little money, Radiofree could become a full-fledged news and information site. Some of you guys really seem to be on top of certain aspects of this city and county. I am really enjoying watching the growth of this site.

    Folks, tell you friends and neighbors about this site. Write down the address for them and encourage them to join in, especially if they have information that would be good to know. If you are reading these posts and you have something to add, please join in by posting your opinion or what you know.

    As the race for mayor and commissioner heats up going into the fall, this site will become the number 1 site for election news coverage I can guarantee. The papers in this county can’t and/or won’t cover the issues like they are covered here on Radiofree.

    To those in the race, except Linda and Ray, good luck.

  15. Looking Toward The Future

    Butch, you are correct with the newspaper idea. Seems like Ray has some sort of connection with the papers around here that keeps him in the good graces at times. No telling what is left out of print.

  16. The Truth

    Harold Fenor Where are you for district 3,
    We need you to step up.

  17. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Good point Butch about the media coverage. Its funny how you hear all about the fire protection issue and other matters of public safety in The Chronicle but nothing in the Mt. Juliet News, unless it a negative story, i.e. something that slants MJ in a bad light. THE MJ News may be good when they actually report something, but they by far don’t cover all the news especially when Mt. Juliet is stepping up to do something. Could it be that officials in Lebanon with the “parent” paper don’t allow it??? hmmm

    You have better luck going to the Tennessean, Chronicle or Post in this town.

  18. Looking Toward The Future

    We definitely need someone to run in District 3. Sure is sad that Ed is running unoposed.

  19. Larry Whitney

    I subscribe to the Democrat so that I can keep up with the attempts by the county to stick it to us. We all seem worry about Elam and her gang of two imposing a property tax, yet the county commission is moving towards a 20 cent increase.

    Dedman, the good-old-boy, Lebanon Residing, County Mayor, voted “no”, on the increase in the Finance Committee, apparently it was not enough for him. He wants an immediate 8% pay increase for all county employees on top of the additional $7.5M the Board of Education “needs”. (Side note – When was the last time you got an automatic 8% raise regardless of merit? This obscene increase would help his base average for his pension as he heads towards retirement in two years.)

    If County Mayor Dedman has his way the 9% increase could turn into a much higher increase.

    It never ends, does it?

    MJ Mayor Elam needs to go.
    Lebanon Mayor Fox is retiring but has stated his intention to run as County Mayor in 2010.
    County Mayor Dedman is losing his mind.
    Education Director Davis is claiming poverty for the schools.

    What do all these politicians have in common? Wasteful spending, and a belief that it is the government’s money, not yours.

  20. Brent Dyer

    One thing I want to make sure everyone in Wilson County knows is that at the end of last months county comission meeting a group of your local firefighters, EMT’s, and Paramedics approached a few county commissioners at the end of the meeting and spoke with some of them. What we approached them with was that as being working class people ourselves, we all understand what tax increases bring about to an already financially stessed family in this economical downslope.

    Therefore what members of your local professional firefighers association asked of our commission was for the commission to please consider our director’s needs assessment more than employee raises. As most of your local firefighters and EMS personnel are county residents, we don’t want the issue of employee raises to the be the reason leaders are having to increase taxes. My friends, we have noticed that the people we protect need protection from something we can’t help them from. That is lost jobs, money to feed families, lay-offs, gas prices, etc. These are things that have made some citizens of our community really struggle to survive here lately. As people who truly care about helping our community, we could not honestly ask for raises that would cause a tax increase when many citizens had been layed off and shelfs of the local community help centers were bare of food and other supplies to help bridge the gap for many families. We need the raises to help attract and maintain quality professionals in Wilson County, but what we really need is additional personnel. We must have more staffing and soon, no matter what it takes. This being said, I believe that with better management and quite possibly consolidation of all local fire departments within Wilson County we could better serve the citizens who are the people paying for all of this anyhow.

    Wilson County has become a training ground for other middle Tennessee community’s emergency services. We hire people in, invest on the average between $5,000-$10,000 in their training, insurance, etc. and then in a year or two, woosh!, a county next to us offers them a job that pays significantly more with safer and better equipment and staffing, and Wilson County tax dollars pays to give another county a well trained and experienced firefighter, EMT, Paramedic, law officers, or teacher. This is particularly the case with WEMA. It saddens me very much to see that Wilson County residents could have much more than what we are getting. We still have some good employees with us, but four weeks ago, we lost a colleague of mine, one of the best Paramedics in the state, to Rutherford County. Over the past two weeks, the city of Gallatin has hired two of our experienced firefighters/EMT-IV’s. These are recent times when we find Wilson County catering to other counties, not mentioning the many others we have lost over the last year or so to other departments. WEMA is interviewing to hire replacments, but these people will not know the roads where you live, and they are either rookies or people who have not worked out at other places, so they’re bringing their issues with them to Wilson County. I promise they are not coming to work for us right now for money and benefits. Good employees leaving WEMA is a bad thing anytime, especially right now because we are already danderously understaffed. It is dangerous to us as firefighters and EMS personnel because we are more likely to get injured or even worse killed because we don’t have enough people on hand to safely and properly perform our duties according to NFPA standards. It’s really bad for the citizens, as units have recently been parked in fire stations in Wilson County while they were badly needed at nearby locations, but there was no personnel available to staff the units.

    For example, about two weeks after the Tornados struck surrounding counties this year, we had a house fire in a subdivision off of Horn Springs Road. Everyone think about this now, there is a Lebanon city fire station there on Lebanon Road between Horn Springs Rd. and Highway 109, however that station, a Lebanon city engine company, was never dispatched to the call because the call was “in the county” and county units were the first to be sent to the fire. (Some day, I hope that does not matter when people are in danger) I was off duty that day, getting materials from the station to teach a CPR class when I heard the call come out. I hopped in my pick-up truck and headed to the scene while my on-duty colleagues responded in a fire engine, and a tanker truck. There are 2 ambulances ran out of our station in Lebanon, however one of those units was on another medical emergency, leaving the other EMS crew to respond in tanker truck, which is current standard operating procedure as we don’t have enough staff to equip all of the needed units at the same time. That left the other ambulance sitting. The ambulance out of the Gladeville fire station was on their way to Lebanon for repais to be made on that ambulance. I arrived on the scene and with the help of a Lebanon firefighter who lived a few houses down, we found a victim who had stumbled out of the house on his own and had burns, airway , and breathing problems. I started caring for him when suddenly I heard my helper yell at me and tell me he needed help with another victim. Another man had crawled out of the back door of the home filled with dark black smoke. We pulled him out onto the yard, right into the reach of an aggressive Rotwiller dog that bit my fellow off duty firefighter. We managed to get away from the dog, the heat, and the smoke and we pulled this man out to where my truck was to try and help him also. Only minutes passed, which did seem like hours, when our county fire engines arrived. A young rookie fireman was the first to enter the home through the garage door where a neighbor was frantically yelling at us to try and save a cat inside the home, I continued to focus my care and attention to the two men with their serious injuries. I wandered where the ambulance was after several more minutes passed. I was informed that the EMS crew from the Gladeville station had responded from headquarters with the ambulance that was left behind by the EMS crew that had to bring a tanker truck (as the Gladeville ambulance was needing repair) I was informed that another ambulance was en’ route from Watertown. I then found out that the ambulances from Mt. Juliet and Lakeview were also on other calls! Just when I though it could not get any busier, the crew attacking the fire shouted for me. I though to myself, “What is so important, don’t they know I am busy?”, when I realized what was so wrong… Friends, I think about it almost everyday. I looked and saw the young rookie fireman holding in his arms coming toward me with the most precious, sweetest, most helpless little blessing any of us will ever have in our lives. The rookie handed me a baby girl who was dressed in a diaper with black residue from the fire covering her little body. She was so warm to the touch and her body was limp. I ran quickly back to my pick-up truck and yelled for someone to find me an ambulance! Why can’t one of the richest counties in the state of Tennessee staff enough emergency medical units, etc.?! Back to what happened, I was then being assisted by another paramedic and an EMT who were the oly two personnel at the station on Highway 109 in Lagurado. They had responded in the fire engine and had to leave the ambulance because there we of course the only two people there. I took the little girl and put her in the back seat of my truck, started treating her and applying oxygen that I had with me, and with the help of God, or whatever being of higher power a person believes in, we were able to resuscitate her. As I started to put an IV in her chuby little arm, the ambulance crew from Gladeville arrived. They had drove as quikly and as safely as possible, but still, I later noted that it took 22 minutes for the first EMS unit to arrive. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we are just outnumbered by disaster, or the potential for it. We got the baby girl and one of the men on their way to Vanderbilt hospital. After 27 minutes had passed, the ambulance from Watertown arrived and transported other man to the hospital.

