Fire – archived comments

This discussion has accumulated over 700 comments since it was put up in August of 2008. Anyone who wants to understand the fire issues in Wilson County could get quite an education just by reading through them.

But, the large number of comments has made it unwieldy to continue the discussion here. Thus, we have CLOSED comments on this page and opened a new page where the discussion can continue. Please go to “Fire Discussion – current” if you’d like to join in.

 

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

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738 responses to “Fire – archived comments

  1. Butch Huber

    Having glanced over the study listed above, it would appear that the equipment costs recommended would come to about $2.1 to $2.3 million. The study recommends an increase of about 7 new full-time personnel, which I guess would increase annual expenditures by, and this is only a guess, $300,000 to $400,000 per year. They recommend recruiting quite a few volunteer fire fighters, which would require training. And then there are five or six new fire stations that would need to be built.

    Chris, I realized that there was a study from CTAS and MTAS, but that study doesn’t really spell out the full costs now does it?

    How much for each station?

    How much for each set of gear for each fire fighter?

    How much for training each fire fighter?

    What are the annualized increased costs of the full operation of these services as recommended?

    What is the annualized replacement costs for the gear and equipment?

    Chris, unless I missed something, there are still a lot of unknowns here. Further, regardless of what the “pros” put together, I would feel more comfortable with the input of the people actually doing the job as well. “Pros” tend to look at statistics and models, whereas the people in the real world battle can give you interesting tidbits of anomalous information. The better way is for the people who are actually doing the job to take this study and use it as a reference and then build out a plan of action from there. Then, once it is discovered what is “really” needed, which I believe would involve more than the MTAS and CTAS study suggests, the task of raising funds, acquiring land, sending out requests for proposals or requests for bid to build stations, procuring equipment and gear, and develop a coordinated recruiting and training effort can begin in earnest.

    While we sit and pontificate, the threat of danger posed by inadequate protection continues to be present in Wilson County.

    I think everyone who has posted on this matter is in agreement on the fact that there needs to be more action than talk. I am certainly not an expert on fire protection plans, but I do know the difference between activity and accomplishment.

    It appears to me that the county will really have to ratchet up what it spends on fire protection and emergency services if we are to develop and sustain adequate protection. However, it also appears from the report that by providing adequate protection, if the report is accurate, we will see a collective insurance break (however that happens) of about $8 million per year! My God, if that is true, what the hell are we waiting for?

  2. Chris Sorey

    The “pros” who put that study together, where in the fire fighting business when you and I weren’t allowed to play with matches. They are the people who have done the job, and they are an outside independent source in the true sense of the word.

    The costs depend on a lot of things, and that’s why they left some of those costs out. If we put a station in the center of town, the zoning requirements would make it more expensive. If it is a metal building in the county, not as expensive.
    Some equipment is more expensive than others, so it really depends on what is bought as to the costs. The normal air tank holds 2216 pounds, but my department has 4500 pound bottles. When the department decides what they want to use, the costs can be figured.

  3. Butch Huber

    Chris, I think you are proving my point.

  4. Chris Sorey

    I guess the best way to look at it is how much is your home worth, and then how much is it worth including the contents. You might have furniture from Rooms to Go or possibly very expensive antiques. No way to say what the full cost is without determining what you are going to buy.

  5. logic al

    You guys are making this blog very funtional !

    The ideas being thrown out here could ultimatly help solve this problem.

    Hats off to all of ya.. I have learned much about this issue here.

  6. Butch Huber

    Considering that the state takes 7% of the sales taxes generated in Wilson County and its incorporated cities, is there state money available to help with fire protection and emergency services?

    If so, how would Wilson County go about getting that set up?

  7. D.Stewart

    Just letting you people know the level of fire service has gone down in Mt.Juliet there once were two pumpers station at Station 3. Now lets look at what that means when I say the level of service is down.Lets say that first out pumper goes to a car fire or backs up a station in the county IT HAPPENS!! When there was two pumpers at the station the Ambulance crew aways manned that second pumper. That second pumper was stationed at 3 for 15 years or more.Now lets say that first out pumper is way out in the county and a house fire is call in lets say Hillview Sub. thats less than a mile from Station 3 the nearest Station is Lakeview Station4 thats almost ten miles away.DO we need a Fire Service that stays in Mt,Juliet you be the judge? one more thing are you aware that when there’s a large fire out in the county that lone pumper thats in Station 3 maybe out of the middle of this city for hours we’re talking four or five hours there’s no fire engine for this town.Well you may say well there’s Station 4,5or 6 there all at that fire no coverage for this town.do we need a fire services that stays in this city YES. Do you people know what the personal live in at Station 3 well one day go there when its raining there’s water running inside that building. And the county or city don’t care if you put your dog thru that you would be in front of a judge in Lebanon. You may ask how I know this I worked for WEMA for thirty years twenty five at Station 3.

