County squires silence MJ commissioners and put old MJES land up for sale

Not metaphorically – literally. Commissioner Hagerty and Commissioner Sellers asked for permission to address the meeting of the Wilson County Commission on Monday night on the subject of the City’s purchase of the MJES site for the benefit of the YMCA. The Wilson County Commission denied their request to speak on a vote of 14-10.

The County Commission then voted 24-0 to have the property appraised and placed on the market for sale at the appraised price.

More details (including a few fascinating quotes) in this weeks Chronicle of Mt. Juliet.

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10 Comments

Filed under YMCA

10 responses to “County squires silence MJ commissioners and put old MJES land up for sale

  1. Butch Huber

    Thank you County Squires!

    As a citizen of the county, I believe that the county acted appropriately by voting to have this land appraised and put on the open market. This is only fair to the public for a couple reasons:

    1) The property is worth three to four million dollars, not $2,000,000.

    2) If the County sells this property to a developer proceeds will be an increase in liquid capital that the county can use to offset some of the operational expenses of the county, thereby reducing the strain on the public at a time when we need the relief.

    3) If this land is developed into retail stores, it will mean more tax dollars for the city and the county. Since the county coffers are a little lighter than normal, moving to open this land to retailers is a very good idea.

    4) The County knows that the city of Mt. Juliet doesn’t have the money to complete this deal without illegally using bond funds, or at least I think they know it, and if they were to enter into a deal knowing that it was going to be paid for with illegal funding they would be complicit.

    5) The City, if is is proven to have used bond funds illegally, risks losing the bond funds altogether. If that were to happen it could, and probably would, have a severe impact on the ability of the city to complete the Eastern Connector Road. That would leave the school without an adequate road for even longer and it would serve to hamper growth of commerce in that area of the county and city. The long-term effect could be staggering.

    6) Despite what Will Sellers, Ed Hagerty and Ray Justice have been saying and/or implying, the vast majority of the citizens of this city are vehemently against this YMCA deal. Will, Ed, and Ray ignored the will of the voters on this issue and tried to ramrod this project through and force this YMCA debacle on the public. The County stopped that…at least for now. There isn’t anything stopping the city from trying to purchase the land at full price though.

    Thanks again, County, for doing what is in the best interests of all of us.

    The YMCA has an offer on the table for twelve free acres of land in a very good location….I suggest they take the offer!

  2. Butch Huber

    I read the articles in the Mt. Juliet New regarding the school property. Sounded a little biased to me, but I guess the paper has a right to its opinion…although I always thought news papers were supposed to report the news, not opine on it, but I digress.

    Oh, are they in a tizzy over this. Screaming and whining, screaming and whining. How dare the county actually try to sell this land for what it is worth?!

    They are saying now we are stuck with this horrible looking piece of land right in the middle of our fair city. What a disgrace. We are cut to the quick. Oh, the shame of it all. Okay, okay…I am adding a little bit here, but that is what it sounds like to me.

    Will Sellers and Ed Hagerty have every right to go to the county commission as citizens of Mt. Juliet, but as commissioners they have no authority or right to address the county commissioners as representatives of Mt. Juliet unless specifically sent by a majority of votes of the city commission…which hasn’t happened. They are overstepping their authority if that is how they approached the commission…at least that is my opinion.

    Folks, trust me, in a few years, when the economy turns around, this land will sell for 6 to 7 million, perhaps even more. The county would be nuts to let the city purchase this land only to put it in a 100 year lease with the YMCA. I bet that in a five years the annual sales tax income from that property will be about $2,000,000 per year!

    The county has done West Wilson County a great big favor by keeping this commission from doing one of the worst things conceived of ever! Just because Ed Hagerty wants to have a YMCA here doesn’t make it right for them to use our tax dollars to do it. Remember, I asked the guy in charge of the YMCA in Middle Tennessee if they would come here anyway if the commission got out of the way and he said “YES”. Let them come to Mt. Juliet, but let them come here because enough people will support it with private donations, not because the government has ripped the money from our hands!

    (Right now there is someone, who I won’t mention his name, who wants to say to me “We aren’t ripping money from your hands. The hotel/motel tax is paying for this purchase.” I wonder if he will opine? Come on, you can do it…open that door for me.)

