Mt. Juliet residents OK higher taxes for fire service

Thus sayeth the Tennessean:

Mt. Juliet residents voted Thursday in favor of higher taxes for expanded fire service.

When asked how the city should improve fire protection, 68 percent of the 497 residents at the town hall voted in favor of a 20-cent property tax increase for a new Wilson County Emergency Management Agency station in southern Mt. Juliet.

 

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89 Comments

Filed under Fire Protection, Mt. Juliet City Commission, Wilson County Commission

89 responses to “Mt. Juliet residents OK higher taxes for fire service

  1. Doc Cider

    Let’s see….that’s roughly 350 out of the 25 thousand who live here. I wasn’t there but I imagine the deck was stacked in other ways too. I hear there was a large contingent from Del Webb, close to the ill-advised location of the proposed fire station.

    This whole event was a staged stunt by Randy ‘Not Bozo’ Robertson to manufacture a consensus. The only wy to get a true consensus is a referendum. Of course the city has a history of ignoring those.

  2. That’s right. You gotta give credit to Gump and the denture hood. 0.02 of the population just helped Mayor Chicken Little make a whopper of a boner. Hold on to your butts!
    RP

  3. DUDE

    Yes,
    The 68 percent were from district 4 i’m sure they all voted for the new tax for the new fire station but many don’t know the one thing they really want may never arrive there. AMBULANCE

  4. Butch Huber

    What is interesting is, we will probably hear the commission coming out and saying, “we have to protect those on fixed incomes by freezing their property tax rate at zero”. That way, those who live in Del Webb will get their fire station and pay nothing for it while the rest of us get to provide them with the service out of our pockets. Mark my words, it will happen. I wonder if Ed is planning a move to Del Webb anytime soon? Hmmm…..

  5. butch huber

    What the people of Del Webb and others who voiced their opinion that they would be willing to pay a city property tax probably don’t realize is that they are giving their approval for the city commission to hand over perhaps $100,000,000 to the county. Okay, you might ask, how does approval to spend $1.25 million translate into $100,000,000? First off, if all things remained exactly the same, it would translate into $100,000,000 in 80 years. However, all things won’t remain the same. For one, the city of Mt. Juliet will double in the next five to ten years. We are reaching a “tipping point” in this city and the surrounding area. Soon we will start to see companies such as Macy’s, Dillards, and others showing up in this city. We will see high end restaurants and class “A” office Space. We will see a headquarter of a Fortune 500 company show up. The boundaries of Mt. Juliet will expand to their urban growth boundary. Mt. Juliet will become a commercial and retail hub in Middle Tennessee. Why? Because we are ideally located to become a hub. In fact, we have the absolute best location for a hub of all of Middle Tennessee. We are within close proximity to the airport without being right under their patterns. We are just east of Percy Priest Lake and South of Old Hickory, which means we have easy access to water supply and recreation. But more importantly, look at the congestion that exists anywhere else around the airport and then look at the area that exists in Wilson County. There is so much available land in this area it is amazing. The city is still approving upwards of 400 building permits per year in this economy, can you imagine what it will be like when Obama gets out of office..er hump, ah, I mean, when the depression is over? Let’s consider the 400 homes that will be built in the one year after the commission loses its mind on this deal. 400 homes multiplied by 200 grand, means an extra 80,000,000. Divide that by four and you have 20,000,000 more in assessed property value in this city. Multiply that times .2 and you add another $40,000 to the mix. That means, instead of the $1.25 million the city projects it will be spending, after the first year they will be spending $1.29 million. That doesn’t seem so bad, but the next year they are spending $1.33 million because we added another 400 homes. If we continued to grow at that rate over the next ten years, starting with the year the commission lost their minds, we would be spending $1.65 million per year on fire protection. However, you and I both know that the $.20 that they are getting approved won’t be enough to quench the thirst of the dragon that Ed Hagerty thinks he is slaying. Mark my words, it will grow to $.40 by the time they are done. It is like the camel that sticks its nose in the tent, before long you have a camel in your tent. I won’t even calculate that number, though. If you just continue to grow in Mt. Juliet by 400 homes per year for thirty years we are paying about $2.5 million per year by the end of that thirty year period. We don’t have to adjust for inflation because even though our investment grows, so will our costs, so if we don’t add in inflation we will be dealing we will be dealing with 2011 values across the board. This doesn’t even account for the growth in Commercial taxes. The rate of growth of commercial real estate value in this city is astounding and within a few years it may increase our overall property taxes that are paid to the county to as much as $1.6 to $1.8 million. By the end of the first decade the total we are paying to the county for fire protection will likely grow to as much as three to four million per year. If we annex it would be as high as 6 to 8 million. That is not even counting the rate hikes that will take place in the first few years.

    But all this won’t really happen. You see, the city commission, once we have enough people on it that have courage and haven’t lost their minds, will rescind this deal. They will look at what the county is making and the city commission will say, “hey, we want control of that money” and they will eventually establish a city fire department. Ed Hagerty’s vision will turn out to be very short sighted. He thinks he is fighting a dragon, but he is actually fighting a Lernaean Hydra that grows two heads for each one you chop off. When the city tries to take back that money the county is going to rail against the city once again. They are not going to let 8 to 10 million per year slip through their fingers so easily. This whole thing will have unintended consequences the likes this city has never envisioned. Instead of dealing with this issue while it is manageable, Ed is kicking it down the road until it becomes a real monster. Millions will have been squandered and we will still be establishing our own fire department.

  6. butch huber

    It is no secret now that the county has been using property taxes to pay for the Countywide Fire Department. I believe that issue has been thoroughly put to rest. If anyone doubts that I challenge them to debate me on that fact. The evidence that the county is using property taxes to fund the Countywide Fire Department is so overwhelming that anyone debating my side of the debate, armed with that evidence, wins right out of the chute. However, with that said, I don’t think it really hits you just what that means until you realize how much the tax revenues that we send to the county have grown and how the county continues to spend relatively the same amount on services to this area of the county.

    A huge part of the City of Mt. Juliet’s budget is from sales taxes. The City’s budget has swollen to about three times what it was in 2001. That translates to an annual increase in the county budget of perhaps as much as $4 million per year from increased sales taxes that the county gets from Mt. Juliet’s growth. Add in all of the other taxes that the county gets (minus property taxes) and it is easy to believe that the county is enjoying somewhere between $8 and $10 Million more dollars in tax revenues coming from Mt. Juliet that were not coming from here just 9 years ago. Now let’s look at property tax growth. In 2001 the combined total assessed value of property in Mt. Juliet was $205,476,505. In 2010 the combined total assessed value of property in Mt. Juliet was $648,210,687. That is a growth of more than 300% in less than 10 years! The citizens of this city sent the county, calculated in today’s dollars and using today’s tax rates, an additional $10,758,440 last year as compared to 2001. Add to that the other additional taxes of perhaps as much as $10,000,000 and you have a situation where the county is taking in as much as $20,000,000 or more per year from Mt. Juliet than it was just 9 short years ago. What has Mt. Juliet received in return? We have a new high school and a new elementary school that are used not just by citizens of Mt. Juliet, but that are used by the unincorporated portion of the county as well. In relation to schools, the general assembly has determined that schools are something that everyone benefits from so even those who live in Cottage Home have benefitted from the schools that are built in Mt. Juliet. What else has the county done for us for all that extra money they have received from this city? I did the calculations and since 2001 the additional property taxes that we have paid in just property taxes alone is in excess of $42,000,000! That is above and beyond what we would have paid the county had the city not grown at all and had our property values remained static.

    We get the new high school shoved down our throats, however, Lebanon is getting an even more expensive high school and they built central high school before they built Mt. Juliet. On top of that, about half the students who use Mt. Juliet High School live in the unincorporated portion of the county. Add to that $42 million in additional property taxes the adequate facilities taxes, the additional business taxes, the additional sales taxes, the additional state shared revenues, and it is easy to believe that the county has enjoyed collecting an additional $80,000,000 to more than $100,000,000 in taxes over the last 9 years that came as a result of our growth. Where did all that money go? Well, it certainly hasn’t gone into the fire department! It hasn’t gone into the library. It hasn’t gone in to roads in this city. It hasn’t gone into additional services. It has, for sure, gone into additional teachers and some of it has gone into schools, but that can only account for some of the additional spending. The Mt. Juliet high school cost $40,000,000 and the New Mt. Juliet Elementary School, from what I remember, cost around $9,000,000. Subtract from that the $3 million the county is getting from the old elementary school site and you have around $46 million in additional capital improvement spending in Wilson County that can to one degree or another be attributed toward growth. However, all of that growth didn’t occur just inside our city limits. There was plenty of growth outside our city as well and the increase in tax revenues from that area isn’t included in this report. Only about half of that $46 million, or $23 million, should be attributed toward growth in this city. That $23 million was financed over a long period of time through bonds. So, perhaps only as much as $9 or $10 million in additional spending could reasonably be attributed to costs generated by Mt. Juliet. That leaves perhaps as much as $90,000,000 in more revenue that has to be accounted for in order for us to believe that things are equitable. Could it really have cost $80,000,000 extra to pay for the additional teachers that were required to cover that growth? Our city essentially doubled in those 9 years. Much of that growth came from Del Webb and senior living communities that have no children to send to the schools. So that didn’t increase the student roles in our schools. There are only about 16,000 students in our school system now. We have a population of about 113,993 people in Wilson County so we have one student in school for roughly ever 7 people. If we used that ratio as a guide, then our increase would have added a total of about 1600 students to the county school system when you compare 2010 to 2001. The school system employs about 2200 people. That means they have one employee for every 7 students in the system. That means that they probably have only added about 228 employees as a result of our growth. Now, mind you, that would not have happened overnight, but rather it would have happened gradually. If we were to average it out it would probably come to the equivalent of adding 100 employees over that entire time. One hundred employees at an average cost per employee of $50,000 per year comes to about $5 million per year times 9 years, or about $45m. We probably still have an additional $25 million to $55 million to account for, so where has all the money gone? Jail? Yes, they have renovated the jail, but we could have paid for all of that renovation cost and we still would have to account for a lot of money. What else has the county done for us? They sure have enjoyed a lot of extra money, but what have they done with it?

    Here is the thing. If the county isn’t made to be nice and do what is right in terms of providing services to this city that are commensurate with what it takes from us, this scenario will repeat itself on an even higher level. The city of Mt. Juliet will double or even triple over the next nine years. In terms of taxes that the county takes in from this city the multiple could easily be 3 to 5 times as much (I have a feeling that Mt. Juliet is going to see a huge increase in retail and commercial development over the next 9 years and we are likely to see a huge influx of additional tax revenues as people from all over the east side of Middle Tennessee come here for their shopping). What looks bad now will look many times worse then. We have to act to get the county to act right and hold their feet to the fire in terms of tax equity or we are really going to get shafted.

    We have to find a way to inform and educate newcomers to this area about the abuse so that they too will get into the battle. They just don’t know how badly they are being screwed.

  7. Southsider

    I wonder if this commission would consider buying some Blockbuster Video stock?

  8. Butch Huber

    Some people make the mistake of thinking this is about $100. If that were all there were to it the matter would be trivial and we should all just move on to something else. Obviously this isn’t about $100. It is about the overtaking of our nation by people who don’t care to do their very best. It is about the taking over of our country by people who don’t care about the law. It is about people who have taken over our country for the purpose of pursuing their own personal interests and not the interests of the people.

    What we are dealing with here is the siphoning of tens of millions of dollars from the people of this city for the purpose of spreading that money around for the rest of the county. That is exactly what is happening here. The county is taking our money from us, and they are giving it to others. How, they are doing it through tax mitigation for those who live in other areas of the county. What do I mean? I mean that, if the county were to spend the money that it takes from Mt. Juliet on services in Mt. Juliet, then the rest of the county wouldn’t have the money that was spent on providing that service to use for other purposes. The county would then either have to choose not to provide something to those who live elsewhere that they would have otherwise provided or they would have to increase taxes in order to provide it.

    I have heard it said, “well, now that Mt. Juliet is grown up the county is reaping something from it, but before it grew the rest of the county was carrying Mt. Juliet.” How so? Lebanon may have been carrying more than its fair share, but how did the “rest” of the county carry Mt. Juliet? Mt. Juliet had its own fire department and provided service to the unincorporated portion of the county. How did the county carry Mt. Juliet in terms of fire protection services? Schools? When was the value of a square mile in the far reaches of Wilson County ever more valuable than a square mile inside Mt. Juliet? How did those people who live way out in the sticks every carry Mt. Juliet? Truth is, the people who live on the western side of Wilson County, including those who live in the unincorporated portion of the county, have been carrying more than their fair share of the load for decades if not centuries.