  8. Shawn Donovan

    Butch,

    I can say that I’m fairly comfortable with the subject since I ride a ladder truck every 3rd day as a Firefighter for the City of Franklin and do not sit in an office as a consultant. I’ve work on both sides of the fire profession fence as both a Volunteer Firefighter and a Professional Firefighter.

    I am the one also that was tapped by City Manager Randy Robertson to work on recruiting, equiping, and get the training lined up for the Volunteer Firefighters who will work with the Full Time Firefighters for WEMA at Station 3.

    When we are talking costs assoicated with implementing a fire department and firefighters, it is quite lengthy.

    With fire stations, the cost assoicated when we are looking at construction are the same as building a home with a large garage. It depends on the number of bays, living quarters size, kitchen equipment, etc.. For example if you look at the new fire station that was built in Franklin that I work at. The cost for the station was around 2.5 million and that’s with donated land. That also doesn’t include all the furnishings, since a firehouse is just that a house for us to live in since we are there for 24 hours at a time.

    Apparatus is another thing. The cost for trucks is strictly based on the mfg., type of appartus, etc. When you look at apparatus cost you also need to remember you have to by all the equipment, such as hose, hand tools, SCBAs, radios, ect. For example, the ladder truck I ride in Franklin is a 2007 Sutphen 102 ft. Ladder Truck. The base cost for the truck was close to 800,000.00 , but when you add all the equipment you are close to a million dollars. That is one truck.

    Personnel Costs- in addition to salaries you have to look at the PPE (turnout gear) that each firefighter is required to have. This is the helmet, hood, coat, pants, boots, gloves. Now the cost again is based on the quality and the derability of the type you chose. The equipment I have quoted for MJ is not the best stuff out there, but its not the worst either. We are looking at close to 2300.00 for this gear for each firefighter. When you add things like individual radios that brings it up around 500.00. Now another piece of equipment that is required to fight house fire is SCBA or Self Contained Breathing Apparatus. Chris mentioned this in an earlier post about SCBA, but the one’s we have quoted are around $5100.00 and with a spare air bottle is $ 1000.00. These are nothing special and are the same one’s being purchased by WEMA.

    Now when we are talking about training again it is all dependent on at what level you would like them to be trained to. The current course that is being put together for the new volunteers is a basic firefighter course which consists of 64 hours worth of training. The cost per firefighter for this course is 191 per firefighter. This is only the basic course. There are many other courses out there and if you were interested in looking at some more just to get an idea, go to the state fire school webpage at http://www.state.tn.us/commerce/sfm/tfaca/index.html

    Hope that answers some of your questions..

  9. Butch Huber

    Shawn, thank you for taking the time to write the last post. Yes, it does answer some of my questions.

    It appears that the county needs to construct 7 new fire stations in order to adequately provide fire protection services and Emergency Medical Services. Shawn, I believe you said that you ride on a ladder truck, so I am going to assume (even though I know what that does to me) that you are in a larger than normal facility because it has to house a ladder truck (I am not sure it ladder trucks are larger than normal trucks, but it would make sense to me that they might be). Let’s say that we build two buildings in Wilson County equivalent to what you have in Franklin and then five more lesser buildings of say the $2,000,000 range. That would mean that we need about $15,000,000 for buildings and we need to then either purchase the land, which would probably be around another $7 to $12 million (land in some of the areas would be cheaper that what you could purchase it for in Mt. Juliet, and we already have some land for new stations. We could probably also get some land donated as well.) So now we are up to about $22,000,000 to $27,000,000. The 7 extra full time fire fighters would need complete outfits which appears to come to about $10,000 per outfit, which adds another $70,000. I would add in about $3,000 for training per person. I suspect there are other items that would be needed for each person brought on, so lets go ahead and say that we need about $15,000 per person to put a trained and well equipped person on the street. It would appear that CTAS/MTAS would recommend that the county recruit about 165 volunteers if I read the report right. I have no idea how many now exist, but if we had to recruit all 165 plus the 7 new full-timers we would need about 172 sets of gear (unless they can share) I am going to use 160 sets of gear because the math is easier. It think that comes to $2,100,000 in gear and training. So now we are up to about $24,000,000 to as much as $30,000,000. I am guessing, but I bet we need around $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 in new equipment, both to equip the new stations and to replace old equipment. So now, if my calculations are correct, we are looking at around $39,000,000 to as much as $45,000,000 in expenses to adequately provide fire protection and emergency services.

    Now, we are not going to accomplish a feat like that over-night, but it shouldn’t take forever either.

