Fire Discussion – current

In order to keep discussion going as easily as possible, at the suggestion & request of commenters, we  have created a new page to host the ongoing fire discussion.

The previous page has accumulated over 700 comments – from a wide array of viewpoints. Anyone wanting to understand the issues in Wilson County would be well-advised to click here and read through them.

Below are links to the original source documents assembled previously.

Since this has been a critical topic (and most likely will continue to be), RFMJ has decided to collect some of the relevant documents and make them available here.

If you have something you would like to see added, send email to p.v.publicola@gmail.com

WEMA stations, with five-mile-radius circles

WEMA stations, with roads shaded by distance
Note: The roads on this map are shaded BLUE if they less than 1.5 miles from a WEMA station and RED if they are less than 5.0 miles from a WEMA station.

MTAS CTAS Wilson County Fire Study 2006
This is a 4.2mb file, but worth the time to download and read. right-click and save-to your local drive.

1999 Amendment to TCA about Fire Tax Districts sponsored by Sen. Rochelle.

History of the Mt. Juliet Volunteer Fire Department (1974-1986)

The 1986 Contract between Mt. Juliet and Wilson County for Fire Protection

119 responses to “Fire Discussion – current

  1. SI40

    If this doesn’t get a reaction to the residents of Mt. Juliet I don’t know what will.

    When you have the department head make comments like the one in this story, it may be time for a change!!!!

    http://www.wsmv.com/iteam/25645151/detail.html

  2. Fire Marshall Bill

    SI40,
    This story is grievously unfortunate for all involved ESPECIALLY this family. It should act as a wake up call to everyone who calls Wilson County home or might consider doing so in the future. Contrary to the theme of the story, though, this type of response is rare. It does happen, again, it DOES happen, however; not with the frequency implied. For the most part, @ 90% or better of the long response times are for calls that require the fire/ambulance crew to stage for safety. These calls are usually one of the following:
    -domestic disturbances
    -behavior emergencies/altered mental status
    -gun shot wound
    -stabbing
    -911 hangups/unknown emergencies
    -cases in which the ambulance in the zone is already on a call and an ambulance from another zone has to respond. (btw, this happens more times than you might want to know. Too many times ambulances from Lakeview, LaGuardo, Gladeville, and even Lebanon have to respond to MJ when Station 3 is on a call) These ambulances do not stage, but keep in mind, the meter is running from the time the call is placed until the unit checks on the scene regardless of where the ambulance responds from.
    Mr. Finley should have thought to investigate further and Mr. Jewell should have known this and led with it in his initial response. Making the statement that HE feels “20 minutes is better than not at all” is grossly unprofessional and should be dealt with severely. IT DOES NOT REPRESENT THE APPROACH OF THE PEOPLE THAT DO THE JOB. My suggestion to those who may wish to know more is this…Contact the County Mayor and ask him what his intentions are with respect to correcting this problem and any improvements that need to made for the future. Is he interested in enhancements and improvements to the current assets(WEMA) for his constituents or is it to waste time dealing with part-time mayors and committee this to death. In the meantime, perhaps the director should share the map he has of the areas in the county “that you just can’t get to from here”. How embarrassing…

  3. Fire Marshall Bill

    Also, consider this. There are currently NO plans in the works to enhance or improve the current assets(WEMA). If someone tells you there are, MAKE THEM SHOW YOU. It just might be (and let me be the first to say that I cannot prove it)that since there is not a law or entity that will force a city (MJ) to create a fire/ems dept., perhaps there exists the thought that if the current assets(WEMA) fail in such a catastrophic manner, that the city(MJ) will be forced to create its own or contract these services out. Just a thought…it would appear that there would be an outcry and a timely adequate response to correct this with an enhancement plan to the current assets(WEMA). Google the name Jerry Fletcher. If you ask enough questions, eventually, you will get an answer.

  4. Dick Kasnick

    Even though there seems to be no action on the EMA issues in Wilson county, nothing could be further from the truth. I have been lobbying city and county commissioners for a resolution to this issue and have had recent movement in ideas that can provide this side of 109 with a full time staffed 4 station fire department. I have a budget for this department and my current guess is that it is “do-able”. I will state that on the county side, most commissioners are looking for a way to get this off of their collective plate. Normally a city provides its own EMA service and the county provides a rural type department. It will never be sufficient due to the resident outflow during the day to have a primary response by volunteers. Our city needs to get real and address these issues and I will tell you that the county is ready to sit down and resolve this. Our elected leaders need to have the character to act in a responsible way, even though they may find that there will always be a vocal minority that will cry and whine. I will continue to lobby and will post my entire budget and plan after I have presented it to the city leaders at a commission meeting.

    I will recommend to all of you readers to keep active in this issue as it is the way that we will force action for a solution!

    Dick Kasnick

  5. Publius,
    With respect, could you please start the new fire discussion with the last post of SI40? This last news piece form Ch. 4 is interesting and I hope by making it easier to locate, the other contributors will chime in. Thank you in advance and have a good night.
    FMBill

  6. Mr. Kasnick,
    Thank you for your fire and desire to work this issue. You are correct in your call for character. Since there is not a jurisdictional body or piece of legislature that directs our leaders, it is going to be up to them to do the right thing. Being a lifelong resident of this city as well as this county, I am split between two options. In no particular order, the city has been blessed with great prosperity and we should embrace the opportunity to insure its protection, growth, and longevity. Our city leaders need to realize, there are many examples of cities creating their own fire department. There exists plenty of lessons to learn from. The city leaders would simply need to make a commitment to this task and mold this service to our need and future. Your plan is exceptional by the way, small adjustments here and there. As far as the county, the infastructure is already in place and is simply in need of greater enhancement. County leaders would need to step up and assess the needs of the existing assets. I have that on paper if they are interested. ( Just some practical things that have worked for me, from my job of 16 yrs as Dir. of Emergency Services @ DuPont-Old Hickory to working here in the county at the operator level.) The need is obvious and the solutions are plentiful. The public needs this service and the public servants need to provide it. One stumbling block that needs to be identified is the fact that no solution comes without some sacrifice. We should not expect something for nothing. We need to focus on the reward and the results of meeting this important need. Due diligence and common sense. Take care, have a good day, and please call if I can be of service. To all, God bless.

    Jamie
    John 14:13

  7. Well OK Dell Webb…you got you your very own ambulance. Congrats. Just a few things you might want to consider.
    a. There ain’t no magic in that truck weather its own your block or in your pocket…it still comes down to the people doing the job.
    b. Advance Life Support or Basic Life Support trained? At your age, it could matter…do you know the difference?
    c. The same dispatch used for WEMA will be dispatching Pro-Med. Do they have updated GPS? Do they even have maps?
    d. Last week it took them 25 minutes to get from West Main to Hartmann and South Cumberland (4 miles)…Good Luck.

  8. SI40

    e. why wouldn’t that just use part time or people on OT to staff a WEMA amblance from 9a-9p, so they money could stay in the county
    f. when can we expect to see a solid plan with no bandaids like this is…

  9. e. No $$$…and you can take that to the bank.
    f. ????????

    Another point to ponder…that ambulance represents an asset the Mayor did NOT have the right to deploy. If a legal issues arises, either from a call gone bad or another area of the county calls and does not get an ambulance, then Wilson County can now be named in the suit. He brokered the deal between Pro-Med and this neighborhood. He put the county too close. What he might consider in the future is 1. obviously work to minimize the county’s involvement from this point on by backing us out of the deal in some way soon. 2. Next time ask around. I have heard it before…he is getting bad intel from the trash man et al. If he had ask on this issue he might have heard a voice of reason tell him, “Tell Linda to get the Yellow Pages if she wants an ambulance”. The stations are half staffed for a reason. There is no money. Thanks to the last administration, the county assets and abilities were allowed to fall behind exponentially with the current growth rate. There is not enough money to fix it as it is in its current deployment. Hats off, though. He is a good man, he just needs a good plan. Ask.

  10. butch huber

    I believe that the same ol’ philosophy is going to be applied to fire protection in the debates that are going on that has been applied thus far.

    There are those who live in the county who believe that the same level of protection is being provided to each person in the county and that people living in more densely populated areas must pay more for service because they need more service. In order to arrive at this line of thinking you have to jump tracks midway through thought.

    Here is how I believe that the thought path seems to work. They look at a map, not a population density map, but a geographic map, that shows the fire protection coverage. When you look at a map like that it makes it look like we are getting the same protection level as anyone else living within a certain radius of a station. Then, those who are of the mind that we need to pay more say, “You are getting the same level of service as those people who live in that radius, so, if you want more service you can pay more for it”. I would agree whole-heartedly if they would just prove to me that they are not funding fire protection by any other means than through already shared revenues as per law (they can fund it through fire taxes, but we don’t have fire taxes, so the only way that they can legally fund fire protection is through already shared revenues). You see, I don’t believe they can fund it legally because the only “already shared” revenues that I know of are sales tax dollars and all of that seems to go to the education system for Wilson County.

    If they are using property taxes, which I am told they are not but cannot fathom how that can be, then we are paying more for fire protection than the people who live inside the circle of coverage out in the county areas are paying. You see, they have to forget that the property values are higher inside the circles that cover Mt. Juliet. They also have to forget the fact that a vastly disproportionate amount of sales taxes come from those circles that cover Mt. Juliet as well. From an square mile percentage, the tax revenues coming from within Mt. Juliet far exceed any other area of the county. The overall revenues coming from Lebanon to the county may still be a little higher than they are coming from Mt. Juilet, but on a square mile basis Lebanon would have to contribute three times the revenues that Mt. Juliet generates for the county to break even in terms of contributions. The other areas of the county don’t even come in a close second to Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. So, you see, you have to jump tracks.

    Let’s look deeper at this. Let’s say that under one circle of coverage on the map there are 20,000 people, but under another circle of coverage, out in the country, there are only 2,000 people. For us to all get the same level of coverage geographically they need only place the exact same level of manpower and the exact same level of equipment in each of the fire stations. However, in that scenario the people who man the station where 20,000 people live will be ten times busier than the ones who man the station where only 2,000 people live. In reality, due to demographics, the people in the station with 20,000 people around it will be working even more than 10 times harder, but we will save that for another day.

    But what about revenues? Wouldn’t the people who live in the area with 20,000 people in it be paying arguably ten times more overall for the same level of manpower and level of equipment? Actually, they would be paying much more. In the 20,000 person area incomes are higher, the density of stores and retail outlets are higher, and property values are higher than in the area where only 2,000 people live, so the totality of their taxation in dollar terms would be higher than in the 2,000 person zone.

    Here is where they jump tracks. They say, “you need more coverage because you are more densely populated, and when there is a fire multiple homes end up being burned down if you don’t have enhanced fire protection”. While they are saying this they are dismissing the fact that collectively that densely populated area is paying substantially more for fire protection and they are not being provided enhanced service! Their argument falls down upon itself and they don’t realize it!

    Now, when all that money goes into a collective pot to pay for county-wide fire protection and then the coverage is provided geographically rather than based on population density, you have what is called income redistribution.

    Rather than increase the level of protection for the twenty thousand people so that you have the same “quality” of protection per person inside the circle covering the 20000 as you do inside the circle with the 2000, they say, “if you want more coverage in the 20000 person zone than you have to pay more”. Well, we are already doing that, only they are taking that money and redistributing it to other areas of the county to provide them with coverage. Collectively, if all other things remained equal, we are paying 10 times as much and getting the same level of coverage geographically and one tenth as much coverage per capita. How on earth is that right?

  11. SI40

    It appears from reading the Lebanon Democrat yesterday morning that the first “proposal” to increase the level of fire protection is Mt. Juliet has been proposed and scraped in one meeting by the EMA Committee with an straight line East/West vote… any chance we can get some of the text of that article on here for discussion.

    From reading this entire article, it appears that MJ has offered to pay to build a first station in Providence, the equipment, and pay personnel costs for 1/2 the staff that would be provided by the County and allow the County to be over it. The County obligation would be for the County to pay personnel costs and operations of the station costs (utilites). MJ also asked for the same agreement as Watertown got on building their fire station (that we’ve talked alot of about about six months ago). On top of it, MJ looks at this as a transitional plan to its own fire department since its notes that once the loans are paid to the county, MJ would take over operations.

    So it looks like Mt. Juliet has tried at least to do something and was voted down by the EMA Committee already….

  12. Southsider

    The city that now pays 750 dollars per animal to deal with its animal control problem will squander millions starting its own fire department.

    These people spend taxpayer’s money like there is an unlimited supply of it.

  13. Southsider

    Elam is using taxpayers dollars to achieve her political agenda of holding dual offices – against the will of the people.

    Obama is using taxpayers dollars to divert search engines to specific health care propaganda sites:

    http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2010/12/team-obama-propaganda-department-buys-googles-obamacare-search-records/

    Both examples look like today’s Chicago politics to me. Heil Elam

  14. Mayor Elam,
    I owe you an apology. The plan you proposed was a great deal better than I gave you credit for. It needed some tweeking, but overall represented a great first step in providing for the citizens of MJ and that end of the county. Shame on Mr. Reich for being so close minded and double shame on Ms. Patton for being so empty minded. We should keep score on these elected officials and their abstaining. I do not mind if you are against what I am for, but I do expect you to be smart enough and/or pay attention to at least know what is going on. Wake up, Ms. Patton. Your job is to represent people at these meetings. If you abstain then you are absent and you should not get paid. Again, Mayor Elam, my apologies to you. It was a good plan with potential. This gives you an out for moving on. You tried and the ema committee failed you, me, and the rest of the county.

  15. Butch Huber

    Linda Elam has no business putting any proposals on the table. She is not the representative of this city in this issue and she is exceeding her powers as mayor to be engaged in this issue at this level. The city manager probably has more latitude to be involved in talks at this level than does the Mayor. Besides, it was just a proposal given to them by a citizen, just as if I were to make the proposal, because Elam has no more power or authority than I have in this issue.

    On another level, the County has the ability to make counter offers to the city, so if this isn’t the acceptable plan, which it shouldn’t be, then what is?

    I need to see the county prove that it is funding fire protection in this county using already shared revenues before I am going to support in any way this city paying for fire protection on this end of the county.

    Ya know, perhaps I need to dig into what it would take for the citizens of this city to get the state legislature to fix this problem for us. I really haven’t spent a lot of time digging into what rights we have as citizens in regard to what this county commission does or does not do. I think that would be worth a look.

  16. Smoker

    Fire Marshall Bill – don’t beat yourself up too bad. She only took the county’s plan and said we’ll do half on the personnel side. She never had an original thought on this.

  17. Southsider

    The following is an excerpt from Linda Elam’s sworn deposition in the Hatton Wright Ethics Complaint investigation. You can read the whole deposition by following the “ethics 1” link at the top of this blog site.
    It should be noted that in Mt. Juliet’s form of government the Mayor has no authority to negotiate on behalf of the city unless the Board of Commission votes to authorize it. That never happened.
    It is unlikely that the Board would have ever voted to exchange sub-standard road-building requirements for a fire truck contribution. But the Board never got a chance to consider this “developer horsetrading” offer because Elam took this straight to city staff instead. The following exchange is between Paula Flowers (Mt. Juliet City Attorney at the time) and Linda Elam (under oath at the time).
    __________________________________________________
    Flowers: Did you have any conversation with Rob Shearer after the meeting asserting that Pulte would now be offsetting whatever cost they had to expand to stabilize these roads; they would be offsetting that against their possible future contribution towards the fire truck?

    Elam: No, but I need to explain what I did say.

    Flowers: Okay.

    Elam: At some point, Mr. Ryan and I, we had been discussing last fall, a couple of conversations, a couple of voicemails, if you call that discussing, trying to firm up how much money Del Webb would contribute toward a fire truck and the timing of that. So we had a conversation of, at some point, we generally agreed discussed a number before, we had never well, what number were you thinking about. Turned out, we were both thinking about the same number. We were both thinking about a hundred thousand dollars. When he was talking about the cost, he had shown me this small segment of road where he had had to put additional rock and stone. He told me how much that cost, and to a non-construction person, it was a shocking — shockingly large number, number of dollars devoted to just bringing in some rock. He indicated to me that he had a budget to build the entire Del Webb community and that he would like to see that entire budget spent in ways that mattered, that improved the project, that if he had to spend, say, $50,000 on rock to stabilize a road as opposed to waiting two months to let the weather dry the road base, that that was $50,000 he didn’t have to spend on a gazebo or a water fountain or a nicer entryway or something like that. At some point in there, he said, if I’m able to get these roads built without spending as much money as he then thought it would take — he knew by then how much it would probably cost to stabilize the road base with rock. So he was saying that’s X number of dollars I then don’t have to spend on other amenities for the residents, a nicer recreation center, et cetera, and it’s money that I don’t have to possibly increase our contribution toward the ladder truck that we’ve agreed to help you buy. So he was saying if I — I have X number of dollars. They’re going to be spent somewhere. They can be spent on dirt and rock, or they can be spent on the amenity center or they could be spent on the fire truck, which is a benefit to residents of that community.

    Flowers: But was he withdrawing the agreement –

    Elam: No.

    Flowers: — to provide the fire truck —

    Elam: No.

    Flowers: or an amount toward the fire truck?

    Elam: He was offering to perhaps increase the amount toward the fire truck if he didn’t have to spend how ever many thousand dollars — hundreds of thousands of dollars on these extra steps with the road because of the weather, but at no time did he discuss lowering his previous commitment.

    Flowers: Had he made a specific dollar commitment previously?

    Elam: Well, I’ve never made it public, so I hate to do it this way. We had agreed on $100,000.

    Flowers: That was prior to this meeting?

    Elam: It might have been that same day, I’m not sure.

    __________________________________________________
    This was a clear violation of the adopted Mt. Juliet Ethics Ordinance:
    13-1-108. Use of position or authority, An official or employee may not use or attempt to use his position to secure any privilege or exemption for himself or others that is not authorized by the charter, general law, or ordinance or policy of the municipality.

    And people wonder why the Board of Commission voted for Mr. Maness to represent the city on this issue instead of Linda Elam?

  18. Smoker, Butch, et al,
    Great input and thank you. I am still not a fan of the mayor, but the plan (while it DOES NEED WORK) was far better than expected. The important thing for me is that a better service be available to take care of you. I would have much rather the plan come from Mr. Maness since he is the official rep to the issue, but the effort needs recognition. Either way, an improvement needs to be sought and the county needs to realize this and stop ignoring the numbers. Open minds and mandatory votes. What happened at the meeting will allow the city to walk away from the issue and the new state representative to continue to be the old mayor by milking the issue all the while NOT helping you.

  19. Butch Huber

    I saw an article in the Lebanon Democrat today that outlined the proposal that was “negotiated” between Linda Elam and Mayor Hutto. It would appear that the mayor is trying to give this city a parting gift of a $4,120,670 expenditure plus an ongoing, never-ending expense of perhaps as much as $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 per year for something that we are already paying for and aren’t currently fully receiving.