    People who make decisions have to look 20, 30, 50, and 100 years down the road to determine what their decision will look like down the road. They have to examine things to see if there will be unintended consequences. Well, actually, there are always unintended consequences. The trick is to make sure that the unintended consequences are not worse than things would be if you chose another course of action or if you did nothing at all.

    I have come to the conclusion that doing nothing at all would be better than what Ed Hagerty is proposing. I know that sounds strange and is hard to grasp, but I believe it is true. I say that because, if the city were to do nothing, the ground swell that would come from that would actually bring this to a head and we would have a better chance of achieving the right outcome. This has to go to court. Unless this goes to court we will not come to the right conclusion. However, what Ed is doing is avoiding a court battle, at least for a few years. It would be better to get it over with now, before we get too far down the road with this deal he is putting together.

    If the city wants to do something, I would suggest starting with just putting two more people per shift in the existing station. That would cost us about $300,000, which could easily be absorbed into our cost structure as a city. Then I would advise them to appropriate $300,000 for a court battle with the county. That would send a message to the county that the city is prepared to go to the mats for its citizens. I would advise the city to take the county to court as soon as possible. The city has an open and shut case against the county and can easily force the county to establish fire tax districts. At the same time, I would advise the City leaders to contact the board of Lebanon and propose my plan to them. My plan gives the City of Lebanon tremendous incentive to work with the city of Mt. Juliet to help us force fire districts. Then I would advise them to conduct a propaganda campaign in the western portion of Wilson County and show them exactly how they are being taken advantage of by the county. I would advise them to make this as public as possible so that every one knew it was boiling over as an issue. I would put it all on the line and make everything regarding taxation an issue. The county has said, “we are going to continue to take your lunch money and there is nothing you can do about it”, our city responded, “well, how much more do you want?” That isn’t leadership, that is cowardice. At the same time I was doing all of this I would be in constant contact with the county making sure that they knew that if they would only change their behavior toward this end of the county we could work together to find solutions that provide everyone with adequate service in a fair and equitable fashion, but if they persist they will be met with more opposition than they could ever imagine. The county cannot outspend us on this issue. I would rather spend $500 or $10000 or even $2000 or $3,000 on a battle against the county than to have them continue to steal millions of dollars from us that could be going back into our pockets or at least could be going toward increasing the quality of life in this city, which translates to higher property values, which gives me back my money in a round about sort of way.

    Cowardice, that is what we are dealing with, cowardice. Ed and the ones who will vote for this motion would rather run from the county than fight. I would rather cooperate, but if the county wants a fight I would be happy to oblige.

    It is time for us to put together a citizen’s committee that is set up as a watchdog group to work to keep the city and the county in check. We need enough people with discretionary income who are willing to fund lawsuits. We need to be prepared to file lawsuits because neither the county nor the city seem to respond to anything but lawsuits. Show them the law and they look the other way, use the law in a court of law and they tend to pay attention.

    They have all adopted the Linda Elam philosophy of politics, “We can do whatever we want until a judge tells us we can’t.” Shameful, just shameful.

  9. Old Blevins

    This dog and pony show has accomplished one thing: It’s given Jim “Read My Bearded, Lopsided Lips-I’ll Never Vote for a Property Tax” Bradshaw political cover. Any hope of making him the third man for sanity on this issue has gone out the window. He will say “ahm only doin’ whut my consticherants wants”.

  10. Southsider

    Butch,

    Ed Hagerty has been my Commissioner for over 10 years. I have voted for him in every election. Ed originally got elected on the notion that people who live here should not be penalized for the growth that was coming. He has now turned his back on that position.

    Ed once read the “not yours to give” speech by Davy Crockett during a Commission meeting, objecting to the city giving tax dollars to charity. Three years later he supported borrowing money to buy land to give to the YMCA – turning his back on Davy’s position.

    Ed campaigned in 2000 to never raise taxes. He put that in writing many times. 28 days after becoming Mayor he has now turned his back on that too.

    I have been reluctant to turn my back on Ed since he has done some very good things too. But a man who completely abandons his political philosophy over and over again cannot be trusted to lead.

    Ed Hagerty will never get my vote again.

  11. All,
    add this to your list…
    http://www.wsmv.com/story/148022127/wilson-co-worker-paid-65k-while-on-leave-7-20-2010

    The county settled out of court with your money. Call Randall @444-1383 to find out how much you owe. Then ask him how the process to remove Jewell is going. He now has thousands and thousands and thousands more reasons to do so. It does not have to be an infinite number of ducks in an endless row. Do it now!!! WEMA will improve. Morale will go up, money will be better spent, and MJ will not be near the issue.
    RP

  12. GLENN SMITH

    i AM NOT APOSED TO A LOCAL FIRE DEPT. AS LONG AS IT IS LOCAL NOT COUNTY. HAS THE BOARD OF COMMISSONERS CONSIDERED THIS? RUN THE FIRE DEPT AS A SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC NOT A DEPARTMENTAL OBLIGATION, THEN CHARGE A FEE FOR EACH AND EVERY RESPONCE OR FALSE RESPONCE, THIS WAY THE DEPARTMENT WOULD RAISE ITS OWN FUNDS AND WOULD LESSEN THE BURDEN ON THE RESIDENTS. ALSO HAS A 100% PROPERTY ASSESMENT BEEN CONDUCTED? PROBOBLY NOT. ONE NEEDS TO BE CONDUCTED BECAUSE IT HAS NEVER BEEN ACCOMPLISHED SCENCE SETTING THE TAX RATE AT “0” ZERO. THIS IS ALSO DUE TO THE VALUE OF HOMES AND PEOPERTY LATELY HAS BEEN A BUST AND HAS DECLINED RECENTLY. ALSO ALL APPROPRIATE TAX LAWS NEED TO BE ENFORCED THAT HAVE BEEN SET BY THE STATE AND COUNTY, THIS HAS TO BE A MUST IN ORDER TO FARE TO ALL. ONCE AGAIN I AM NOT APPOSED TO A FIRE DEPTMENT BUT THAT IS THE LEAST OF YOUR WORRIES AT THIS MOMENT. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND MAKE THIS WORK TO MAKE THE CITY MONEY THE POOR, ELDERLY AND DISABLED CAN NOT AFFORD NOT TO BE HEARD.

  13. GLENN SMITH

    SORRY FOR MY MISSELLINGS I AM SO UPSET ABOUT THE “COMMUNITY CONVERSATION’ AT THE MJHS AND ITS ONESIDEDNESS. WHY WEREN’T “no” RESPONCES COUNTED AND DISPLAYED OR WHY WEREN’T THE NONE RESPONSES RECORED AND DISPLAYED THIS IS A UNHEARD GROUP OF RESIDENTS THAT PROBOBLY HAD QUESTIONS AND DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON. THIS WAS ALSO MISSREPRISENTED AND MISSPRESENTED TO THE PEOPLE THIS WAS “sold” AS A COMMUNICA’ OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN MOUNT JULIET NOT A “vote”. POLITITIONS ARE AS SLY AS A SNAKE WHEN IT COMES TO VOTES OR VOTTING.

  14. Sam the Snake

    Glenn, I take exception to your having compared me to a sly politician. We are hunters, not slithering politicians. You know what you are dealing with when you handle us, you know we will bite you and we don’t pretend we won’t. It’s is part of our defensive make-up to bite. Politicians promise to be nice and play fair, then, when they get you to trust them, they bite and inject their poison. See the difference?

  15. GLENN SMITH

    Hay “Sam the Snake” I do not understand what you are trying to say. Your comments makes no scence. First: you try to “DEFEND” your being a politician, Second: you seem to pose a threat to a voter with a comment, Thirdly: you seem to get the picture at the end of your comment in responce. A politician should not have to defend what he/she represents, just believe in it and stick to it, you have signs of the politician being of a nonflexable weak nature. If you are a “HUNTER” then you should realize that once the bullet is fired then the result is kill, wound or miss which is a direct result of the ones aim and can not be called to return. I agree with your statement of “Politicians promise to be nice and play fair, then, when they get you to trust them, they bite and inject their poison” you forget that this is to all not to just one voter and can not be reversed until death sets in. So I don’t know if you are threatening me, because I have the Big Brass Ones and sign my real name and say what is on my mind or you are attempting to threaten me into submission. It wont work! Please sign your real name (miss)ter POLITICIAN person.

  16. Sonny Griffin

    There are only two state statutes that authorize counties to provide fire service. They are: 5-16-101 and 5-17-101.

    There is only one of these statutes that authorizes the county to provide emergency medical services. It is 5-16-101.

    We seem to have a blending of the two. See what the Attorney General thinks in the following opinion: http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op/2009/op/op107.pdf

    According to him, emergency medical services can’t be furnished by the county under 5-17-101.

    In other words, the whole scheme that Wilson County has used in creating and funding WEMA seems to be a big !#*#ing mess. What’s new?

    And our local idiots want to jump on board come hell or high water.

  17. Sonny, look around the map and see if you can find anyone else doing it the way we do. EMA’s by design do not do fire AND ems. They are logistic groups that deal with bad days by using their rolodex. They do not have fire trucks, ambulances, dump trucks, bulldozers, etc…but they do know who does and they call them. What gets me is they are calling this a city tax. It is being collected BY the county FOR county assets and services for the majority of people in an area on fixed income that are exempt from a tax. I am being discriminated because I am not old, have 2 jobs, and live in the city as far away from the proposed site as you can get. They are going to get a county asset that is NOT going to include an ambulance which they will need 70% more than a fire truck that will be called on to respond on many calls way outside the city. Remember, the county mayor tried to deploy a asset to Dell Webb that was not his to use and it failed miserably because there were only 2 calls in the 3 weeks he had the asset in service. The problem is the county mayor is getting bad intel from the WEMA director because he and his staff are power hungry for all the assets in the county (WEMA, Lebanon, Watertown). He is a madman lacking education and experience. Call the county mayor 444-1383 and ask him about his lond drawn out process to remove Jewell. You have the right to know. It is your money and mine.
    RP

  18. To All,
    Real quick, this is very important. On June 30 @ 7:00 pm in Conference Room 2 at the Courthouse will be the next meeting of the Wilson County EMA Comittee meeting. This meeting has been spoken of in very hush tones. This meeting is not being advertised as the normal meetings are. This is YOUR EMA Comittee, they are discussing YOUR fire efforts and expectations, and they are deciding how to spend YOUR money. It is YOUR responsibility from here. These are not all good people with all good intentions. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE THERE, A PRIVILEGE PAID FOR WITH THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. YOU OWE IT TO THOSE WHO SERVE (PAST/PRESENT) AND TO YOURSELF.
    RP

  19. Butch Huber

    Man am I jacked! The city averted a blunder of mammoth proportion and at the same time they did the right thing! Vice Mayor Maness proposed an amendment that removed the property tax and in its place authorized the hiring of 6 responders to augment Station 3. That one move increased fire protection services by 50% without a property tax. The city commission can etch out the $400k that it will take to fund that cost.

    They agreed to come back in 60 days with a long-term solution to this problem. That gives us 60 days to come up with a solution that everyone will like. I have that solution, however, it will only work if the county agrees to stop taking money from Mt. Juliet without giving back.

    Regardless, I couldn’t have been happier about the outcome of this vote!

  20. Sam the Snake

    Glenn, you didn’t understand my earlier post. I wasn’t threatening you, get a grip. I was posting in jest, not toward you, but toward politicians. Nothing about what I posted had anything to do with you at all. Get over yourself. I was saying that sly politicians, those politicians we don’t like, are not trustworthy. They will tell you one thing to get you to trust them then they will sneak around and bite you when you aren’t looking. If I were to threaten you I would gladly post in my own name. There isn’t any coward in me, Glenn. I wasn’t threatening you at all…friends? I would shake your hand, but alas, I don’t have a hand to shake with. Just pat my head gently and we will call it at that. I promise not to bite…unless you pat too hard.

  21. Southsider

    The vote tonight may have ended two political careers – Jim Bradshaw’s, and Ted Floyd’s. Both of them were clearly mad that the board would not vote to raise taxes.

    I guess we all now know who the democrats are – the two who voted to raise taxes in the bottom of a recession.

    Ed Hagerty, James Maness, and Art Giles did the right thing tonight and all three should be commended.

  22. Butch Huber

    We really need some people who will actually step up and show their concern by physically being present in this issue.

    Thank you Kevin Mack for showing up and speaking at the meeting last night. This commission needs to hear people express their concern.