    I believe this should be accomplished in less than 5 years. Which would mean that we would have to come up with around $9 million per year for the next five years.

    However, you have to factor in incentive pay and/or bonus pay for the volunteers. I estimate this to gradually increase from probably $500,000 to as much as $3,000,000 per year five years from now. But let’s go ahead and factor the full three million in right now. That would mean that for the next three years we need to come up with $12,000,000 per year. From that point on we need replacement costs of vehicles and equipment and the ongoing pay. Oh, yeah, I forgot the pay for the 7 full-timers. Let’s put the costs of pay and benefits for each of them at about $70,000 each, so that adds in another $500,000 each year. I will absorb that in the $12,000,000 per year for the next five years, which is obviously very high. However, starting in the sixth year it has to be factored in, so with all pay and replacement costs starting in the sixth year, we will most likely need to increase current spending by between $5 to $6 million per year. Now, with 106,000 people currently living in Wilson County, and perhaps a 10% annual increase in population, especially when you factor in that we are adding in better protection and businesses are flocking to the county, that number will likely grow to around 150,000 in the five year period. There is typically about 2.3 people per home, so I am going to guess and say that there are currently about 40 thousand homes in Wilson County. So if we were to pay the full $12,000,000 this year we would have to come up with an average of $300 per household to accomplish it. However, homes are not the only thing that factor in, businesses pay property taxes as well, so let’s say that we could reduce that $300 per household to $225. Now, let’s think outside the box and say that we get local businesses and private donors to do some matching funds and other donations. We could reasonably get them to put up a third to half of the money. That would mean that we would reduce the number for Joe Q. to around $75 to $125 this year. I have mine, how about you? Next year, with more businesses open and more people to spread this cost among, the number could easily come down to as little as $50 per person. Folks, it is easy if everyone does their part!

    This really isn’t that monumental of a task, the monumental task is to get the county and the incorporated cities to work together to accomplish more!

    That is what this election cycle needs to be about, getting more done through cooperation and by making the public aware. This site is making the public aware as much as possible, but we need your help. The city of Mt. Juliet is doing its level best to make it difficult for citizens to get public records. Call them and give them hell for not posting things on the city website. Give them hell for not being more than willing to hand over what is asked for without trying to run up an expensive bill for the person asking for information.

    Here is the question for everyone, would you be willing to put up the full $300 this year if necessary in order to fix this problem? I would! The long-term savings on insurance, according to MTAS/CTAS, actually repays the $25 per month with some very handsome interest! To me, based on what I have seen so far, this is a no-brainer. In fact, if the information that has been presented so far is accurate, and my math is not underestimating the cost, this isn’t only a no-brainer, we would be stupid not to do it!

    But there is another cost that hasn’t been factored here…that is the cost of doing nothing. If we don’t fix the problem, and a person dies because we failed to act, the cost is a human life. What is the price of a human life? What is the price for the life of your wife, daughter, son, mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandmother, grandfather, or friend? What is the price for “your” life? Would you be willing to put up less than $1 dollar per day, less than the price of one soda, to help ensure that you don’t ever have to face the reality that your complacency, your stinginess, your stubbornness, costs someone their life, especially when that someone could be someone you love?

    Now, I don’t think it is going to cost us $1 per day. I think it is going to actually cost us less than a quarter per day. But wouldn’t you be willing to put up a dollar each day to solve this problem?

  10. Chris Sorey

    The volunteers were for the MJ side of the world, and even though it would be great to have that many in the county, it would probably be out of control with that number. It was a way for MJ to supplement.

    Not all fire halls are as expensive as what was posted by Sean. Smyrna just built a 4 bay for a million, minus the land. Either way, there are a lot of variables to consider. Once you get out in the county, the land will probably need to be purchased, but it is cheaper. In the high growth areas, a developer will most likely donate a parcel for a few reasons.

    In my honest opinion, the cost alone is probably why you haven’t seen the MTAS report until now. I still say the MTAS and CTAS guys are pros, and most in the profession would agree. A lot of the reports MTAS and CTAS write end up on the shelf, because when it is all said and done, most people in the position to make change, really don’t want outside advice…

  11. Butch Huber

    I was advised today that there is a court order directing the county to develop fire tax districts. I am of the opinion that fire protection and emergency services would be best covered by the county rather than fire tax districts, however, that opinion is based on the principle that the county would be equitable and responsible with the fire protection and emergency services by ensuring that everyone had proper coverage. However, I recognize two things that may change my mind. The first is that the county hasn’t got a history of providing adequate coverage anywhere, none less in Mt. Juliet. The second is a little more abstract. Fire tax districts would ensure that those people who live in densely populated areas are protected by firemen and emergency services personnel who are properly equipped and trained to handle the issues that need to be handled in that area and the people who live in the county have what they need to cover their area. Fire tax districts would more equitably tax citizens for fire protection and emergency services.