    She is down there writing checks that she can’t cash. Good thing for us the county turned down her proposal. Their reasoning for turning it down was because they want the city to pay all the costs. I am not sure that the city would have passed the ordinance for this kind of expense anyway, but it is safer for us financially that the county did the right thing for the wrong reasons. Now we need to get them to do the right thing for the right reasons.

    Fire Marshall Bill, I know you, and many others, want to make sure we have adequate service in this city, as do I and many others that are just ordinary citizens, however, there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with everything, and thus far, all I have heard is a bunch of politicians working hard to do things the wrong way.

    This issue will ultimately require a judge, or a series of judges, to decide it or it will take the state legislature to resolve it. This county and this city have irreconcilable differences and they will ultimately reach an impasse, and then they will have to take it to the mats in courts of law.

    If they were willing to do thing “rightly” this could be resolved in a matter of days or weeks, the way that they go about it this issue will never be resolved between the parties.

    An alternative is for this city to annex the densely populated portions of the twenty-year growth boundary, increase the property taxes in this city, allocate those funds to a legal fund to battle the county in courts of law until they are brought to their knees and are forced to comply with the law regarding the funding of fire protection on this end of the county and tag their butts for the legal fees expended to bring them in compliance with the law. I would rather invest $400 to $1000 per year in additional taxes for two or three years to build a legal war chest and win this battle over using our money to provide services elsewhere than to pay $200 to $300 per year in additionally money to fund our own fire department without getting compensation back from the county for what we pay them for fire protection and pay that forever.

    I don’t want to do battle, although I do love it so, but when I do battle I am in it to win it. The county can’t afford this battle, but we can. We have kept our powder dry by keeping our property taxes set to zero and considering this is one of the most affluent cities in the entire state we have huge stockpiles of powder!

  20. Butch

    In addition to winning this issue, which I believe Mt. Juliet could easily accomplish if we took this issue to the courts, we would end up with a double win. I say that because we could force the county to establish fire tax districts, which must be done on a SITUS basis, which in turn means that the city of Mt. Juliet would have greatly enhanced services. Greatly enhanced services improves our ISO Rating, which in turn lowers our homeowner’s insurance premiums. As a result of court action we would end up with better services and lower overall out-of-pocket costs. This is a Win-win-win scenario for us! Let’s rumble!

  21. Butch, et al,
    I do not believe that there is anything ordinary about you or any of the citizens of this county. I do what I do, you do what you do, and it all gets done. I do; however, disagree with your assessment that there is A right way and A wrong way. I have read this thread and have seen everything from pimpin’ the pricetag to one size fits all. There are solutions…but they do cost someone and will leave someone sore. I believe, if memory serves, reading a post or two that expressed your frustration with the process and your call for something near anything be done. My problem mainly stems from the deficient education of those in a position to do something, a lack of vision, reason, and compromise. What the mayor offered was an effort in a direction. It had the potential to be molded into a progressive plan that would have led to an improvement in the ability to save your life and/or property. What Mr. Reich did was unforgivable as a public servant. It shows his ignorance to the trust of the citizens that placed him in a position to legislate. “Big boy britches”??? really mature, really professional, really effective. His lack of knowledge and creative thought are shining bright in his immaturity. Our problem is…he is not the only one. There are other county commissioners that are lettng us down as well.

  22. Shawn Donovan

    What needs to happen Butch in order to get the ball rolling on this legal process?

  23. Butch

    Fire Marshall Bill, on the 1000 foot level or the 10,000 foot level I agree with your assessment that there isn’t “a” right way or “a” wrong way to attack the fire protection issue. However, on the 30,000 foot level I would have to disagree. You see, on the 30,000 foot level, there is really only right and wrong. The right way is to ensure that everyone is safe and secure in their homes and businesses and in their cars as they travel to and fro and that the safety and security they are provided is properly funded. At the thirty thousand foot view things are quite cut-and-dry.

    On the macro level you can have equity and balance in funding of government operated fire protection. On the micro level that is not really possible. However, it is on the micro level that you find the “Most” equity in taxation, and to that end they must endeavor to establish a just system for the provision of services. I may or may not make as much money as my next door neighbors, so on a micro level they may lean on me to help them out a little financially in the provision of fire protection or I may lean on them a little, however, on a macro level the provision of fire protection can be administered much more equitably than how it is currently administered. You see, my next door neighbor and I, as well as the guy who lives in the next neighborhood, are much more in the same boat than we are in comparison to the guy who lives at the far reaches of this county out in the country. He shouldn’t have to spend money to provide us with fire protection and neither should we have to spend our money to provide him with fire protection. Further, the level of services that we need differs from the level of services that he needs, so their is necessarily going to be disparity in the provision of services to those who live near me and those who live out in the country.

    Now, on a micro level there are many right ways and wrong ways to go about funding fire protection. The law allows us to augment fire protection as we see fit as a municipality. The county has to follow strict funding guidelines, however, the same is not quite so for the city. The difference there being the difference between the macro (meaning: state and county) and the micro (meaning:city) The city can hold all kinds of fund raisers to raise funds to augment fire protection in this city. The city could use taxpayer’s money to purchase additional equipment and pay personnel costs to enhance fire protection beyond what the county would charge in a fire tax or through inter-local agreements. On a nano level, homeowner’s associations could possibly augment fire protection by purchasing their own fire protection equipment and developing their own mini-stations if they wanted. I am not suggesting this, but to my knowledge there is nothing to prevent it. I don’t know if there is anything that would stop large sections of the city from forming “homeowner’s associations” to give them non-profit, quasi-governmental authority to charge members fees and provide fire protection or enhanced fire protection and emergency services to members. Additionally, there is nothing to stop this city from forming a voluntary fire department or even hiring a subscription service to augment fire protection in this city. The city can even legally form its own fire protection services and provide those services to the citizens of the county outside this city on a subscription basis or a fee for service basis. The city has way, way more flexibility, as I see it, than the county when it comes to funding fire protection. The county-wide service election under the already shared revenue funding model so encumbers the county that is would be wise for them to discontinue that model and establish fire tax districts on their own.

    The first rule of order is to investigate everything that is governmental finance in this county and within the several cities to determine from whence and to where tax revenues within this county flow. If the county is legally funding fire protection under already shared revenues the city has to go to the county with hat in hand, ask for continued services on a prorated fee for service basis under an inter-local agreement, and then plan for the eventual development of a city fire department or develop an otherwise durable plan for service within the confines of this city. If it is determined that the county has been funding the fire department outside the confines allowed by law the county has to establish fire tax districts and provide fire protection on the basis of where the money comes from and discontinue using our money to augment protection elsewhere in this county.

    I don’t believe that Mayor Elam’s efforts and agreements are so noble. I believe she is pandering. I believe that she is using her position as Mayor of this city to develop a solution to fire protection that “seems” to satisfy the majority of those who are concerned with fire protection in this county, or at least on this end of the county, to help her own political career in the future. You see, most people in this city and in the areas of this county that lay within district 57 are not aware of the laws regarding fire protection and how funding is supposed to happen, nor are they aware of “Why” they aren’t provided adequate fire protection. In fact, I would venture to say that the majority of the people in this city are not even aware of the gross under-protection that exists on this end of the county in both the areas of fire protection and ambulance services. They may have an inkling of the situation, but I am quite certain they don’t understand the gravity of the situation. So, by getting the issue solved, even if it leads to the citizens of this city paying a property tax for services that they are already paying for but which they are not receiving, she looks like a hero in district 57 even though she is really a fraud and a poser. Taken to another level she could be trying to put feathers in her cap for an eventual bid for the State Senatorship of this area or perhaps even for a national office. Never mind that her efforts will lead to those of us who live in this city paying twice for services that are only fully provided once, her career as a politician will be enhanced. She isn’t fooling me with all of this. Here is a clue….if she is breathing she is up to something that will benefit herself and her political career, either now or in the future.

    Fire Marshall Bill, sadly, neither you, nor I, will be able to get the commissioners on the county commission to fly right and do the right things. They are irreconcilably deadlocked on this issue. Unless they themselves order an investigation into the finances and funding of fire protection in this county the only way to reconcile things though our elected officials is for the city commission to order the investigation and hold hearings on the matter. They can subpoena witnesses, hire investigators, and conduct a real hearing to determine what exactly is going on in this county regarding this issue. I think this would be a great use of that power.

    I don’t think you settle things by ignoring them, I think you settle things by assessing the real situation and then taking the proverbial bull-by-the-horns and wrestling a solution out of it. I have not seen the kind of gusto and bravado on our commission that is necessary to effect a real change in this area since Mack left…I am hoping that I see this kind of courage and steel in Commissioner Maness. This commission needs true leadership, the kind of leadership that Mayor Elam cannot provide as she is only worried about herself and that brand of leadership is not what is needed here.

    The county needs someone to stand up and say, “Enough is enough, let’s settle this issue like gentlemen and gentlewomen or else arm yourselves for legal battles the like of which you have only imagined!” That person will need to full support of our city commission, which requires planning and coordination on their part. Under the Sunshine laws of this state all of that planning and coordinating must occur out in the full light of day in front of the public eyes in a called city commission meeting. The county will be fully aware of what the city is going to do and how they are going to do it, but make no mistake, they will still be in a lot of trouble if they cannot fund fire protection through already shared revenues. If they know that they can’t fund fire protection through already shared revenues the first sign of it will occur when they come back with their hats in their hands looking for compromise. You see, neither the city nor the county have a legal option for compromise in this case. Either the county is funding fire protection through already shared revenues and is therefore providing this city with free services, which is a violation of the law, or they are not able to provide services through already shared revenues and by default are not following the law in terms of funding fire protection. Don’t you see, either way the county is breaking the law in this matter! They necessarily have to be breaking the law. They are either disenfranchising those who live in the areas outside Mt. Juliet by providing us with services for which we do not pay “or” they are using property tax money illegally to provide fire protection to people on a non-SITUS basis! They CANNOT, under the current funding configuration, be following the law! (I am not “yelling”, I am being “exclamatory” for emphasis). The county HAS to be breaking the law! There simply is no possible way that they aren’t breaking the law! I keep saying that for effect. The county has to be breaking the law! This is something that needs to be drummed home until it sinks into every head in this county, both inside the cities and outside. The county has to be breaking the law and there is no way around that fact. That doesn’t make the county “bad”, it means it isn’t following the law. Whether that violation of the law is intended or not, it is still a violation of the law and that violation, no matter how is occurs, must cease.

    Shawn, great question. This can happen any one of several ways I am sure. The two that come to mind are for the city to sue the county or for citizens to file a lawsuit either as individual citizens or collectively. If through the citizens the first step would be to get together and hire our own forensic accountant and start requesting public records all across the county to provide that expert with the information he or she seeks so they can conduct the investigation. At the moment any level of wrongdoing is discovered, whether intentional or not, the citizens have right under tennessee law to go to the district attorney general’s office as relator citizens and force him under law to assist us in taking this city to court. That provision in the law gives us great power as citizens because the politicians do not want something like that to occur because if it does occur this matter rises to a whole higher level and the outcome could be disastrous to them politically. By acting in concert as relator citizens we can force change without having to really go to court because the threat of court action is something that could lead to them being removed from office for misconduct. Misconduct includes dereliction of duty of an elected official, and it is their duty, their sworn duty, to uphold the laws of this state. Remember, the Constitution of this Nation remands the power to the State and “to the people”. We citizens, especially when working in concert, have enormous power, we just don’t know how to use it because we have been “Socialized” through our education system and through governmental controls of the media.

    Alternatively, we could avoid having the attorney general involved and pay an attorney to sue the county in civil court. Obviously, the more citizens involved the less the financial costs to any one citizen.

    The easiest and most effective means of resolution is to get the county and city to agree to form a joint, governmentally appointed, body of concerned citizens, armed with the proper funding necessary to hire experts in fire protection, emergency services, and accounting, as well as attorney’s familiar with fire tax districts and government finance, to develop a clear picture of the provision of fire protection, to determine whether or not the funding provided for fire protection is being administered legally and effectively, and to develop suggested courses of action that would not only comport with the law but that would be effective and efficient and the best use of tax dollars and that would save citizens the maximum amount of money while at the same time providing the maximum reasonable level of protection.

    Fire Marshall Bill, I agree with you in theory that there is more than one way to skin this cat, I just think we ought to kill this cat before we set about skinning it by having an expert dig into the finances and have a lawyer dig into the legal, then I think we need to tie the cat to the proverbial pole by making sure that we have enough people to bring about effective change through the threat of citizen action if the politicians don’t do what is right and what is legal. Then, after the cat is dead, and after it it tied to the pole, if we still need to skin it we have both hands free. Nothing worse in the world than to try to skin a loose, live cat! If you try that you better have a lot of band-aids on hand.

  24. Butch

    I just read an article from the Lebanon Democrat about fire protection. That article included Mr. Reich’s statement about Mt. Juliet putting on its “big-boy Britches”.

    Mr. Reich is apparently not familiar with the laws surrounding fire protection in this state. Someone who is familiar with Mr. Reich might want to fill him in on how things work.

    Yes, we do want enhanced fire protection in Mt. Juliet, but we want to get the money we are paying the county for fire protection refunded to us or we want to get the protection for which we have been and are paying.

    You can read in the article exactly what they will do if they get their way. They will take the apparatus and the personnel from Station Three and use them elsewhere if Mt. Juliet establishes its own fire department.

    Everyone brings up Lebanon and the fact that Lebanon elects to continue its own fire protection services as an argument to support their position that Mt. Juliet should have its own fire department. Then they say, “Mt. Juliet has its own police department” as if that somehow matters in the debate.

    The county makes substantial amounts of money off the citizens of this city and inside the footprint that is the City of Mt. Juliet yet the county doesn’t want to spend that money on the citizens of this who are also citizens of the county. It is as if the county commissioners forget that I am also a citizen of Wilson County, that is, until it is time to pay taxes to the county, then I am a full-fledged citizen of Wilson County.

    The debating point about Lebanon paying for its own fire protection services and so should Mt. Juliet is an absurd position. It would be the same as saying that Wilson County has to follow a bad idea that some other county has been doing.

    The county and the city of Mt. Juliet hired MTAS and CTAS to conduct a joint study on the fire protection services in this county and that team concluded that the county wide service is the best, more efficient, most effective model for the provision of fire protection and that it should be continued. They made recommendations for moving forward as well. I agree with their thoughts on county-wide fire protection, however, I disagree with many of their thoughts on its funding moving forward.

    The City of Mt. Juliet isn’t the problem in all of this, the City of Lebanon is the problem. They have an established fire department that they pay for out of the taxes collected by the City of Lebanon and that is collected from citizens of the City of Lebanon even though the county is really, in all probability, responsible for that provision. Because Lebanon elects to have its own fire protection services they cause the rest of the county to say, “Hey, they have their own, why doesn’t Mt. Juliet”. I will answer that question. Mt. Juliet doesn’t have its own fire protection service because Wilson County refuses to stop taxing us for those services even though we have our own fire department and the proof is right there under your noses! Lebanon pays for its fire protection services AND they pay the county for the same services! How utterly stupid is that?!!!

    Lebanon should be on our side of this debate, not on the other. Being on the opposite side of this debate from Mt. Juliet gets Lebanon nothing but more double taxation. However, coming over to our side of the argument ensures that Lebanon only pay once for fire protection in the future.

    As for the argument that we have our own police force and therefore the logic necessarily must convey that we should then also have our own fire department, well, that argument is absurd as well. It is absurd on one level because it is just like your mommy told you win you were little, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. If the funding of police were the same under the law as it is for fire protection then we would also have a problem in the provision of police protection in this city, however, that isn’t the case. The laws regarding funding a City Police Force are not the same as with the Fire Department, so using our police force as an arguing point for our having our own fire department is absurd. The second reason that is an absurd point is that, from what I was told by one of the founders of this city, lack of police protection is the very reason this city was founded in the first place. From what I was told this side of the county wasn’t getting adequate police protection from the County Sheriff’s department so they lobbied to get a right to incorporate and establish their own police force. To establish our own fire department now and pay taxes twice for a service we only get, at best, once would be to take a position that it is okay to allow the county to continue the bad behavior that it has exhibited over the years of taking money from Mt. Juliet and spending it elsewhere. How insane would we be to allow that to happen? No, you have to stand up and make someone accountable when they are doing bad things. Running from them and allowing them to continue the bad behavior is a recipe for more bad behavior.

  25. Mountaineers refer to anything above 26,000 ft as the “death zone” where the body can never acclimate. It leads to AMS or altitude mountain sickness which is characterized by a number of symptoms, one of which is confusion. Confusion is defined as an inability to think with usual speed or clarity. It leads to a feeling of disorientation and an inability to make decisions. Some confused individuals may behave aggressively. I think it is probably better for me to keep my feet on the ground and my head on my shoulders. I appreciate your enthusiasm, I simply disagree with SOME of your assessment.
    Mele Kalikimaka!

  26. Butch

    Why is this not a conversation about Emergency Services in Wilson County instead of a conversation about fire protection in Mt. Juliet?

    WEMA is tasked with providing Emergency Medical Services, Fire Suppression, Rescue, Hazardous Material Response, Water Rescue, Disaster Management, and Specialized Teams. The only part of that whole list that applies to “Fire Protection” is “Fire Suppression”, Right?

    What am I driving at? WEMA currently uses the fire station here in Mt. Juliet as a “WEMA” Station. It isn’t the “Mt. Juliet Fire station”, it is “WEMA Station 3”. All of the functions and responsibilities that fall under WEMA are conducted and covered out of Station 3 inside Mt. Juliet and about another 9 or 10 thousand people outside this city are covered out of that station as well. If Mt. Juliet were to establish its own fire department, of the many tasks that are covered by WEMA, only fire suppression would be covered by our fire fighters, correct? How would WEMA cover the remaining functions that fall under its auspices?

    Why isn’t this a discussion about how WEMA is funded and where they spend the money they get from the citizens of Mt. Juliet? Shouldn’t we be answering that question?

    According to the MTAS/CTAS study, Station 3 has only 4 personnel on staff during each shift. However, in station 1, in Lebanon, they have 10 per shift. We have some equipment here in station 3, but we don’t have enough manpower to operate it all. When you look at the number of people covered by each person on duty, Station 3 has the most people to cover at approximately 8600 citizens to one response team member. Contrast that to Station 1, which stands at 2800 citizens to one response team member. (Sure, I know there are probably non-response team members involved in Station 1’s numbers, but I didn’t see the break-out numbers.) Okay, let’s contrast that to station 6, which stands at 1233 citizens to one response team member. 8600 vs 1233? Really?