    This city has grown from just over $205 million in total assessed property value in 2001 to over $648 million in total assessed property value in 2010. If you calculate the growth rate of each year during that time, add it together, then divide by nine, you end up with a growth rate of 13.9%. If you then extrapolate out what our assessed property value will be if we continue to grow at that rate, and I see no reason we won’t grow at at least that rate, for twenty years, our assessed property value will be $8.25 billion in 2030. At the same property tax rate that represents more than $213 million per year in property taxes. If you calculate the sales tax growth rate out over the next 20 years, the portion of our sales taxes that go to the county will grow from $5.6 million, which is about what they made off of us last year, to over $80 million in 2030. Add in all other taxes that the county makes off this city and it appears that over the next twenty years the county will pull as much as $3 billion out of Mt. Juliet.

    The county has shown the propensity of wanting to keep that money and not reinvest it here in Mt. Juliet. We need to put enormous pressure on the county to reinvest here. That $3 billion, leveraged across time like you leverage investment across time, could grow to give us as much as $10 billion in actual realized value as a city. We would also enjoy the benefits of paying such taxes to the county. If we fail to act, you and I both know that the county will reinvest as much of that $3 billion in the unincorporated portion of the county as well as in Lebanon and Watertown. Mt. Juliet has become the bastard child of Wilson County, while we are at the same time the goose that lays the golden eggs for the county.

    Lebanon won’t see growth like what is happening in Mt. Juliet for half a century or more. Watertown won’t see growth like this for more than a century. Why are we funding their services?

    Mt. Juliet is growing fifty percent faster than Lebanon and more than twice as fast as Watertown. At that rate it will only be a year or two before we are paying more property taxes than lebanon and lebanon is twice the size of Mt. Juliet geographically. It is time for this county to recognize where its bread is buttered and stop treating us like their bastard child. At our rate of growth, in just a few short years, we will be paying twice as much as Lebanon in terms of property taxes. That is something that the county needs to be beat about the neck and shoulders about.

  23. GLENN SMITH

    Hay “Sam the Snake” Thank you for your clarification, it sounds more like we are somewhat on the same side. My BAD! So goes the battle in politics “Lets rewrite the dictionary” . I to stand by the revolutionary flag that stated “DON’T TREAD ON ME” also. I just whish the Good Old Boy mentality was out of politics altogether, but wishful thinking. Ya Ya!!

  24. R. Ratchet

    I know you hate to be wrong, but your math is flawed. IF the numbers you used are correct, and the appraised total has gone from 205 to 648 million, I see NO WAY that the number will be 8.5 BILLION in 20 years. Here is why:

    648 m
    -205 m
    ______

    443 m difference between now and 2001
    / 9 years
    _______

    49 m in growth each year for the past 9
    x 19 years (the number of years you decided to use which takes us to 2030)
    _______

    935 m in growth
    + 648 m (what it is now)
    ______

    1.583 BILLION (Roughly, because I rounded, and these are projections, so there is no fact, only speculation, but mine is a lot more realistic than yours)

  25. Southsider

    A billion here, a billion there – pretty soon that adds up to be real money!

  26. Butch Huber

    I am inclined to believe you may be right, or at least that I may be incorrect, however, I don’t understand “why”.

    Below is some of the calculations that I used. Perhaps you can tell me where I have gone wrong.

    Mt. Juliet
    2001 $205,476,505.00
    2002 $243,085,150.00
    2003 $255,554,017.00
    2004 $269,843,039.00
    2005 $344,950,976.00
    2006 $391,969,737.00
    2007 $475,405,614.00
    2008 $569,135,070.00
    2009 $616,739,204.00
    2010 $648,210,687.00
    2011 $738,209,419.08
    2012 $840,703,736.22
    2013 $957,428,547.82
    2014 $1,090,359,641.19
    2015 $1,241,747,125.52
    2016 $1,414,153,519.15
    2017 $1,610,497,125.09
    2018 $1,834,101,428.73
    2020 $2,088,751,354.13
    2021 $2,378,757,331.00
    2022 $2,709,028,256.82
    2023 $3,085,154,589.15
    2024 $3,513,502,974.74
    2025 $4,001,324,016.92
    2026 $4,556,875,005.80
    2027 $5,189,559,688.41
    2028 $5,910,087,444.86
    2029 $6,730,654,564.76
    2030 $7,665,150,692.41
    2031 $8,729,393,935.16
    2032 $9,941,398,614.73
    2033 $11,321,680,193.50
    2034 $12,893,602,537.38
    2035 $14,683,773,393.22
    2036 $16,722,494,775.09
    2037 $19,044,275,882.92
    2038 $21,688,417,235.76
    2039 $24,699,675,907.04
    2040 $28,129,023,122.40

    The numbers from 2001 through 2010 came off the Tennessee Comptroller’s website. You can do your own calculations based on them. If you take the property tax for the year 2002 and divide that by the year 2001 you get the growth rate for the year 2002. If you do the same thing each successive year you get the growth rate for each successive year. If you take all nine years add them together, and divide by nine you should get the average growth rate per year. My calculations show that the average annual growth rate for those years is just under 13.9%

    2001 205476505
    2002 243085150 1.183031364
    2003 255554017 1.051294236
    2004 269843039 1.055913901
    2005 344950976 1.278339353
    2006 391969737 1.136305633
    2007 475405614 1.212863058
    2008 569135070 1.197156814
    2009 616739204 1.083642946
    2010 648210687 1.051028835
    10.24957614 1.138841793

    The numbers above in the first column are obviously the years. The numbers in the second column are the assessed property values for each of those years. The numbers in the third column are the percent increase in assessed property values from one year to the next. The value at the bottom of the second column is the cumulative total of all totals in the third column. The final number in the third column is the average annual increase in assessed property value. If you start with the total combined assessed value in 2010 of $648,210,687 and multiply that number by 1.138841793 you get $738,209,419.08. Multiply that number by 1.138841793 and you get $840,703,736.22. Keep doing that and in 2030 you get the figure $7,665,150,692.41. The reason my number was off a little was because I rounded up to 13.9% instead of using 1.138841793. Even then I was wrong, because it wouldn’t be 8.25 billion, it would be 8.75 billion. I was working fast to try to put together figures and I miswrote 8.75 and made it 8.25.

    Again, if my math is wrong, show me how.

    I have included an example below of how my model, applied to the 2001 figure, ends up in 2010.

    2001 205476505
    2002 243085150 234005231.4
    2003 255554017 276835528.1
    2004 269843039 291035594.9
    2005 344950976 307308530.4
    2006 391969737 392844588
    2007 475405614 446391518.1
    2008 569135070 541411781.9
    2009 616739204 648154803.6
    2010 648210687 702368380.9

    In the model above I multiplied the combined assessed property value in 2001 by 1.138841793. Then repeated that for each of the remaining years. The results are what you see above. You will see that some years are off a bit, however, the figures in the column on the right, the projected figures, fluctuate around the actual figure throughout that time. In fact, in 2006 my model calculates the property value within .22269646%.

    Math is often a mystery to me, as it is in this case if I am wrong.

    Let’s look at this another way. The property value increased in value by 315.4670589% over 9 years. We are at 648,210,687 in 2010, so nine years later it would increase to $2,044,891,190. Nine years later it would increase to $6,450,958,093.

    My formula is very close if it is applied to 2001 to 2010. If I take the average annual increase in property values each year and extrapolate that out the number gets huge. If I take the cumulative increase percentage over the past 9 years and extrapolate that out the number again gets huge.

    That said, you do appear to be more correct than I am, though it makes no sense to me. Below are the annual increases in property values, and it does appear that land values in this city are only going up by an average of about 49 million per year. If you extrapolate that out over 20 years is don’t come near the figures that I am coming up with. It would seem that the appreciation of land value, coupled with growth in the number of businesses and increase in homes, would exponentially increase the dollar value of the increases over time. The figures below represent the actual increases in property values over each of the past 9 years.

    2002 37,608,645
    2003 12,468,867
    2004 14,289,022
    2005 75,107,937
    2006 47,018,761
    2007 83,435,877
    2008 93,729,456
    2009 47,604,134
    2010 31,471,483

    If you notice, in 2006, 2007, and 2008, land values were increasing dramatically, then we had a downturn. I wonder what would have happened had we stayed on that growth plane? In other words, if we were to calculate future growth based just on the growth of 2008, land value in Mt. Juliet in 2030 would be 20 * 93,729,456 + 648,000,000, or $2,522,589,120. Still not $8.75 billion, but not 1.583 billion either, so I am not sure your model works either.

    Let’s look at this another way. According to some figures I dug up regarding the average existing home value appreciation in the United States, it appears that the average existing home increases in value an average of 3.4% per year. If you extrapolate that out using our current assessed value of our real estate, the numbers look like the ones provided below.

    2011 $670,249,850.36
    2012 $693,038,345.27
    2013 $716,601,649.01
    2014 $740,966,105.08
    2015 $766,158,952.65
    2016 $792,208,357.04
    2017 $819,143,441.18
    2018 $846,994,318.18
    2020 $875,792,125.00
    2021 $905,569,057.25
    2022 $936,358,405.19
    2023 $968,194,590.97
    2024 $1,001,113,207.06
    2025 $1,035,151,056.10
    2026 $1,070,346,192.01
    2027 $1,106,737,962.54
    2028 $1,144,367,053.26
    2029 $1,183,275,533.07
    2030 $1,223,506,901.20
    2030 $1,265,106,135.84

    This number does not account for any new houses or businesses being built over the next twenty years. We know that we are going to have explosive growth over the next twenty years. This only factors appreciation on our existing homes and businesses.

    I admit that it appears that I am wrong, however, I don’t know how I am wrong in this calculation. That said, if you will show me how I am wrong, so that I can understand it, if I am wrong I will gladly admit it. I would rather be correct than to be “right”, as much as I hate being wrong.

    Thank you for challenging my numbers, whoever you are.

    Man, if I am that wrong I have made quite an ass of myself, but I will get over it, it won’t be the first time and it certainly won’t be the last I am sure.

    Not to make light of my gaff, if it is in fact a gaff, the point I was making, even using the smaller numbers, is still valid. The county is taking our money and not doing much in return. They are making off with our lunch money and this commission has shown a willingness to allow them to continue to do it. This is especially true for Ted Floyd and James Bradshaw who were visibly upset over the fact that we didn’t get a property tax.

    If R. Ratchet doesn’t come back and show my the errors I have made, if there is some other math wizard out there that can show me the proper way to calculate these numbers I would be obliged. If I am wrong I want to go to the city commission with the correct set of numbers, whatever they may be.

  27. Butch Huber

    Southsider, thank you for trying to take some of the heat off of me, but if I am wrong I want to know I am wrong. I am seeking the truth and rightness in government, and if I make a mistake I have to be willing to face it and make it right. I hold others accountable for what they do, and I need to be held accountable for what I say and what I do as well. I am bewildered as to how I am wrong in the numbers I came up with, but I can’t help but feel that R. Ratchet has a point. That said, you are right, A billion here and a billion there and soon we are talking about a lot of money.

    Regardless of how the numbers are calculated, this city is outpacing the county and the other cities in growth by a huge amount, and in a very short period of time, if we continue to grow at the rate that we are growing, we will soon outstrip Lebanon in terms of total property value, and then in not too distant a future we will outstrip the rest of the county combined. It is time for the county to recognize that we are a force to be dealt with and deal with us they must in order to remain relevant.

    Regardless of the total numbers, the point is that the county needs to reinvest in Mt. Juliet and that the reinvestment, over time, would have a compounding effect on the quality of life in this city as well as on our property values. It isn’t fair or ethical for them to continue to take our money and spend it elsewhere. That, in my estimation, is stealing from us to give to others, and that isn’t right no matter whether we are talking about a dime or a billion dollars.

  28. Six people… 2/shift. No mention of an ambulance. This offer will not make it past the EMA committee. It does nothing for the effort here in MJ and even more important…IT DOES NOTHING TO HELP THE PEOPLE. Before you need more on the firetruck, you need another ambulance. If there is a fire, then those 2 people can come off of the ambulance and run the firetruck, that is if they are not on a call…which would be ok because someone would be getting what they need from a medical standpoint; however, it drives home the point that 2 more ain’t gonna help. You basically just loaded Kenny “big boy britches” Reich’s smart a$$ gun and gave it back to him. Heck, Linda’s last plan was better than this…that oughta sting.
    RP

  29. Sonny Griffin

    Butch,

    I question the value of even bringing up speculative future values.

    I think that using actual values would more than make your point.