    I don’t know how I feel about that just yet. The idea of paying less in taxes is appealing to me, however, there is a limit to how micro taxation should become. I guess I still don’t know enough yet. Being ignorant on a topic of discussion is so frustrating!

  12. Lori Ruotolo

    I moved from an area that was ALL volunteer fire departments. The next county over had full-time fire fighters. The costs to run the departments was not too different since heafty insurance and benefit plans were required in both cases as well as all the training, buildings, materials and everything else that goes along with running a department.

    The volunteer department however received a large amount of their budget from donations rather than taxes and they did quite well. One of the things they did every year was go door to door and take donations for the department along with providing a free service of some kind. One year they repainted the house numbers on the curb, another year, they put the TOT Stickers on the kids windows, another year they tested fire alarms and provided the 9 Volt batteries.

  13. Shawn Donovan

    Chris,

    What I mentioned as the cost for the station was specific to my current fire hall. Its like we both know it all depends on what you want in the station depends on the cost. You could build a station for 500,000 if you didn’t care how well it fits in the community and want bare essentiols

    Yes, the volunteers that are being raised are specifically to serve MJ. This was part of the contract that was signed in 2006. One thing to point out also is that the MTAS/CTAS study was completed AFTER the contract was signed, so a lot of the issues that were raised in the report were not discussed during contract negotions.

    Another point about the folks at MTAS/CTAS. When they do studies they are looking at the numbers and what fits within parameters. Like Chris mentioned, yes they have some supporters but also have departments and goverments that are against their recommendations. You need to remember that both consultants have a lot of experience working with volunteer organizations, i.e. Ray Crouch worked for Kingston Springs (volunteer) and Kevin Lauer worked for Fairview (combination). Sometime that causes an issue with the career personnel because MTAS tend to look at the volunteers as more of an option than say a career department would. There is not many all career departments, that are very supportive of taking positions and replacing them with volunteer firefighters. It would be similar to working at a business and your boss coming in and saying sorry we are reducing full time people so we are going to replace your position with someone we don’t have to pay. I would put a bad taste in your mouth

    Chris, do you work for Smyrna Fire Department or the Airport?

  14. Chris Sorey

    Sean,

    I work directly for the Airport. I was at BNA previously and when Smyrna Airport started a department, they recruited me and I jumped at the chance. Mutual aid is through Smyrna and Lavergne. I honestly have the best gig out there. I also instruct for the state on aviation crash rescue. Why is it such a good job? I borrow multi-million dollar aircraft by just asking and then run firefighters through them on drills and the people who own the aircraft ask when I need it again. That’s the environment I work in. Come out sometime and I’ll give you the tour. We have some toys you would get a kick out of.

    As for the station costs, I felt the need to point out the difference in what a Williamson County station would cost versus what most stations are. Trust me, I wish I had your station. I think most firefighters would.

    The volunteers were discussed before the other contract was signed. I was only pointing out the reason for the volunteers was to get MJ involved and it was a good place to start. It appeared that Butch was under the impression that each station might need that many volunteers. You and I both know that would be a nightmare for WEMA, or any agency. Butch, if that was not the case, that was what I gathered from your post.

    I think you might want to get with Gentry Fox and ask his opinion of Ray Crouch before you rush to judgement. I believe you already know Kevin Lauer. The other study, well, I haven’t seen it and the first time I had heard of it was when you mentioned it. Who were the people involved in it?

  15. Butch Huber

    As far as volunteers are concerned, I went from the MTAS/CTAS study. It says that stations staffed with a minimum of 2 full time personnel should be staffed with 10 additional volunteers and those with less than two full time personnel should be staffed with 15 volunteers. So, I went to the recommended stations and full time staffing chart and I did the math. Again, this issue is way off my area of expertise, I am trying to put together some framework for what kind of money is needed. You guys are way more informed and qualified to develop the numbers than I am, I am simply trying to move the ball down the field.

    I come up with a maximum number of $60 million. Do you think this is high enough?

    $60 million is a very doable number financially if it is spread over five years? $60 million over five years is 12 million per year. 12 million divided by 40,000 homes comes to 300 per home per year. That comes to less than $1 per day per home. With matching funds and other donations, as well as fundraisers and perhaps carnivals and other events, perhaps some raffles, that number could come way down from $1 per home per day. However, if the MTAS/CTAS study is right, we would experience a savings of as much as 8 million in insurance once it is complete. This, from a businessman’s perspective, is a very good investment. Spend $60,000,000 over five years with a continuing cost of perhaps 4 million and save 8 million per year forever! You have a ten year break even and then 4 million savings each year from then on.