    Okay, let’s look at who is paying for what. From what I can gather, about 40% of the money that goes into the County Coffers each year comes from Mt. Juliet. Another 40% or so comes from Lebanon. The rest comes from the unincorporated areas of the county and from Watertown. In the county’s budget which I found online I saw that the Civil Defense line item was allocated or appropriated with $7,317,113 in funding. If we got our fair share of that money we would have about $148,000 per square mile being spent here in Mt. Juliet, not for station 3, but just for the city of Mt. Juliet. Lebanon would have approximately the same. Folks, that doesn’t leave a whole lot to cover the rest of the county. In fact, it would only leave about $1.5 million for the 520 square miles that make up the unincorporated areas of the county and Watertown. BTW, Watertown, the city that has the “volunteer Fire department” has a fire engine, a tanker, a rescue truck, and an ambulance supplied by WEMA and it has 2 personnel on duty per shift according to the MTAS/CTAS report. Folks, we don’t have much more here in Station 3 and we have nearly three times as many people being covered.
    If funding was distributed properly, we would have about $3 million to spend inside little ol’ Mt. Juliet, the folks in the county would have about $2,300 to $2,800 per square mile to spend. Does it really look like we have as much as 64 times the amount of coverage in Mt. Juliet as they have in the rest of the county? Let’s just compare to Lebanon. Does it look like we have three times the coverage that Lebanon has? Lebanon has an engine, a tanker, a rescue vehicle and two ambulances and they have 10 people on duty per shift. We have two engines and an ambulance (according to MTAS/CTAS report. I think we picked up an ambulance, but I am not quite sure. We have four people on duty per shift) Three times as much? No way.
    Until the county accounts for the huge disparity that exists between the number of citizens covered per response team member per dollar collected from the citizens and business owners of Mt. Juliet compared with the rest of the county this conversation needs to stay laser focused on that issue.

    If we had Emergency Services coverage that is commensurate with what we pay in taxes in this city the fire protection issue would probably go away on it’s own.

    We need a full investigation into all facets of WEMA funding, not just for Fire Protection. We need to start getting what we are paying for in this city.

  27. Southsider

    There is a simple answer to your question Butch. The County politicos want to make believe this is only a 20 square mile problem involving Mt. Juliet. To them, this is only about getting Mt. Juliet to pay more for something it is already paying too much for.

    The county bloggers are simply about obtaining more money from Mt. Juliet taxpayers. That is why this has become a waste a time.

    This needs to go to court.

  28. Butch

    I agree that this needs to go to court, but I think it would be wise to establish right from wrong before we go down that road. I think it is important to strengthen our case and weaken our opponent’s case by exploring the facts and how those facts comport with the law. I would rather have the war won before the first shot is fired. I want my opponent to know that the we have won the war before the first shot is fired. That is why we need to investigate, investigate, and investigate in the meantime. I don’t think the county has a leg to stand on, but as long as they continue to convince themselves that they do war in courts is inevitable.

  29. Paul Deyo

    The end game is of course that we need better fire protection and, more so, emergency services. Sadly, the only way to do this may be to go to court. Obviously Mt. Juliet is paying for more than we’re getting. Poor leadership in Mt. Juliet for the last six years has not kept up with growth, with a mayor who would rather attend ribbon cuttings than anticipate problems. And the good ol’ boy attitudes to the east have been well documented by Butch and others.

    Just a couple of points. Litigation is an open ended expense. Even the latest ridiculous and improper 10k expense could run into more. We have seen way too much litigation with this mayor. And another middle Tennessee city is looking at more taxes to cover legal costs escalating well past the original war chest for a major court case. Unfortunately, as Butch and Southsider have said, this may be the only option.

    One thing we should not do is annex the already developed areas in our growth boundaries, especially the denser areas to the north. Remember these homes were built without the ‘hindrance’ of building and fire resistance codes. So this only adds to the problem of Mt. Juliet providing its own fire service. And more importantly, it has been clearly established that most of those people don’t want to be annexed. Especially if they read the local papers or watch channel 3 and see the clown show going on on alternate Mondays. It would make far more sense to annex areas not yet developed.

    We will soon see a different City Commission, and in fact if not in deed already have a new face to deal with the fire issue. Mr. Maness seems to want to do the right thing and serve the people rather than serve himself. He should be allowed to go to work and the Mayor needs to get out of the way.

  30. Butch

    Paul,

    The threat of annexation of the people north of the city is valuable to us as they don’t want to be annexed into the city and because they represent a huge voting block in this county. Add them to our current population and suddenly we have about 60% to 75% of the voters in this county inside one city. Whether or not we actually annex them is not the issue, the mere threat of annexation will bring them to the table and force the county commission to pay attention and act better than they have been acting regarding these issues.

    Paul, giving the impression of a threat is just as effective in negotiations in many cases as a real threat. However, if we did annex them it would fundamentally change the city commission district boundaries. That change could possibly make things here better. As far as the houses without building codes thing, you know way more about that than I do, Paul, however, even without the codes issues, do we have a lot of fires up there? It would be interesting to investigate the incidence of fires in those areas of the county that don’t have fire codes in comparison to those areas that do have fire codes to see how much of a difference it actually makes.

  31. Great Direction. Check the county budget. Notice what happens to a department that is under the General Fund heading vs. one that stands alone with its own line item heading. Consider some creative approaches starting with earmarking funds specifically for fire protection/ems. Also, look into getting some specifics from the current budget for fire/ems; some of the current headings are vague. Court does look to be the only viable option given there is no legislature or jurisdictional body governing the city or the county to do something or do more respectively. NFPA 1710 will give you the necessary info on first alarm engine response addressing the mandatory minimum personnel. TDOT governs ems in TN and has the requirements necessary given a population.

  32. Butch

    To all fire fighters and emergency workers out there that read this blog, it would be helpful if you guys would post as much information about the needs in this city and county, without personal bias included, as possible. If you need or desire to maintain your anonymity post under a pseudonym, but post.

    Jamie was kind enough to past the right places to look, but you guys know what you really need and where you need it.

    We need to fix the entire problem and not “Just” fire protection in Mt. Juliet. It would help if those of us who are battling with commissioners knew what the heck we were talking about. I have an pretty good idea what my political position is on this topic, but being armed with knowledge about the state of affairs inside WEMA would be very, very helpful. Facts, figures, evidence, statistics, inside information about wrongs and shortcomings, etc are things that would be helpful to know. I am not asking you to violate trusts among your brotherhood, I know that is wrong and I would never ask you to do that. However, if you or your brothers and sisters are being put in harm’s way because of insolent, obstinate, or otherwise hard headed politicians or public officials, perhaps arming us with knowledge could help. In other words, be specific and spill your guts. Guys, I have been in this battle for a few years now. I haven’t given up. Help me to help you. We may not agree on the methods that are appropriate, but at least I am trying to make a difference. Give me something to work with. I know you know what is needed to blow the lid off of this whole issue, fill me in.

  33. http://www.iaff.org
    type NFPA 1710 in the search engine midway down home page on left.
    Page 1710-9 section 5.2.4 Deployment
    Section 5.2.4.2 Initail Full Alarm Assignment Capability (this IS the equivelant of your house or mine on fire)
    Section 5.2.4.2.2 parts 1-8
    Part 1. 1 Incident Commander
    Part 2. 1 Engineer
    Part 3. @ handline w/ 2 FF per line=4FF
    Part 4. 1 support person per handline, 2 handlines=2FF
    Part 5. 1 SAR team =2FF (search and rescue)
    Part 6. Ladder team=2FF
    Part 7. n/a Aerial device of which we do not have.
    Part 8. IRIC Team (or Rapid Intervention Team) tasked with rescue of FF in trouble. See 2 in/ 2 out OSHA Regulation 29 CFR 1910.134. Part 3 calls for 2 handlines with 2 FF/line= 4 FF; therefore, IRIC Team = 4 FF
    TOTAL= 16FF per NFPA 1710

    Station 3=4FF
    Station 4=4FF
    Station 5=4FF
    Station 6= 2FF
    TOTAL=14FF (4 stations representing all assets west of Hwy 109 / not enough to meet NFPA 1710)
    That’s math and reality…both without personal bias.
    Happy New Year!

  34. Shawn Donovan

    In addition to Jamie’s post Butch keep in mind that if there is a structure fire in Mt. Juliet not all of those stations are dispatched to the fire either. In most cases you will only get 6 to 8 personnel and the Incident Commander who is coming from Lebanon. Still 7 short of NFPA 1710. Also, with the station personnel he notes that is 2 on the Ambulance and 2 on the Engine, so in the case of a fire in Mt. Juliet, the personnel on Ambulance that is stationed in Mt. Juliet turn into a fire attack crew leaving Mt. Juliet without a dedicated Ambulance in the case of a medical call.

  35. Butch Huber

    Thanks, Guys, the situation in this County is obviously Unsatisfactory. Have a great weekend, and happy new year.

  36. Good Morning and Happy New Year to all.

    In those cases where the county does dispatch Stations 3-6 to a single incident (i.e. River Rd., Willoughby Station, S & S Industries, Vanderbilt Rd., Oak Knoll, etc.) one of the questions should be, “Is it wise to allow one compact occurance to deplete half of the county’s emergency services assets”? For example, Butch, God forbid, your house should catch fire. From what we have learned in recent history of the end results of a house fire in your neighborhood, I can bet you the car, the boat, and what’s behind door #2, Stations 3-6 will be in your driveway. Now, at the same time, knowing that regardless of what’s going on at your place, the rest of the county rolls on, I have a true cardiac emergency here at home. My aid will come from Lebanon or Watertown. Those are the next nearest ambulances. At best 17-25 minute fast traffic time.
    Now to some that may sound dire and dramatic, but unfortunately, it happens almost every day at some point. Our county assets get stretched transparently thin somewhere here or there and it is usually here west of 109. I think it would be prudent as we focus on a path to a solution, to have our friends and neighbors educated. Again, the best of the NEW YEAR to all and God bless.

  37. Butch Huber

    This is most obviously a “County Issue”. The ONLY time the fire protection issue becomes a “Mt. Juliet” issue is when there is a fire occurrence that happens inside the actual 20 square miles that make up Mt. Juliet. With only 14 personnel inside of all of the west side of Wilson County, if a fire occurred just outside the city limits, those people who live inside this county will still be left without adequate coverage even if we do start our own fire department.
    Imagine if you will that the city of Mt. Juliet were to establish its own fire department. Let’s say that we make a really, really good department with every conceivable thing that we could ever need to fight fires and all the manp0wer we could ever need to fight fires. Unless we have a mutual aid agreement in place, how will our having established a fire department in Mt. Juliet help the people who live just outside this city? Would we be helping them because the personnel and equipment that now exists inside Mt. Juliet would be deployed to stations 4, 5 and 6? How would that change anything? Because they wouldn’t have to cover the twenty miles that make up Mt. Juliet anymore? That argument would be absurd. It would be absurd because WEMA still has to cover all of its functions, other than fire suppression, inside Mt. Juliet. It would also be absurd because the 14 people who now staff the west side of WIlson county would still be 14 people in the west side of Wilson County. Decreasing the number of square miles covered in the west wilson area won’t change the requirements to have 16 personnel on location for a full alarm fire.

    Let’s say that they did increase the number of fire fighters/responders from 14 to 16, would that resolve everything? I don’t think it would. By reading the information supplied by Jamie, I believe that the full alarm situation requires the entire team of responders to be available at the scene in 480 seconds (At least that is how I read it). Could we really expect Station 5 and Station 6 to be on the scene in 480 seconds when a fire occurs close to the Mt. Juliet boarder with Davidson County along lebanon road? Nah, wouldn’t happen. You physically cannot get from Station 6 to that side of Mt. Juliet in 480 seconds. In fact, they would be hard pressed to get here in 12 to 15 minutes and they would have to put their personnel and citizens in jeopardy by driving fast enough to get here in that much time.

    Jamie, Shawn, perhaps you guys have said it before and I just don’t remember, but is our WEMA required to meet the standards of NFPA 1710? If they are required to meet those standards, why are we not in a major battle with the county to force them to meet those standards throughout the county?

    I want to fix the “whole” problem and not just put a band-aid on the situation in Mt. Juliet. It sure would seem to me that we have a much larger issue to deal with than whether or not Mt. Juliet has its own fire department.

    It would be prudent to have a third party expert analyze the coverage provided by WEMA and determine what is really needed to provide standard and adequate coverage for the several components that make up the totality of WEMA responsibilities.

    I think it is time for the city of Mt. Juliet to take the proverbial bull by the horns in this issue and force change. We need good, honest, courageous leadership on our City Commission. We need people on that commission who will not shrink from their duties to the citizens of this city. We also have a compelling interest in the safety of those who live inside our twenty-year growth boundary as well.

    My suggestions for our City Commission so far would be to:

    1) Hire attorneys to fully investigate how the law with regard to fire protection, EMS, and EMA work in this state and to prepare lawsuits necessary to force this issue into the courts.

    2) Hire one or more forensic investigative accountants to pour through the finances of the County Government to determine how much money comes into the county, where it comes from, and where it is spent. The accountants should be tasked to work closely with the attorneys to determine if the funding of WEMA and Fire Protection, as well as other aspects of County spending, comports with what is permissible under the law. Everything has to be looked at to ensure that a financial shell game isn’t happening in this County.

    3) The city should set up a Emergency Management Agency Committee to determine what level of Emergency Management we as a city would like to have and what is ideal for a city our size, with our unique set of circumstances and to determine the costs of developing that coverage. Cities are not required by law to have their own Emergency Management Agency, however, they are encouraged to have one. There are requirements in the law under the Twenty-year growth act or whatever that act is called that need to be adhered to and I don’t think they are being adhered to currently. We need to get a full grasp of this situation. The committee should look at everything from requirements and obligations to sources of funding that are available. I believe, with the advent of 9-11, homeland security developed and has increased responsibilities on EMA’s in regard to homeland security and protection against attacks and response in the event of an attack. I believe there is federal money available in regard to homeland security as well. That committee could be tasked with looking into that option as well. The committee should be an ongoing thing, not just a temporary thing, and it should be funded and tasked with developing a comprehensive model for Emergency Management now and in the future. That committee should also include our police department in its thought process to ensure that we have a very cohesive and comprehensive solution that is ideal and that is durable.

    The focus needs to be shared between the debate over who should pay for services (which I do believe is a healthy and necessary debate) and what services enhancements are necessary in order to protect our protectors, the fire fighters and emergency responders, and to protect our citizens and the people who enter this city. Continued avoidance and ignorance of this issue by our City Commissioners and the County Commissioners is, in my opinion, official negligence. We need to press the issue and keep pressing it so that they cannot claim they did not know there was a need. We need paper trails, and electronic communication trails, and public announcements, and articles in the paper, to ensure that they cannot try to slip responsibility for the gross shortcomings of WEMA in this County. That way, when something does end up falling through the cracks, they can be held accountable and removed from office if not prosecuted for gross negligence. They have a duty, under oath, to protect us and to uphold the law. They were put in office under the understanding that duties and responsibilities come with the office and they have agreed to uphold and fulfill those duties. We, the people, have a right to expect them to do their duty and we have a right to hold them accountable.

    This county has children in schools throughout West Wilson. Perhaps 70 to 80 precent of the entire population of this county lives west of 109 now. There are perhaps as much as 65% just living in the areas around stations 3 and 4. We need to deal with this issue head-on and force change in Wilson County.

    If we allow this to be just about “Fire protection in Mt. Juliet” we will end up with adequate service in Mt. Juliet and we, the citizens of this city, will be augmenting the fire services to the unincorporated areas of the county while we still pay for our services through WEMA and we won’t be getting our services through WEMA. They have already said that they intend to remove the equipment and personnel in Station 3 if we establish our own fire department. That means that they don’t even intend to provide us with the non-fire suppression protections and responses that are part of the rest of WEMA.

    We may not be able to provide adequate services to every citizen in this county, particularly those who live in the most remote areas of the county, however, when you have a population base of as much as 60,000 to 70,000 people living in perhaps 40 to 50 square miles in a county that has only about 110,000 people total living in almost 600 square miles, you can easily tell where the resources must be deployed.

    For all the members of WEMA’s sake, and for the sake of everyone in the county, especially those who live west of 109, we need to keep this from being a Mt. Juliet issue until the Wilson County issue is resolved. Once we resolve the Wilson County issues we can then see clearly how we can address the Mt. Juliet issues.

    Personally, I would be more inclined to support a plan that would see enhancement throughout the entire county to a point of adequacy according to established standards and, if needed, pay for the difference between what is adequate and what is ideal for the city of Mt. Juliet through increased property taxes for city residents or through fund raisers or through grants or other options.

  38. Butch Huber

    Here is one of the most penetrating questions you can ask yourself regarding fire protection. In the last two meetings between the County Mayor and the City Commission the County Mayor said that he is giving Mt. Juliet all that he can give us in regard to the services provided to us under WEMA and the County-wide Fire Department. When asked if he would take the prospect of enacting fire tax districts to the County Commission he said that he would take it to them but that he doubts that they would vote for a tax increase in these tough economic times. He also said that the county is subsidizing Mt. Juliet.

    Instituting fire taxes does not in any way mean an increase in taxes. I will say that again, instituting fire taxes does not in any way mean an increase in taxes. The county could rejigger property taxes by reducing the normal property taxes it charges us to offset any portion that would be appropriated to the County-wide Fire Department. If they did it that way, there would be no increase in total taxation. The difference would be that each fire tax district would receive the property taxes, in the form of fire taxes, that were collected from within that fire tax district for use for the purpose of funding services for that area. If a particular area of the county, such as a city, wanted more services than could be funded using the current taxes that are being charged in that area they citizens of that area could petition to have the fire tax increased in that particular area, otherwise, the taxes would remain the same as they are now. If the county is pouring its already shared revenues into paying for WEMA and the County-wide fire department, they could leave that money in the general fund or re-appropriate it to other “County” projects if they were to institute fire taxes and fire tax districts because it would be the fire taxes that would then by paying for WEMA and the County-wide Fire Department and not the already shared revenues. The county could reduce the fire taxes that it would otherwise have had to charge to the citizens of the unincorporated portions of the county by the amount of the investment of already shared revenues that are presently being used to pay for WEMA and the County-wide Fire department. In other words, if what the County Mayor is saying is accurate and true, the people of unincorporated Wilson County would actually see a tax decrease, not an increase. Everyone would be paying for the services that they receive under fire tax districts.

    Now, here is the question:

    1) “If the county wants Mt. Juliet to establish its own services;

    2) if they truly are subsidizing Mt. Juliet;

    3) if they truly are “giving us all that they can”;

    4) if we want more services than we are currently getting and more than the county can afford to fund; and,

    5) if the county wouldn’t have to increase taxes in order to go with fire tax districts and would actually provide a tax decrease to those who live inside the unincorporated portions of the county; then,

    “Why would the county not jump at the chance to enact fire taxes and fire tax districts?”