    I have never been so glad to see one of our med units roll up. I had tried calling Lifeflight helicopters to the scene. This could not be done because they were also busy and were 30 minutes away this particular day. The one question I had after lives were protected and victims were on their way to hospitals was this,… “Why was the ambulance stationed on Highway 109 in Laguardo not on this scene?” That unit could have been there in just a few minutes! Do you know why the ambulance in Laguardo and the available unit from Lebanon did not respond initially? IT IS BECAUSE OUR AGENCY DOES NOT HAVE THE STAFFING IT NEEDS TO ADEQUATELY PROTECT THE TAX PAYING CITIZENS WHO LIVE HERE. We have allowed some community leaders to put a price tag on human life. Can you imagine what could have happened there would have been another emergency? There would have been no one else to send, except maybe Lebanon’s fire units, which do back us up in the west end of the county at times. As a Mt. Juliet resident, I find that embarassing. Furthermore, it gets old listening to Lebanon residents and leaders blaming the entire county’s problems on citizens in Mt. Juliet.

    The above story is true and it is just one of many like it. I believe that yeilds enough “merit” to see my colleagues get at least 8 percent, especially when paramedics in Wilson County are paid somewhere around 30% less than paramedics in surrounding counties. Furthermore, the paramedics in the other counties only serve as EMS responders. Paramedics/EMT’s in Wilson County also function as firefighters with expertise in rescue and hazardous materials responders. Now I don’t think that Dedman or anyone else serving as a community leader needs to go looking for raises. If they are truly willing to serve the people that voted for them, then I don’t expect to see them looking for further financial supplementation in a time when the taxpayers are barely able to feed their families. I have heard several city and county leaders use the term “baby steps” regarding public safety. That is rediculous, because baby steps were not taken for so long now, it will take a giant leap to provide adequate resources to meet the demands for public safety needs in Wilson County and the Mt. Juliet community.

    This community is getting a lot of bang for it’s buck from our emergency services personnel. We all remember what happened last year at the county courthouse when the county Finance Director was granted a raise of $32,500/year on top of his $80,000/year salary. While he and other top officials of this county sleep well at night (don’t know how they can), the people who got nothing are up all night protecting the tax payers, at best making Paramedic pay of $38,000/year. We are fortunate to have some commissioners with the county who are proactive and appreciate what dedicated professionals they have left. To them, I am greatful. Maybe they can help fix this before an “avoidable tragedy” happens in our community. We must see a better effort for cooperation with Mt. Juliet leadership working with the county to get this fixed soon. At least once a week there are times when minutes, even hours go by now when there are no fire or EMS units available west of highway 109. This is something that is happening more and more, every day. It will get worse as more people and industry move into western Wilson County. I believe that if we wait on the county government to help us catch up with the growth, we will always be behind. Mt. Juliet leaders must act now, not after an election, or during, or whatever. We must find leaders who are willing to do more than argue with each other over parking ordinances and make the right move, or atleast try to make a move, to keep our communities safe places to live.

  21. Looking Toward The Future

    Brent, compelling story. We are glad that Wilson County has dedicated Fire/Rescue/EMT personnel as yourself. Which candidate shows the most potential to support emergency teams in Wilson County Ray, Floyd, or Brydalski?

  22. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Or himself.. Brent is running.

    I would venture and say its between Ray or Floyd based on their professional experience

  23. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    I wanted to also say thanks brother. For those he aren’t aware my brothers are out their everyday in situations that you will never read about in the paper.

    In what way can the citizens help the Firefighters at WEMA, Brent since we can’t vote at the County Commission?

    You failed to mention outside of pay, which is a big one in itself, is your own safety is why guys are leaving. From what I can tell the one’s who are staying have a true commitment to this county and do so they have a hand in protecting the citizens who they truly care about. So what do the citizens and elected officials do, cover their eyes and act like is beautiful in Mt. Juliet and the County.

    As the brothers can tell you, most don’t show much regards to public safety until they need them personally, i.e. house fire, medical call, etc. Then they are the first ones complaining to us why did it take so long for the ambulance or fire truck to arrive.

    Again thanks Brent and the rest of my brothers from WEMA who read this day to day. Like Butch mentioned, I’m sure we are getting more hits than any of the online newspaper combined.

  24. Looking Toward The Future

    1 Voice, you mentioned…

    “I would venture and say its between Ray or Floyd based on their professional experience”

    Neither one of them are much to write home about. They have too many inside influences to be fair in the future I’m guessing. Too much bad press.
    What about the new kids, Brent and Jonathan. We would be better off with new blood then the old stagnate ill-influenced blood of the past.

  25. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Looking. Sorry I meant that Dyer would be the best but wasn’t list out of the choices.

    Brent would be a very good representative of the district and has the best interst in MJ at heart. He is a very well respected and loyal resident in Mt. Juliet and would give a new perspective to the position. Like most officials it not always bad to get a fresh face

  26. Lex Luther

    Almost a thousand people signed a petition endorsing Floyd for Police Chief prior to his appointment to the position.

    Don’t underestimate Floyd’s popularity in this community. He has earned respect from a lot of people in the last 25 years.

  27. Chris Sorey

    And he was able to lose that respect from his own officers in just a short period of time. Not sure about that many signing a petition, and you may be thinking of Martin. Either way, It looks like he left on bad terms whether it was reported that way or not.

  28. Lex Luther

    I don’t have any inside knowledge as to Floyd’s reason for leaving the city. He did work there 25 years and was retirement age. I will take it on face value that he retired – there was a retirement party for him and I heard that City Hall was packed with people coming to honor him. He started as a patrol officer and retired Chief.

    Elections are about trust. People tend to vote for people they know and respect.

    I think Floyd will win because a lot of people know him and trust him.

  29. Chris Sorey

    Brent,
    The pay raises are not where the proposed property tax increase is earmarked for. The school system is asking for more funds.

    In your opinion, do you think WEMA should distribute the equipment parked in Lebanon to other areas since the Lebanon Department answers the calls in the city limits? I realize that WEMA does Hazmat and extrication, but even if that were the case, shouldn’t they put some of the equipment and manpower in places such as Laguardo, where currently they have to make a choice of whether to get on the engine or ambulance depending on the call? What if it is an accident with injuries and the car is on fire? Obviously you take the engine, but at what cost? If the equipment is on the outskirts of Lebanon, it can get there just as quick, but the way it is now, there is more equipment at headquarters than anywhere. At least that’s the way it looks from this side, and the report that I read from MTAS / CTAS. Are there still some political appointees that could be used on the street? And yes, I realize that the area is a training ground, but we will never be able to compete with Metro, and a lot of other agencies are doing a better job than this county at trying to compete. Thoughts?