    However, that isn’t considering the appeal factor. It also doesn’t consider the vertical growth that can happen with taller buildings being built here. Think Maryland Farms and Century City. Fire protection is something that needed to be tended to for everyone’s sake.

  16. Bobby Franklin

    The ISO rating is based on much more than fire station availability. Water availability, volume, and pressure improvements made by West Wilson Utility District were responsible for taking Mt. Juliet from a 7 to a 5 in 2004.

    http://www.wilsoncountyema.com/pubdocuments/iso_rating.pdf

    Taking Mt. Juliet to a rating of 3 will not save much more on anyone’s insurance premium. It is still a great thing to strive for, but the real insurance savings came by becoming a 5.

    There is some “ISO envy” going on in Wilson County but it is based on a misunderstanding of the rating system. To take the number lower in most rural areas will require improvements to the water supply infrastructure. 60 million more funding for WEMA will not add any water lines.

  17. Butch Huber

    Isn’t this complex?

    How in the hell can a dysfunctional city commission, such as the one we currently have, overcome 36+ years of enmity between Mt. Juliet and Wilson County when we are dealing with such complex issues that involve so many factors and aspects and that are so important? We need a civil civil government in this city and a civil civil government at the county level. What is called for here is cooperation and civility…something Mayor Elam missed in law school and something that is completely lost on Ray Justice altogether. Time for change in Mt. Juliet.

  18. Looking Toward The Future

    Butch. I agree with you on this point. We need a new commission in the city that will work WITH the county instead of battling against them. After all, aren’t we all here to live as neighbors and live our lives to the fullest? If all we ever do is bicker back and forth we will dye a bitter life and hopefully our children will learn from our mistakes. How do we expect our children to get along on the playground if all the city/county governments ever do is fight to see who has the bigger sandbox…

  19. Shawn Donovan

    Chris,

    Actually I met Ray more through Shane Ray with Pleasant View since Shane was my Lt. at Brentwood Fire.

    Gentry and I have discussed this topic in the past since Gentry used to be my Assistant Chief for my first year and a half at FFD

    I will have to take your up on your offer to come down and see your equipment. Working at BNA I’m sure you might know some of our past BNA guys from FFD.

  20. Chris Sorey

    Sounds good. Call me. 579-6068

  21. Madi

    Chris, you will be a great County Commissioner. Your committment to improvements are already in the works, Thank You…

  22. Chris Sorey

    It seems everywhere I go, someone tells me that the sales tax increase from Providence should take care of all of our problems. Earlier, someone on this web site even stated that the Providence sales tax revenues from December alone would build and fund a fire station for an entire year, but for some strange reason, coincidence or not, it seems that post has been erased…

    Here are the figures so that everyone can realize that while Providence is creating revenue, it is not the fix all. It adds a lot, but it also creates expense while creating revenue.

    The sales tax in Wilson County is 9.25
    The state takes the first 7 pennies
    Inside any city limits, the city and county split the 2.25 so now it is 1.125.
    The half or 1.125 pennies that the county gets from inside the city limits goes to education funding.
    I do not have the numbers from Providence alone, but the entire city of MJ took in a half of a million dollars in sales tax revenues in December 07, according to the speach that Elam gave on the state of the city. That would mean that 40 million dollars were spent inside the city of MJ during December 07.

    In other words, 80 million dollars have to be spent inside the city limits for the city of MJ to generate $1 million in sales tax. That number is not exact, because the sales tax on food is 5.5 instead of the full 7 percent, and then add in the local option of 2.25.

    It takes one penny of property tax for the county to raise approximately 250k in revenue. The city of MJ say they have 1.84 billion in property value. If the city were to raise the property tax rate from zero to fund a Fire Department, Parks, etc. it will raise approximately forty six thousand for every penny of property tax. If they were to set a tax rate of twenty five cents, it would only raise 1.15 million dollars. You can do the math from there. The Lebanon Fire Department has an approximate budget of 3 million per year, and it would take a property tax rate in the city of MJ of around seventy five cents to raise 3.5 million dollars in revenue. For a 200k home, that amounts to $375 a year in MJ property tax.

    Check my numbers and let me know if you find any errors, but I think that is correct.

  23. Lex Luther

    Mr. Sorey,

    First of all you are wrong about the post being deleted:

    https://radiofreemj.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/headlines-from-the-mt-juliet-news-august-13-2008/#comment-2268

    You are also wrong about what the post said. Publius said: “In fact, the County receives more December sales tax money from Providence Marketplace than it costs to build and man a fire station for a year.”