    If they were to establish fire tax districts all of their frustrations and issues with providing us with services would be gone as we would certainly be paying for all of our services at that point. Everyone in the county would be getting fair and equitable treatment under the law because the county cannot tax a person and then not provide them with the services for which they are paying. We would be able to establish adequate services throughout the county, especially in those areas where we have dense population and lots of commercial enterprises. Sounds to me like fire taxes are exactly what the doctor ordered for the county, I can’t for the life of me understand why they wouldn’t want to resist fire tax districts. That is, of course, unless……Nah, that couldn’t be….the county mayor himself said that “the county is subsidizing Mt. Juliet”, it couldn’t be that….hmmm….but what else could it be? Is it possible, if even ever so slightly, is it even remotely possible…..that the reason the county wouldn’t want to go with fire taxes is because the county is taking the money from the City of Mt. Juliet and providing services to others in the county, or, shudder the thought, could they be taxing us and not providing any services at all with that money? Nah, it couldn’t be that, it must be something else…now what could it be? Hmmm….I give up, any thoughts?

  39. Southsider

    It is simple Butch. The county knows Mt. Juliet and Lebanon are subsidizing rural fire service in Wilson County. In fact all the densely populated areas are subsidizing the rural areas in the current equation. The county is not even satisfied with the current level of subsidy – they want it increased!

    I am surprised Hutto is not thinking around the 2010 census redistricting problem with respect to this issue. That is why I want Mt. Juliet to fold up it’s arms on the fire issue. It is about to be a whole new reality at the county commission when the 2010 census districts kick in.

    The county would be smart to put this issue to bed quickly – but they are really not that smart. Their world is about to change forever and when it does they will regret this issue being left out there unresolved.

    Its time to fold up our arms. Trust me.

  40. Butch Huber

    Went to the fire protection meeting in Mt. Juliet yesterday.

    Not a whole lot happened.

    Mayor Craighead showed up, Mayor Hutto showed up, Mayor Elam was absent, Commissioners Bradshaw, Hagerty, Maness, and Floyd were there.

    Mayor Craighead and our commissioners discussed the idea of Lebanon putting a fire department near 109 and I40 and Mt. Juliet sharing in the costs of that operation and buildout. If built where Mayor Craighead was indicating that fire department would provide fire protection to a very, very small portion of the city of Mt. Juliet. This isn’t the solution to our problems by a long shot, but at least it is an idea for a small area of the city.

    They seem to dance around the issue of fire tax districts. Mayor Craighead mentioned fire tax districts in the meeting last night, but there really wasn’t much of a response from our commissioners.

    Commissioner Hagerty said that the county attorney had written in a statement that the city of Mt. Juliet could be established as a single fire tax district and all the money collected from that fire tax district would be spent in this city of Mt. Juliet. Perhaps the county attorney is right, but I have found no provision in the law that would allow for the city of Mt. Juliet to be singled out as a fire tax district. To single out Mt. Juliet as a single fire tax district, and then continue to use our property taxes to fund fire protection in the rest of the county is exactly what we don’t want. They would then be using the “Fire tax” to provide for our fire protection, then they would at the same time be using the property taxes taken from us in this city to use elsewhere in the county. That is jumping out of the pot and into the fire. This will surely precipitate a lawsuit. Luckily, I didn’t detect any elected official as having any interest, or even belief, in this avenue.

    It is time to have a real open meeting, one that includes all elected officials of this county in a county congress, where citizens are allowed to participate and speak. I would love the opportunity to be able to actually ask questions and drill down on what is and isn’t legal and what is and isn’t the solution to this issue.

    There is one most important ingredient in these talks that is missing…true leadership. Nobody is “leading” this issue.

    They need to get down to brass tacks.

    1) Does the law really say that, by establishing a county-wide fire department, the county is responsible for providing fire protection services to the entire county?

    2) What is meant by the term, “Fire protection services”? Is it just fire suppression, or is it fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue, prevention, water supply, and other items?

    3) Can the county really fund the services that are considered “fire protection services” using only already shared revenues and donations, or does the county have to establish fire tax districts?

    4) What is meant in the law where it says that the county may establish one or more fire tax districts, but then later in another law it says that the entire unincorporated portion of the county shall become one fire tax district? Does that mean that cities become their own fire tax district, may become a fire tax district, or what?

    5) How do we transition to a fire tax district program?

    6) What is the most efficient means and methods of providing fire protection services in all the county?

    7) Does it make sense for the incorporated cities of this county to become their own emergency management agency? If so, how does that work and what would it look like?

    8) how do we get started?

    The inevitability of the establishment of fire tax districts should be evident to all at this point. It is going to happen. There have been some who have tried their best to stave this off for as long as possible, but the time has come to fix this situation. Too many lives are at risk here to keep sweeping this under the rug.

    I believe that I can prove a constitutional taking in the way that they are handling fire protection in this county. I believe I can also prove that I don’t have equal protection in this city. Those are two constitutional violations that can be dramatic game changers in this county. This could easily turn into a class action lawsuit. Fire taxes tend to mitigate this issue of constitutional rights violations. The only way that they end up in this is with the establishment of fire taxes and the development of fire tax districts. So, why fight the inevitable? Let’s stop wasting each other’s time and make it happen so we can fix this and move on to the next issue.

    Ultimately, fire tax districts serve as a vehicle to mend the relations in this county as nobody will be able to say, “I am paying for so-and-so’s fire protection” any longer. The issue of Mt. Juliet not having a property tax then has to be dealt with openly rather than through the fire protection issue. Those who are envious and jealous that we don’t have a city property tax set above zero will have to openly rant about it rather than hold up our protection against us because of their emotions about our taxes. They will then have to come out from amongst the shadows and make themselves known.

    Pettiness is what is causing this problem. Leadership is what will solve it.

  41. Butch Huber

    I am beginning to believe that the only durable solution to the fire protection issue is for the City of Mt. Juliet to establish its own emergency management agency. I don’t think that is the best solution, but it is probably the only real solution that will stand the test of time.

    Before that happens, though, a lot of other things have to take place. It won’t be a durable solution if the county continues to take our money from us and use it to provide for others in the county. So, before we can even think about starting our own Emergency Management Agency, the county must enact a fire tax and establish the unincorporated portions of the county as a fire tax district. The county must also cease to use property taxes as a form of funding of WEMA and/or the County-wide fire department. The county must not use already shared revenues to provide for any service to any incorporated area of the county. The county must stop providing funding and/or interest free or low interest loans to places like Watertown, where they just helped that city build a million dollar fire station/multi-use facility. There needs to be established in this county equity in taxation and funding across the board. No more taking from one group and giving it to another.

    Lebanon must also establish its own EMA or enter into inter-local agreements with the county for the services provided by WEMA. That inter-local agreement must fairly and appropriately account for costs and ensure that the people of Lebanon are paying their fair share of costs and/or, if Lebanon is providing services to WEMA, the people of the unincorporated portions of the county are paying their fair share. The same exercise must be done for Watertown and Statesville.

    It would not be prudent for us to establish our own EMA unless we entered into an inter-local agreement with the county for the city of Mt. Juliet to provide EMA services to those citizens who live around Mt. Juliet and within a five mile radius of any of our fire stations. In fact, it might do well for everyone for us to handle EMA within our entire growth boundaries and within five miles of any station we establish inside our growth boundaries.

    WEMA wouldn’t lose control of anything during local, regional, statewide, and/or national emergencies because MTEMA (Mt. Juliet Emergency Management Agency) would fall under the authority of WEMA, which Falls under TEMA (Tennessee Emergency Management Agency). However, in everyday life, MTEMA would operate like a fire department, including all aspects of a fire department such as “Emergency Medical Service, Rescue, Hazardous Material Response, Water Rescue, Prevention, etc.”.

    The city of Mt. Juliet would not need to be included in a fire tax, because we can use our property taxes (we would have to raise the rate above zero) to fund MTEMA. However, because the county could no longer use our money to provide fire protection services throughout the county, the county would have to lower our tax rates county-wide, establish a fire tax in the unincorporated portions of the county, and then use only the fire tax money for the provision of services in the unincorporated portions of the county. We would be freed from this log-jam of services, and could use our property taxes as a means of paying for the services we need. The county would be out of the equation. The rest of the county could then get off our backs for not having a property tax and we would have proper and adequate fire protection services.

    Another thing that having our own EMA would do for us is it would take the east vs west issues out of play.

    We would also have to call the county on the carpet in terms of adequate facilities taxes. We have paid an awful lot of money to the county in terms of adequate facilities taxes and I am not sure exactly where that money has been spent. It isn’t being spent on roads in this city, we pay for that. Am I to believe that it all went to school buildings? How much and when? The new high school can’t fully be attributed to money spent in Mt. Juliet because about half that school population is from outside this city.

    I think a day of reckoning needs to take place in this county and soon.

    If we established our own EMA we could handle all of the emergency medical services in this end of the county, at least those areas surrounding Mt. Juliet. We could also charge for rescue services. Those two services account for much of the costs of any fire protection service. By being able to charge for the services that are provided we can offset much of the costs of operation of our EMA. The people who use those services would pay most of the costs of the operation. The rest of the population would pay a maintenance level of costs of operation rather than all of the costs. I believe that insurance would cover the costs of operation of the EMA because those who use the service would file a claim with their insurance company. I believe that is what would happen, though I am not certain.

    By establishing our own EMA, we could likely reduce our insurance rates because we would have better ISO ratings and because the other factors that actuaries use to calculate insurance ratings would be better.

    This plan could be implemented very quickly as the city could increase our property tax rates and lease the equipment that currently is part of WEMA station 3. We could hire the personnel that are working in Station 3 or hire our own fire fighters and emergency medical services personnel. We already have the station.

    We could then float a bond, if that is still possible in today’s economy, and purchase the land required to place a station on the north side of the city, and build two more stations, one on the north side of the city and one on the 8 acres of land the city commission stole from the owner of the paddocks. If we don’t like the paddocks as a location the city could sell that property and use that money to pay for other property (unless the city is going to do the right thing and give that property back to the owner and unless someone is willing to donate property to the city for a fire department.) The city could sell the land in providence that was contributed or “donated” to the city by the developer and use that money to pay for part of the costs. The city has other assets that it could use to pay the costs of the infrastructure build-out as well.

    A few years back, Linda Elam was trying to get the city commission to float a 20,000,000 dollar bond to build an aquatics center. Surely we can justify spending a few million to protect our citizens if the county is no longer using our money to pay for protection of other citizens and if we are going to do it right.

    That isn’t the end of the story though, there are many, many other aspects as well. The fire department must do everything it can to become self-sustaining through donations and contributions, though volunteerism, through fundraising campaigns, and through other means. One thing that occurred to me is that the city could use Charlie Daniel’s park or the park in Belinda city to operate a fireman’s carnival each year. Those are used where I grew up to raise money for fire departments. They are fun, they raise a lot of money, and they garner a feel of community.

    Fire stations can be built to be two story buildings, where the top of the building is a dance hall type facility where people can rent the space for special occasions. This is also a money generating operation when done properly and it provides a lot of space for use by the city when needed.

    We need to look for innovative and outside the box solutions to this issue.

  42. Southsider

    I disagree Butch. Double taxing Mt. Juliet residents to appease backward county politicians will not fix anything or make anyone any safer.

    The first thing that has to happen is Mayor Hutto needs to appoint someone besides the Mayor of Watertown to negotiate on behalf of the county. We should sit out all meetings until that conflict of interest is resolved.

    The second thing we should do is wait on the redistricting. It is right around the corner and will scare some sense into the smarter county politicos – they will want to negotiate then.

    I believe this whole issue has been spun up just to milk more tax money out of people who are already overpaying for adequate fire proyection service. Rewarding these idiots will just make them find another service to do badly in hopes of further reward.

  43. Butch Huber

    Southsider, I don’t think you understood, or I didn’t explain myself well. Under this plan Mt. Juliet wouldn’t be taxed twice, it would be taxed once. This plan takes Mt. Juliet’s security and protection out of the political spectrum of Wilson County and puts it in the hands of our city government.

    There really isn’t a viable alternative to developing a long-term, responsible solution to what is needed in Mt. Juliet. We can dance around it, but in the end we really are woefully under-protected here in Mt. Juliet. This plan could actually help us in ensure that we have adequate and quality protection and service while at the same time solve an ongoing conundrum, which is how will the county provide services to those who live outside this city once we establish our own fire protection services?

    How can the city and the county meet the requirements under the EMA laws, the County-wide Fire Department laws, and at the same time meet the standards set forth in the growth act laws without Mt. Juliet establishing its own fire department? My plan outlined above can address all of those sets of laws without us being double taxed. Again, either you didn’t understand what I wrote, or I didn’t explain it well. It was early when I wrote it, perhaps I need to go back and reread what I wrote.

  44. Southsider

    I read the post and believe I understand it. The county cannot let us out of any portion of the property tax we are already paying. That said, we will be double, if not triple paying for a service we won’t be getting.

    The county will not give back any of the adequate facility tax – and Mt. Juliet pays more of that the the rest of the county and Lebanon combined. That puts us up to the quadruple-taxed bracket just so we can pay to start to fund MJEMA?

    Are you willing to pay four or five times too much to fight 2 maybe 3 fires a year?

  45. Butch Huber

    Southsider, I think I addressed the adequate facilities tax issue, but if not, the city can sue the county if the county is taking money from here and not spending it here. There are constitutional rights that can come into play. Citizens could sue the county as well as it is the taxpayer who is being unconstitutionally taxed without being provided services respective of what is being taxed.

    Why can’t the county reduce the overall property tax rate in the county, then enact a fire tax on those who live in the unincorporated portion of the county?

    That would separate Mt. Juliet from the county in terms of what is being spent on fire protection services.

    I believe I am right on this point. Instead of leaving Mt. Juliet forever at the mercy of the county, the city needs to push this issue until there is tax equity and fairness across the board.

    I am in no way suggesting that we pay more than once for fire protection services. You are right in that we are paying two and three times for services that we aren’t even getting, or at least we aren’t getting to any degree near what we are paying. I want to end that and at the same time end our reliance on the county and end the acrimony over us not having a property tax.

    There is a vast misunderstanding in this county of what is meant by “Fire protection services”. I think the time is ripe for a serious shake-up in this county in terms of taxation and power.

    My preference would be for us to have all of the county, or at least most of the county, under WEMA protection. That is the most efficient, most effective, and most cost effective way to address the problem of fire protection services. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that we are going to get a bunch of people in office who will be able to play nicely, and there are laws that need to be adhered to that I have no idea how to address other than a city fire department. Remember, I didn’t cause the mess in the laws, that seems to have been done by Bob Rochelle. I am just trying to make all the pieces fit together while at the same time coming up with something that will last and be effective and efficient now and in the future.

    As for the last question, we aren’t talking about just fires. That is the biggest misconception out there, that fire protection services are about fire suppression only. That just isn’t the case. Fire protection services, as defined by law, includes, but is not limited to; fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue, water rescue, water supply, and prevention.

    I don’t think we have to pay four or five times as much as we are currently paying, in fact, I believe we can have it all for about what we are currently spending. Wouldn’t you like to have adequate fire protection services for about what you are paying now? I think it can be done. It has to start by retrieving the money that we have been sending to the county and not seeing it come back. That is what I was talking about in the first sentence of the second paragraph in my post this morning. “Before we can have a durable solution we have to stop the county from taking our money to provide services for others in this county.” What I meant by that is that the first action must be to straighten out the very situation you are talking about. First and foremost they need to rectify the tax inequity, then we can address the other issues. We are on the same page, we want the same thing, I am just naive enough to believe that miracles can happen. I think we need strong leadership that will drive this issue home.

  46. Shawn Donovan

    Butch you have the right idea but not necessarily the right naming of the agency. If you look at most counties, they hall have EMA and the Fire Departments just basically utilize them during large scale incidents. So it a nutshell you got the right chain with the EMA, with it being Mt Juliet Fire, then WEMA, then TEMA, then FEMA etc..

    Well southsider I understand your agrument but fire departments do a lot more then just fight fires, and with the current set-up we don’t even have enough stafffing and equipment to run medical calls let alone fires. If we were going to go into the fire service business we as citizens need to make sure that we are getting the same if not higher level of service that we get from WEMA to make it worth it. We keep on focusing on just fire and need to realize that FD runs medical calls as well.. Think that keeps getting lost in discussion. I know personally I wouldn’t want to have to what for an engine to respond on a medical call from Lakeview or Gladeville which happens just as it does waiting on an ambulance since both the Engine and Ambulance in Mt. Juliet are very busy.

    As I have said in the past and I still say, we need a department that is funded and controlled locally. The county has demonstrated and commented that it cannot adequately cover the City of Mt. Juliet so I don’t know how many more years or how many more residents we need to add til someone realizes that. People keep using this “scare” tactic that it going to cost thousands per home to cover the city of Mt. Juliet with adequate coverage and its already been demonstrated that its more like $100 to $200 for proper coverage.

    Put it on a referendum and let the citizens decide on if they want a tax for emergency services to fund both fire and police. We are just as understaffed on the PD side as we are on the FD side.

  47. Butch Huber

    Shawn,

    Thanks for the response. I think it should be, Mt. Juliet Fire, then Mt. Juliet EMA, then WEMA, then TEMA then FEMA, though. We are authorized under the law to establish our own EMA. The cost of the actual EMA would be nominal as our Fire Chief would actually serve as both the director of EMA and Fire Chief and there is very little that would occur under an EMA, however, it would put our fire department directly in line with the laws surrounding EMA and possibly open us up to potential EMA funding.

    Before we get ahead of ourselves though, we need to force the county to properly fund fire protection in the rest of the county, even it is does require legal action to make it happen. We need to address the constitutional rights violations of illegal taking and lack of adequate protection under the law. While that battle is being waged, we need to also be hard at work putting together the structure for the MT. Juliet EMA/Mt. Juliet Fire Department.

    Under the law, we are also authorized to enter into an inter-local agreement with the county to provide fire protection services (including fire suppression, rescue, water rescue, hazardous material response and disaster management) to unincorporated sections of the county. That could potentially be a revenue source to help off-set our costs. If the county doesn’t play ball with us, we could then offer subscription service to those who live in the county around the city of Mt. Juliet in the unincorporated portions of the county, which, again, could become an additional funding source for us.

    Also, under the law, we are authorized to charge for rescue and emergency medical services, which would lend a hand in the area of funding.

    Done properly, we could reduce our homeowner’s insurance by reducing the potential hazards.

    I believe southsider is absolutely correct in that we don’t need to be paying twice for services we aren’t even fully getting once, but I also believe we fight the fight with this issue until we win it.

    I think we need a county fire tax district, for unincorporated Wilson County. If Lebanon, Watertown, and Statesville want to become a part of the fire tax program they can go with God. However, as for me, I am not convinced, given the enmity and antipathy that exists between factions of this county that we who live in the city of Mt. Juliet will ever get a fair deal from the County. It isn’t lost on me that this is really about property taxes. I get that. I think this goes back to the saying that “a fox can whip a skunk, it just isn’t worth it”. We may be able to win the battle and force the county to provide us with fire protection, however, until I am certain that the county hasn’t been convinced against its will, and therefore of the same opinion still, when it comes to Mt. Juliet, I vote to take this issue out of the county’s hands and keep it from being a political football any longer.