    I assume that your values from 2001 to 2010 are actual values.

    According to the tax assessor, the total assessed value of Mt. Juliet property was $667,520,845.00 as of 29 April, 2011.

    Would it not be more effective to use these actual values to show how bad Mt. Juliet has already been screwed rather than speculating on how bad we will be screwed in the future? Why should we give them something to argue about?

    There is a letter, dated 3 June, 2011, floating around from the State of Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s office stating that: “Wilson County appears to be funding county-wide fire protection in accordance with Section 5-17-101(d)(2), Tennessee Code Annotated.”

    It goes on to say that: “Furthermore, the cost of county-wide fire protection provided for in the Wilson Emergency Management Agency budget is funded through the allocation of situs-based taxes. Situs-based revenues collected during fiscal year 2010 exceeded the cost of existing fire service.”

    Section 5-17-101(d)(2) states that:
    (2) As an alternative to fire tax districts, the county legislative body is hereby authorized to allocate revenue from the general fund of the county to fund fire protection services to be provided to the unincorporated portions of the county. Any such revenues allocated for fire protection services shall be generated by situs-based taxes collected in unincorporated areas of the county or shall originate from other revenue sources that have already been shared with municipalities;

    Notice that the statute says that these situs-based taxes will be collected in unincorporated areas of the county. Does anyone really believe that sales taxes collected outside of Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown exceeded 7.7 million dollars after the schools portion has been extracted?

  30. Sonny Griffin

    I think you’re right, R. P. However, something is better than nothing. At least we will be the only station meeting OSHA regs and they didn’t screw the pooch by swallowing the property tax deal.

    I would like to propose that we (Mt. Juliet) do our own ambulance service.
    It seems to be a profitable venture. Why give the profits to WEMA?

    If we are operating under the authority of TCA 5-17-101 like the Comptroller says, we are legally getting fire service only. Ambulance service cannot be funded using this scheme.

    See: http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op/2009/op/op107.pdf

  31. Butch Huber

    The county has a problem no matter which way they go. If they say that they are funding the Countywide Fire Department using only situs-based taxes, then they are necessarily providing Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, and Watertown with fire protection services illegally. I say that because they would then be taking money that belongs to the people of the unincorporated areas of Wilson County and using it to provide the incorporated areas of the county with services. This is especially true for Mt. Juliet and Lebanon. The county, from what I understand, does not have an inter-local agreement with Lebanon for the provision of fire protection services, they have a mutual aid agreement, but that is it. How can the county provide mutual aid to WEMA? They don’t even respond to their own medical emergencies or calls for rescue, how can they provide mutual aid? I have called to WEMA and asked and have been told that WEMA Lebanon only provides its own fire suppression and that WEMA provides the rest.

    If the EMA committee were to discontinue service to Mt. Juliet the legal attack back on the county would be to sue them because they provide service to Lebanon. The focus should be to reach equity. If they don’t provide us with Ambulance Service, Hazardous material response, rescue, and other services, why would they be allowed to provide them to Lebanon? Isn’t part of the acrimony that WEMA provides fire suppression to Mt. Juliet but not to Lebanon? Well, if they discontinue service to Mt. Juliet while continuing service to Lebanon, isn’t that just the opposite?

    Sonny, sales taxes are not a situs-based tax that they can use to fund the Countywide Fire Department. All Sales Tax money at the county level is already tied up in education. There is no sales tax money to apply.

    The county is taking the position that “Fire Suppression” is the only aspect of what WEMA provides that is funded under the Countywide Fire Department laws. However, we all know by now that their assertion is patently false. In fact, all aspects of regular WEMA operations, except for maybe ambulance, is part of the Countywide Fire Department. There is so much legal evidence and history to back that up the county could never overcome it in court. If you back out the cost of ambulance service from the rest of WEMA the cost of the countywide fire department is likely around $6 million or more.

    Even if the county were to exclude all other services from the Countywide fire department except for fire suppression, they need a funding source to fund the rest of the services. I believe, without a specified funding source, the funding source must be the general fund. If the county is funding something out of the general fund it has to fund it equitably. Otherwise, the county could use our money to pave streets in Cottage Home with gold. I don’t think that the general assembly would go for that. The county could therefore only discontinue providing fire suppression. We could buy a few fire trucks, hire a few people, and provide that for much less than we are going to end up paying the county under this other deal the city was going to put on the table.

    The county has messed this up so unbelievably badly that it may very well require that they dismantle the Countywide Fire protection model altogether and rebuild.

    No matter which way they go, unless they establish fire tax districts, they can be sued in court and they will lose. Heck, as citizens of the county we could sue them for improperly providing fire protection to ourselves and we would win in court!

    I would like to debate this issue with whoever wrote that letter at the comptroller’s office. I guarantee that the person who wrote that letter doesn’t know all the laws and ruling involved in the fire protection issue.

    Sonny, I agree with you that the focus is how badly we are being screwed now, however, regardless of whether or not my numbers are correct, it is important to use projected numbers to illustrate to our commission that the screwing is going to get worse and worse as we grow. We are paying about $16 million in property taxes, $5.6 million or more in sales taxes, and perhaps, through other direct and indirect taxes, we may be paying as much as another $5 to $10 million on top or that. That is a lot of money to be paying to the county every year, on top of what they get from the state and federal government for schools, in return for what we are getting today. In the future, that number will grow to become much, much larger than it is today no matter which way the figures are calculated. If nothing is done, we will still have absolute minimal service in this end of the county, but the rest of the county will have great service.

    The county property tax in 2001 was set at $2.97 per $100 assessed value. Today that figure is $2.437. If the county were to reset the rate back to the 2001 level the county would have more than enough money to provide adequate fire protection service. They want to force Mt. Juliet into having a property tax, which is the not so hidden agenda behind all of this.

  32. Sonny, thanks and normally I would agree with you but in this case I have to say that anything that feeds Reich ammo is not something, not better, not at all. We need something substantial to provide for the people in zone 3…2 additional personnel ain’t even remotely close. We need to offer something short term (3yrs) that the county will accept while we make plans for a MJFD. We are approaching 30k pop. and it will increase. We need to do what is necessary and plan for the future so the future will be the best it can be. The time is now. The people are here, the money is here. We need to act now before we peak and then it will be too late. When we do this MJFD, let’s be sure and do the ambulance as well. As you know, the ambulance makes money…guess what…the fire truck can too. The more money the MJFD makes, the less they will need for an annual budget…if they get to keep all their money. Let’s not make the mistake that the county has and put essential emergency services in a general fund which is basically a financial sprinkler head. You can group the ff’s and the cops together…but no one else. Let both keep whatever $ they make and that will keep their budget and financial needs requests LOW.
    RP

  33. P.S. …and let’s NOT put a madman with a propensity for wasteful spending, personality disorders, and physical attacks on employees and equipment in charge of this effort. I hate to waste a good effort on a village idiot.
    RP

  34. C. Howett Fields

    talkin bout screwin the pooch Member when the lebnon democrat ran the story about the guy in lebnon that actually did screw his neighbors pooch
    wernt his name Ben? dont think id told that

  35. Randy, So much for your little “communitee conversation”. Seemed like hardly anybody showed up and it sounds like nobody listened. Thousands of dollars for what?…poof…a little smoke that quickly cleared. A big disappointment for your little city drama play set, huh? Piss poor use of money. Again, I quote the great hair band poet, Motley Crue…”don’t go away mad…just go away”.
    RP

  36. P.S.
    Tonight @ 7pm Conference Room 2 @ the Courthouse. Monthly EMA committee meeting.
    RP

  37. Butch Huber

    Well, I went to the meeting last night. There I heard a commissioner, whose name I do not know, sponsor a resolution that would send the message to Mt. Juliet that the county will not enhance fire service in Mt. Juliet one bit more than it already has, but that it won’t remove fire service until we have established our own fire department. However, once we establish our own fire department then the county would shut down WEMA station 3 and no longer provide service in Mt. Juliet. Ahem….what does WEMA do for Lebanon? WEMA provides Lebanon with everything that WEMA offers except for primary fire suppression. Why would the county provide Lebanon with fire protection services yet pull everything out of Mt. Juliet and provide us with nothing? Could there be just a tad bit of hatred going on inside this chap? His tone and demeanor were horrible. I wish I could have spoken, I think I could have spun him up until his head flat out exploded.

    The EMA Committee has absolutely no idea of what the laws are regarding a Countywide Fire department and they are making decisions based on feelings, emotions, and opinions.

    I met with the Chairman of the Committee for a few minutes after the meeting. I asked him, why would they remove county fire service from Mt. Juliet. He said, “we aren’t”. I reminded him that the resolution that this friendly fellow who was so hot under the collar was sponsoring had a provision in that, after we established our own fire department, the county was going to shut down station 3 and no longer provide service to Mt. Juliet. He seemed to be taken aback for a moment not knowing what to say and then replied, “Because you will no longer need the county’s service.” I said, “oh, so you will be removing the service from Lebanon also?” He seemed stunned for a second and said, “We don’t provide Lebanon with service.” Now I was stunned. Not because I didn’t know what to say, but rather because this fellow, who heads the EMA committee, either doesn’t know that WEMA provides the city of Lebanon with all of their service except for primary fire suppression OR he was standing there telling me a bold faced lie. I informed him that I called John Jewel’s organization not once, but twice, and asked his people what coverage they provide to Lebanon and was told both times that WEMA provides everything to Lebanon except for primary fire suppression. The Chairman seemed to be through answering my questions at that point.

    More to follow…..

  38. Sonny Griffin

    I want to share with you a letter I sent to our City Commission this morning.

    The main controversy in the fire protection issue is that the County says that WEMA services for Mt. Juliet are subsidized by the rest of the County outside of Mt. Juliet.

    NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

    I talked with Wilson County Finance Director Aaron Maynard yesterday afternoon.

    I asked him two questions.

    The first question was: What is the amount of situs based taxes collected in the unincorporated areas of Wilson County?

    Mr. Maynard’s answer was: Sales taxes in these areas amounted to $4,368,269 which mostly went to schools.

    The reason I asked this question is because the State Comptroller’s office has issued an opinion in a letter that Wilson County is properly funding WEMA according to TCA 5-17-101(d)(2). The letter goes on to say that: “Furthermore, the cost of county-wide fire protection provided for in the Wilson Emergency Management Agency budget is funded through the allocation of situs-based taxes. Situs-based revenues collected during fiscal year 2010 exceeded the cost of existing fire service.”

    Section 5-17-101(d)(2) states that:

    (2) As an alternative to fire tax districts, the county legislative body is hereby authorized to allocate revenue from the general fund of the county to fund fire protection services to be provided to the unincorporated portions of the county. Any such revenues allocated for fire protection services shall be generated by situs-based taxes collected in unincorporated areas of the county or shall originate from other revenue sources that have already been shared with municipalities;

    Notice that the statute says that these situs-based taxes will be collected in unincorporated areas of the county.

    How can you fund a 7.7 million dollar agency with $4,368,269 most of which goes to schools?

    The second question was: How is WEMA funded?

    He told me that WEMA is funded with property taxes from the General Fund.

    That being the case, Mt. Juliet taxpayers paid about $1,755,000 for WEMA services last budget year.

    Why haven’t you demanded that Wilson County show you how WEMA is funded since this is the central issue?

    When I called Mayor Hagerty yesterday and told him about my conversation with Finance Director Maynard, he said that Maynard did not know what he is talking about. If he doesn’t know, who does? I would suggest that you write him (Maynard) asking him the simple question and nothing else: How is WEMA funded?

    Gentlemen, it’s time to cut through all the bull shit, lay the cards on the table and get this issue resolved. The only way to start is to get the question of who has been funding WEMA out of the way first. When you do, you will find that Mt. Juliet has more than paid their share of WEMA funding and is in fact subsidizing a good portion of WEMA services in other parts of the County. I’m tired of the County bullying you guys around with threats of taking emergency services away if you don’t do x, y and z. For goodness sake, show some back bone.

    Wilson County needs to get it’s “big boy britches on” and come up with some answers. You need to demand that they do.

    Sincerely,

    H. W. (Sonny) Griffin

  39. Butch Huber

    When faced with overwhelming ignorance of the facts and issues, coupled with an inexplicable desire on the part of some to remain ignorant and devoid of any understanding of the issues, the facts, or the laws, and when those same individuals are the ones who get to vote on such important matters, how does one go about bringing order? What I am seeing is unimaginable. This isn’t blind leading the blind, it is something entirely worse altogether. I don’t know one single politician who seems to know the facts regarding fire protection in Wilson County. How can there be so many people who are so freakin’ lost?