    You said: ” someone on this web site even stated that the Providence sales tax revenues from December alone would build and fund a fire station for an entire year, but for some strange reason, coincidence or not, it seems that post has been erased…”

    Publius never said what you said nor did he (or she) erase the post. Funding a station and manning a station is not the same thing.

    In the process of making these two mistakes, you totally missed the point being made – Mt. Juliet pays a lot of money to the county from Providence Marketplace sales tax. I have no idea if Publius is correct to the exact dollar on December sales tax. But the county does take a lot of money here. Surely you can admit that.

    You seem to be falling into the trap of thought believing Mt. Juliet is not paying its fair share to the county for emergency services. Your remedy is for Mt. Juliet to pay more through a 75 cent property tax. We will have to agree to disagree on this one.

    Good luck getting re-elected.

  24. Glen Linthicum

    Will the county give us a discount? Currently I pay the county for this service (fire). If the county no longer provides this service and the city takes over, I should, by all rights, get a discount or a rebate from the county right? I would not be asked to pay for the same services twice?

  25. Chris Sorey

    Lex,
    The post was not deleted, and thanks for finding it. It did say build and man, not build and fund which was from memory. You are splitting hairs with that though. If YOU can build and man a fire station for $500,000, which is what the county recieved from Providence for that particular month, then YOU need to step up. Estimates on the building alone are one to two million. Either way, stand up and say where your opinion lies on this issue. Who, in your opinion, should provide the service? City or County? Re-election? Give it a rest.

    The math doesn’t lie. There are funding issues for multiple programs in the entire county with education being on the top of the list as of now. I gave the numbers so that you can make an informed opinion. I did not advocate a property tax in MJ, and have said quite often that I believe the county should provide the fire protection. I also believe that MJ will institute a property tax and create its own FD. Instead of writing behind a screen name, why not have lunch at the new meat and three, Bakers Cafe? 579-6068.

    Glen Linthicum,
    Are you serious? Call and ask for the rebate. Be sure and tell them you don’t have children in the public schools so that they give you that tax break as well. Let me know how that goes…

  26. Lex Luther

    There is no better or cheaper way to provide fire service than a county system funded through fire tax districts. Mt. Juliet residents already overpay the county for fire service now.

    Every new business and home built in this county pays in money for this service. The more that is built, the more money goes to the county – money to fund all services provided by the county. Not just schools.

    Glen is right. If Mt. Juliet goes into the fire business, Wilson County owes the Mt. Juliet homeowners some property tax money back.

  27. Chris Sorey

    I did some more math, and it looks like MJ residents pay approximately $10,250,000 in property taxes each year. Local option sales tax was around 6 million or so, and that may be a little high. It will continue to increase, but it is not nearly as significant as most believe. For a rough number, figure around $16,000,000 a year from inside the city limits that goes to the county. By the time you pay for the schools, there is not much left for the jail, courts, health department, WEMA, etc.

    The impact fees go to capital outlay projects. It is currently $3,000 per home. There was a study a few years ago that detailed the costs of growth, and although I do not remember what the number was, I do know it was significantly higher than the impact fees that are currently in place. If you raise the impact fees, it will kill growth in this market.

    I don’t know about you Lex, but we don’t have a single credit card in our home. I prefer to pay for what I need, when I need it. If I can’t pay for it, I save until I can. I think our governments should operate that way as well. If not, we will quickly go from one of the lowest property taxes in the state to one of the highest. It looks like an increase is just a few days away as it is.

  28. Glen Linthicum

    Hang on Chris!

    Why would I pay the same amount and receive less service? Yes my children go to public schools and a portion of my taxes go to pay for that. The key word is “portion”. Another portion of my taxes go to pay for fire services and that is the portion I am speaking about. Forgive me I am a “KISS” (keep it simple stupid) kind of guy and maybe I am missing something here.

  29. Butch Huber

    Chris,

    I am not sure about your numbers, but I applaud your effort to get a grasp of the situation.

    However, you are seemingly only investigating the supply side, meaning revenue side, of the budget. The other side of the budget is even more important. You are saying that you pay for things as you go, and I think that is great, and you say that the government should do the same, and I think that would be great as well. However, there is fat in the budget somewhere, especially in Mt. Juliet. You can’t increase 100% in your revenue column in 5 or 6 years and not have a budget surplus unless you have allowed spending to get out of control.

    The thing that everyone should really be pinging on is the fact that I was able to prove that the board of commissioners passed a budget based on a budget workbook that had many errors in it, one of which was as much as $4,000,000. Folks, if they were doing what they were elected to do that could never have happened. If you don’t keep your eye on the budget there is no way you can avoid high taxation! They missed a $4,000,000 error, and even when it was brought to their attention and I showed them, they chose to ignore it! If an error that large can get past them anything can, and probably does, get past them!