    We also, at the same time, have to drag the county out on the carpet regarding adequate facilities taxes and how the county distributes funds. This city commission has the authority to hold a hearing and call witnesses and conduct investigations, they should use that power to get to the bottom of everything. A review of everything relevant should be conducted.

    I am not an anti-government person, I am a “small government” and “un-intrustive government” type. I believe government should do as little as possible to provide us with things we can provide for ourselves. However, when it comes to protection, I think government has a great role to play. If it were not for the fact that we face homeland security issues, and if it were not for disaster mitigation, and if it were not for the fact that most volunteer and private fire fighting organizations seem to be closing up shop, I would be fore privatizing this whole mess. However, because there are security and disaster threats, and because I am not convinced that this is an issue that the private sector will or can handle, I am for government being involved. Notice I said, “involved”. I am not convinced that we can’t establish a vibrant augmentation force to help the fire department and fire department personnel in their duties, which would reduce costs and reduce power of the government. I want a very, very strong government internationally, I want a rather weak domestic government.

    And yes, Southsider, if we could ensure that I am not paying for someone else’s fire service, I would be willing to pay more for fire protection services and I would be willing to pay for more police protection. Security being one of the most important functions of government, I think it is a good investment if our taxes are not being pilfered and squandered. In fact, I would like to see Mt. Juliet become one of the safest (yet reasonable and responsible) communities in all of North America. I want to set the standard.

    The standard I want to set is to have a service that is capable of handling any emergency that they could reasonably be expected to handle, handle it with excellence, and handle it in the most cost effective manner possible and do it all with the least possible financial impact on the citizenry through taxation. That requires that we raise funds as much as possible through private donations and contributions, through endowments, and through professional fundraising efforts. It requires innovation and introspection. It requires that we use our heads.

    I would much rather take the power of control out of the hands of the county once and for all and take charge of our own protection as citizens and our own destiny as a community. Heck, we may even be able to turn a small profit off an operation if it is handled just right, who knows?

    You know what would be next? The county would be upset because our EMA would outshine theirs.

  48. Butch Huber

    I just read a report from the county tonight. It appears that the county attributes $927,303 of the $1, 265,133 that it spends to operate station 3 in Mt. Juliet to calls made inside Mt. Juliet. It says that WEMA money pays $626,237 of the $927,303. Which leaves $310,878 to be paid by some other means. Ambulance fees collected from calls from inside Mt. Juliet come to $310,878. That leaves an overage of $9,812.

    The county is giving back $616,425 of our money that it takes in property taxes. However, what is the value of the rent on the building that we lease to them for one dollar? That has to also be calculated and entered into the equation. let’s say that the lease would be, oh, $40,000 per year. That brings us down to about $576,425 per year. What else is there? Really, besides schools and the $576,425 per year on WEMA services, what does the county do for Mt. Juliet? We are, for sure, paying for much more, I mean, much, much, much more than we are getting here.

    It is time for an exhaustive analysis of how much money is being taken from this city and used elsewhere and for others.

    Adequate facilities taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, and other taxes should all be calculated and weighed against what we get back in return. The final analysis should be printed and mailed to every citizen in this county.

  49. Southsider

    WEMA is a COUNTY problem that needs a COUNTY solution. I have lived here nearly 4 decades and this county will take our tax money and return shoddy services for now on if we let them. This is just another example of milking the west Wilson taxpayer.

    Butch, you have a great grasp of what is really wrong here -maybe better than anyone else. Your posts on other subjects suggest you are a man who believes in accountability. I do to.

    The problem with your solution is that it does not hold the county accountable to be good stewards of our tax dollars. It is like doing your child’s homework instead of encouraging them to do it. It is like throwing billions of dollars into education funding every year without holding teachers accountable to teach. Has that made our schools any better?

    You say the city can sue for part of the adequate facility tax and maybe part of its property tax. Do you really believe that will happen? Mt. Juliet is too busy suing itself over its own charter. Remember, going to court does not guarantee winning in court – odds are, the county will keep our money.

    Don’t let the fire lobby carry out the county’s political solution to this problem. Put your talent and effort into forcing the real solution that is a countywide one.

    Mt. Juliet going into the WEMA business will not fix this problem. It will only subdivide it.

  50. Shawn Donovan

    A video from our perspectives as a firefighters. Worth the 8 minutes to watch this message. You continue to hear why should we spend money on a fire department that runs maybe 10 fires a year, but if your house is on fire do you want only two people showing up when your child is trapped in a house fire. Need to stop always putting dollar signs on people lives. Listen to the words of these firefighters.

    I personally in my career have responded to a reported structure fire and had a 11 year old child trapped inside and despite our best efforts she died… this is not a scare tactic this is reality folks.

  51. Southsider

    I already pay enough to receive adequate fire protection service. It is not my fault it is not being provided – it is the county’s fault. You need to send this video to Mayor Hutto.

    Folks, there are glaring examples all over Tennessee of why providing political answers to technical questions always gives you failed solutions.

    The day Mt. Juliet starts its own fire department the county politicians will all declare that they have solved the county fire protection problem. And what will have happened. 20 square miles will start being underserved by a different entity and the remaining 630 square miles of Wilson County will continue to be underserved too. Big whoop.

    Nobody will be safer and the combined effort of two governments will have only accomplished separating more tax dollars from people who are already paying for adequate service.

    Or we could force the people who are already taking our tax dollars to provide adequate service to provide adequate service.

  52. Butch Huber

    Southsider, we disagree. You are 99% right, but because you are 1% wrong, we disagree. If we were talking about inconsequential issues, such as exactly where to put a road, or something trivial like the cost of road sign or something, I would say stick to your guns. This isn’t inconsequential, those, southsider, this is a matter of life and death. I respect you, you know that, but we disagree. I don’t think you back down from a fight because you don’t think you can win when winning is the only acceptable option. The county is taking our money and not providing services commensurate with what it is charging us and we should fight that battle and win it. But we should do it by taking away their power of the purse, not by forcing them to provide us with services they don’t want to provide us with. We need to clip their wings a little and take control of our own protection and security and force the county to stop charging us for the service we provide for ourselves once we are providing it. However, I am now at a place where I just simply don’t want the county to provide my family and I with protection and security. My position isn’t because I don’t like the county, it is because I am not convinced that the county wants to provide me with service, and if they don’t want to provide me with service I don’t want them to provide me with service, I want someone else to provide me with service. I just don’t want them to be able to charge me for the service they aren’t providing me with.

    On another note, I can prove to you that the county is actually profiting from providing us with fire protection services and they are profiting from us to the tune of more than $310,878. (this is a direct profit, not a realized profit from taxation) They won’t see it that way because they don’t want to see it that way, but I will present to you the facts and let you make your own conclusion. (Of course, I will try to persuade a little….okay, a lot)

    I just acquired a breakdown of costs for the operation of Station 3 last night. This is what it says in its entirety.

    $ 1,265,133 Cost to operate Station 3 in Mt. Juliet
    ÷ 2,496 Total calls from station 3 in Mt. Juliet
    _________

    $ 507. Cost per call
    ________

    $927,303 cost for calls inside City of Mt. Juliet

    $927,303 Cost for all calls (medical, fire and rescue)
    -626,237. WEMA money from county to operate station three in Mt. Juliet
    _________
    301,066.
    310,878 Collected by county by ambulance fees inside city of Mt. Juliet
    ________
    $9,812 overage.

    First we have to determine what “Fire protection services” includes. By definition of that laws that authorize a county-wide fire department, “fire protection services” includes, but is not limited to, fire suppression, emergency medical services, and rescue.

    Now, let’s assume that we did all of a sudden take care of our own fire protection services as defined by law. What expenses would the county be able to eliminate? Not one penny’s worth! They only have four people on duty here at any given time anyway, what could they cut out? They can’t pack up and move everything away because they have citizens outside this city who need to be provided with service. They would need the same equipment and the same number of personnel they have now even if we took care of our own services. Those emergency services providers may not have to work as hard, but they would still have to be present in case of need.
    The county would have the same equipment costs and personnel costs, but their expenses would actually go up, not down. The county would have to purchase land and build a fire station on it if we were to establish our own fire department unless they paid us to provide the service for them. (remember, it is the county’s duty and responsibility under a county-wide fire department to provide fire protection services to “all of the county”, not the city’s responsibility). If we provided our own services, including ambulance services, the county would not only still have the $1,265,133 in expenses they currently have, they wouldn’t be getting the $310,878 that they are currently getting from ambulance service in this city. They would be getting $310,878 dollars less, and because their operations costs wouldn’t go down, it necessarily means that we are benefitting the county to the tune of $310,878, but it gets better. You see, we rent them our station for a dollar per year, which would go away if we were to establish our own fire department, so their infrastructure costs would actually go up drastically. In the end, we could very well be benefitting the county by as much as $400,000 per year by letting them provide us with fire protection services.

    But I am beyond all that now. I am ready to start lobbying the city to take this issue out of the hands of the county altogether and to force the county to stop taxing us as if they were providing us with service when they are not. When the county realizes that they are about to experience a $400,000 increase in costs and at the same time they are about to lose political clout they may actually come to the table with real solutions, but I am not interested in holding my breath on this one, I am ready for action. There has been way to much talk and not nearly enough action so far, and I am through with that.

    We hold every card in our hand in this issue. We can tactically back the county into a corner where they have no place to retreat to, and then we can bring about real and lasting change. If the county can convince us that they are going to play nice and if they are going to provide us with the level of service we are paying for and deserve, then, and only then, should we consider WEMA as our source of protection and security, until then, we need to be prepared to take over our own protection and security. All we need to do is increase the city property taxes enough to cover the costs of a fire department with plenty of money to spare to put the county through endless court battles until they relent. I am willing to pay for that battle. The city should sue the county for legal fees and court costs as well. Unless we are going to have honest adult conversations that are going to lead to real and durable solutions that are fair and equitable, I am done with the talking. I have attended the meetings, I have talked to the players, I have tried to be a help and be a part of the solution. I have studied and studied and studied this issue and I am convinced that we need to fight for our money and our rights and at the same time take control from those who are causing the problem.

  53. Butch Huber

    Ya know, I got to thinking about the stats that I got on Monday. If we fund based on call volume, rather than geography, Mt. Juliet could possibly see about double the investment from the county that we currently get. If 2010’s call volume throughout the county was about the same as 2008’s call volume (the last year I have statistics for total call volume in this county) Station 3 responded to 28% of all calls that came in to 62. I believe last year’s budget for Civil Defense (WEMA) was 7.167 million. If we received 28% of $7,167,000, our budget for Station 3 would be $2,006,760, or an additional $741,627. We might actually have enough money then to pay for enough people to properly take care of most of the area that falls under the protection of Station 3.

  54. There was a time when the biggest joke line used to be, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”. Well, here in the last little bit, I have read of three whoppers that blow that line off the charts. Before I begin, let me say that I will not name names so as to not get too personal and cause undo work for Publius. (BTW, Thanks to Publius for keeping me straight when my heart gets the better of my head and forces the hand of my fingers.) In order of appearance they are:
    “I will listen to the voters, but I will stay until the fire issue is settled because I know the mostest about it.”
    “Now that the case of my illegal attainment of personal information is settled, somebody…not me, not me, not me…thinks it would be a good idea to run for mayor even though there is not a race and won’t be for a long time. And before you go there, NO, this is not a ploy to keep my name out there so people will remember and maybe think it might be a good idea for me to be the mayor. Somebody else…not me, not me, not me…thought this up”.
    And finally…
    On page 7 of the latest edition of the Mt. Juliet News in a very small blurb that concludes a story on “More personnel and better pay needed” you will see a real winner
    “But, I believe in reasonability when in discussions”. Yeah, right. With a pile of dented fans, broken chairs, temper tantrums, physical altercations, and an endless supply of profanity…yeah, that sounds reasonably. From one Randall to another, your biggest problem ain’t Mt. Juliet…you have too few of the right people and too many of the wrong. I am beginning to think that I’m not the craziest person in the room. Mildred…my meds, please.

  55. Sonny Griffin

    I’m surprised that during this entire fire discussion, nothing has been said about fire sprinklers in residential construction. If it has been discussed, I apologize. I missed it.

    There seem to be many advantages to fire sprinklers and few disadvantages.

    First and foremost is the fact that deaths attributable to fire in sprinkled structures are almost non existent.

    Secondly, if city codes require sprinklers in new construction, the builder and new owner foot the bill, not the taxpayer.

    Thirdly, sprinklers retard the progress of the fire, increasing the response time of limited fire fighting resources. Some systems are designed to completely suppress the fire.

    I’m sure there is a reason fire sprinkler systems haven’t been discussed. Are they just not applicable in our situation?

    As an aside; I think it is ridiculous to pay cross trained ems fire fighters top out pay of $10.06 per hour. These wages are about what a teen ager working part time at a hamburger joint makes. Talk about dedicated people. Thank all of you and God bless you.

  56. Thank you for the kind words, Mr. Griffin. And also, thank you to Ms. Everett for wording the story jusy so. What you said in your final paragraph is exactly the response I personally want each of the citizens (our customers) to have. Shock at the amount, but more importantly, a heart felt awareness of why we do it. For me, my story consists of having a college degree in an unrelated field that would easily provide for me the opportunity to make more money but fall incredibly short of satifying my soul. My father was a firefighter as was his father. I went to big school to kill time until I could be a firefighter. The men and women I work side by side with have even a better story than that. I hope you will seek them out and ask. We like talking to you better when you are standing on your own than when we are standing over you. I do not want to be rich. I want to be able to pay my house note, pay my bills, take my wife to dinner one night a month, and buy my child just one pair of name brand shoes. I do not drive a Benz, my ride is closing in on 200,000 miles. I have a little house on a little plot and it is my heaven on earth. I (as the others) would appreciate anything that can be done so I can keep doing this. Dedicated? Yes, dedicated to you and your family. God Bless you back and you are welcome, it’s our pleasure.

    P.S. With 20 years and counting in the business, I am yet aware of a system that will advertise total suppression, but you are correct…the advance systems today do a really good job holding the fire in check, buying us time in response and possibly saving you, your belongings, and some $$$.

  57. Butch Huber

    Sonny. I have steered clear of the sprinkler issue because I listened as you explained the costs of such a system and the impact it would have on the price of a home and the maintenance of a home. I am certainly not against sprinklers as it seems they would dramatically increase the safety in a home. I have for a long time been somewhat concerned about my own home as the rooms where we sleep are so high it would make jumping out in the event of a fire very painful, if not deadly. Personally, I would love to have sprinklers in my own home. If you don’t mind, would you share with us what you stated in the commission meeting regarding the requirement about sprinklers and the associated costs? It seemed to me you were against the idea, but I could have misread what you were saying. You sounded like you were well informed and were against the idea so I didn’t promote it. If you really think it is a good idea, I will promote it hard. I don’t think they should make it necessary to retro-fit any building that currently exists, but all new buildings, if it makes sense, should be fitted with sprinklers.

  58. Shawn Donovan

    Butch

    The use of commercial sprinkler system has been around for years and yes the residential is coming in slowly but surely. In fact, in the 2009 version of the International Fire Code it requires that all news homes built after January 1, 2011 are required to have residential sprinklers. The problem is that many states haven’t adopted this section of the IFC because of this.

    If you install residential sprinklers at time of construction its around .75 to 1.00 per square foot, but when you look at the retrofit I believe its in around the 3.00 range. I have a friend who lives in Mt. Vernon Estates in MJ who did a retrofit on his home a couple of years ago

    There are groups that are obviously against the use of residential sprinklers and try to use a multitude of “scare tactics” to not have to put them in from it will cause to significant water damage to your home if it goes off to if you require sprinkler it will collapse the housing market because of cost. Well I can tell you first hand that the amount of water that will come out 1 residential sprinkler head is anywhere between 45 to 70 gallons a minute, where the fire hose I will drag into your house to put out the fire will be giving you anywhere between 125 gpm to 350 gpm depending on what size hose I drag in and what nozzle type I use.

    So residential sprinkler systems are a good thing, and they knock down some of the fire. So its helps initially but you still need a fire department to come in and completely put out the fire, ventilate the home, check for extension, etc.. so don’t believe that it will be a way of getting out of needing a fire department by any stretch.

    Also, thanks Fire Marshall Bill as well for what you do…

  59. Butch Huber

    Shawn, never in a million years envisioned sprinklers in homes to eradicate the need for a fire department. It seemed to me that there was something about boxes having to be installed along the street at every home and that the boxes had to be heated in the winter in order to keep them from freezing and that the costs of installation of a sprinkler in the average home was going to be several thousand dollars, but that continued maintenance and inspections and everything else would make it a very expensive proposition.

    It appears that a retro-fit would cost $7500 to $10,000 for the average sized home in this area. For a new home it would likely costs somewhere around $2500 to $4000. Is there an insurance rate advantage to having a sprinkler? If there is, is it enough to offset the costs of installation, operation, and maintenance? (Operation being the costs of heating the unit out at the street if necessary and any other operational costs I am of which I am unaware)?

    I love the idea of sprinklers, and I wish my home had them, but are they inexpensive enough, once you factor everything into the equation, for government to legislate their installation? Beyond that, should we have government legislating things of this nature anyway?

    Not only would sprinklers mitigate the potential damage to homes and suffering and loss of life to residents, it would also make the job of being a fire fighter less dangerous and a tad bit easier, which to me is a good thing.

  60. Sonny Griffin

    Butch, you are absolutely right. I did speak against fire sprinkler systems in residential construction about four years ago if my memory is correct.

    You also remember correctly that I spoke about “boxes” that had to be installed at the street. These boxes cover “reduced pressure” backflow preventers installed in the waterlines of each residence to prevent the pollution of the main water supply in case the main pressure drops lower than the pressure in the residence. I manufacture those “boxes” so I was speaking against a potential market for me.

    The reason that I did that was because I did not want to see thousands of boxes installed in the front of residences in Mt. Juliet. There is no way you can really make them look good.

    I keep up with the fire sprinkler industry because the “boxes” that I manufacture are used to cover backflow assemblies supplying fire sprinkler systems. These are mostly commercial or government installations. Some of my “boxes” house piping that is 16″ in diameter.

    Since I spoke against fire sprinklers for residential use, a lot has changed.

    From what I understand, modern residential fire sprinkler systems become a part of the domestic water supply and are flushed as the plumbing fixtures in the residence are used. Therefore, there is no more stagnant water to worry about. This means that high hazard backflow preventers are not needed and there are no above ground installations hence no “boxes”. All of this depends on city codes about backflow prevention.