    Anyone want to weigh in on the proposed property tax? I can imagine what the homeschool lobby thinks…

  30. Chris Sorey

    He did retire. He was not forced to leave. It was that simple, but there is more to the story. Grab a cop and ask them their honest opinion. It might suprise you. Either way, name recognition does go a long way, but with half of the city being new residents, it might not be that big of a deal.

  31. Butch Huber

    Brent, thank you for your service to the community. I can’t imagine what it was like for you to be there trying to save a little girl in that situation without the back-up you need. It is sobering to hear you recount the experience.

    My wife and I were the first on the scene when the first house burned down in Willoughby Station. My wife was able to get the family’s dog out of harm and pull their truck out of the way while I went about trying to figure out whether or not there was someone in the home. As the house burned neighbors ran out of their homes, but for the most part were helpless as we had no equipment. I believe it took 15 to 20 minutes until the fire trucks were on the scene. By that time the house was ruined. That experiences was also sobering. I remember opening the front door to the home, seeing the flames roaring inside the home, and having to decide whether or not to dash up the stairs to look for victims and risk being burned or simply walk away hoping that there wasn’t anyone home. Someone finally signaled to me that the home was empty, thank God they were right.

    Folks, I have known that this city needs to have better fire protection for a long time now. But the fire protection problem isn’t just a Mt. Juliet problem. The fire protection issue is a county problem and it has to be attacked at the county level. When it comes to issues like this we are all in the same boat!

    If necessary, and I hate to say it, the county and the cities in the county will have to place a moratorium on growth until the fire protection issue is hammered out. We can’t responsibly add more and more businesses and homes in this city and county without increasing the capability to provide protection.

    I believe one thing that is evident, Ray Justice will have a real run for his money this term. I believe there are some really well qualified candidates running for district one, and I think in the end Ray will be on the outside looking in.

    But folks, when the election is over the work won’t be done. For the past several years I have been poking this commission in the chest over its misdeeds and mischief. It would be nice to have more help than just the very few of us who have been willing to stand toe-to-toe with these folks. Citizens need to be more active in government…(I can tell you first hand that they can’t stand it). Right now, this government is looking at me as an “Army of One” as a city official recently called me. They have no idea how many people are tuning in to Radiofree each day now. They need to hear from you. They need to know that you too are tired of the garbage that is going on in government.

    Brent, we need to know the tab. How much is needed? Really, until you have a target it is pretty hard to hit the bulls-eye. Forget the public officials, tell us what is needed. I am not bashful, if I know how much you need I will join in with you to help you get it. Is there any reason we can’t develop fundraisers to secure the equipment? Let’s think outside the box and stop relying on an unyielding government to provide for us. Let’s take the issue out of their hands.

    Let the public know the price tag for adequate fire protection and let’s see what we can get done.

  32. Chris Sorey

    I want everyone to understand, I think Ted Floyd is a good person, but a little close to the action to be “change” if that’s what the voters decide they want. Butch said it, there are at least three candidates for district 1 so far and four if Brent turns his petition in. Might have already???

  33. Looking Toward The Future

    Chris,
    I have asked several officers and other employees of the city and they are glad to see Floyd leave. He might have a good heart (no doubt with that) but is he prepared (or educated enough) to make an unbiased decision on city decisions?? I doubt it. Ray needs to take time away and think about another career.

  34. Butch Huber

    I really do get perplexed as to why government continues to take more and more of our money as a percentage of total and why we sit back and let them. Citizens should have the ability to say “no, not one more cent…ever”! Government must have a limit as to how much of our money it is allowed to take in the form of taxes. Then we need to do the Walmart thing and say, each year you have to figure out a way to do more with less.

    It really would be a neat exercise to develop charts and graphs detailing expenditures and incomes over the past 10 years for the county and the city of Mt. Juliet. Are there any excel Wiz-kids out there who could collect the information and make charts and graphs for us?

    Like him or not, Ross Perot did a great job making people aware of federal spending. If we don’t hold them accountable they will spend us into the poor house. We need to tear down government to the lowest level possible and strip away anything and everything that government is involved in that it doesn’t have to be involved in. Then, and only then, will we have real choice of where we spend our money.

    As far as district 1 in concerned, I hope the best qualified person wins, as long as that person has a moral center…

  35. Antony

    An observer with a couple of comments to a great and upcoming public service forum: It appears Ray believes he can say whatever he wants in a public forum . Do you remember when he called Mayor Elam a redneck at a Monday night Commission meeting about 2 years ago. Now that’s no way to speak to any elected public servant. How do you restrain this type of arrogant behavior? I’ll let you figure that out in November!

    Linda is attempting, in print, to take all the credit for the major development over the past 4 years. (If it were not for the almost forgotten Shearer’s, Franklin’s, Wright’s and the dedicated majority employees the City would not be enjoying the revenue benefits.)
    Maybe Linda and the Commission will stepup and take credit or blame for the fiasco that’s going on with the City’s day to day operation over last year and half. It’s simple, when you CHOOSE to dismiss the leaders you lose control! I wonder what will pop out of the bag between now and the election.

  36. Looking Toward The Future

    Good point Antony.

    The city management as a whole has been out of control the last 2-3 years. That is easy to see amongst the bickering between department heads. How quick they are to forget that WE pay the taxes , which in turn pay the salaries. Why must it be such a contest to see who can stir up the most !@#$. If they are looking for name recognition they need to become an actor, heck they are doing that already…

  37. Builder

    I heard the head of public works say we don’t have enough man power to cover all the inspections.
    Well why are all these inspectors hiding out on our properties. They hide in our work trailors, they hide behind charles daniels park, behind the boat sales on lebanon, behind the retirement homes in providence. And if we tell them to leave we risk a failed inspection. One inspector calls himself renaissance-man tells us his man is packing, that is a threat that should be harshly dealt with. We also watch as inspectors drive by never getting out of the truck to inspect (rubber stamping) and the city wonders why houses are built on sink holes, flooded yards, no fire walls, etc. That same renaissance-man has told us what landscaping company to use (The one of the other inspectors brother-inlaw) and if we don’t we don’t pass.
    I’m glad someone has stood up uncovered some of what public works is really about. The inspectors meet and hang out for hours
    not thinking that we notice, but we write it down, take pictures and tell everone we meet what is going on. What ARROGANCE. SO NOW YOU KNOW.

  38. Looking Toward The Future

    Another case of our city leaders not keeping tabs on the employees they are supposed to be in charge of.
    On another note, the majority of the city laborers are excellent and put up with more than they should. I see many laborers working extremely hard all the time putting up with !@#$. The get paid minimal compared to the headaches they face on a daily basis. Kudos to the backbone of the city. Maybe they should do a role reversal with the “powers that be” so the leaders can see what it is really like “in the trenches”.

  39. logic al

    It is fast and easy to paint with a wide brush. I’m sure a certain percentage of people do less than they should do at work – in every profession. Stereotyping all city employees to be the same as the worst one is illogical.

    This political forum works best when observations and opinions are backed up by specific evidence. “I heard this” or “everybody knows that” comments do not persuade me to change my opinion. I am of the opinion that most city employees are hard working people.

    There is certainly no shortage of real scandal in Mt. Juliet government.

    But there is a big difference between gossip and scandal.

  40. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Butch,

    As always you made some good points, but saying that the fire protection is not just a MJ problem is half true. When Mt Juliet signs a contract with the county that is insufficient when signed then it is a city problem. The contract they signed two years ago brushed the service at what is needed here. Look at the MTAS/CTAS Study also, that is collecting dust and probably hasn’t been revisited since the presentation in March, 2007.