    I have no real good idea what is going on at the county level, but if the same thing is going on at that level there is no wonder there is a money crunch!

    Chris, keep digging in, look at the inflows “and” the outflows. I realize that this issue with fire protection is a serious issue to you, and I am glad it is, but this has to be set straight properly.

    If this city has a property tax increase it won’t be the end of the world, but a property tax increase should only be passed if there is an equitable solution to the problem of double taxation.

    What we are looking for isn’t a free ride on the county, what we are looking for is “equity”. We cannot accept anything less than a win-win.

  30. Chris Sorey

    Glen, when your children graduate, should the county refund that portion of your tax dollars that go to education?

  31. Glen Linthicum

    Chris you’ve missed the point. If I pay taxes to the county for a service and pay again to the city for the same service have I not payed twice for the same thing?

  32. Common Sense

    Sorry Glen, but your argument is the same as if you don’t have children in school, or if you home school. In that scenario, you would not benefit either and your taxes fund education. At least from fire protection, you would benefit from mutual aid from the county if it was needed.

    Do I need to say it again? I believe the county should provide the fire protection.

  33. Butch Huber

    It’s interesting how this issue seemed to just drop away all of a sudden. Again, unless there is action on this matter, rather than just talk (although talk is important) nothing will change.

  34. 1 voice of the brotherhood

    Sorry Butch took a vacation. By no means is this issue dropping off.

    With the new budget at the county being status quo it looks that we won’t see any additional staffing or equipment in MJ at least for now.

    I’m all for seeing a committee get put together to work on plans for the future. It will take a few meetings just to get a consensus to see who should run it, county or city. Between half saying they don’t want to duplicate effort by paying twice, so we should stay with the county. Then another side, saying we need to fund it ourself since the county is not going to give us anything additional then what we have. This is due to the fact that there are portions of the county that don’t have any fire protection or little if any, so they need to get these areas up to par first. As long as we continue to look to county to provide us more, we will be waiting.

    Another thing that needs to be discussed too, is yet another option. Say the City of Mt. Juliet provideds additional funds to the county for additional fire protection. Do the residents feel comfortable giving more money to the county with no control on how its spent locally. There is already an issue of the openess of the budget and how things are spent at WEMA already, i.e. personnel issues, equipment, and staffing.

    One thing I haven’t seen a comment about either, is the thoughts around the city buying the old Bobby Hamilton building to use as a public safety center. I personally thing this would be a very good move with the access and space available over there.

  35. You have touched on most of the larger issues that need to be resolved – money and control being the really controversial ones.

    Part of the conflict is structural. The area controlled by the cities of Lebanon and Mt. Juliet is not the same as the logical geographic area which could/should be protected by fire departments in the two cities. There needs to be a solution which solves the structural conflict between the areas under the jurisdiction of Lebanon & Mt. Juliet and the logical areas which can be protected with a centrally located firehall (or firehalls).

    There is a way to use fire tax districts to solve this – but it’s a bit out of the box.

    Step one: create 3 fire tax districts. One for the territory covered by the City of Lebanon – include areas both inside and outside the Lebanon city limits. Create a second district for the territory covered by the City of Mt. Juliet – again, draw a logical boundary – about half the area covered by the MJ fire hall is outside the MJ city limits. Create a third fire-tax district that is “the rest of the county.” Fire tax districts can have their own property tax rates. Take the money collected from the Lebanon fire tax district and give it to Lebanon to fund (or help to fund) their fire department. Take the money collected from the Mt. Juliet fire tax district and give it to the city of Mt. Juliet to fund (or help to fund) their fire department. Take the money from the “all other” fire tax district and give it to WEMA to fund their operations that protect the rest of the county.

    This would require the co-operation of the county commission, since they are the only legislative body with the authority to establish fire tax districts and to set the rates…

    – Publius

  36. Glen Linthicum

    Now there is an idea I could get behind! But can the “east west debate” be over come? I would hope so. does anybody know when Gilbert’s term is up?

  37. Chris Sorey

    All terms expire every four years. The East/West debate will be hard to overcome, but anything is possible.

    The idea of fire tax districts in and of itself might be a good idea for some areas, but Lebanon has a property tax as is, and as such, they are their own district, and have instituted that tax already.

    There are a lot of options out there, so keep throwing ideas around. Glen was right. With the status quo and the funding issues, it won’t be anytime soon coming from the county. The best we could hope for would be another station in the area, but outside of the city limits.