  40. Butch Huber

    Sonny, great letter, however, do you ever get the feeling that nothing is sinking in? I do. I sometimes think that no matter what we showed them they would simply ignore it and make some dumb ass move in response.

  41. Sonny Griffin

    I get that feeling all the time, Butch.

    But, by God, I will never give up.

    I know you won’t either.

  42. Butch Huber

    Not giving up, Sonny. Just thinking that we need to stop talking and start suing. Until the papers are filed they will not pay attention. Once they realize that there is a fairly large group of us who are ready to file a class action suit against them they may start to perk up and pay us the respect that is due us as citizens.

  43. ” Thank you for playing, ‘Should we or should we not listen to the advice of the galactically stupid’ “. Tom Cruise/A Few Good Men 1992.

    You did not know that we were not getting an ambulance in the deal? Really, that big, white 17,500 lbs of Omaha orange stripe with the screaming neon package, cost @ $325,000 each…you did not know? How in the name of all the is holy did you miss that. Must have been one of those pesky details you were hoping to work out AFTER you garnered an agreement with the “honorable” county bunch. There is a reason you DO NOT sign a contract at the top of the page, EINSTEIN!!! The devil of any deal has always been in the details. You sign at the bottom saying both parties agree to the FAIR terms. Do you need this in Crayon? Are you seriously this ignorant on the subject matter? Ed, for the love and safety of the people who voted for you and those who depend on you to be knowledgable and diligent, GET SOME HELP!!! Call people who know. Check my posts…I told you the morning after you were NOT getting the “bus”. Come on Ed, it is not a sign of weakness but wisdom to rely on people that have made a committment to serve. Listen, Ted and Jim are stuck somewhere between ignorance and arrogance (you decide which is which) Art and James are both new to the 8 yr persuit. You need some help. I know offers have been made. Please, if for no other reason than to keep you from looking so grossly inept, call for help and get the information you need.
    RP

  44. Southsider

    Great post Mr. McMurphy. Ed should understand by now that leadership is not the same thing as just being a middle-man. Telling everyone what you think they want to hear does not solve any problems.

    The county mayor, county finance director, and the EMA committee members have all admitted that WEMA is being financed by property tax. And that is against state law without the creation fire tax districts. This law exists to protect the urban areas from subsidizing the rural areas in large counties. Wilson County officials who are paid to know how WEMA is funded admit that it is improperly funded.

    Ed should have gotten to the bottom of this long before offering WEMA more money for anything. He has been warned. I am not against paying my fair share for fire protection, but my Mt. Juliet elected officials should KNOW how WEMA is funded to make sure we are not already over paying.

    Everyone I ask from the county admits that property tax funds WEMA. If this is true, Mt. Juliet is already paying twice or three times its fair share.

  45. Thank you Southsider. I have tried to keep my wits and sense of humor about this. But now Ed and the city are about to do something dangerous that is either going to be a waste of time and money OR get/let someone die. Just yesterday an ambulance had to come all the way to the border of zone 3 & 5 (MJ & Gladeville)from Lebanon to help someone with a serious life threatning injury because Station 5 was on a call, Station 6 was on a call, Station 4 was on a call, and the ONLY ambulance at Station 3 (MJ) was on a call. Had there been a SECOND ambulance (which is what you need, Ed more than anything else) the response time would have benn 2/3 quicker and this tax paying citizen would not have been cheated by prolonged delay in much needed service/care because of ignorance, stupidity, and GREED. How many times have I posted…SEEK FULL DISCLOSURE FROM THE COUNTY!!! Where does the money come from? Where does it go along the way? Why is there not enough to get what is needed? And why is the madman still in charge of it? I may not be real, but these questions and more importantly, these answers are. BTW, isn’t Jimmy B. a county man, too? Can he know the county is dirty, the city is stupid and still be effective/trusted?
    Ed, you need help. You need to ask. You need to listen. Keep the faith, Southsider and all.
    RP

  46. …speaking of ignorance and stupidity, Kenny “git yo big boy britches on” Reich comes to mind. Did you read his quote in The Lebanon Democrat? “This is my intent-that Mt. Juliet become a city”. Hey, DUMBA$$…guess what? MJ is already a city. Civics 101 there, “britches boy” Just because we do not have fire department that does not mean we do not have an incorporated city government going on over here. A fire department does not a city make…can you frickin believe this pinhead is an elected official.?. brings to mind my other point…next election…candidates need grillin. No wonder people…its no wonder. And just who in hell made you Big Brother? Think, if you can, on this…when we do have our own FD…your bankroll’s going to be a little thinner. Reich, you give rednecks a bad name.
    RP

  47. Southsider

    Mr. Reich needs to remember what happened to Lannom, Patton, and Graves. Rednecks with similar opinions who are no longer county commissioners.

  48. Butch Huber

    Why has the city not mentioned leasing the equipment and floating a bond for the cost of building the building? Why would they try to come up with all the money upfront?

    Let’s assume that we fight and win the battle over fire districts. The city could lease the equipment for between $20,000 and $40,000 per month in a lease purchase agreement. I believe that the city could also float a bond to cover the cost of the building or buildings. We could cover Mt. Juliet with 8 people per shift because we wouldn’t have to cover the unincorporated portion of the county, which means a lighter load. We could put four people in each of two stations each shift. We should be able to handle all of that for around $1.6 million. Add to that another $800,000 for equipment and operations costs and we are at $2.4 million per year. Subtract out about $800,000 for ambulance service and we are back down to $1.6 million. Remember, we won the battle with the county, so our county taxes should come down by about $700,000 or more. that means we are down to $900,000 in costs (we have to bump up our city property taxes to compensate). Sell Mundy park for three million. That covers the $900,000 per year for three years. In three years the cost savings from not having to operate Mundy Park anymore will be $900,000 total. That gives us another year. Sales tax increases can be dedicated to the fire department, which will likely buy us another two or three years. Property values will go up, which will offset any future costs, and in 6 years those lease payments will go greatly diminish. We can do this without an increase in property taxes beyond what we would get as a break in our county property taxes. If we raised funds through donations and fundraisers we could probably avert a property tax altogether. If we can’t sell Mundy Park for three million we should sell it for what we can get for it and put other city assets up for sale. If we combine the fire station and the police station the costs are mitigated even more. On top of all of that, we can establish a volunteer and reserve fire fighter program. We can also utilize part time fire fighters as well. We can make this happen, we just have to make the county do the right thing.

    It is time to abandon the idea of using WEMA as our protection. Do you want to continue to have your service provided to you by an entity that doesn’t want to provide it? I don’t.

  49. Butch,
    That is a great plan. If Ed had a trusted and honorable someone educated and proven in the fire service that he would listen to, he would say that is a great plan. One thought to add on the administration of such a plan. Make sure it is someone with fire service education, experience, and answers to the PEOPLE not the politicians. Example: Sheriff Terry Ashe . Now shelve whatever you opinion of the man is (good OR bad) LOOK AT THE RESULTS!!! He has a great department with dedicated professionals and gets what he needs at budget time…why? Because i, you, and everyone else in this county is his boss, not Randall Hutto, not the county commission, not even Kenny “its my mission in life to over extend my authority and make MJ a city” Reich. If he asks for and does not receive critical assets for providing his boss the best in service, then he has avenues of alternatives to persue it. If ED and the Apple Dumpling Gang had this responsibility, they would immediately put a spin on it to make it theirs and that would be the kiss of death for the effort. But again, super proposal.

    P.S. Ed, quit crying about the geographical shape of the city. You sound like such a child on the radio, its embarrassing. If you do not like the shape of the city, do something about it. Square it up or round it off. You simply fuel Kenny Reich’s fire and position with credence. BTW, its been that way for some time and while it does pose a challenge…it can be done. It has been studied by folks with experience. Folks you choose to ignore. GET SOME HELP. …and MAN UP for Pete’s sake…
    RP

  50. Chief O'Hallorhan

    Thanks RP, Butch, Sonny, and all the regulars for keeping all the dialogue going. Maybe what we need is a new local newspaper to inform the citizens since were obviously not getting the info out now.

    RP.. you mentioned that an ambulance coming from Lebanon yesterday afternoon to Station 3/5 district…. the same exact thing happened last evening around 6ish when a Lebanon unit had to respond to Lebanon Road and Mt. Juliet Road for a Medical Call. That response made a medical call response time to Del Webb look fast

    I like many of us have contacted our representatives (I guess you can call them that since they were elected but haven’t seen much representation to our concerns) at the county and city level and offered any help I could provide, and nothing. I have emailed letting them know that if they don’t feel comfortable with the subject to ask those of us who work in the “business” since there are many of us, still nothing.

    RP like you name suggests…. it does feel like were living in one big mental ward here at the government level.

  51. Sonny Griffin

    I’m tired, I’m old and I just can’t stand any more of this.

    Think about what Kenny boy is proposing.

    He wants to cut off emergency services to the men, women and children that Station 3’s zone of responsibility covers. This leaves close to 30,000 residents of Mt. Juliet and 9,000 residents of Wilson County outside of Mt. Juliet without protection.

    How can anyone in their right mind even think of something this monstrous?

    It’s one thing for a public official to screw up finances, but it is an entirely different matter to hold 40,000 people hostage and threaten their very lives.

    I make this pledge. If the County Commission shuts down Station 3, I will file a warrant for reckless endangerment against every idiot that voted yes .

    Read about reckless endangerment on the net. Shutting down Station 3 would be a definition of this crime.

  52. Chief O'Hallorhan

    Can anyone explain to me the reason Sara Patton is even on the EMA Committee. Seems to me every time there is an important vote on WEMA or MJ she abstains.. Using the excuses of I”m don’t really know what’s going on when you were appointed to be Jewells ace in the hole for Watertown but ignore everything in MJ won’t work for long.. what am I saying that sounds like the County Commission in general

  53. Butch Huber

    Sonny,

    I am drafting a letter to send to Mayor Hutto and to the media. Kenny is saying that it was Hutto, not he, who included that language. What isn’t so apparent, until you really think it through, is that the Mayor of this county, and the three people who voted for this resolution, have it as their goal not to provide any further enhancement of service to Mt. Juliet whatsoever, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how much we grow, no matter how much we pay the county, and, if we attempt to enhance fire protection service in this city by establishing our own fire department, they will remove what little service they are now providing in response. Let me run that back by you as if I am a member of the mob and your are someone I shake down every year.

    “Sonny, I need ya ta Listen up because I’m only gonna say dis one time. Even doe I know that you want betta protecsion. Even doe I know dat you are pay’n me way more money dan you were whens we struck dis deal we have for me to protect you and all. Even doe I know dat da service dat I am givi’n you isn’t anywheres near what you need, and it certainly isn’t equal to what you are paying me for. Regardless of how much your security risk has increased over da years. Regardless of da fact dat you are paying me many times what you were paying me when I started shaking you down, ah hem, umph, what I mean is, regardless of da fact dat you are paying me four times what you were paying me when you joined our protection racket…ahem, umph, ummm, I mean, protection service, I’m not gonna give you any more protection beyond the inadequate service dat I have always give ya; you capiche? Sonny, are you catching my drift here? I know that sucks and all, but, hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Sometimes you lose, and sometimes you lose. Me? I always win. Now, if, however, I get wind of any noises dat, instead of just settling for da inadequate service dat I’m willing to give ya’, you get it in your head to take it upon yourself to endeavor to increase your security by investing in services of your own, well, you need to know dat I am going to respond by cutting you off. I will discontinue providing you with even da grossly inadequate service dat I am providing ya with now. I’m not gonna make any bones about it, Sonny, if you try to help yourself you will get no more security from me. You will have to replace all da protection I give you plus pay to increase security. You got dat? Sonny, just so that we are crystal clear, it will only be the service dat gets discontinued, you will still be paying me da same amount of money to da family every year whether I provide da security for you or not? Now, I need for you to shake your head and tell me that you understand what I just said to ya. Sonny, my guys and I, we’ll be back every year for our taste and you better have it or else. So dat we understand each other; We expect you ta hold up your end of da deal no matter whether we hold up our end or not. Are we clear?”

    The above dialog is the “county conversation” with Mt. Juliet. Replace your name with Mt. Juliet and you have the real “county conversation” with the city.