    Does the county need to address this yes, but Mt. Juliet needs to negotiate a little better than a “status quo” contract with a couple of additions.

    The chances of seeing any type of reduction in building is unlikely here since we are “the city to move to in Middle TN”

    We could right a laundry lists of things that are needed to bring a solution to the problem, but like most if its not at the top of the list of City Commission is will unlikely be worked on, i.e. a ladder truck. They have been talking about the need for a ladder truck for 3 years!!!

  41. Butch Huber

    1 Voice of the Brotherhood;

    My statement that fire protection is not just a MJ problem is 100% true. But let me explain.

    You bring up a good point about the fire protection issue, but the problem isn’t that the city drafted or signed a bad contract, the problem is that there is a contract at all. The city doesn’t need a contract for fire protection, the county is required by law to provide adequate fire protection. They have two choices, (i) provide fire protection for the entire county and be allowed to tax us for those services, or (ii) develop fire districts and not be able to tax for fire protection in the unincorporated areas. What the second option would mean to the county is that there would have to be a differential between what citizens in incorporated areas pay in property taxes at the county level and what is charged in the unincorporated of the county. The other problem the county runs into is that they would have to build their own fire departments inside the county in the areas that are supported presently by stations located in the city. In time, the city will annex the area around the new fire stations and then the county would have fire stations located well outside the areas of responsibility of the county. It simply isn’t feasible for the county to enter into fire districts, so the best option is for the county to provide adequate services throughout the county.

    The problem we have in Mt. Juliet is one of “No Guts”. The city was being put in a panic two years ago when we were faced with the prospect that the contract with the county would run out and we wouldn’t have fire protection. If the county didn’t provide fire protection for the city and a house caught on fire or someone was injured the county would have been responsible because they would be taxing for services that they were not providing.

    The attorney for Lebanon has gone public with all of this just recently. He pointed out that the options are fire districts or universal coverage. Since we don’t have fire districts we by default have a situation under which the county has to by law provide universal coverage throughout the entire county. Unless someone can point out how I am wrong on this I will continue to believe that the fire protection issue is a county problem, not a city problem. The lack of fire protection is a city problem in that we don’t have adequate protection, but the problem of how to develop adequate protection is a county problem.

    As long as the citizens of Mt. Juliet and Lebanon allow the county government to take the position that the fire protection issue is a city problem we will never have adequate protection. We are just as much citizens of the county as anyone else in the county and for the county to continue to tax us without providing adequate services is not acceptable. The county is on record as saying that the city of Mt. Juliet should do more for fire protection. That is no different than the county saying that the city should do more for public schools, it simply isn’t a city responsibility.

    But none of this issue means that the county is a bad government or that it is made up of bad people, it is just a misperception that the incorporated cities have a responsibility to provide fire protection services for themselves.

    The county wants Mt. Juliet to do what Lebanon did and develop our own fire protection, but what Lebanon did was wrong. We need to force the issue to come to a head. The games that get played in politics are dangerous because nothing gets done and homes and people go unprotected while people hone their gamesmanship skills.

    BTW, I am not suggesting that we actually stop building, but let’s face it, growth is where they are looking to to solve their problems. But unless they ensure that there are adequate services to protect those new buildings and people they are being irresponsible and could potentially open the county up for law suits. Fear of loss is a powerful motivator, if the county and the city were somehow forced into a moratorium on growth until they settled this issue perhaps they would finally sit down and solve it. Perhaps the state could put a moratorium on them until they work this issue out.

    This couldn’t be a better time to bring this issue to a head, they just opened up a very large and fairly tall high school that will house 2,000 students and faculty, surely this is a hot button issue right now.

    We need a comprehensive study that would detail exactly what is needed to provide adequate protection now and in the future based on current growth projections. Then, and only then, can we really begin to work out the issues.

    The county should be glad to handle fire protection for the entire county, it gives them control, power, influence, justification for their existence and money. What politician doesn’t want those things? To the typical politician, is there anything else?

  42. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Butch,

    The MTAS study coverage much of those areas you described and they county basically laughed saying it was unrealistic.

    Also, if the city feels that they are not required to provide fire protection as you note then it should be removed out of the city charter including portion noting a fire marshall.

    All that you note is true Butch, but being realistic is another matter. Placing all the focus on this issue at the county is fine, but until you can give a plan to change the perspective of those sitting on the County Commission to change their structure it is all talk.

    You as a citizen made not be mentioning it, but me as a Firefighter am. The residents have little to risk here since they are not the one’s riding an engine or ambulance in this town every third day and facing the citizens. It easy for one’s who don’t have to be witness to this problem first hand to say that this issue isn’t critical. This is another reason we need more people with public safety experience in discussions regarding growth and planning.

    Also, am I wrong, but didn’t Metro try and do the same thing with districts and it was found to be illegal?

  43. Builder

    Logic I do understand that there are hard working employees at the city, we also work very at what we do. I think you will understand when I say a few can give the city a bad name. Sometimes removing the bad element will restore the confidence in the City of Mt Juliet. I am by no means insulting the good hard working employees. Drive around yourself and take notice.
    I’m just tired of these people just hanging around our properties. We don’t pay them to do this.

  44. Looking Toward The Future

    Butch,
    Are all county services that duplicate city services this messed up? I mean, does the Sheriff and MJPD battle back and forth on similar issues? I’m thinking that if the county is mandated to provide fire service, aren’t they also mandated to provide police protection on the same level? Or is that a different ball of wax?

  45. Lex Luther

    The County wants countywide fire service so Mt. Juliet and West Wilson residents will continue to subsidize rural fire service.

    The day every resident pays only their fair share is the day fire protection ends in the boondocks.

  46. Butch Huber

    1 Voice of the Brotherhood:

    Doing the right thing and doing the expedient thing are not the same. I understand that you are concerned about your safety, I am concerned as well. I was put through firefighting training in the Navy and I served on the ship’s fire team. I have some knowledge of the dangers you face, however, the focus needs to be put in the right place. It appears that the county isn’t providing adequate fire protection and throughout the county, not just in Mt. Juliet. If you are concerned about fire safety and the safety of the firefighters you should be concerned about the issue on a county wide level. No matter what Mt. Juliet does, if the county isn’t concerned enough to provide adequate protection, they would simply take what they were no longer paying for fire protection in Mt. Juliet and apply it toward some other project. The overarching issue here is whether or not the county government is paying enough attention to this fire protection issue. Our immediate concern in Mt. Juliet, from our perspective as Mt. Julians is safety in Mt. Juliet, but aren’t we also citizens of Wilson County as well?

    This is a county issue, not a city issue.

    Looking Toward the Future:

    I believe that there is a substantial difference between a sheriff’s department and a city police department. I may be wrong about this, but I am giving you my impression, not my knowledge. I can’t give you my knowledge on this because I am partially too ignorant on this topic to act as though I have “knowledge”.

    If I am wrong, we probably need to look at police protection as well. But even then, two wrongs wouldn’t make a right. If the county should be paying for police protection 100% and it doesn’t, it still wouldn’t mean that it makes sense to get the city involved in fire protection. In fact, if it is true that the county should be paying for 100% of the cost of police protection and it isn’t, that fact would play to my side of the debate because it would prove how hard it would be to reverse course if the city were to step in and take over fire protection.

    The city has a full time attorney now, perhaps his time would be better used trying to figure this issue out rather than spending time trying to work out a deal to purchase and then give away land to the YMCA. I believe the city is on solid ground in this issue. This is a county issue, not a city issue. It involves all of us, so it is a county issue.

    To all firefighters in Wilson County, I can’t encourage you enough to put the pressure on and keep it on until this issue is settled. We are going to pay for fire protection no matter where the money comes from, the real question is “are we who live in the city going to pay for it twice”?