    As far as cost, I think your estimates are about correct. I guess it all comes down to this. What is a life worth?

    If you look at $2500.00 when buying a new house, that is about the cost of a kitchen counter upgrade. Both add value to the home. Only one can save your life.

  61. Butch Huber

    I’m in on the idea of upgrading a home with sprinklers for $2,500. In fact, homes probably ought to be upgraded with sprinklers, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, fire alarms, smoke detectors, and a host of other items as well. I am just not sure that it is the government’s call that they have those things.

    Thank you for explaining this to me, Sonny.

  62. Shawn Donovan

    Another good example on why we need change. When we are paying our firefighters topout pay of 10.19 an hour and then expect them to cover a town of over 30,000 with only 4 people.. if that’s not a problem I don’t know what it…

    http://www.wsmv.com/news/27058384/detail.html

  63. WEMA needs a new direction and that should start with a new director. The Mayor will not make a move because he is scared the current director will sue. Now how is that reason for job security? The mayor’s fear is holding him hostage, thus putting on indefinite hold the opportunity to invest in WEMA’s most valuable asset…the people that do the job. “Doing the best we can with what we got”…NO, WE ARE NOT.

  64. Anyone know how much it cost to do a CTAS study? Eighty-five days ago, the employees of WEMA were given a section of the CTAS study concerning general aspects of fire protection. The section was for employee evaluation of the director. The questions were very specific concerning policy, performance, and results. This was given to the employees by a representative from the UT office from instruction of the County Executive. The employees have yet to hear of the results. Have you, the taxpayer, received the bill? Are you curious as to the results?

  65. SI40

    Well the person who would know would be the CTAS Fire Consultant who worked on the study, Kevin Lauer. I would send him an email and ask kevin.lauer@tennessee.edu

    I as a taxpayer would like to hear the results… maybe the results are so shocking they need to get a legal opinion before clearing the house.

  66. Thanks SI40,
    Mr. Lauer has given the results to the Mayor. As far as a legal opinion, would that give the Mayor the backbone and stones to overcome his debilitating fear of the current director filing a lawsuit? I wonder why he is so afraid. The last 4 directors have been replaced for one reason or another and they have not sued. There are just a lot of questions that need to be asked and answered. Like, with a $7.1 million budget and 80% of your employees making $10/hr…what are you spending that money on? How can you run thru that much money when most of your equipment and facilities are paid for and be so far behind in offering ADEQUATE protection and service? Here’s just a quick story for you to ponder…first, every time you see $ make the sound out loud…CHING!
    Last week, Capt. Buggnutz went to Oklahoma to pick up 3 “free” generators. Not generators that are needed, just generators that are “free”. He took Chief Trelos2J’s diesel Dodge ($$$) and an 18ft trailer ($$$) and drove to OK ($$$) with diesel fuel at $3.69/gal. ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$). Before he left, modifications ($$$) had to be made to the trailer so it would make the trip. On the way back($$$), he had a tire blow out ($$$). When he returned, the first generator was found to need a new radiator($$$) to the tune of $800 ($$$$$$$$). No word yet on the other 2, but a good bet would be…wait for it…you guessed it…($$$). Now I ask you, where in the budget ($$$) that will run out of money ($$$) to keep all the stations manned and opened in the following months, is there a line for this ($$$) effort to get un-needed “free” ($$$) generators? I have a detailed copy, and I do not see it. But I leave you with this…I am sure we will be able to see the savings ($$$) with “free” storage in Watertown.
    I should think that if better stewardship with MY money were in place…maybe the need in MJ, Norene, Statesville, etc. might not seem so daunting. Right now, there are 26 people thru out this county making $10/hr providing you with essential life services. Many are waiting to hear from other entities for the opportunity to take what YOU have paid for them to learn somewhere else to make more money to provide a better life for their families. Are you at least curious?

  67. F.M. Bill,
    Agreed and good call. I would also ask the Mayor to look into the planning officer’s efforts and expenditures. With an traditional annual budget shortfall, just what are you planning for? You cannot serve the population of this county properly if you are spending too much money on a plan for a bad day that will likely NOT occur and miss the opportunity to enhance the efforts of what WEMA does everyday. Stop spending so much money on armageddon and spend more being better Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc. A $7 million budget with 100 employees making $10/hr leaves alot left over for more employees possibly making more than $10/hr and staying here rather than taking their Wilson Co. paid for skills elsewhere. The issues of MJ, Norene, Statesville, as you have mentioned, would be considerably smaller with a larger WEMA in place. With more investment in taking care of daily business (fire protection/ems) there would be more people to place at the stations and man the equipment properly. I read where the director stated that “some of the staions were built for just 2 employees” or something to that effect. THAT IS NOT TRUE! All of the current stations, including his Shangri La in Watertown, were built to house AT LEAST 4 FF/EMT’s. All stations have at least 2 double seated vehicles (ambulance, engine, tanker, rescue,and /or brush truck). That’s at least 4 seats each station. Each vacility has the accommodations for at least 4 personnel. As mentioned in other posts, stations 2, 6, and 8 run with only 2 personnel (1/2 staff) 99.9% of the time. The only time they are fully staffed is when ISO comes for a renewal rating and this visit is always announced in advance. Sounds “suspect” to me…how about you? The Mayor thinks that MJ is his biggest challenge. IT WOULD NOT BE if his fire department leadership used sound judgement and realistic assessment. What do you want from your emergency services provider, an ability to deal with a mushroom cloud at the foot of Gen. Hatton (as if, whenever)or timely care and transport for your sick family member today, tomorrow, and beyond? Ask the Mayor, I think he works for us…I hope he thinks he works for us. I just hope he is not too afraid to find out.

  68. Butch Huber

    Do one of you fire fighters have a line item budget for WEMA? I would like to see exactly where the money is going and how it is being spent.

  69. You can find it on the web under Wilson County TN Budget under general fund line item 54410. But be warned, this is the public friendly version…very bland. Notice how it lacks detail. If you know anything about budget and spread sheets, you will notice how broad stroke this document is. They do not want you to have the actual detailed budget. I will work on getting it. It is VERY different.

  70. Butch Huber

    thank you.

  71. Citizens of the City of Mt. Juliet get ready and informed. The city leaders are bargaining and you are going to get the bill. To begin, please know this is not about me or what I do; for that matter it is not about any one that does the job. Please put that and any feelings good or bad aside. This is about you a citizen of this city AND a citizen of this county. The latter of which the County Executive has obviously forgotten or is choosing to not acknowledge. When he says he can not do any more for the citizens in this city(area of the county), HE IS WRONG. AGAIN, HE IS WRONG. He is either getting or choosing to follow some bad intel and advice. Mr. Mayor, forget about the little history nugget of knowledge around how MJ came to be and the fire issue. That does not apply or aid in any way here and now. He has the wrong people in the wrong positions telling him the wrong things about their chosen wrong direction with his fire department. He needs good advice from good people to put his fire department in a good position to give good service to ALL citizens of this county. He has expressed that he does not wish to micro-manage his departments…well, sir with all due respect, you might want to look into it. YOU, the tax paying citizen, should contact him and inquire. Get the answer and get the proof, he owes it and you deserve it. A department with a $7.1 million budget, what is it doing and why it it not doing enough? YOU, the tax paying citizen are entitled to the truth and HE, as your public servant, is accountable to give it to you. By not having his fire department focus on doing the core job tasked to them and allowing the core part (boots on the ground as he is fond of saying)personnel fall so short, he is creating an opportunity for the city leaders to get involved in something they should not have to nor are they qualified to. A couple of nights ago, city leaders met with private contractors to initiate bids for fire service for the city. Long story short, if this happens( unknown if you will be able to vote on this or not)you will still pay the same amount of county taxes(some of which as you know is for fire/medical services)AND then be hit with a subscription service fee from this contract provider. Somewhere around .08 cents/sq. ft. of your home. You do the math. Now, if you do not pay the fee, they will still come to your home and put out the fire. That is going to run you @$1200/hr. Example…fire of room and contents usually 2 hrs=a bill for $2400. Fully involved/total loss 4 hrs=$4800. So on top of losing everything, you will get a bill for @$4800. Really what you need at that time, right? Plus, the city will likely have to kick in some serious “get started” coin to the contractor. This is funny in that they won’t pay the county extra, but they will pay an outsider. Now I do not think the city should have to pay a penalty for prosperity(BTW, people of LaGuardo, pay attention. At the rate you are growing, you are next.)not to mention so much for spending our dollars in house, huh? Then, she, the city Mayor, wants to contract the west side of the county to Nashville Metro. THIS IS LUDICROUS!!! First of all, that area is not hers to bargain away…at least not yet. Secondly, I know from experience that NFD Station 32 (that services the east side of Davidson Co.)stays way too busy to be of any real aid. Lastly, this area is currently county…and yet the County Executive sat there and said nothing. Folks, this is getting way out of control. Your county fire department can be enlarged to handle this growth. He will tell you it can not. He is being told it can not. IT CAN. If a new director with a new direction of properly distributing funds to the day to day core operations and not to personal projects or wild mushroom cloud thoughts were to reallocate funds where they are needed most, WEMA would be able to increase its presence and service thus decreasing the “problem” of MJ’s prosperity. Forget me, but remember…ASK, ASK, ASK.

    P.S. The more people that know, the better. You might consider contacting local media. If you were at this meeting, too, please sound out.

  72. Sorry, BTW, just so you will know there are no sour grapes on my end…if the new contractor pays better ( and I know he does) He will receive numerous resumes from current county and city employees. Financially, for the firefighters, the contractor is a better deal…but this is about something else…home town pride and YOU.

  73. Doc Cider

    It would not surprise me if Elam hanging around long after she’s welcome is to be there to collect a kickback from one of these private contractors. Then she will declare she solved the fire issue. The whole concept has a smell to it and it is not the proper solution. The woman is shamelessly corrupt. Watch and see how far she goes to push this. She’ll need two more votes, but chances are she has at least one already.

  74. Old Blevins

    We should have learned from the red light cameras. Come to think of it, Elam pushed that too.

  75. Old Blevins,
    Interesting that you should mention those cameras because oddly enough there is a connection…just a minute and I will explain. But first, historically these deals start off with a low ball soft contract with the city contributing funding to the contractor until the subscription service fee money starst coming in. The initial contract length is usually 3-5 yrs. During this time, the contractor uses the money from the city to implement its personnel and equipment and the service begins. (Most of these contractors want the city to provide the facilities, in our case the City of Mt. Juliet will ask WEMA to vacate Station #3 and according to the County Mayor, WEMA will and move that effort elsewhere out of the city to somewhere in the county.) Now the contractor goes door to door in some fashion and peddles the service fee. On the average, the contractor hopes for AT LEAST 50% to cover costs and a modest profit margin. This usually works successful when introduced to small community on the brink of a growth session. At this time, new folks moving in can plan for this additional expenditure and plan ahead for it. This usually does not work when introduced to a community that is at its height in growth or beyond. By now, folks are already moved in to the max amount of home they can afford and just as in economic times like these, they cannot afford an extra 0.06-0.08/square foot bill. So currently, we fall under the second group. Now here is where this could be a VERY VERY bad decision. If after the 3-5 yr contract they do not have 50%(and I do not believe they will)they will go back to the city and ask for more money. The city will tell them they do not have the money and they will attempt to inact a tax for the money which we will vote down. At this point, the contractor will come to the subscribers and inform them that a substantial fee increase is necessary to continue. Many subscribers will now drop the service. This will lead to the contractor pulling up stakes taking personnel and equipment with him leaving Mt. Juliet with a fire hall BUT NO FIRE DEPARTMENT. They will have to go back to the county with their hat in their hand and will probably (knowing the players and the way they deal)end up with LESS protection than what we have right now. If they do not wish for this to come to past then they will have to pony up for the contractor service and be at its mercy in reagrds to future price increases. Stuck with them like we are stuck with the cameras. Surely, we can research a better solution. What I have mentioned can happen, has happened, and we are left to wonder…could it happen to us?

  76. Southsider

    I have warned you for over two years. The county will take your lunch money, eat it in front of you, and expect the same lunch tomorrow.

    If the Mt. Juliet Commission votes to do this, they will have involked the largest tax increase on the citizens of Mt. Juliet in its history. All the while letting their citizens continue to pay the county for fire protection too.

    Listen to Fire Marshall Bill. This will be just like the red-light cameras, a bad idea Mt. Juliet can’t get out of.

  77. Butch Huber

    When enough people get serious about fixing this issue and show up at meetings and blast them with emails perhaps we can fix this issue. For the most part, nobody shows up to challenge their thinking and their actions in regard to fire protection in this county. As a result, they will take the easy road to solve this rather than make the right choices and rather than take the right actions.

    This city needs to hold the county accountable for the taxes they take from us and either force the county to provide adequate service to this city or force the county to stop taking the money from us and let us provide our own protection. We as citizens should not stand for the city taxing us and/or allowing a subscription service in here without first settling the issue of the county taxing us for services they don’t provide.

  78. Thank you Southsider,
    Think about it neighbors…..
    $7,167,360.00 annually and the job ain’t gettin’ done. Why? Because not enough of that money is going to the core value/action of county emergency services. The Mayor is being told that it is and he is choosing to believe this at face value. He is being held hostage by an employee he’s afraid will sue. Call your county commissioner and tell him YOUR county mayor has turned his back and washed his hands of the county citizens that live in the city of MJ. He thinks he is doing the best he can…HE IS NOT. He is being told this and is not looking into it deep enough out of fear. Believe this, with the RIGHT direction and proper steering of funds, the current county wide emergency services provider could/can DO BETTER.

    Butch Huber,
    Correct. Our elected officials need to be held accountable for the proper use of OUR money. Their thinking and actions in regards to fire protection are way off the mark. They have yet to ask anyone with any real time hands on experience for input. Their foolish pride has led us to this point. Egos and the self serving actions that feed them, that’s what our money is buying.

    Call you county commissioner and call your county mayor and ask for full accountability of your money. If they tell you it all is being done for you…IT IS NOT.

  79. F.M. Bill,
    The Count Executive’s phone number is 444-1383.

    The County Executive’s e-mail is http://www.huttor@wilsoncountytn.com.

    The County Executive is on Facebook and he checks it. He has two. Randall Hutto and Fan of Randall Hutto for Wilson County Mayor. USE BOTH.

    I urge people living both in the incorporated and unincorporated part of West Wilson Co. to use these avenues of contact. Inundate him with requests for full disclosure of funds, department direction, and requests for investigation into both. This has gone on long enough. Your safety and way of life are at stake. The way OUR officials are performing their duties makes me look incredibly sane. I’m off to group.

  80. Butch Huber

    What needs to happen is we need to form a group of concerned citizens who are willing to protest and sue in courts of law. We need to protest against the lack of protection in this county and we need to sue in courts of law to force the county to face its responsibilities and do the right thing for all citizens of this county. Until citizens are willing to get on their feet and become part of the solution we will continue to have inept politicians taking inappropriate and wrong actions.

  81. Butch Huber,
    Agreed. What you allude to needs to happen asap. In the future, we need to educate ourselves on candidates, when they mention a plan…force them to detail or run them off, and finally VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!! It is shameful that we have a County Executive elected by @40% of the registered voters in the county and a City Mayor voted in by even less. What we are witnessing now is the light shining on a man that won based on popularity NOT EXPERIENCE OR VISION. He does not seem to have his own agenda. He is picking up where his predecessor left off with reducing his responsibility to protect us all the while protecting a distance cousin. (yeah, they are related)
    CALL HIM. Ask for the CTAS results. Ask for full budget disclosure on emergency services. Ask for what he knows of the current direction of funds away from day to day emergency service needs. Tell him you do not appreciate his lack of response to the protection needs of the citizens of this city who are also citizens of this county…many of which voted for him.
    I am doing all I can= elToro Poo Poo!!! He is wrong. Now he may not know it and it may not be his fault. But following bad advice when you find out it is bad advice is not good advice. Do not be afraid. Educate, then execute. If you are an honorable man, then do what is honorable. DO YOUR JOB.

    As far as the City Mayor goes, DO NOT, DO NOT,DO NOT let her get away with this wasteful attenpt to bring in some last minute plan for less than adequate fire protection. Understand, she does not have to execute this plan and it does not have to be a success. She will take credit for having done something, then blame the failure on Hagerty, Robertson, and the rest of the city council. Guys, you need to get some help. It does not show a lack of your ability, but wisdom to bring in someone who knows. Make the call.

  82. Question: Have you ever seen a Rural/Metro Fire Truck? No? Guess why. Because #1 the closest one is in Knox Co. Farragut and the next closest is in Yuma, AZ. #2they do fire as an afterthought. Their primary efforts are ambulance not fire.

    So the leaders of this city brought in 3 outfits that do fire as an afterthought for the sole purpose of our primary fire protection. That’s the equivalent of asking a jack-leg plumber to come wire your ceiling fan. Ms. Mayor asked them what they thought we should have for adequate life saving fire protection and they said, “Duh, we don’t know. You can order off the menu ala carte…Would you like 1 fire truck or 2, 2 firefighters or 4, for your side orders would you like a medium combo of rescue or super-size your order with haz-mat? BTW, ya’ll need an ambulances”?

    Now in fairness, the operation in Farragut, TN/Knox Co. has been relatively successful. Mainly due to the fact that it was brought in years ago before the boom in Farragut. The contractor will tell you straight up that it probably will fail during or after the boom. BTW, MJ is booming…too late.

    There is a credible effort in place now…misguided as it may be…all it needs is a new director and a new direction. One that concentrates its efforts where they truly need to be…on the day to day operation of caring and protecting you and me.

    NEW LEADERSHIP=NEW SUCCESS!!!

  83. I sent my e-mail…have you sent yours?

  84. Butch Huber

    They don’t understand the predicament they will put this city and this county in if they don’t reconcile this issue properly. If they bring in a private company to provide fire protection services in this city and a citizen or group of citizens take them to court to force them to resolve this according to law they could be stuck with a result they never imagined or never intended. Rather than having a high-quality protection system, we will end up with something much less and with increased costs not only in Mt. Juliet, but throughout the county.

    I am not sure we have enough intelligence in the politik collective to have favorable outcomes. They are too interested in easy outcomes to develop proper ones.

  85. Butch Huber,
    Mayor Hutto is taking the word of “his”director…actually Bob Dedman’s leftovers. He is afraid of asking too much and even more afraid of knowing too much. He knows only a small percentage of what he should and is going forward with that. So far after 6 months in office and after numerous promises during the campaign to improve this issue, his grand plan is “I can’t do anymore…you are own your own”. He has a sectional CTAS study that You and I paid for. The results give a resounding vote of NO CONFIDENCE IN THEIR CURRENT DIRECTOR OR DIRECTION! He knows this and is afraid to share/act on it for fear of being sued by the current director. What he fails to realized is TN is a right to hire/fire state where any reason or no reason will do and of the last four directors replace, not a one of them filed suit. He does not know who he might get to replace him: however, he has received many suggestions of qualified individuals within the organization that have worked themselves to a competent level of planning and action. He claims he does not wish to micromanage this department…I suggest he rethink this approach. His lack of knowledge =his lack of a plan of action. His lack of plan of action=MJ city leaders getting ready to make a HUGE mistake just to say they did something before moving on. CONTACT THE MAYOR. Let him know what you know. Tell him you want emergency services ( the core activity of his FD) to improve and you believe $7.1 million is enough if used for what is truly needed. I will.