  54. In Sara’s defense, she is definitely not a Jewell fan. That being said, I can in NO WAY defend her from abstaining on this vote, on this committee. At this point, if she does not vote and does not know what is going on, then please tell me how she can exist in the capacity of a representative. Folks, we can not let reps off this easy and we need an avenue of prevention. On an adjacent point, if you could convince the county mayor to implement his plan to remove/replace Jewell, I can give you assurances and guarantees that MJ as well as Wilson Co. will be cared for better in the realm of fire protection AND ems. Interested? Call 444-1383 ask for Randall.
    RP

  55. Butch Huber

    R.P. I don’t really know if any member of the EMA Committee really knows what is going on. They really seem quite lost to me. I think you are giving Randall too much credit. He was supposedly the one who wanted to put the language in the resolution to remove service from Mt. Juliet. Who does such a thing? He knows that Lebanon is getting service from WEMA, why would he want to remove service from us?

  56. Butch,
    I give him NO credit. He has been a huge disappointment to WEMA, the citizens of MJ, and to Wilson Co. on the whole. He is a run of the mill, low road taking, tell ’em what they want hear to get their vote then forget their name politician. He is drawn to those telling him lies and is scared to the point of not knowing whether to sneeze or wind his watch so he does neither. My point is, he does know that Jewell is a live wire and the genesis of lawsuits existing now and in the future. Wilson Co. just settled with an employee for thousands and thousands of dollars in a lawsuit that was 99.9% Jewell made. What he does not know is exactly what goes on with the WEMA $$$ and if he were to replace Jewell with just the right person, WEMA would be able to do more than he is being told, MJ would be a smaller issue, and it would all be over before he could blink. THIs IS FACT…the MJ opportunity would not be fixed…but by far WOULD BE MORE MANAGEABLE. Happy 4th to you and all. I can’t wait to hear Lee Greenwood sing it 400 times today…God bless the USA.
    RP

  57. Southsider

    Jewel’s wife works for Mike Jennings, who is the County Attorney and also the Mayor of Watertown. She used to be a Watertown Commissioner before becoming Jennings’s legal assistant.

    She also takes the minutes at the EMA Committee meetings.

    WEMA is just one big dysfunctional family of rural politicians. Hutto goes along with this status quo because Bob Rochelle tells him so.

  58. Butch Huber

    And the truth shall set you free!

  59. Sonny Griffin

    For years, County types like Kenny boy have been spouting off that Mt. Juliet is sponging off the County for its emergency services.

    It’s time that they walk the walk and prove their talk.

    Like R. P. has said many times. FULL DISCLOSURE. HOW IS WEMA FUNDED? It’s so damned simple.

    Come on County. I want to see your “proof” so I can shove it up your ass.

    You know what the County told our Commission when asked how WEMA was funded? They said only 7% of WEMA calls were for fire protection and that TCA 5-17-101 is for fire protection only. Seven percent of the 7 million budget was less than collected situs based taxes so situs based taxes funded the entire fire protection cost to the county. OMG You guys have fun with this bull shit. I already have. Your turn.

  60. Chief O'Hallorhan

    When we keep talking about the City Commission and only one County Commissioner… I’m starting to wonder why is it that we aren’t hearing from any of the County Commissioners who supposdly represent the residents of Mt. Juliet at the County Level.

    Why don’t we get a town hall with County Commissioners Siever, McDonald, Weston, Bush, Clariday, Bradshaw, Brockman, Bannach, and Marlowe and have them explain to us how WEMA is funded and what they are doing for us at the County level as our representatives. Funny how we only here from one, Country Boy Kenny, but never hear from any of those that we elected to be for us.

    Thinking a nice presentation on how the County is waisting our tax funds from all sources while our elected Commissioners sit back and do nothing as much as I can see… Then as RP noted they can review the reasoning for our exploding legal costs in the WEMA system as well. Might be an interesting presentation.

  61. Butch Huber

    To all, happy 4th of July. Today is the day that we celebrate the founding of our nation. Today is the day we celebrate the ushering in of something so unique and profound that the world would never be the same again. Today we celebrate a nation that has given to each of us who live here a life and existence that is the envy of the world. Thank God for our founders and early leaders, because they gave so much so that so many could enjoy such freedom. Happy 4th, everyone. Remember, it is our duty to deliver to our children a nation that is better than it was when it was handed to us.

  62. Sonny Griffin

    I would like to apologize to everyone about my rant on 3 July, 2011. Butch sent me an e mail of Kenny Reich proposing his resolution to the EMA Committee.

    He did not propose to leave Mt. Juliet with no protection and as far as I could see, he was only talking about fire protection not medical.

    I was not at the meeting so I formed my conclusions from what I heard,
    big mistake.

    Again, thanks Butch, for clearing that up for me.

  63. Demokpatnr meptba, Comrade. Well, “middlemen”, we are about to be cut out. Comrade Clintski Thomaski successfully proposed that from now on only the EMA Committee and the MJ city council will be allowed to discuss the fire/ems issue in MJ. According to himski, “middlemen are anybody and everybody” other than committee members and the entire city council. I never thought I would have to ask someone running for office their opinion on the democratic process, but evidently times, they are a changing. Now you are going to have a room of suped up Sara Pattons…sitting in chairs where they should know everything and not knowing nothing. This is about to mushroom cloud on somebody. Ed, this will be the biggest decision you will have had to make to this point…do not turn you back on the will and voices of the people you are to serve. Do cbndahnr.
    RP

  64. BTW Ed, this is the last little caveat I will give you before the wall goes up…The county will (if they can sedate Kenny and cram something in his cram hole) accept your “generous” of 2 personnel per shift. But keep this in mind, they will be county employees, in county uniforms, doing county work…all of which means they can and most likely will be deployed anywhere in the county. You don’t think for one minute Jewell is going to close down Watertown St. 2 because someone called out sick and leave “your” 2 personnel at st. 3 do you? He is not going to pull from his part time/overtime budget just so you can have “your” 2. Its a minor detail, I’m sure you will work it out AFTER you commit and sign at the top. Best of luck, ED.
    RP

  65. Butch Huber

    R.P. I would like your opinion.

    I believe that it is a foregone conclusion that we will force the county into fire tax districts at this point. They have admitted to using property taxes to pay for the countywide fire department, which means that they will eventually have to cede the point that they have to establish fire districts and levy a fire tax.

    When that happens, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, and Watertown will all have to decide whether or not they want to join the fire district in their area or provide their own service, or, they may pay the county to provide that service without being in the fire district. I Personally don’t want the county to be in control of Mt. Juliet Fire Protection Services to the point where the county could some time in the future once again hold fire protection services to our collective heads in Mt. Juliet like they were wielding a gun again. So, what if the city were to float a bond for the costs of building two or three fire stations in Mt. Juliet? What if the city leased all the necessary equipment in a lease purchase agreement? What if we hired all the personnel we need to provide at least basic level service in this city? What if we established a volunteer emergency services association and the city funded it and if we were to extend to the county a hand of friendship and offered to co-op funding the volunteer emergency services association to get it off the ground? What if Lebanon and Watertown were given an opportunity to also participate in a countywide non-profit volunteer emergency services association as well? What if part of that association was to see to it that those who live in the unincorporated portions of the county that are very rural are provided with adequate fire protection services in a quasi-public/private arrangement where the association owned the equipment and the building, and the association recruited volunteers and part-timers and the county provided, using fire taxes from those areas, to hire career emergency response workers to provide basic skeleton crews to ensure that there are always workers on board in those areas? What if Mt. Juliet did a leasing agreement with the county where the county leased our station, our equipment and our personnel under an inter-local agreement and our Mt. Juliet Fire Department was actually run and operated by WEMA? What if we charged for everything that could possibly be charged for as well, such as Rescue and EMS, and even Fire if there was a way to charge for it legally?

    Now, I think I know what you and your co-workers might be thinking, “We don’t want to work for John Jewel”, Right? What if that was not an issue? What if WEMA were run by someone you did like and want to work for? What holes are in a plan like that? Oh, Lebanon and Watertown could have the same deal or work out any other legal deal with the county they wanted or they could just simply resign to provide for themselves and let the county take care of the rest.

  66. I will take a bit of liberty from the late Jack Lord as Det. Steve McGarrett of Hawaii Five-0 circa 1970…”Book it, Danno”.

    Some points…

    * Personally, I would prefer that MJ be in charge of MJ stuff. Otherwise, the person to replace Jewell CANNOT be in the Lebanon/Watertown “boys club”. He would need to be from this area with a career of experience and service in the field and quite possibly elected.

    * The admin staff stay small. One chief overall, one asst. chief fire, one asst. chief ems, one training captain, one general services captain. Paid staff of 15-18 spread over three stations with supplement from a volunteer effort of 30-40.

    *Charges for fire, rescue, haz-mat, and ems in line with national averages. This effort would mimick Nashville FD in that under the title of MJFD the service offered to the community be all inclusive. Make more $$$ for yourself, ask for less at budget time.

    Hope that’s helpful. It is a shame the county has told the city leaders NOT to talk and more importantly LISTEN to the people they represemt and those that wish to help. City leaders need to be more informed and educated so the can tell the county to go sit on a snake…you ain’t the boss of me.

  67. Shawn Donovan

    Great points there RP and I totally agree with all of them.

    Butch as you may or may not remember that Mt. Juliet already has a group of Mt. Juliet funded Volunteers that full under WEMA control. Since I organized it for Mt. Juliet, the city purchased close to 120,000.00 worth of equipment in addition to training costs associated with equipping and training the 13 slots we currently have in the Mt. Juliet funded WEMA Volunteers. Granted you never here much about our group during any of the discussions about fire protection from either side (Mt. Juliet or County).

  68. What kind of use has WEMA made of the group?
    have they just been a standby, ready-reserve? Have they assisted in any fires since they were organized?

  69. Butch Huber

    Shawn, I am sorry. I did not mean to demean what you have accomplished or devalue your hard work in any way. I apologize. Your group has not received any recognition really, and it should. Nothing I have said or written was ever intended to uncut you or the volunteers. However, 13 is not enough. This county needs perhaps as many as 200 to 300 volunteers, not 13. But that isn’t all I am talking about.

    I am talking about a full fledged volunteer emergency services association. Complete with a fundraising arm, which is where I would like to participate, professional fire fighter arm that helps develop, train, and build an EMS and Fire fighting team of perhaps 200 to 300 responders, people to oversee construction projects and build buildings, people to acquire equipment, people to lobby government, people to develop standards, people to develop plans for future development, etc. But I would like this to include police and all other aspects of safety and security as well.

    I would like to see government ensure that we have basic and adequate service to cover the needs of the county, all of the county, not based on geography, but based on the need in each sector and area of the county, and I would like to see a volunteer service take care of enhancement above basic needs. I would like to see a volunteer service that could counter any political maneuver the county and/or cities pull as well.

    In the end, I would like to see us develop a model that the rest of the State of Tennessee can learn something from and take something away from so that they can build their own services in their county. It isn’t enough to have adequate, we need to be innovative and develop superlative services and we need to develop a support system to support those who serve us and protect those who protect us. I find it unconscionable that you guys are required to break the law in order to do your jobs, but more so, I find it reprehensible that you have to put yourselves in jeopardy in order to save people because the county and the city want to act like children and because certain individuals want to hang on to power and make money off of this issue.

  70. Chris Allen

    To answer the post above regarding the Mt. Juliet Volunteer Firefighters:

    The Mt. Juliet volunteer firefighters carry a pager and are toned (dispatched) at the same time as WEMA E-31 (Mt. Juliet) on all fire related calls that WEMA E-31 is dispatched to. As an example, last Sunday (3rd), we responded to 5 fire calls in 12 hours, including 3 working structure fires, all in the Mt. Juliet area. We had as few as 2 and as many as 6 volunteers at the various fire scenes. On Tuesday the 5th, we had another working structure fire in Mt. Juliet and had 4 volunteers on-scene.

    Most of the Mt. Juliet volunteer firefighters are current or former career firefighters and most hold many fire / ems certifications, up to and including Fire Officer and Instructor. We have turnout gear, SCBA, a radio, and participate in all fire ground operations, including interior fire attack. We also routinely staff the second engine at Station 3 during periods of high call volume. I do not know official numbers, but since our inception, I would estimate we have respond to several hundred calls, including actual fires, many fire alarms, and other incidents.

    A challenge, as in any volunteer organization, is maintaining enough active folks. Some of the issues between WEMA and Mt. Juliet have made this a bigger challenge than it needs to be. Any fire service delivery system needs constant management, equipment replacement, upgrades, etc., and unfortunately, Mt. Juliet and WEMA approached the volunteers as a one-time fix with no apparent vision for maintaining it.
    Mt. Juliet needs at least three fire stations with engines, an aerial, and ambulances staffed by fulltime, career firefighters 24/7. We also need enough trained volunteer firefighters to supplement those career firefighters at fires, etc. That type of “Combination” (Career / Volunteer) service delivery model is used throughout the United States in suburban areas with great success.