  47. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Butch,

    Who is the one who approves all development in Mt. Juliet, county or city. If the county was the government entity that approved all the building in the city then I would agree that the city has no part in this fire protection issue, but they are the one’s who keep at to the fire load and population in Mt. Juliet, so they are also responsible. If they want all the growth then they need to step and assist. Again like I mentioned in earlier posts. WEMA provides fire protection for the whole county. We cannot expect the county to increase equipment here when they cant even cover all the areas in the county. Your idea for districts is again a good concept, but until you see a plan on paper it is just a concept.

    As for PD, that is essnetial the same agruement, but MJPD never disbanded and have the Sheriffs Department take over.

    Good to see another Navy man. I can relate also since I was in the Navy and we are all trained as firefighters. Fighting a fire on a ship and a house are a little different, but the same.

    Let me throw this one out there… do you have a problem paying twice for police protection then?

  48. Chris Sorey

    This is a very interesting picture of what is to come. I have read some posts that say Providence provides enough to pay for the fire protection, and others that say incorporated areas such as MJ subsidize unincorporated areas. I disagree with both.

    Yes, large amounts of money come from smaller areas that have been highly devoloped, such as Providence, but there are a lot of rural properties that pay as well. They could use the same argument just as easily.

    If MJ decides to fund a full time department, then it will cost more than what you are paying now, and it will be funded by a city property tax.

    If the county were able to beef up the fire protection, then you will have access to the same level of services when you as a resident of the city travel through the unincorporated areas of the county. Fire departments are great for car wrecks. The engine can block a lot of traffic lanes, but they aren’t going to take you to the ER. Again, the key here is not just fire protection, it is EMS. The majority of the calls are EMS related, and even if the city of MJ does institute its own fire department, it is highly unlikely that they will provide EMS services.

    So, if you want an MJ fire department, go to city hall and tell them to raise the property tax from zero to about 50 cents, and then add that onto your county tax bill and decide if that is what you really want to do. If you want the county to continue to provide fire and EMS, Lets try to figure out how to protect everyone, no matter where they are in the county.

    For what it is worth, 20 cents will cost a homeowner with a 200k home around $170 a year.

    I still believe that no matter what happens, MJ will fund its own fire department at some point. I also believe that the county can provide a better service than the city because If the county provides the protection, there are no imaginary lines that stop the response. If the city provides it, the response stops at the city limit, whether it is MJ or Lebanon.

  49. Lex Luther

    Keep in mind that Wilson County has the power to tax. They exercise that right with impact fees (3000 per house) and property tax (100% goes to the county). Don’t forget that the county also gets half the sales tax generated in Mt. Juliet.

    Every houshold pays all that to Wilson County for services. Wilson County sets the rate, takes the money, and then decides not to provide adequate services? So MJ city residents should then double pay because the county can’t afford to? Why?

  50. Chris Sorey

    It seems that everyone is looking at this as how the county or Lebanon may be screwing MJ. If you lived in Watertown or Alexandria, you would be getting the shaft. They have volunteer departments and pay the same tax rate. If you live on 231 towards Rutherford county, good luck.

  51. Lex Luther

    It costs more to provide service in the rural areas per capita. Fire protection cost should be allocated directly to those receiving the service. It costs less (per capita) for fire protection where people live closer together. It is math not politics that make this true.

    Why should people who live near infrastructure subsidize those who live away from it? People who live 20 miles from the store pay more to drive to town for groceries too. Should those people living 1 mile from the store subsidize that too?

    Fire tax districts allocate cost directly to each specific served area. That cost is always less when divided by more people

  52. Butch Huber

    Fire districts are not “my” idea, they are simply one of two legal choices that the county can pursue in the fire protection issue. They are the second choice in my opinion, not the first. County wide protection is most desirable.

    As far as the concept that the city is the entity that approves building permits and as such should be responsible for paying for the costs, the reality is that the city does pay the costs. We may be outgrowing the pace that fire protection and EMS can keep up with, and perhaps if the county and the city were working with each other rather than against each other we could overcome that. However, regardless of the variables, this is legally a county problem.

    That having been said, if we hold the county accountable, and we look for out-of-the-box alternatives, we can probably overcome the issue in an even better way than simply slamming the city.

    Watertown and Alexandria are our allies in this then, aren’t they?

  53. Chris Sorey

    Butch,
    Not sure that they are allied with anyone, because they may prefer the scenario that they have. What would help them is a full time firefighter at the station who could respond with the engine and the volunteers could meet at the scene. Time is everything. There is an ambulance in Watertown that covers that area, but in Brent’ post above, it was dispatched to the outskirts of Lebanon, and then to an ER. It was out of service for some time in that scenario.

    Lex,
    If you want fire tax districts, keep in mind that your taxes are going to go up if you are near a station. If you are not, then you will get a tax decrease. Your insurance rates are probably higher as well. The more likely scenario is you get a small decrease, and the county will still respond, but you are further away. Those areas already exist, and pay the same for services as the rest of the county.

    My point is when you say “Fire protection cost should be allocated directly to those receiving the service” then how do we know where the service will be needed? How do you predict where the services will be needed? You can’t predict, that’s why it is an emergency. You say people who live near infrastructure as if the infrastructure stops at the city limits. Look towards Old Hickory Lake, and the homes are there. Gladeville has neighborhoods that are almost as large as Providence. Are those people less deserving of fire protection? Accidents/incidents don’t stop at the city limit sign, and neither does the population. Maybe we need more in the MJ area, but it really depends on the call volume. it may be that we need another ambulance and nothing else.

    Have you came out and said you want a city department or more from the county? Maybe you did and I missed it.

  54. Lex Luther

    I have lived here a long time Chris. This debate is not new. The county wants a county wide fire system to subsidize the rural homeowners in East Wilson County.

    Cost per capita means cost per household when referring to fire tax districts. If it costs 1 million per year per station and those costs are divided by the number of houshold served, density reduces the cost per household.

    1,000,000 divided by 10,000 households is 100 dollars per household. That same million divided by 1000 households is 1000 dollars per houshold.

    So West Wilson County could have more stations or pay less money if fire tax districts are implemented when compared to the rural areas.

    This is math, not politics.

  55. Shawn Donovan

    Interesting conversations from all around here.

    For the record I’m a resident of Providence, a member of the HOA Board of Directors, and a Firefighter, so I hit all issues with regards this Providence thing.

    It interesting to note talk about the fire protection or lake there of in the high density area of Providence/Belinda City.

    Do we need better protection, yes. Who is going to pay for it is the question. The developer of Providence, CPS Land, has already donated countless amounts of land to the City in the forms of Parks (Mundy Park) and land for a Fire Station. The time to continue to bicker and finger pointing needs to end. The south side of town is growing faster than any district in Mt. Juliet. This district have more diversity of growth also.

    Now yes Providence has brought on a lot of infrastructure issues that need to be resolved, but I’m sure the 450+ homes already located in the planned 3500 development are bringing in a fair share of revenue with the Providence Marketplace and the fees associated with the development.

    I agree with Chris that the issue of county fire protection is that they are tasked at providing fire service to everyone in Wilson County, not just MJ, Laguardo, Gladeville, etc.. Oh and by the way, Butch, Alexandria is located in Dekalb County. Like mentioned yes we are all taxpayers to the county here, but MJ has a lot more population/growth issues than anywhere in the county.

    One thing that you see little press about is the Volunteer Firefighter Group that I’m organizing for the City, which is made up of all MJ Residents, to supplement WEMA’s crews at Station 3. We currently have 33 applications for positions. Honestly as all involved will tell you that this is a baby step in what we need, but it is a start. What is needed is more ambulances, engines, and full time personnel at the Station that cover the area. Who should pay for it??? That up to the taxpayers like you and I to decide. Its like sports now-a-days.. you have to pay to play. If you want more you need to pay for it.