    The County reached past this city commission and extended an olive branch to the citizens of Mt. Juliet. Thank you, County Commissioners, Thank you.

  3. General Public

    The fog rolls into City Hall and settles upon Acme Hollow-man’s quarters. “We have lost a great warrior” he speaks out to the remaining, “Should be Committed Commissioners”. But, our plans shall remain the same. No outsider shall enter our fixed agreement. We shall not deny Sir Edward his swim at the Y.”

    Hollow-mans head drops to gaze upon the smoky potion he has been stirring now for months. That familiar grin reappears and spoken as a true madman, he speaks. “I have made new rules, for I Am the rule maker. Has the new Commissioner received the gold we sent?” “Yes” Major Pinoche speaks, standing at attention. “But we do not know if he can be bought.” “What!” howls Acme Hollow-man, (beginning to sound more and more like the wolf). “Everyone has a weakness”, he says. Pulling the Major closer, he whispers, “You do want to be a real boy don’t you? Look at how Linda Lamb encouraged the other Commish to run for office. Was not the outcome as expected?”

    Major Randy speaks out, “We have made many more enemies with this election; we need more guards. I said we need more guards!” Inspector Gary Gadget runs in out of breath and stands at attention. “I have secured the area, my lord, inspectors are circling the toaster just as you have ordered.”

    Major Pinoche looks up, very annoyed. “I said guard the post! The Post! “It is a wonder you have inspected anything at all Gadget.”
    Randy Pinoche clears his throat and calls all the city together.
    “We have had many officials asking many questions here lately. Let us not forget to lie for the Great Cause and hide those files. You all realize that one slip and our House of Cards falls. Remember all the pits we have been digging? Let us also remember where they are”.

    And in one voice, rising from City Hall we hear those, all too familiar word’s, “we will not, I repeat not, let the truth overcome us.”
    “Stop! Stop!” Acme Hollow-man shouts. “We are starting to appear waaaay too obvious!”

    “We must all remain calm,” the Major soothingly interrupts. “We just need to sharpen our shears, so the sheep of our kingdom won’t feel the budget cuts. Speaking of sheep, our new sheriff doesn’t see the strings attached to his arms and legs yet. (Later, I will have him dance for you.) But for now, he has been given freshly cut wool, to pull over the eyes of the Special Forces. They will help us catch Robin Hood and his County Men, for trying to sell our Promised Land and giving the money to those public peons. “What do they think this is? A recession?” Barks the Major. As his words fade, we see the city moving farther and farther away from Randy Pinoche, afraid of being assaulted by that now famous nose of his.
    As the scene fades to black, we hear Randy murmur. “It’s very lonely at the top. But it is all about me, isn’t it, well isn’t it?”

  4. Lori

    Is it really any surprise that the MJNews is biased (or opinion based)? I find it it amusing that they are a community paper and at times we have a hard time figuring out which comumminty it is that they claim to serve. To be honest, I have quit purchasing it for that reason. If I do read it, it is either the headline snippets here or at the library. I just don’t want to give them my money – even if it is only 50 cents a week.

  5. Sean Evans

    “How dare the county actually try to sell this land for what it is worth?! ”

    Yeah right! The county couldn’t sell it before and they won’t be able to sell it now. The economy is in ruins and commercial real estate hasn’t even started crashing yet. Look at the high vacancy rates of the commercial real estate in Mount Juliet and Wilson county. That land will just sit for a very long time with a big FOR SALE sign stuck in the ground. Just like before.

    Too bad.

  6. Butch Huber

    Sean,

    Life will resume one day, and when that day comes that land will be very, very valuable. Even if it doesn’t sell for five or six years, what does it really matter. There are plenty of lots around town that are very similar to those twelve empty acres, so they can’t say “it’s an eyesore and therefore we need to give it to the YMCA”. This land is like money in the bank for the County. It is just sitting there collecting value over time.

    Don’t worry, Obama is going to save us all…he’s “the one”.

  7. Nathan Clariday

    The county had at least three groups wanting to buy the land before. However; due to the zoning and the planning commission no one could ever get a plan that met these standards. I think it was home depot; but I am not for sure.