  86. Good morning to the 8 or so of you out of 125,000 Wilson County residents that seem to give a flip,
    You know, I do not watch alot of TV and I definitely do not know what is on Tuesday nights, but I do know where there is some real good entertainment. Once a month the EMA Commitee meets up at Station 1 and let me tell you , it is a hoot. Last night it was no different. A couple of noteable mentions:

    1. Congrats to Ms. Sara Patton, commissioner from the paw paw patch for recently graduating from CTAS University. She made use of her new found knowledge by making the claim, “…from what I have learned this past week, ya’ll are hiding money”. Whoa!!! sound familiar? To which Chairman Ash replied, “Da da ada da da ada….now wait a minute”.
    2.Kudos to Mr. Clint Thomas wha made the suggestion of a slight county property tax to begin to improve WEMA and its employees. To which Chairman Ash responded, “Yeah…Good luck with dat”. Eloquent like a modern day Cicero…don’t you think?

    All seriousness aside, there will be no financial increases for WEMA without a tax hike, and there will NOT be a tax hike. So, what does conventional wisdom point to…better use and diligence with current funds. If you can not be successful accomplishing core functions because of the financial drain from pet and pork projects…then cease and desist all non essential activities and concentrate funds and efforts to the core. Contact your Mayor and contact for representative/commissioner.

    FMB

    P.S. The only thing more entertaining than the meeting is listening to the commitee members talk during smoke breaks. They do not like each other and that is why they do not accomplish anything.

  87. Melani Stephens and others,
    Please, please, please. I implore you to reconsider your approach and opinions toward contract fire protection. As I and others have mentioned, you are putting your primary fire protection response in the hands of an outside entity that does fire as an AFTERTHOUGHT to ems. Anyone can buy a fire truck, but that does not make them a firefigter. Ambulance service is the main course…firefigting is a side dish to these companies. Please listen, Ms. Stephens, yours is an excellent voice for a positive solution…contract fire service just ain’t it. Do you want to pay a service fee and a county tax for fire protection? You will. You currently have a fire department with a $7.1 million budget that is not fully focused on the core functions. Not all or even enough of that money is going toward providing the needed personnel. Listen, you have nothing to lose by just looking into what I am suggesting. Contact the County Mayor @ 444-1383 and inquire about 2 things. #1 A new director with a new direction #2 A full disclosure of how WEMA funds are spent. The hitch is this…you will NOT get #2 without #1. The Mayor is afraid to replace the current director because he suspect a possible wrongful termination lawsuit. He has NOT looked deep enough into the activities and the direction of cash flow. Do not waste your safety and money on some secondary outside side dish effort. Does it not make sense to ensure that what is in place now is being directed properly? Thank you.

  88. Two things in short order:

    1. This Monday evening @ 1700/5pm, there will be a special city commission session held for the presentation of fire protection by the selected contractors. Probably a good idea to attend and learn.

    2. In 30 days or less, the county commission picks a replacement for Bill Arnold at the county landfill. The current director of the county fire department has an extensive background in waste management, not to mention trashing a budget, let your commissioner hear from you on this OBVIOUS appointment.

    Thank you.

  89. Perhaps Speaker Harwell has excused Rep. Elam?
    Otherwise she has this conflict again. . .
    http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/schedule/default.aspx?type=house

  90. Wow! We’ll see tonight. Won’t bother me if I don’t hear that hawk squawking, steel grinding, nails on the blackboard ogre voice. Anyway, all seriousness aside, thank you, Publius for this avenue. It provides therapy better than Mildred.
    R.P.

  91. Butch,
    You wanna go first with what we heard Monday night?
    I was a little staggered, but have recovered since.
    BTW, nice work on the other.

    Jamie

  92. Butch Huber

    Jamie, I am mystified. I don’t understand, after all the information and documentation that I have provided to them, how they can still not understand the basis facts in this issue.

    I don’t care which side of the issue a person stands, whether it be that Mt. Juliet needs to establish its own fire department or whether it be that we need to enhance what is provided by WEMA, this city government has an obligation as our government to protect and serve the citizenry by ensuring that the county establishes fire tax districts so that we don’t end up paying twice for something that we may not even get once.

    As far as a subscription service, I think they miss the whole point of the laws concerning Emergency Management Agencies and the thoughts, intentions, and theory behind them. They don’t even understand that this is a Homeland Security issue. I think they need to “listen”, which is something that this commission hasn’t done in a very, very long time.

  93. Butch,
    Agreed. I suppose they consider it a weakness to listen to either those that do the job or those that have thoroughly researched the issue. I almost felt sorry for Ed trying to find intelligent questions to ask after such a poor proposal by Pro-Med and a non-proposal by Rural Metro. Did you notice something very familiar about the Pro-Med proposal? They offered 1 primary engine with a crew of 2 and a back-up engine with a crew of….well, we’ll get ’em from somewhere. That’s exactly what we have now! Go to Station 3 and see the primary engine #31 and its crew of 2 FF’s and next to it is the back-up #32 and the med crew from the ambulance which may or may not be there because they are out on a call. Same thing for .08/sq ft. How much did you say I was paying for fire service out of my county taxes? BTW, the real reason Rural Metro made a presentation instead of a proposal was because they do not believe this (subscription service fees) will work at all. That is what they told us. They are simply throwing out the net of a dazzling presentation and hoping to land a contract. I suggest we get the group back together now that the weather has broke and discuss this in detail. Your thoughts? Have a great day. Jamie
    Matthew 5:37

  94. Publius,
    Question, please. As a taxpaying citizen and voter in Wilson County, what right do I have to see results of a CTAS study (done in whole or in part)on a county department’s or county administrator’s performance assessment? As always, thank you in advance.
    FMB

  95. With just a few specific exceptions, all documents “made or received” by local government are public documents. They can charge you if you want copies. You should be able to view them at no charge, any time during normal business hours.
    More here: http://www.uthsc.edu/research/research_administration/clinical_trials/docs/TCA_10-7-503.pdf

    And most good cell phones these days have cameras good enough to take legible pictures of any document… even multiple pages. My advice: Ask to view the records themselves at no charge… and take pictures of each page.

  96. Butch Huber

    It seems there is yet another special meeting on Monday regarding fire protection. I wonder if they will ever address this issue in a forum where citizens can participate? They ignore the realities and they ignore the public by doing things in the way that they do. They should be willing to answer the hard questions.

    The commission really needs to avail themselves of knowledge of what the law says regarding fire tax districts and take appropriate action to force the county to establish fire tax districts. If we had fire tax districts this city would suddenly have a small fortune to spend on fire protection services and we could either pay WEMA (My first choice if they can learn to play nicely) or we can establish the Mt. Juliet Emergency Management Agency if they can’t learn to play nicely. Either way, we win. However, it doesn’t seem as though the city is going to stand up for our rights. They spend money to help Linda Elam sue the city in an effort to thwart the will of the voters, now it appears they will ignore the citizens of this city and strap us with another situation, similar to the red-light camera issue, where we have a big stinking deal we can’t get out of without huge penalties.

    The simple solution is fire tax districts then interlocal agreements through which both the city and the county win. Can someone tell me what is wrong with a “win-win” rather than the “Zero-sum” we currently have?

  97. First of all, to get players that play nice, you need to get rid of the players that play NOT nice. The County Mayor has a report card of the current director, but he will not let anyone see it…neither commissioners nor you. Secondly, I have the strong suspicion that all of this is being done by design. The powers that be, some we see/some we do not, are keeping the current level of service INADEQUATE for the purpose of forcing MJ and others areas in the future into doing it themselves. They do not care if it is done right or wrong(“do what you need and we will work around it”)they just want it off their books so they can pocket the $$$ somewhere else. Do you really believe, “I am doing all I can…I cannot do anymore.”?
    Just a little “gravy for the brain”.
    jf

  98. Since when did “status quo” become a viable option in terms of fire protection for this area of the county? Come on Ed…one village idiot per village, please.

  99. Ed=Linda Lite. Let’s kick it around, pretend like we want to do something, then tell people the best option is to do NOTHING. Poor, Ed, very poor.
    Wilson Co. Mayors are turnig this place into OZ. Ed is the scarecrow, Randall is the lion, and Jennings is the tin man…

  100. Southsider

    Ed may be our only hope. The county wants to double charge Mt. Juliet for fire protection.

    I do believe Mt. Juliet’s only option is to go to court. We need to force adequate service or force the county to give us our money back.

  101. Southsider,
    I do not think that is our only option, but I do agree wholeheartedly that the city should seek legal counsel. From how the budget is abused to the misappropriation of personnel, payroll, and assets, the past county mayor, the current county mayor, and the director should be named in the suite. How do we go about initiating this?

    As far as Ed being our only hope…what a SAD statement.

    FMB

  102. Butch Huber

    They are planning to ask the county to assess a special tax on those of us who live in this city and apply that tax toward fire protection in this city.

    The first problem is, I don’t know how the county can legally do that. They can’t do it under fire tax districts. Under what authorization could they level such a special tax?

    Secondly, how is the city going to stop the county from removing its existing investment every year once they enact this “special tax”?

    They want to initial an impact fee as well. Don’t they need authorization from the State General Assembly in a general act to do that? I don’t think home rule allows them to institute an impact fee. Even if Home Rule could allow them to institute an impact fee, we would have to have a vote.

    The contract runs out in about a month or so, doesn’t it?
    Isn’t this playing down to the wire, getting nothing accomplished, and kicking the can down the road again? Come up with something you can’t legally do, then throw your hands up in the eleventh hour and say, oh well, we did the best we could do.

    I say, “either the county is properly funding fire protection through already shared revenues and is therefore providing a benefit to the citizens of this city that we are not otherwise entitled to “OR” the county is illegally funding fire protection and therefore providing a benefit to the citizens of the rest of the county that they are not otherwise entitled to, either way we need to settle this issue and put it behind us.” Why won’t they seek the truth in things?

    They, I believe, have to break laws in order to make this plan work. If I am right, and obviously I believe I am or I wouldn’t be writing this, they can be sued for illegal taking the moment they draw the first tax payment under this plan. It would bring the whole thing crashing down on them and we would end up in a worse situation than what we are in now.

    Will they ever learn?

  103. SI40

    On the agenda for tomorrow nights MJ City Commission is a resolution to fund fire protection and EMS by charging the citizens who live within the incorporated city limits of MJ .20 cents per 100 assessed value to pay to Fire and EMS services through WEMA. Funny that they are wanting to get funding together but never have seen what exactly we would be getting for this money… As usual a** backwards thinking by our elected officials. Looking to get money secured before seeing how much it would even cost or what we need exactly.

  104. Can you believe it? We are already taking the shaft by not getting for what we pay for, and now the best plan is to give them more money with no indication of what we will get for it. Folks, the only way YOU are going to get the protection and service that YOU NEED is to a. start your own or b.get a director with a direction that includes west of 109 rather than ignore it. The county mayor needs to hear from us. He needs the backbone and stone to do what is right. He claims to be a man of God…well, Randall it counts more what you do outside that church than inside. YOU TOOK AN OATH! YOU MADE PROMISES! YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING! Shame on you and the people you allow to pull your strings. Dedman-Lite.

  105. Southsider

    Mt. Juliet is the only city in the state whose revenues have increased right through this recession.

    And they are proposing a property tax tonight. What does that say about this Commission folks?

  106. Butch Huber

    The conversation has changed…..dramatically!

    From the Mt. Juliet News….Mayor Hutto….”as far as the thought of ‘my fair share of taxes'” paid “that does not work always across the board”. He noted those whose taxes are used for education when they don’t have children in school, or those who live on an unpaved road versus a paved road”. “we as a county provide services across the board”, he noted. “I don’t know if taxes are ever even”.

    If you aren’t careful you miss things like this. You see, the conversation turned from Lebanon has its own fire department and watertown has its own fire department and it isn’t fair that we provide fire protection services to Mt. Juliet to….”That doe not work always across the board” and “we provide services across the board, I don’t know if taxes are ever even”.

    So, okay, I would like to be on the advantage side of the issue if there is going to be an advantage, would you? Do you get it? They are conceding that something isn’t fair and that it is okay with them that it is unfair, only the want it to be unfair to our disadvantage! You have to read between the lines, but that is what Mayor Hutto is saying here.

    Oh, and the schools and paved roads are both non-starters. The county pays for roads in the county, not the cities. The cities pay for their own roads. What do roads have to do with this conversation? Nothing. How about schools? Hutto should know better than to use this example because he came from the school system. The justification for using everyone’s money to pay for education for all children was and is based on the premise that an educated populous is a benefit to everyone. I don’t agree with free education the way that they do it, and there is no such thing as free education, however, “they” decided that schools would be handled differently than other services. Fire is not schools and schools are not fire. The general assembly has determined the rules for providing fire protection services and the county doesn’t like what the general assembly has come up with and they are trying to change things without changing the laws! It sets up an unfair situation and they won’t be satisfied until Mt. Juliet is disadvantaged completely.

    It is time for tax equity in Wilson County. Time to end the feud and work together to build a vibrant community here in what is the jewel of middle tennessee! The antipathy is costing us way more than we spend on fire protection. Children need to grow up and be responsible politicians. There is a right way to do this.

    Anyway, I just wanted for you to know that the conversation has changed drastically. That is a sign of progress.

  107. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    Just got off the phone with a trusted aquaintance. He was telling me of a “bull session” the WEMA director was holding one morning in a failed attempt to show some semblance of leadership. The director told the men and women of WEMA gathered there that they are not to fight any fire in the city limits REGARDLESS. WEMA is located at 110 Oak Street in a heavily populated neighborhood in the Lebanon city limits. They folks gathered asked him if the house across the street (@75 ft from the front door of WEMA HQ) caught fire, was it his command NOT TO DO ANYTHING? That he was actually telling them NOT to go and save a life and/or property??? His answer was clear…yes. WEMA employees at station 1 were instructed NOT to do anything…save call Lebanon Fire Dept. The reason this person called was that it happened yesterday…on W Spring St. I was told a trash fire got out of hand and was threatening 3 structures. WEMA employees called LFD and responded. They had the fire under control before LFD could get there and out shortly thereafter. Now, this is certainly not a “dig” at LFD. They are a wonderful group with top shelf leadership. WEMA only had to rally 50 ft whereas LFD had @ 15 blocks. This is to let you know what your highest fire official thinks of the people across the street…kinda makes you wonder what he thinks of those across Hwy 109…west that is. And this city is taxing you to give him more assets and authority? Ed and the boys might want to think about this. What say ye?

  108. Southsider

    I wonder if the Wilson County Commission has any idea of the level of liability WEMA could cause this county with such a policy?

    Gross negligence that is premeditated for political reasons? Really?

    I could see our State Legislature voting to uncap liability limits on something like this. They have done it before.

  109. Butch Huber

    I have said it before, “I don’t want to be protected by someone who hates me.” It is time for us to have a rethink of the entire structure in this county.

  110. Butch Huber

    Who will stand up for us? There is an election coming, who among those running will stand up for the people of Mt. Juliet and for the people of West Wilson? Anyone who has been paying any attention to this site will know that what is happening in this county is illegal in terms of how they run, operate and fund the Countywide Fire Department and WEMA, but who will stand for law and order? On a national scale we are seeing what happens when public officials are not held to the law. We have unconstitutional things going on all over the nation and nobody seems to be willing or able to do anything about it. Our entire country is out of order. If we cannot establish law and order among our public officials in government in itty-bitty Wilson County and in the three incorporated cities within it, how on earth are we going to establish order on a state-wide or national scale? Is there nobody who is willing to stand for us?

    Campaign promises mean nothing to me anymore, I want to see action. I can clearly and simply show that what this county is doing is illegal, but nobody of authority seems to care. Folks, we are being ripped off, and nobody seems to be concerned, they look for a politically expedient solution instead of a legal solution. Anyone seeking public office in this city needs to recognize the extreme importance of a legal solution to the issues we are facing.

    This is a list of the issues dealing with funding and the operation of WEMA/countywide fire department in this in this county:

    1) The operation of the Countywide Fire Department is delegated to WEMA. WEMA is not statutorily authorized to operate and maintain a countywide fire department. WEMA stands for “WILSON Emergency Management Agency.” Each county is required by law to have an Emergency Management Agency. Either WEMA is that agency, or Wilson County is in violation of T.C.A. §§58-2-101–58-2-124. WEMA is the renamed version of the Civil Defense Unit, which was first established to fulfill requirements of the statutes I just mentioned. Clearly WEMA is the organization contemplated in these statutes. As such, the county must operate that unit in accordance with those statutes. Anything those statutes authorize, the county may do, anything that is not authorized, or necessarily authorized by the language of the statutes themselves, is unauthorized. Not one thing in any of those statutes allows for the operation, maintenance and direction of a countywide fire department under WEMA. WEMA is not authorized to provide any level of active emergency services except in response to natural or manmade disasters or in response to such disasters and, if I read the law properly, during time under which there is a declare state of emergency. Though the County may delegate the Countywide Fire Department to an existing organization or department, that department or organization must statutorily be authorized to take on that responsibility….WEMA is not authorized to do so. The construction of emergency services in this county is therefore necessarily unlawful and any funding provided to that construction is a misuse of government funds.

    2) County resolution R95-5-4 established the countywide fire department pursuant to TCA 5-17-101 and it empowered that department and made it responsible for all of the items listed in TCA 5-17-102 inclusive. Today, if you look at the county budget, the county has separated out fire prevention and response from all of the other budget items of the Civil Defense budget. The other services cannot be provided by WEMA either! They are all part of the Countywide Fire Department. Attorney General’s Opinion U92-134 specifically says that the county cannot provide fire protection services pursuant to TCA 58-2-101 et seq, but rather it must provide such services pursuant to TCA 5-17-101 if it is going to provide those services at all. There is no statutory authorization to split up those costs into different budgets. The Countywide Fire Department statutes require that the County Fire Chief submit a budget each year for the operation of the Countywide Fire Department and, considering that ambulance, rescue, water rescue, hazmat, emergency medical, and all of the other items that the county provides through WEMA on a regular basis are part of the Countywide Fire Department, the costs cannot be segregated. They cannot provide regular emergency services pursuant to TCA 58-2-101 et seq, and the only other statutes under which they are authorized to provide such services as it currently stands is under TCA 5-17-101 et seq, therefore they must fund it all through the countywide fire department and not through WEMA.