    I ask that all you support those one’s who work for WEMA. They work under harsh conditions with limited manpower and equipment. I just hope that we don’t have an episode happen in MJ, that was described in Brent Dyers post. If we continue to run the fire protection business the same way, its likely to occur.

  56. Lex Luther

    My point is that Mt. Juliet residents are already overpaying now. I can prove it with maps and math.

    You can blame the city of Mt. Juliet if you want, but the county is taking your tax money and spending it in other areas.

    I have lived here close to four decades and have seen how this works. If Mt. Juliet buys equipment it will show up in Lebanon or Gladeville.

    I have seen it happen over and over.

  57. 1 voice of the brotherhood

    Lex,

    Your are correct on that one. If you figure the cost you pay for taxes and deducate the costs to operate the station in MJ the money is getting spread out.

    One other interesting thing too. Per the fire contract we are supposed to have two fire engines based out of station 3. Go do a drive by and tell me how many fire engines are there..

  58. Chris Sorey

    Sorry Lex, I have the map, with the fire stations and the homes on it. There are four stations on or West of 109, and three for the rest of the county.

    If the people of MJ are overpaying as you say, then the people of Eastern Wilson county are getting screwed!

  59. Lex Luther

    The county is collecting a lot more than 4/7 of its property tax dollars west of 109 Chris.

    I hope you don’t sell out West Wilson County residents on this issue at the County Commission table.

    I know a lot of people thought you would be different.

  60. 1 voice of the brotherhood

    If were comparing the number of stations located in a geographic area maybe. Are you saying that the MJ residents AND the unincorporated residents who also get service from Station 3 are not covering the cost for operations is rediculous Chris. The population covered by Station 3 and Station 4 is a lot more then say Station 8, so that in turn pay a lot more property tax and sales tax.

    Can’t agree with you there brother, but I do agree the east side is getting shafted by not having proper fire protection.

    There is just no solid way to do this without additional funds from the incorported cities, because the unincorporated is always getting shafted.

  61. Chris Sorey

    Sorry, I was thinking Statesville when I wrote Alexandria.
    Now that I think about it, station 7 in Statesville is a WEMA station, but manned by volunteers so there are actually only two and a half stations on the other side of 109 that are WEMA. The equipment is there, but not the labor costs.
    The other is Carthage hwy and Downtown Lebanon which is also headquarters. Why does WEMA have an engine and two tankers in dowtown Lebanon should be the real question. It is a duplication of services given that Lebanon has their own FD, which they pay dearly for in city taxes. Those pieces of equipment should be moved to other areas of the county where they will provide coverage.

    Sean, I think you have good comments and ideas, but do you really think more manpower is needed at station 3 or should there be another station built?

  62. Shawn Donovan

    Thank Chris,

    I honestlly think another station is needed on the south side due to a few issues

    1)Traffic concerns
    2) Response times to the extreme south and west of the current response district
    3) Manpower and call volume
    4) Types of structure, from big box retail, single family residential, multi family residential, and independent living.

    As the other guys who are firefighters have noted that a large chunk of calls are for medical calls so the need for another ambulance really is the most critical right now becuase that would “kill two birds with one stone” by giving two more personnel to respond to medical calls and utilized for fire calls also..

  63. Chris Sorey

    OK, this has to be a long one, and I apologize in advance but hopefully it will clarify my position on the fire protection issue. IT IS NOT FIRE PROTECTION, IT IS EMERGENCY SERVICES!

    WEMA is a county agency, and consists of the fire department and ambulance service. If you want more than what you have now, and you want it overnight, then the city needs to pay for it. They are trying to get the volunteers together now to supplement the manpower. Did anyone on this forum sign up for that other than Sean? No. I was there, but I did not want to get involved in anything MJ is doing for obvious reasons, and to be honest, I was there because I knew there was going to be someone who planned to speak against the idea of a volunteer department because they did not want it to take the place of a paid firefighter. I will leave that alone as I believe the person realized that most departments start as volunteer, and proceed to paid. The other reason I did not join, even though I have the credentials from the state, is that if I joined the MJ volunteer fire company, and then won the seat on the county commission, the screams that I have a conflict of interest would be heard in Statesville, where they still have a volunteer fire department, that you may or may not be subsidizing. Still no conflicts of interst on my part. I paid for my campaign out of my own pocket, and didn’t even take the free BBQ chicken dinner that the Fair offered. Big deal right, a dinner. if it starts there, where does it end? Want my ear? Call me. It is that easy. 579-6068

    My opinion is that the COUNTY agency which is responsible for those services should provide the entire county with those services. Rural areas will not have as much coverage as the more dense areas, but as of now, they are actually subsidizing you. The majority of the county is more than 5 miles from a station, including Hickory Hills, which gives them an ISO rating of 10, which in turn makes the home owners insurance higher.

    In a perfect world, MJ might get more protection. The realistic side is that MJ will not get more than what they already have until other parts of the county have some protection. Please don’t give me that “I know a lot of people thought you would be different” crap, because you know that I am only 1 vote out of 25. I will not sell out and you have no reason to believe that. Also, please remember my district is both city and county. There is not a single district that I am aware of that is entirely in a incorporated limits.

    The population in MJ has outgrown Lebanon by a handful and both are around 25k, right? The entire population of the county is around 100k and probably a little more by now, so half of the population of the county is outside of the two major cities in the county. So, how sure are you that the money coming from MJ is subsidizing the other parts of the county, when the MJ population is only 25% of the enire county?

    Sorry, but the argument that some are putting forward is the same argument that the folks used a few years ago when they decided to be boneheads and cancel the contract. So what? They were still going to resond. Can you imagine the negligience if they had not? It was a political move and it worked. It still has us talking about it today. Lebanon has their own FD, so they are subsidizing us if you look at with that logic because they don’t use WEMA. Well, they do use WEMA, because it is emergency services! Ambulance service, extrication, hazmat, all WEMA. I believe WEMA should move out of the heart of Lebanon to the outskirts so that they can have a better response time and provide coverage to other parts of the county without having to fight the traffic of Main street, but it is not up to me.

    How many lives have been lost in MJ due to fires? None that I recall in the recent years. Go outside of the city limits, and there have been a couple this year. Why? They have no fire protection. My goal is to provide the entire COUNTY with “emergency services” so that when you go to Lebanon to the fair, or Watertown to the drive in movie, you are safe because there is a sufficient level of services covering the entire county. Not everyone will be within 5 miles of a station, but they will be closer than they are now.

    Short term solution? We need a few more staff at some of the existing stations, then we need to add stations. The Providence station should probably be about the third station, if it ever happens.

    Do I want more emergency services in MJ? Yes. Will it happen just because I want it? Of course not. If the rest of the county is given some level of protection, will we eventually get more in MJ? Yes. If we have more stations and staff in the county, are you better protected? Yes. Why? There are no imaginary man made lines at the edge of the city, wherever that might be this week.

    So again, Lex, are you for the county providing more services or do you believe that MJ should start their own FD? I can probably give you a better reasoning on it after I know where you stand.

  64. Madi

    Shouldn’t we all help each other? We live in the same county; we all have families and love ones; instead of fighting between who has the most power or who has the largest amount of citizens; or what if MJ buys a fire truck and it goes to Watertown… As long as the equipment is being paid for by what ever monies are chosen; and EMS or Fire Services go where they are needed in a crucial time of emergency, Its most important that our Firemen & EMS have the equipment needed in saving a life. Remember, if it wasnt for other fire trucks outside of Mt. Juliet; How does anyone think S & S Industries fire would have been put out? “Money is the root of all evil”. Stop bickering about this and join forces!