  8. Butch Huber

    Someone will eventually purchase that land. Eventually, the city will have to relent on the overly strict zoning there and then the property will sell. Meanwhile, it just continues to increase in relative value. Even though we are in a down economy, the whole world is in a down economy. When that happens, isn’t wealth relative? What I mean is, as we go through this economic shake-up, and as values of goods and services goes down in terms of cost per unit, if the entire world is going through a downturn at the same time, then isn’t the value of land going to be relatively the same or close to it? Considering the old adage, that they aren’t making any more land, won’t the relative value of land continue to climb? I can’t claim to be an economist, but that is what it seems like it will do from my perspective. Sure, there will be gyrations, but if an acre of land is worth thirty cows, or three thousand chickens or ten tons of potatoes, or 20 ounces of gold today, and if we go through a recession and that same acre of land is worth the same number of cows or chickens or potatoes or the same weight in gold, then didn’t it retain its relative value? The only thing that makes it difficult is if you are trying sell that land to use the proceeds to pay off debts, which don’t go down along with the economy, right? I could be way off base here, but from what I can tell, the best thing the county can do is hold that land until they get the offer they are looking for and then sell it. There is no rush to sell that land, why is would there be a rush to sell it?

  9. Bobby Franklin

    The City of Mt. Juliet has never really had a “center of town”. In a way, we may be lucky that the town never developed that way. Many town centers and town squares are failing or have been abandoned by business in small cities. Some cities spend millions to restore their town centers. Nostalgia can be expensive.

    There is a very real conflict for Mt. Juliet residents concerning the Elementary School property. Should the city continue to impose zoning restrictions that lower the resale value of a county asset? We should remember that 100% of Mt. Juliet homeowners are also Wilson County taxpayers. Are we holding ourselves hostage here?

    Everyone has an opinion so here is mine. The city should get out of the way or buy the property. If it buys the property it should pay market price and use the land for municipal buildings. No giveaways.

    If there is no money or will to do this the overlay restrictions should be lifted so the county can sell the property.

  10. Butch Huber

    How about this one? How about the city and the county appoint a joint committee to work on setting up a quasi-retail/municipal center on that land? The city could put its offices there, right along with retail stores, and the county could put an extension office there as well. Hmmm….that makes way too much sense.

    Linda was right when she said in the meeting last night that the issue with the road in front of the school was clouded up with so many other issues. Separate the road from the Old MJES site entirely, deal with the road as one issue, deal with the old MJES site as a another issue.

    Once the land is appraised, the city should work with the county to help them get their price, I mean really work with the county to get them their price. By doing so, they help the county get the money they need in order to pay for their obligations on Curd Road and at the same time the city could end up with very nice offices.

    The city can float another bond in July of next year. There is no reason the city can’t enter into an offer to purchase that land from the county with a contingency that it is able to successfully complete another bond offer. The city and the county can negotiate a deal through which the city is able to purchase that land at a reasonably discounted rate with a provision that the city build a quasi-retail/government center on the property and that the county, for its consideration in discounting the purchase price of the land, have access to a certain amount of office space in the government center portion of the property, on a one-hundred year lease for 1 dollar per year, for the purpose of placing an extension office there and for placing a library there.

    The city could enter into a deal with a developer through which the developer would build out a center much like the one recently built in Green Hills, with the government owning the upper floors and one section of the lower floors and the developer owning the lower sections. The government of Mt. Juliet could sell its current assets to offset the price of the land and construction of its offices and the developer could build out the site with more certainty of success. This would “help” build out that site with something that really has a town center feel to it.

    Under my plan, everyone, and I mean everyone, the city, the county, the citizens, the retailers, the developer, the commuter rail, and everyone else wins. Other property around that area should be looked at for inclusion in this plan as well. The city is going to need more office space anyway, why not put the city government in what is being developed and promoted as the town center? This is the most effective use of square footage of prime retail property you could come up with. If the city is going to stick with its strict zoning regulations it has a moral obligation to help the land owners their sell their land. It isn’t fair or ethical for the city to change the conditions on property like they have with this main street overlay deal and then not do everything in its power to help the owners of the land who are affected by the change.

    I wish I had the ability to show you what I am talking about. Perhaps publius has the ability and the willingness to post an image of this type of project. I will try to find an image and send it to publius.

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