    One of the problems with the current WEMA System is that Ambulance Crews must also participate in fire suppression, thus routinely leaving the Mt. Juliet ambulance un-staffed in quarters. As an example, during the fire on the 5th, Medic 31 was unstaffed in quarters for several hours while their crew was on E-32 (second-out engine at Station 3) at the fire. This type of event happens on a very regular basis. The WEMA career crews do the best they can with the very limited resources they have. The Mt. Juliet volunteer firefighters do the best we can to assist the career crews, despite a long list of frustrations that make us routinely question our involvement.

    Whatever model we use, it will cost money, more money than we currently have available through sales taxes only.

  71. VERY VERY helpful details about how the volunteer service is working.
    I venture to say that there are very few citizens who are aware of the valuable service the MJ Volunteers are providing.
    You deserve more recognition and the profound thanks of all your neighbors.

    Thank you for your service!

    If any of the local press read this blog, there’s a great feature story here! I’m sure Chris and Shawn would be glad to help you tell it.

  72. Butch Huber

    R.P., thanks for responding.

    I think we need to approach this from every angle possible. Instead of just looking for a government solution, we need to work on developing a private solution to the problem. I see no reason we can’t have a combination force that includes career, reserve, part-time, and volunteer. I see no reason why we cannot mitigate the politics of this issue. On a personal level, I do not mind pitching in in any way that I am able to help my fellow citizen. However, from a governmental perspective, I do not believe it is a proper function of government to take money from one person to give it to another. I believe that is what is bankrupting this nation because it breeds complacency and apathy and entitlement mentality. If the people in Cottage Home and Norene and other sparsely populated population centers are doing what they can to help themselves then we kind of owe it to them in a moral sense to do what we can to help them. However, if their version, and I am not saying that it is, but if their version of doing what they can to help themselves is to hold their hand out and expect others to provide them with service, then they deserve none because they really aren’t doing what they can for themselves. I am not trying to be rude, I am trying to say that people need to take responsibility for themselves before they start looking for help from others.

    When things are handled on a volunteer basis, you can have accountability and responsibility in the matter. A volunteer force can say, “Okay, you want more, what are you willing to do to have more. What you can’t do for yourselves we will help you do.” Government doesn’t seem to have that willingness or luxury. Government says, “Okay, if you ask us we will do what you want, regardless of what it costs and who pays.” I am definitely not in on that deal.

    Only when everyone recognizes that they are part of the problem and therefore need to be part of the solution will we have a lasting and proper resolution.

    Also, this isn’t just about fire protection, this is also about principles and it is about the county taking and not giving back. This is also about other governments and citizens who are not a part of Mt. Juliet trying to force and tell Mt. Juliet what it needs to do in regard to taxes. We don’t tell the unincorporated portions of the county or the other cities in this county how to tax themselves or what they have to do, we make suggestions, but we are not so arrogant as to tell someone else how to govern themselves. We mind our own business. We just don’t want to be abused by the county through a tax scheme that benefits a few people in the county but that makes safety, or lack thereof, a factor for us.

    The city and the county need to participate in the development of a strong explorer scout program that will help develop emergency services workers, both career and volunteer, in this county. There are a lot of ways that we can enhance safety and security without having to spend a fortune to do it.

    I agree that it would be nice to have three stations in Mt. Juliet. I even agree that there needs to be three stations in Mt. Juliet. I feel we need a five to ten year plan for the development of the fire protection/ems/police forces in this city and the surrounding area. I believe that at least one, if not all, of the fire stations in this city should have police precincts in them with one central station for holding prisoners and housing a main armory. I also believe that each of the stations should have a second floor that can be used for wedding receptions, parties, and other events such as fundraisers and that can also be used as a training center to support both our Emergency Services operations and our business community. There is so much that can be done with something like that, including teen and children’s events as well. Making fire/ems/and police a part of the community is a good thing.

  73. Butch, R.P., Sonny, Chris , Shawn, et al…Excellent discussion and direction. Butch, that is the plan we spoke of during our last phone conversation and R.P. those are the points we spoke of last conversation. Now, if I may, add one we spoke of…placement of this asset in a budget. Please do not allow emergency services to be lumped in a general fund. It makes sense to add law enforcement as a matter of public safety…however, it does not need to be anywhere near a beer board or other nonemergent service to the public. No disrespect to Brother Ted, but the fire service ain’t no business. It is a service and we need to see it as such and nothing else. In addition, Butch, the department you are speaking of would require visionary leadership…nuff said. I agree..it is headed in the right direction. As for the MJ volunteers, they are a great bunch. If a MJ department were to come about, I would like to see these servants under the direction of and with the support from MJ. Blessings and prayers to each of you and your families…Have a great weekend.
    Jamie

  74. Sorry x 3! I meant to put “stand alone budget line item” in there somwhere. Also, thank you Publius for this avenue of discussion. I hope our city civic leaders can find use of these excellent and accurate suggestions. We as a group stand ready to serve.

    Jamie

  75. Butch Huber

    One of the problems we have in this arena is the absence of a healthy level of trust. Where there is a leadership problem, you have an organizational problem. We need to take this issue out of the hands of leaders who will not act grown up. Yes, Jamie, it does require visionary leaders, that is why it should be removed from our government and put into a non-profit organization. Being a non-profit organization does not mean that you cannot have paid people, it just means that you are not in the business of making a profit. Having a visionary leader might mean paying them. In fact, in order to put this deal together, it is quite certain that a team of people would have to be paid because it would take full-time people to put it together. That just means that we have to raise funds and make it happen.

    I wonder if we can get grant money from the federal and state government to put something like this together. We could design and develop a prototype structure that the state could use as a model service. If we design it so that it is flexible enough it could be duplicated everywhere in the state. We have two organizations, CTAS and MTAS that would probably love to help organize something like this. I am sure that there are also professional organizations that would be interested in lending a hand in developing something along this line. I wonder if we could get as much as 5-8 million in matching funds to get started? We could definitely reach out to the business community and residents for assistance. If people knew that they have a choice between giving up some money in a donation or ending up with a tax, they would probably opt to give up money, at least those who can afford it would.

    I say, if you are going to do something, you might as well do it big. The CTAS/MTAS study said that ideally you would have 90% of your population covered within one and a half miles from a station. Since our population is so concentrated in two large pockets in this county, around and in Mt. Juliet and around and in Lebanon, we can probably accomplish that quite easily. There are 113,993 people in this county. Station 1 covers 28,000, station 3 covers 34,000 and station 4 covers 29,000. That comes to roughly 80 percent, and those numbers covered by those stations are old numbers. The suggested number of stations and placement by in the CTAS/MTAS report has as much as 87% of the population covered in a five mile driving distance, I think we can do much better. I think we can actually cover 90% within 1.5 miles. It might take a few years to get to that point, but if we can convince people that by contributing to the cause they will get their homeowner’s insurance lowered, we can accomplish that goal, right? I know this, we will get a hell of a lot more accomplished if we try than we will if we don’t.

  76. Shawn Donovan

    No offense taken there Butch and thanks Publius.

    Chris gave you the same picture of our group that I would have. Those members who volunteered for this group as he noted are all very highly trained with extensive amounts of experience. The main goal of our group is to help those brothers and sisters who staff the stations full time to the best of our ability during fires and I feel we accomplish that task when we are called upon. Do we have as many people from our group as I would like to see respond on all calls, no, but we are giving them another one or two fire attack crews that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

    In the past when we first organized we did receive a significant amount of press coverage, but for reasons that are obvious when you read the discussions about this issue we are never mentioned by either governments. Yes their is a long list of frustrations for those involved from our group and we do question at times why we continue to volunteer to help WEMA, but those thoughts fade when we all shake hands with our brothers and sisters after a fire and we see the appreciation from those that work in the firehalls. This is why we respond when the tones go off, to help our brother and sister firefighters and our fellow residents, not because its the “political correct” thing to do or recognition.

  77. Southsider

    I have to disagree with the admission that Mt. Juliet cannot provide emergency services without a property tax. That sounds like Randy Robertson, a City Manager who applied for the top job in a city without a property tax. If he could not manage a city with that financial restraint he should not have applied for the job. No other City Manager in Mt. Juliet’s history has lobbied for a city property tax. That seems to be all Randy Robertson is doing these days.

    Budgeting in a city is no different than budgeting in a household – we should spend our money on the most important things first, not last. Mt. Juliet revenues have doubled in the last five years. We don’t have a revenue problem.

  78. Southsider,
    There are 16 banks and lending institutions down MJ Rd from Lebanon Rd to I40. You do not get that many banks in that short of run if you are broke. You are right, we have $$$, more than we have ever had…and we have a need, more than we have ever had. NOW is the time to act. Some city money (sales tax & impact fees) + other income (see Butch for details) and a plan to maximize revenue collections + modest line item budget = emergency services that will save lives and can used as a draw for future growth. I would love to truly tell people…Come to MJ..YOUR LIFE will be safe…YOUR FAMILY will be safe…YOUR PROPERTY will be safe and YOUR BUSINESS will be safe.
    Jamie

  79. Southsider

    I agree with Mr. Luffman, but Mt. Juliet is the fastest growing city in Tennessee for a reason. We can have all that we need if we make good choices. The following rant is not directed at Mr. Luffman – I think he is truly trying to help. My rant is directed at those trying to hurt Mt. Juliet.

    People who constantly tell Mt. Juliet that it needs to grow up and become a real city need to look in the mirror first. What has your city/county given the world?

    Wilson County gave us Curd Road, Mt. Juliet gave us the Beckwith Road Interchange. Wilson County gave us Belinda City, Mt. Juliet gave us Providence. Wilson County gave us the strip centers on Hwy 70, Mt. Juliet gave us two world class regional shopping centers. I could go on and on.

    I am tired of listening to people try to remold Mt. Juliet into something worse than what they have provided. Never take Baseball batting advice from somone hitting .115 – especially when you are already batting .575.

    Michigan still tries to tell Texas how to create jobs. Thank goodness (for texans) they don’t listen.

    WEMA has no business lecturing anyone about adequate service.

  80. Butch Huber

    Southsider, as I began to read your last post it hit me. “Mt. Juliet needs to grow up and put on its big boy britches.” That is what they say. Wait one cotton pickin minute. Was Lebanon or Watertown one of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing city in the state over the past ten years? I don’t think so. Was Lebanon or Watertown ever, ever voted the most business friendly city in the entire state? I don’t think so. Our property value growth is one and a half times faster than Lebanon. Our crime rate is extremely low, and the rate at which our crimes are solved are extremely high. Our city is clean. Our city has tons of new retail and a whole lot more coming. Our city has a nice park. I think we are doing quite well as a city. There is this pesky issue with fire protection, but that is not the city’s fault, that is the fault of the county. We are about to fix that, too. In fixing it, I hope to also put in play a solution that will fix fire protection for everyone in this county. I also hope to set things up so that we can build a bridge to a future of cooperation and prosperity for all who live in this county. But, “Put on your big boy britches?” Really? The West side of this county has a unique set of circumstances that this county needs to really recognize. While the east side of this county will likely remain open lands and open spaces for quite some time, this city and the surrounding area are going to absolutely explode with growth over the next several years.

    Here is another slant. The area outside of Mt. Juliet has exploded, in terms of housing, right along with Mt. Juliet. What has the county done to help protect them? Station 4 is the same as it has been for years and years, right? So, if we are not acting like we have big boy britches on, then what does that say about the county? Hell, they are the ones controlling the fire protection show, why are they not being heckled by the crowd?

  81. Southsider

    Ed Hagerty has been left with a democrat staff that Linda Elam put in place. Elam made sure Mt. Juliet’s City Manager, City Attorney, Public Works Director, Assistant Public Works Director, Parks Director, and Police Chief (I could go on and on) are all democrats.

    You have the most liberal city administration in Mt.Juliet’s history running the city right now. You also have more revenue coming in than ever before and it is still not enough. The answer to every liberal operation problem is always higher taxes! Ask our President..

    So Ed has a problem. He has a City Manager spending taxpayer money all day long who spends his time lobbying for more taxpayer money to spend. I once had a dog that chased his tail all day. I could have bought him more dog food but instead let him lose weight. He settled down.

    But I finally had to get another dog.