  65. Leaning on governmental infrastructure is a two-edge sword. It happens all the time. The Wilson County School system built a 2500 student High School on a one and a half lane road. The County has voted twice not to pay 950,000 to improve the road. They obviously expect Mt. Juliet to improve the road.

    The County also refused to help Mt. Juliet with the Beckwith Road Interchange costs. That Interchange helps both Lebanon and Wilson County yet Mt. Juliet was the only local entity to fund it.

    Mt. Juliet also paid 100% to engineer the Mt. Juliet Interchange improvement project. Wilson County never contributed a dime yet receives just as much sale tax revenue as the city does. In fact, the County receives more December sales tax money from Providence Marketplace than it costs to build and man a fire station for a year.

    Point being Mt. Juliet does contribute a lot of money to the County. Wilson County has about 610 square miles of area. Mt. Juliet has 20. So you have 25,000 people on 20 square miles contributing more money to the county than any other 20 square mile area. And that is only going to go up. When Paddocks and two Publix Grocery stores open up here sales tax revenue is likely to double again.

    Trust me Chris, Possum Town, Gladeville, and Watertown are not subsidizing Mt. Juliet’s Fire protection.

    I am for Wilson County providing adequate fire protection for the whole county, Mt. Juliet included. The dysfunctional way Wilson County presently funds the countywide Emergency Management operation is the problem. Fire Tax Districts will allocate cost to benefit without cross-County subsidy.

    Trust me Chris, the east end is not subsidizing the west end – it is the other way around. But either way is wrong.

  66. Nathan Clariday

    Really there can only be three fire stations east of Hwy 109; and I would say Gladeville is questionable because it is probably closer to Lebanon than Mount Juliet

  67. Nathan Clariday

    Does anybody have the hard data on how much west wilson county contributes in property tax and sales tax revenue?

  68. Nathan Clariday

    I meant to say west of 109

  69. 1 voice of the brotherhood

    Thats right Nathan,

    West of 109 you have Station 3, 4, and 5. Station 6 is on the east side of the street on 109, but does cover area west of 109

    So if your east of 109, you have Station 1, 6, and 8

    Lebanon, Watertown, and Statesville all have their own departments.

    Don’t let the Station # fool you though, whats more shocking is the number of Firefighters. The total # of Firefighters each day covering the county (not including watertown, Lebanon, and statesville) is 20 Firefighters total per day. That includes 10 personnel who ride on the ambulances, so if their on a medical call reduce that number from the 20.

    Oh. and by the way that 20 if for the whole county again. So i.e. you have a fire in West Wilson, you have Station 3, 4, 5, 6 coming to you. You have 10 personnel fighting your house fire.

  70. Chris Sorey

    It appears that I will disagree with most on here about this issue. let me put it this way: If the vote comes up to build another station in MJ, I will vote for it. It won’t happen, but I would vote for it. This didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight. If you want more in MJ, then the city will have to provide it because the county can’t at this time. They want a property tax increase as it is. Otherwise, the obvious way is that the next couple of stations will be built in the county. Not Lebanon, but the county. Hopefully one in Providence will follow.

    As far as subsidizing goes, with the argument some are using, you should all send Butch some money since he home schools his kids. Or, if a patient goes into cardiac arrest while shopping at Providence, should we check to see what county the tags on his car are from or look in the bag to see how many dollars in taxes he paid? What? you mean he gets treated using the tax dollars that you and I paid? Folks, do you not realize that the argument for the county to build another station in MJ is the same argument that the county used to end the contract in MJ altogether?

    We have to stop looking at the imaginary lines and start looking at what it takes to get the job done.

    Four stations on 109 or this side: MJ, Lakeview, Gladeville and Laguardo. The other side has headquarters in downtown Lebanon, Carthage Hwy with one truck and no Ambulance, and the Statesville department has county equipment and no ambulance. Watertown has a volunteer department that they provide the equipment for, and a county ambulance. Do you really think 12 other commissioners are going to build a station in MJ? Of course not.

    I can’t wait to hear the screams when they start to build the new Lebanon High School…

  71. Looking Toward The Future

    Hey Chris,
    What do you think about a central Fire Department in the city of MJ? Something that could incorporate a new dispatch station for WEMA? Something State-of-the-Art? We all have a common goal, to keep up alive and we need to equip our professionals as such.

  72. Here’s a thought.

    Since Mt. Juliet is now the largest city in Wilson County, why not move the WEMA headquarters from Lebanon to Mt. Juliet?

  73. Bobby Franklin

    Public safety is not a zero sum game. There is no need for either end of Wilson County to have inadequate fire protection. It is incredible that so many educated people have been persuaded to believe that Mt. Juliet is somehow responsible for the failure of the County to provide adequate countywide service.

    Mt. Juliet is only 20 square miles of a 600 square mile County. If this city magically disappeared one night do you really think the other 580 square miles would suddenly have adequate service? I don’t.

    The problem is that we have let this issue become framed as an east vs. west, us vs. them argument. As if both sides of the County cannot have adequate service for some reason. There is absolutely no reason to frame the debate this way. Lets solve the problem not a symptom of it.

    There is no fairer way to pay for a countywide system then with Fire Tax Districts. The reason is simple. Different parts of the County require different levels of service. There is not a “one size fits all” solution to this “different size required” problem. It is really quite easy to solve the funding problem. Fund the system legally to start with – with Fire tax Districts.

    The starting point is to translate the current cost of WEMA to the amount of property tax needed to fund it. I’m just guessing but lets say it comes to 25 cents of the current property tax rate. The next step is to subtract that amount from everyone’s tax rate. Then we create Fire Tax Districts anchored by the existing WEMA stations. Next we allocate the required amount of tax rate in each district required to pay for the existing service in that area. That will make every property owner pay the exact amount required for their service.

    Density will cause that amount to be a lower rate in West Wilson County. Service can then be added and charged to the appropriate area accordingly. Everyone pays for the level of service required for their area. It won’t matter if one side of the County gets another Fire Station. It will become a “pay as you expand” system with those getting the enhanced service having to pay for it to start with.

  74. Looking Toward The Future

    Publius…that makes perfect sense. Now if MJ and the County could only play nice and agree on it. Hmmm…the battle continues.
    Only new blood will solve this dilemma…

  75. Chris Sorey

    Bobby,
    If we do the fire district tax system as you support, do you suppose the folks in Hickory Hills should not have to pay the tax for the fire district at all since they are more than 5 miles from a station? If the station in MJ responds to to a house fire in that particular neighborhood, should they get a bill since the fire tax district subsidized those services?

    Fire tax districts sound great when you have a station near you. When you don’t, they aren’t so good. Of course, when you get the bill, it sounds bad again.

    This whole discussion wreaks of the us vs. them mentality.

  76. Bobby Franklin

    Chris,

    The density in this end of the County will pay for several more Fire Stations at, if not less than, the tax rate we are currently paying.

    If the current funding scheme costs 25 cents of everyone’s tax rate on average countywide, I bet the Hickory Hills density would pay for a new station for 10 to 13 cents in a properly structured Fire Tax District.

    Granted, Fire Tax Districts in the rural areas might cost 35 to 40 cents, but it would be the (unsubsidized) cost of the service for that area.

    No one should have to sacrifice service and everyone would pay their fair share for it.

    I am open to a better solution – just haven’t heard one yet.

  77. Looking Toward The Future

    How does a Metro Government sound? It almost works in Nashville/Davidson County.

  78. Chris:

    You’ve been misinformed. Hickory Hills is within five miles of the Mt. Juliet station. RFMJ has just added a page with reference material on the fire issue.