    3) The county is funding fire prevention and response through an alternative to fire taxes that was authorized by the State General Assembly in 1999 and which took effect in the county in 2000. The sources, or at least some of the sources, sited in the county budget from which the county is providing the funding for the fire prevention and response are not authorized to be used to cover those costs. Therefore there is not enough money available to cover the costs of that operation even if they could segregate the costs for fire prevention and response from WEMA and cover some of the costs under WEMA. They are therefore using property taxes to cover the cost, which is unlawful. If they were to legally operate the Countywide Fire Department, even if all of the state shared revenues sources were authorized to be used, the county still wouldn’t have enough money to cover it all and would have to actually fall back on the fire tax. The county has instituted a fire tax, which still exists to this day, they just don’t charge it. The county blames Mt. Juliet for the fire issue here, however, it is they, not Mt. Juliet, who are doing things improperly. All they have to do is rescind s99-8-2, which is the county resolution authorizing the county to use the alternative form of funding authorized in TCA 5-17-101, charge a fire tax sufficient to cover the cost of the entire countywide fire department in accordance with the law and their own resolution R95-5-4, and the city of Mt. Juliet would have to either enter into an interlocal agreement with Wilson County for the provision of those services, join the countywide fire department fire tax district, or provide its own services or the county would have to charge us directly for fire protection. Remember, when the county approved the county resolution that authorized the establishment of a countywide fire department pursuant to TCA 5-17-101, it took on the responsibility to see to it that “ALL” of Wilson County has adequate emergency services, including here in Mt. Juliet.

    4) The county is unlawfully using adequate facilities taxes in contravention to the state’s authorization to levy the taxes and in contravention to its own resolution that authorized the levy of those taxes. It is taking money from West Wilson County, and more specifically , from Mt. Juliet, and it is using them to build things like a forty million dollar school in Watertown and a fire station in Watertown. They are building a $40,000,000 school in a town of 1477 people! Yes, there are others outside of Watertown that will attend that school, but my God! They say it will take at least 20 years for this school to be filled, which is good planning, but don’t we need facilities here sooner? This is here the growth will occur. I know the county wants to spread the growth out toward Lebanon and Watertown, but come on, don’t we all know where the growth is going to occur? Of course we do. This is misuse of government funds and we all know it. When the county attorney is the Mayor of Watertown and the County Fire Chief is the Watertown Fire Chief, even if no impropriety is actually occurring, don’t we have reason to believe it is when you see some of the things the county is doing with our money?

    How can anyone running for office, or currently serving in office, on our city commission, or on the county commission, or both in one case, ignore the grievous violations of the law and still call themselves a servant of the people? Folks, those who are charged with upholding the law who turn a blind eye to violations of the law are, in my opinion, worse than those who actually perpetrate the crime in the first place. They are worse because they stood before us and said, “I want the responsibility to protect you, please vote for me, and then, once we trusted them, and a public office is a public trust after all, and once they took their oath of office, they made a determination not to do that which they promised us they would do!

    If you are running for public office and you have determined not to find a legal solution to this issue, you do not deserve to have the seat and would never get my vote except that you may be a better candidate than the other guy in the race, but my vote would not be a vote of confidence, it would be me standing there holding my nose and pinching my lips shut as I cast my ballot! Anyone who holds public office and ignores the people, in my opinion, is part of the scum of the earth that is infecting and invading every orifice of our country.

  111. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    Butch,
    Agreed. Life and property protection is way too important a service to receive from someone holding a grudge against you. The citizens in this part of the county deserve to have this service provided in the right spirit and attitude. It is the responsibility of those we elect to insure this. They are not. They are still badgering the county because they DO NOT KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO, and personally, I believe they do not want to know. Truth be told, they probably really deep down in places of their heart they are not proud of, wish it would go away. It ain’t. That is why candidates for this year’s election should be GRILLED in a professional manner to reveal their detailed intentions with emphasis on jurisprudence. They are acting on the easiest way by the easiest means…it is an irresponsible and ill advised path.

    Double Ditto Agrreed to your thought of having to vote against one because you can’t vote for the other. Did your mom ever give you paregoric to relieve you when you had the “trots” or “squirts”? Forgive me for the quoted words, haha. But remember the taste? Your stomach and back side hurt so bad you were willing to ingest something that tasted so horrible just to get well. Not a good analogy, but it does work here. On all stages, from national to city, I, like you, would love to be able to vote FOR someone rather than Against. I am so very tired of having to choose the lesser of two evils when I step in that booth. So much sacrifice for this priviledge, reduced to this as a choice. Politics has gotten so bad, good decent men will not even consider it. What a sad statement.

    Southsider,
    The county is gambling with YOUR safety EVERYDAY. This city is providing their ante up. Get the word out…only candidates with a legal and logical plan need apply. Stay safe.

    RP

  112. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    Thought I would dust this one off and I could not think of anywhere’s else to put it…

    I had to get up and leave the commission meeting last night after realizing I had seen it all. Listening to commissioners that should be more educated spout off about how inadequate the weather sirens were, showing true paper toting ignorance on the issue, and then watching Bradshaw have the good common sense and judgement to keep his mouth shut was more than I could stand. You guys made him look like a sooth sayer…that takes a concerted effort and a total lack of brain power. I offer you the following:
    http://www.stormchasetn.com/siren-info
    Please read the third paragraph slowly and carefully. Then make a note to educate brain before engaging mouth. Stop looking for something to bitch about on TV and trying to make it look like you care or are involved. Could you possibly imagine how loud that siren would have to be to alert you in the middle of the night, in the middle of a storm, in the middle of your bed, in the middle of your deepest sleep, under the middle of your covers. Please, as Dr. Phil says, GET REAL. You are whining because it don’t do something that it WAS NOT designed to do….DUH!!! or as my grandkids says…”epic fail”. What you want is addressed with weather radios, weather channels, and weather alert apps. If you want to bank your safety on one single thing that has a suspected track record for sporatic operation failure…then then there maybe more than the commission that needs to wise up. Nice work, JIm.

    RP

  113. butch huber

    Anyone still here?

    I have been active over the past several months.

    Back in August of last year I started to drill down on some things regarding emergency services in this county.

    I asked for some public records.

    One of the things I started to drill down on was regarding an apparent conflict of interest on the part of John Jewell. You see, John Jewell owns a company called “Comsites.” Comsites owns some communications towers. Comsites leases those towers to the county. I asked for the contract between Comsites and the county. Turns out that there are four such contracts. TCA 5-21-121 specifically and clearly states that no employee of the county shall have a financial interest in any agreement with the county.

    Interestingly, that doesn’t seem to matter to the county.

    I then asked to see the record of the payments made to Comsites. I calculated the total payments made since 2006 (I believe it was 2006), and compared the total to what the total should be according to the contracts. It appears that Comsites has been overpaid by $50,000+ by my calculations. I brought this to the attention of Mayor Hutto back on May 13th. He is still looking into it. Really? He says that they have to look to find all of the agreements. Really? I asked for the agreements he has with the county back on October 31st of 2012 and did not receive those agreements until May of 2013. Isn’t that enough time to look for the agreements? How bad is the filing and management of this county that they would be paying out money with no real idea why they are paying it? If the county could be paying $50,000 or more out in additional payments to comsites, if in fact it has overpaid by $50,000, what else and who else could be getting more money than they are entitled to receive? Shouldn’t they ask John Jewell to produce the agreements to justify the payments that he has received? Shouldn’t each payment made to his company have an identifier indicating what contract that payment is for?

    I was also drilling down on whether or not John Jewell was properly appointed, confirmed, and sworn into his job as either the EMA Director or the County Fire Chief. Turns out, he has never been appointed as either the county fire chief, or the County EMA Director, or as the Director of the County Ambulance Service. County Ambulance Service? Yes, it appears that, without the county commission ever voting to establish a county ambulance service pursuant to TCA 7-61-101 et seq, the county now has a county ambulance service that they provide pursuant to TCA 7-61-101 et seq. How that happens, I do not know, but I am working on it. He has never been appointed or confirmed, nor has he taken the required oath of office before entering into the duties of those positions.

    During the time that I was looking into these things I was handed something by a good citizen of this county. He had requested some information from the county. Wow, what an eye opener.

    This county transferred $400,000 to Watertown in January of 2007. This transfer appears to have been made without approval from the county commission. Apparently, it was intended as the county’s contribution toward the construction of an Emergency Services Building. Apparently, Wilson County was going to pay half of the costs of the building and Watertown was going to pay the other half of the costs of the building.

    Apparently, it was supposed to cost $800,000 to build the building, but then the low bidder backed out and they needed more money for the project. Apparently, they believed it was now going to cost as much as $1.3 million to build the building.

    The County issued capital outlay notes in May of 2008 in the amount of $2.3 million. There were five stated purposes for the county issuing those capital outlay notes, none of which included using any of the proceeds from those notes to issue a loan to Watertown. Remember, the official request for those funds did not include a loan of that money to the City of Watertown.

    $650,000 of the $2.3 million was transferred to Watertown. Why? The county commission never approved any loan of any money to Watertown. There was no agreement for a loan of $650,000 between the county and Watertown. The State Director of Local Finance didn’t approve any loan of $650,000 to Watertown, which is required by law.

    The county was audited by the Comptroller’s office. The findings clearly say that the money transferred to Watertown was inappropriate. The findings say that the County Finance Director and the Mayor of Watertown, who is also our county attorney, worked out the terms of the loan of that $650,000 to Watertown between them. However, there was no written agreement for that loan, there was no repayment schedule for that loan, and there was no authorization for that loan, either from the county commission or from the director of local finance. So, in the absence of any permission for this loan, in the absence of any agreement for such a loan, and in the absence of any indication in the official capital outlay note requests indicating that the county would use this money for the purpose of extending a loan to Watertown, how could this possibly be a loan?

    What would you call it when two employees of the county collaborate to transfer money from the county’s coffers to that of another entity without authorization to do so?

    Let’s catch up. The county transferred $400,000 in January of 2007 from the county to the City of Watertown. Then they floated a bond for $2.3 million for stated purposes and then used the proceeds for purposes not stated in the official request in order to transfer another $650,000 to Watertown.

    In addition to that, the county transferred another $250,000 in June of 2008 to Watertown, this time with approval of the county commission.

    All of this money, all $1.3 million, was to be used to build an Emergency Services building in Watertown.

    Now, if the county owned this building, perhaps this would all have been legal (except for the transfers to Watertown, which Mike Jennings stated in an email to me was because Watertown was dealing with the developer or some such thing and it would all be easier that way. He says that the county has been provided with receipts for all of the money spent.)

    It may have been okay if the county owned the building, but it doesn’t. I have looked, and the building appears to be wholly owned by Watertown.

    In the audit, the county says that it loaned Watertown $650,000 and that Watertown has agreed to repay the $650,000. However, there never was a loan agreement between Wilson County and Watertown, and there still is no such agreement. There is only a repayment agreement, which is only signed by Mick Jennings as Mayor of Watertown. Mind you, this is a repayment agreement for money that was already conveyed to Watertown, not a loan agreement. This repayment agreement was approved by the County Commission.

    We have a problem. The repayment agreement says that the funds would be repaid over 35 months, and that is what the county commission approved. However, the repayment schedule is for 35 years. The repayment schedule was drafted by the Comptroller’s Office “Because wilson county doesn’t have a calculator that can compute those figures”, supposedly.

    The audit says that had this been a proper loan there would have to be a written agreement and the longest duration that the loan could be under the capital outlay note provisions would be 9 years. But yet they computed a 35 year repayment schedule? Why? Did they know what they were computing? Or where they just asked to produce such a repayment schedule not knowing what the schedule represented?

    So why only nine years? Because, in a capital outlay note request, the maximum repayment period is 3 years, but that can be extended twice for three more years each extension, for a total of 9 years.

    You see, the initial repayment period for the county to repay the proceeds from the capital outlay note was 3 years. The money was provided to Watertown a month after the proceeds were received by the county. Doesn’t it make sense then that the repayment schedule would be for 35 months, not 35 years? The repayment schedule also says, Monthly payments, and Watertown is repaying those funds annually.

    The repayment agreement was not approved until more than one year after the funds were provided to Watertown. Why? Why, if this was a loan, and if the county commission knew that the transfer occurred, did it take more than a year for them to agree to a repayment schedule and plan? Why, only after an audit finding that challenged what was going on with this money, did they approve such a repayment plan, and why is Mike Jennings signature the only signature on the document?

    Now, those who like to give the benefit of the doubt, who would conclude this must have been an oversight, please explain this. The EMA committee approved a loan of $650,000 to Watertown for half of the expense of the cost of the building. The finance committee approved a motion to present the loan to the County Commission. The mayor of the county was in that county finance committee meeting. The Attorney for the county was in that finance committee meeting. The finance director was in that financial management committee meeting. Members of the county commission were also in that same finance committee meeting, as were members of the county commission in the EMA committee meeting. So, with so many people in those meetings who also serve on the county commission, and with the attorney and the finance director both having heard that this was to go to the county commission, why didn’t the county commission approve this transfer? How is it that so many people overlooked the technicality that the county commission needed to approve the loan?

    Let’s go back to the capital outlay note request. It is not legal to use those proceeds for anything not stated in the capital outlay note official request. To apply for funds in a capital outlay note request for stated purposes, knowing at the time that you are applying for those funds that you intend to use the proceeds for purposes not stated in the request, is fraud, isn’t it?

    Is it possible that there was a conspiracy to use county funds to pay for the entire cost of the building with Watertown not paying back a penny? Could that explain what occurred? It fits, I think. If this wasn’t a “loan”, but rather a “gift”, it would fit. It might not be legal, but it would fit. You see, the county can make donations to a volunteer fire department pursuant to TCA 5-9-101(23), but even that gift must be approved by the county commission.

    I have tried six ways to Sunday to figure out what they were doing and how it could have been legal, and I cannot find a single combination of things that fits legally.

    Another thing that I found in my research is that John Jewell’s formal training as a fire fighter is limited to basic fire fighter training. How, exactly, did John Jewell end up in this position? He does have a lot of years of background in fire fighting, I will give him that, but was there any requests for resumes and was there an open process used to fill the former fire chief/ema director’s position, or was John Jewell hand selected and hired unilaterally by the former mayor? He wasn’t appointed, he wasn’t confirmed, and he never took an oath of office, which are all required by law for both a director of the EMA’s position and for the County Fire Chief’s position.

    John Jewell is the former mayor of Lebanon and he is the chief of the Watertown fire department. His wife works for the County Attorney. He owns communications towers that this county relied on, and still relies on, for communications.

    His apparent conflict of interest was challenged by a county commissioner when he came onboard. He said that legal said that it would not be a problem because of the link of time. What? What does the link of time have to do with it? Notice he didn’t say, it isn’t a problem because TCA 5-21-121 doesn’t apply, he said it wouldn’t be a problem because of the link of time.

    TCA 58-2-133 requires that the director of an EMA complete certain training by June 30 of this year.

    (f) In addition to the duties and responsibilities enumerated in subsection (e), a local emergency management agency director shall:

    (1) Complete FEMA independent study (IS) courses in a timely manner as required by TEMA and local guidelines;

    (2) Within the first twenty-four (24) months of employment, or, in the case of a person who is serving as director of a local emergency management agency on July 1, 2011, by June 30, 2013, complete the TEMA hazardous materials operations level, damage assessment workshop, and any NIMS courses that are offered during that twenty-four-month period. If the TEMA hazardous materials operations level or damage assessment workshop is not offered during the first twenty-four (24) months of a director’s term of employment, or, in the case of a person who is serving as director of a local emergency management agency on July 1, 2011, during the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013, the director shall take those courses at the earliest opportunity after the expiration of such time period. A director shall attend additional courses that are offered by TEMA as the director’s time and schedule permit;

    (3) Apply for emergency management professional certifications in a timely manner; and

    (4) Independently maintain current knowledge of new technologies related to emergency management.

    I wonder if John Jewell has met these requirements? We will see.

    The county is providing emergency medical services inside of cities without there being an agreement in place allowing them to provide those services or allowing them to charge a fee for those services.

    How much more of a mess could this county make things in their attempts to configure things the way they want them instead of how the law allows and provides they be configured?

  114. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    Butch,
    Long time no see. While you are in full question asking mode, ask Randall how much of YOUR money will be used to settle the law suits that are going to be brought against John for his latest “texting while driving” mishap. He totaled out 3 trucks including YOUR county vehicle. If you get a chance, notice that he is having to drive his personal vehicle because his county vehicle is trashed. Not only is he not qualified to be YOUR ema director, he ain’t even qualified to drive . Check for yourself…He has contributed mucho grande $$$ to Hutto’s campaign. Look into it, it would be funny if it were not YOUR money.
    RP

  115. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    BTW, to answer your questions from the previous post…Bernie Ash makes all this happen because he works at the courthouse and has access to anything and anyone he needs to make anything happen in the blink of an eye and second, if it bleeds purple…(as in Watertown purple) it gets paid off or paid for. Later Tater.

    RP

  116. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    The city needs to act. There is obvious injustice being done here and being done to this city. The county is a thief and one of its henchmen is not qualified to even be at his post. This city needs to do what it can to get as far away from Sodom as it can. No action is the worst action. History is ever so brief and unkind to men of inaction. I challenge you to find a man that was present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence and did NOT sign. You can’t GOOGLE those that do nothing.

    RP

    JFK once quoted Dante, ” The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.” Actually, Dante Alighieri never said that, but he did say, “Those who are here and do nothing can place no hope in death and their blind life is so abject that they are envious of every other fate. The world will let no fame of their; both justice and compassion must dis… let us not talk of them, but look and pass.”

  117. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    …from the courthouse watercooler. If while working for WEMA under Jewell’s reign of terror, you happen to scratch a truck or rip off a door, you will face the executioner your very next shift. However, if you are John “CRASH” Jewell himself, there is no telling when you will face trial. See, 1 month and three days ago, John, for the forth time, wrecked his/YOUR county vehicle. This time he did a doozy. YOUR county vehicle was totaled as was TWO of the other vehicles he hit. This brings the total number of times he has wrecked YOUR county vehicle to FOUR!!! And he has yet to face his disciplinary board. The “Slinky Enuch, aka county mayor, is planning on taking the matter before the full commission to get them to do the job he does not have the stomach, or other body parts, to do.Remember, educators of the land, this is the same mayor YOU put in office that screwed you royally recently by abstaining on a vote that would have gotten you and all other county employees a raise. Nice play callin’…coach

    RP

  118. Randall Patrick "R.P." McMurphy

    Could he have found honor at the end? Nope, John Jewell fell on his sword yesterday…blaming everyone but himself with his last breath. When you are in over your head, too arrogant to change that fact, this is the logocal result. Now, the entertatinment continues…25 bumbling boobs and the spineless wonder try to find a replacement. Time to freshen my drink, this oughta be good.

    RP

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