  82. Sorry Cuz,
    Forgot about that general fund…or as you say “financial sprinkler head”.
    See you tomorrow.
    RP

  83. Ben Dover & C. Howett Fields

    hay kenny rich bet you tird of chewin on that big boy britches bs
    probly tastes like a big dog turd by now probly need to warsh yer mouth out with the truth may be that taste go way HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  84. Butch Huber

    I just sent this to many on the county commission (those who are not still in the stone age and don’t have email). I sent it with the subject line saying, “The county’s big boy britches seem to be down around their ankles.”

    Mt Juliet doesn’t seem to be the only government that needs to “put on its big boy britches” in this county. A lot has been said about how Mt. Juliet needs to establish its own fire department and how irresponsible it is that we have not enhanced fire service here. However, let’s look at what the county has or hasn’t done in these parts since 1986 when the county took over Mt. Juliet’s volunteer fire department and occupied our city fire station. I don’t have any statistics to go on, however, I have lived in this area since 1995 and I have witnessed the growth since then. Consider all of the growth that has occurred up and down Saundersville Rd and Saundersville Ferry Roads, but inside the unincorporated portion of the county. Consider all the growth that has occurred outside the city limits of Mt. Juliet along Division and South Green Hills Roads. Consider all the growth that has occurred outside this city along its eastern border. Consider the growth that has occurred outside this city to the south along Central Pike, Stewards Ferry Road and Hobson Pike. If you add up all the growth that has occurred outside this city it comes to quite a few homes and quite a lot of people. What has the county done to enhance service in this area for those people? The nexus of the discussions that have been going on around this county has been that the county is doing all it can for the City of Mt. Juliet and that the City of Mt. Juliet needs to step up and put its big boy britches on, but what of the county? What has the county done for the citizens of the unincorporated portion of the County since 1986, 1995, 1999, and 2006? I don’t remember the county doing a thing to enhance service for those people since I have lived in Wilson County. I can sit here looking at google earth and I can actually count the number of homes that have been built in the past 10 to 15 years. Given enough information I could probably give you a fairly precise answer as to how much growth has occurred and what enhancements to fire service has taken place here. What do you have to say for yourselves, County? You are saying we are irresponsible, but what are you?

    The fact is you are politically holding even the citizens of the unincorporated portion of this county hostage, aren’t you? You aren’t enhancing their service because to do so you enhance our service, isn’t that right? Aren’t you hoping that you can force this city into establishing its own fire department so that you can spread the equipment and personnel now stationed in Station 3 to other parts of the county, but when you do you will completely abandon those who live outside this city and outside coverage from Stations 4 and 5, won’t you? You have it in mind that Mt. Juliet will provide the coverage, don’t you? You think you are going to set up some mutual aid agreement whereby station 4 provides us with mutual aid and we provide mutual aid to the area outside this city, isn’t that right? How else are you planning to cover that area? Now, don’t back away Kenny Reich, Bernie Ash, Randy Hall, and even Randall Hutto. Three of you voted to approve a resolution that would remove all county provided fire protection services from Mt. Juliet and Kenny Reich said that it was Randall Hutto that wanted that language in the Resolution. According to the paper that resolution will go to the full county commission even though it was disapproved by the EMA Committee. So, county, what exactly are you prepared to do in order to pull up “your” big boy britches? Do you think growth in this area is going to a) slow down, b) stay the same, c) continue to grow at the same rate of growth it has been, or d) speed up when this recession is over? Do you think that in 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, 10 years, or 15 years you will need a) the same level of service you now provide, b) less service than you now provide, c) more service than you now provide, or d) much more service than you now provide in the unincorporated portion of Wilson County? My answer to both questions is “d”, what is yours? I think that we are going to see accelerated growth and a need for much more county service to the unincorporated areas of Wilson County regardless of wht Mt. Juliet does. What about it folks, what are you prepared to do to ensure that the citizens of unincorporated Wilson County are safe?

    Media, so far your focus has seemed to be on Mt. Juliet, but we are not the only area of this county that is grossly under protected. Isn’t the county the bigger story? They have added stations 7 and 8 in the past few years. They built a fire station that costs more than a million dollars for Watertown. If you were to count up all the citizens who live east of 109 and outside the city of Lebanon how many people do you think that would be? Maybe, maybe that comes to 20 thousand people. Station 4 covers 29,000 people, Station 3 covers 34,000 people (these are old numbers) so at least 63,000 people of the 133, live in the coverage area of Stations 3 and 4. Include the growth that has occurred in and around Mt. Juliet since 2008, the year the coverage number come from, and there almost has to be another 7 thousand people in this immediate area. That makes 70,000 people. Lebanon has 26,000 inside its city limits. That makes 96,000 people. It appears that there are very few people who live outside of Mt. Juliet and the surrounding area and outside of Lebanon. Go to google earth and look at the population density in the area outside of Lebanon and eastwardly. See how sparse the population base is out there? You have elected to spend a lot of money in other places around this county, but you aren’t taking care of the larger population base by ensuring that they have adequate service. Aren’t you being a little bit immature?

    Isn’t really the county that has a fire protection issue? I mean, if Mt. Juliet were to kick you out of station 3, wouldn’t you be left with no coverage for thousands and thousands of people in the unincorporated areas of Wilson County? And what about me? I am a county citizen, you would allow me not to have adequate service? Am I not caught between a rock and a hard place with no help from you? If my city government refuses to get into the fire protection business, am I not totally reliant on the county for protection? Didn’t you get me into this mess when you asked the city of Mt. Juliet to let you take over their fire department? Had you stayed out of Mt. Juliet we would have built our own fire department, but you wanted to come here? Why? Because you were not doing your part to provide fire protection in this county and the city decided not to provide coverage for your citizens except those inside this city. In 1986 the county had no fire protection service in this area from what I understand and this city provided it all. Wasn’t it the county then, as it is today, the one who didn’t have their big boy britches on?

    Well, what do you have to say for yourselves?

  85. Sonny Griffin

    Butch,

    I think you may have given the County a little more credit than is due.

    The term “big boy britches” defines a level of maturity that I don’t think they are ready to achieve yet. I believe they are still at the diaper level waiting to go into training pants.

    From their latest shenanigans, it may be a long wait.

  86. Butch Huber

    A decision maker gathers information before he or she makes a decision, otherwise how could they make a wise decision? Our city government was about to vote in a property tax for the purpose of giving that money to the county for the county to provide service to Mt. Juliet. If the county and the city were to strike that deal, how could the city ever reduce our city property tax? How could the city thereafter reduce the total amount given to the county? The county would forevermore hold this city over a barrel!
    The county would hold all the cards. We would spend millions buying equipment for the county, then, if we ever decided to limit how much money we were giving to the county, the county would once again just pull out of serving Mt. Juliet.

    A leader fixes things when they are broken. I don’t think anyone could say with a straight face that this county’s fire service plan is not broken. Instead of kicking the can down the road, a leader fixes the problem and move on. Paying the county our property tax money only makes the situation worse.

    Linda Elam used our tax money to pay for her legal attack against us so that she could stay in power in Mt. Juliet. The premise was that she wanted to fix the fire protection issue. Now, as a state legislator, she has the power to sponsor legislation that would repeal the amendment to the fire tax laws and force the county to stop acting like it is covering its expenses for the Countywide Fire Department using only situs based or shared revenues and force them into establishing fire tax districts. Where has she been since she quit her job as our mayor? AWOL. She has completely abandoned this city and the western part of Wilson County. She dropped us like a hot rock. So much for her concern for this city. She said it would be irresponsible for her to leave office until she had fixed this problem. She can fix it as a legislator, why isn’t she doing anything? I have included her in a bunch of emails about this issue, so if she is so concerned, why hasn’t she weighed in?

    We need a new breed of politician in government at all levels. We need people like you and me to run for office and usher in a new civility to the political arena. If it mattered yesterday, it probably matters still today. Why are they dancing around this issue and not dealing with it head on?

    The first issue that needs to be settled and never let up on until it is settled is the fire tax issue. Every solution hinges on the county properly funding the countywide fire department. No solution is a real solution until that occurs. We need our politicians to deal with this once and for all.

  87. Sonny Griffin

    Chris Allen,

    Somehow, I missed your post.

    I had no idea how valuable an asset your volunteer group is to our community. It looks like Station 3 meets OSHA regs because of you folks.
    Probably the only one in WEMA.

    If there is any way to help keep you updated as far as equipment and supplies go, I will try to help any way I can.

    There needs to be a community effort behind you guys.

    The media needs to run monthly articles on you so that everyone can see your commitment and sacrifice and maybe help with your finances. It would be an interesting article making people really understand what goes on in emergency services

    There also needs to be an account set up for your volunteer group so MJ citizens have somewhere to send donations and proceeds from fund raisers.

    Thank God for people like you. You give me hope.

  88. Chris Allen

    First, thanks for the nice comments amount the MJ Volunteers. There is a lot we should do to improve the current volunteer system.

    Unfortunately, even with our efforts, more often than not, initial fire attack operations in Mt. Juliet are conducted with far fewer people than are recommended / required by various NFPA / OHSA standards / guidelines / rules. When there are enough people on-scene, it means that ambulances are parked at the station un-staffed. Even if there are 4 people on-scene for initial attack, the next arriving crews will take far too long to get there due to the lack of stations and those crews will not have enough people to get everything done that is supposed to happen. It takes 15 – 20 people to safely operate at a single family working structure fire. We usually have between 8 -10. And, typically before the emergency is over, we lose crews who are pulled from the scene to handle other calls.

    Sometimes, our volunteers may arrive on-scene before the first arriving engine and be able to assist with initial attack operations. Other times, due to traffic, call location, our schedules, etc., we do not arrive on-scene until much later.

    Currently, the system in Wilson County is a recipe for disaster. Ambulances are routinely un-staffed because their crews are on a fire engine, or, if the ambulance crew is on a call at the time of a fire, the fire suppression side is left even more shorthanded. Wilson County is a busy system and it is very common that multiple incidents happen in the same area at the same time.

    I have been in the fire service since 1985 and have been a career fighter, career fire Lieutenant, volunteer firefighter and volunteer fire lieutenant. I am a huge proponent of volunteer firefighters and have visited many top-notch volunteer / combination fire departments across the county. Since entering law enforcement in 2001, I have stayed active in several fire departments as a volunteer and hope to stay active here for many years (despite countless frustrations here).

    However, due to history, demographics, etc., a largely volunteer fire-service in Mt. Juliet is NOT an option (sorry Butch). The Mt. Juliet area needs three fire stations. Each should have an engine company staffed with 3-4 career firefighters, 24/7. Two of the three stations should have an ALS ambulance, staffed by dedicated crews, 24/7. One of the stations should have a dedicated crew of 3-4 that could cross-staff a ladder truck / heavy rescue, depending on the call. Each station should also have a roster of 10 active volunteers who can supplement the career crews on-scene and/or staff reserve apparatus during times of call volume.

    Butch makes a great point that the county really should have kept up with demand and already have most of the resources described above in place. The county has grown from rural to suburban, yet, emergency services have stayed rural.

    Where I will differ with many who post here is that the fire service is a vital government service and we must be willing to pay for adequate service. Maybe some money is squandered, but, the current tax structure is not enough to support the service we need.

    We seem to have no problem paying for a Mt. Juliet Police Department in addition to a Wilson County Sheriff’s Department, even though the Sheriff’s Department provides patrol services. Why is paying for enhanced fire protection (whether through WEMA or a MJFD), so different?

    Whatever solution we come up with, it needs to happen now. There are many models for delivering fire-service. We are not reinventing the wheel here. We need our leaders from various groups to work together to get this done and we need our citizens to accept that you get what you pay for, and we sure don’t pay for much. I think the majority of the people who have moved here in the last 10 years (like me) do accept this. Unfortunately, we are led by people who don’t.

  89. Butch Huber

    Chris, I don’t believe I have ever said that we should have an all volunteer fire department. If I did I must have bumped my head before I wrote it or said it. I think we can establish and build a countywide non-profit fire department, though. I think it could be grown to a point where it completely replaces what we have in the Countywide Fire Department. But an all volunteer force is not really much of an option.

    Chris, you have been a proponent of the argument that we should treat fire protection and emergency services the same and I can appreciate your position, however, I disagree that fire and police are a one plus one proposition, meaning I don’t think one is the same as the other and that their existence necessarily adds up to the city and the county handling both the same. They have different funding authorizations from the General assembly under different provisions of the law. Their functions may have a lot of overlap, but their legal frameworks are different, as they should be. Being a police officer and a fire fighter, you know that already, so I am not telling you anything here.

    I don’t think things have to go to privatizing fire protection in Wilson County, but unless the politicos can come to a mutual understanding of how things are going to work and how they are going to work together, something radical has to come into play.

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