    Go check out the two .pdf maps. Either as the crow flies, or as the firetruck drives, all of Hickory Hills is within five miles of the MJ station.

    https://radiofreemj.wordpress.com/fire/

  79. Chris Sorey

    Publius,
    Fire trucks don’t fly. Hickory Hills is not within five driving miles of any station.

  80. Butch Huber

    To all;

    It is obvious this is a very important issue, would it make sense to organize a meeting for all those interested in this issue to meet together to brain storm and develop a proposal that could be taken to the county and all of the incorporated cities in a joint meeting? There are about 100,000 people in this county who need adequate fire protection and emergency services, from my perspective it would make sense for there to be a comprehensive plan to provide that protection. This is a basic level need that everyone has and everyone should share the cost.

    Chris, you are being pragmatic, which I understand, but I encourage you to not be so pragmatic and use your new bully pulpit as a platform for change in this county. You could serve as a catalyst for change and cooperation between the city and the county.

    I have hit on this a few times, and no bites so far, so I will be more direct. In may other places around the county they do carnivals to raise money for the fire department. In other areas they do fundraisers. I am sure that in yet other areas they have other methods to raise money. Why not incorporate some of what is on the pages of their playbook to solve the problem we have here in Wilson County? If there are 100,000 people who live in this county there are probably about 30,000 families. If each family were to contribute, either directly or indirectly, either through taxes or donations, or a combination thereof, $300 toward fire protection, it would mean that we have about $9,000,000 to put toward these services. Would $9,000,000 put a dent in what we need or would we need more?

    Again, unless we have a target we are just wondering aimlessly. We really need to know how much is needed and what it is needed for before we will accomplish much.

    If we had a six year plan through which each family contributed $100 per year on average, those who have more can contribute more and those who have less can contribute less, we would develop $18,000,000 over the next six years. Would $18,000,000 do the job? I have my $100 to put in if that is what we are going to do. I game.

  81. Chris Sorey

    Butch,
    What if we got the pros at MTAS and CTAS to do a study on this? Would that help? That study is what I have been talking about and referencing this entire time.

  82. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    When an independent study was conducted by local firefighters the price tag of around 5 million per year was the ballpark. This was to cover MJ as a city department, so if we looked at the county that number it would obviously be higher.

    Chris calling the MTAS/CTAS the pros in the area is somewhat a stretch. The last study done was completed without sitting down with WEMA and discussing it and included a lot of misinformation. i.e ambulances only transport stable people so needing more ambulances is only for manpower was one of them. Not to mention it was never even presented to the County.

    I have to agree that some type of committee needs to be formed for long range planning on this issue. One problem is that its been hard to get people from the East and West to decide on a significant plan. Those of us who remember all the problems with the fire contract talks in 2006 know that all to well.

    Would this just be a group of non-appointed citizens who come together for a common cause?? That would probably be the best way, because you would get more people who work in the business involved.

    How far is Hickory Hills from the Lakeview Station… granted not having any direct routes from the station would make it difficult

  83. Chris Sorey

    Independent study by local firefighters? When was this done? Who were the independent firefighters who performed the study? Should I take a guess? Maybe the same person who thought it smelled of politics when the issue of the non-compliant homes were exposed?

    So, any chance I can get a copy of the independent study that was performed? I want to see if the first thing that it says is build a station in Providence, because that’s where the authors of the study live.

  84. Voice of the Brotherhood:

    You need to probe a bit more as to WHY the MTAS/CTAS guys were not able to sit down with WEMA and WHY their study was not presented to the county.

    I think it’s pretty clear that copies were given to the country mayor and the county commissioners.

  85. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Good point Publis, I’m sure most of us know why that didn’t happen.

    The study that was done was completed by members of the Wilson County Professionals Union a couple of years back, so Chris if you want a copy you may want to contact them directly.

  86. Paul Deyo

    Nathan, 109 no longer exists at Gladeville. Perhaps you meant 840.

    There is a need for a fire station south of I-40. There is an ideal location for one at Providence.

    Publius and Bobby make compelling arguments. Chris, please remain a Mount Juliet advocate and don’t let your surroundings turn you into another county politician.

  87. Chris Sorey

    Thanks Paul. I will try to be a Man of the People.

  88. Jarod D. Scott

    Man of the People!

    I felt that your statement regarding me misrepresented what actually occurred and I just wanted to set the record straight.

    I did not run to stop the “anti-incumbant” vote or to dilute that vote in any way. When I ran originally it was because I felt that Ray Justice was not taking the role seriously enough. The initial drive was to win against Ray since Ray was so irresponsible that he did not even turn his petition to run for office in until the last minute.

    After having committed to running the race I gave it everything I had. My family and best friend were out hitting the streets knocking on doors trying to get the word out about controlled growth in Mt Juliet and planning for a better/more effectively managed Mt Juliet. We attempted to knock on every door in District 1 and I dare say got very close (sadly most were not home).

    While making these visits I ran into Teresa. I was seriously unimpressed and concerned about the direction that she would take Mt Juliet just as much if not more than my concern regarding the future under Ray. This gave me more reason for working harder on the race.

    Sadly even after knocking on almost every door in the district my family had to come first. Increased competitive pressure on my sales at my job from a competitor who was recruiting me to sell for them mandated a job change. The new job required me to attend an orientation training on and just before election day therefore killing my chances at a win. I strive to focus on the important things in life and providing for my family comes first. Looking back I am thankful that God did not allow me to win. After seeing continued political in fighting on the commission since. I am thankful that I was not in the middle of a board that did not understand the meaning of compromise while living on back stabbing and deceit.

    Please understand that when I run for office I am running to win and make a difference for those who elected me, not to play political games. I have learned from my mistakes in this election. On my next endeavor I will plan well in advance, recruit an army to assist with on the ground campaign activities, and raise enough funds to where my job does not have to be my top priority. This will allow me to speak to folks regarding the need for smaller, more efficient government through free market competition. I believe that most of my neighbors agree with these ideals and if communicated properly they will guarantee a win for my campaign and for those citizens who pay their taxes by working hard at their jobs everyday.

    One last thing… Teresa’s dirty tactics of spreading lies about me by putting fliers in peoples mail boxes (illegal activity Teresa-post office will imprison you for that) was dirty and underhanded. My editorials in college did not reflect my further maturity and understanding that I have gained since becoming a tax paying citizen and parent, nor did they tell the whole story.

    As a child you think like a child and I would like to think that when I ran my campaign I thought like a man. I understood that taxes go up easy and don’t go down without a fight which is why they should only be in place for real need. I realized that when I ran my campaign and admit to not realizing that when I was living in the bubble of college.

    I don’t believe in taxes unless they have an ending point or accomplish a specific goal. The bypass for mt juliet would have been an example of this-ending point at bypass completion and dedicated funds just to the road. I now think many people in Mt Juliet would support and looking back wish it had been done.

    Furthermore, you didn’t point out that I would have tied any state income tax to the elimination of taxes on food or clothing (to help the poor who pay a disproportinate amount in taxes on those items), nor did you point out that I would have required an elimination of all entitlements before allowing it to move forward (which most likely would eliminate the need for new taxes all together).

    FDR gave people a check for working and any government check should be tied to a job and should never be given out without being tied to a job (NO MORE STIMULUS CHECKS, CHECKS FOR SITTING AT HOME DOING NOTHING, OR BLANK CHECK BAILOUT PACKAGES!).

    And for those of you who voted for me in 2004, thank you for your time and support. Continue to try to make a difference in the lives of others. God will bless you for it.

    Sincerely,
    Jarod D. Scott
    Jarod@JarodScott.com

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