  38. Butch Huber

    I used to live in Illinois when I was going through training in the Navy. The area I lived in had a Fire Protection concept that I haven’t heard of elsewhere. Each property owner was responsible for paying the fire department directly, you weren’t taxed for fire protection in other words. If you paid the fire department you were a member and your home was protected, if you didn’t, you weren’t a member and you weren’t protected. If you were not a member and your home caught on fire the fire department would show up at the fire to protect the surrounding buildings (If they were members), but they would let your home burn to the ground. Now, I didn’t like the idea that someone would allow a home to burn to the ground just because the owners weren’t members of a fire department, but the concept of a private fire department was intriguing.

    As I understand it, companies operate ambulance service as a for-profit entity. Could we operate some sort of private fire protection/emergency service operation here? I mean, if we were to develop a countywide fire protection/emergency services organization to handle this need, wouldn’t it take the government politics out of the equation? I mean, after all, we are going to eventually pay the tab for whatever services we are provided anyway, and with the way things are politically here in Wilson County, we are likely to pay more than necessary for the services if we leave it in the hands of the politicians, so why not take it over with a private organization that each Wilson County Resident has a right to join? I am sure that there could be more than one option for financing the operation so that everyone is covered regardless of whether or not they contribute or not. (I have a thought in mind of how to cover people who cannot afford or will not pay the membership fee, but I will reserve it for now.)

    If not a private enterprise, how about organizing a citizen’s action committee to force the governments of Wilson County to cooperate and provide proper and adequate protection and service? This site is a wonderful place to express ourselves to one another, and a decent place to make statements that we know the local politicians see from time to time, however, what will get things done is organizing.

    How about this, what if I were to reserve a place for people to meet to discuss this issue?

    What day of the week would be best?

    Seriously, if we don’t “do” something about this all we are doing is “talking”. I am sure that we could get a lot of people together and organize a citizen’s action committee to force these governments to deal with these services more responsibly.

    Remember when the Houston Oilers were coming Nashville? Remember the yellow and red signs all over the area? Perhaps we need to take a page from their playbook (Pun intended).

    In order to get community involvement you need to educate, inspire, and motivate people to action. Most people don’t have a clue how inadequate the fire protection and emergency services in this county are, nor do they have a clue what is needed to bring those services up to par. They get up, go to work, come home, and live life, never realizing that they are not properly protected in the event of an emergency.

    I will say it again, we need a plan of action. In order to build a plan of action we we need to know; what is needed, how much is needed, where it is needed, when it is needed, and who will provide it. This is a sales process; in order to make a good sale you have to: 1) convince the prospect that you are someone they want to do business with 2) you need to completely and fully identify the need, 3) you need make a convincing and compelling presentation that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that your product or service will best fill the need at a price the prospect can afford and would be willing to pay, 4) you need to isolate and overcome the prospects objections to your offer, and 5) you need to close the deal (which includes, getting the go ahead from the prospect, identifying who is going to pay and how payment will be rendered).

    Let’s break this down:

    Who is going to do the selling? I think compelling television ads can be made to make the issue a front burner topic in the community. Imagine turning on your television and seeing a house burning down as the opening scene of a commercial. As the house burns a person wearing fire protection gear enters the frame from the right side of the scene. He says; “If you live in Wilson County, you have reason to be worried. Wilson County politics have left us under-protected in the event of fire or emergency. Wilson County has had a comprehensive assessment conducted through the cooperative efforts of the University of Tennessee’s County Technical Assistance (CTAS) and the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service, which are organizations that were formed to help make local governments more effective and efficient. Due to politics, the findings of those organizations sit on the shelves of the governments of Wilson County and collect dust while the people who live in Wilson County continue to go under-protected.

    Please join the citizens of Wilson County who have determined that something must be done to ensure that we are properly protected by logging on to http://www.WilsonCountyCares.org (website is available btw.) to learn more about the risks to you and your loved ones, what is needed to adequately protect your family and friends, and to find out how you can help. Don’t leave the protection of your family and friends to the whim of politics in Wilson County, join in and together we can make a difference….your life or the life a loved one may depend on it.”

    Now imagine yard signs popping up through-out the county. Bumper stickers, people holding signs, door hangers going out around the county, bulk mail drops, radio spots, e-mail campaigns, people wearing shirts, etc. Folks, we “can” have adequate fire protection if we want it bad enough, we just have to be willing to pay the price to get it.

    All of this and a whole lot more could be done, however, the first thing that has to be done is discovery of the facts and the formation of a plan of action.

    It has to come off this blog and into a room in order to accomplish anything. If not now, then when? If not you, then who?

    I say; “Let’s take one of the most critical issues we face and depoliticize it”! Fire Protection and Emergency Services are critical functions that affect each and every citizen regardless of geographical boundaries. “We are all in the same boat, and if we are going to all be in the same boat, we should at least all row in the same direction!”

    We need to make the sale to Lebanon that there is a better way. We need to make the sale to the folks living in unincorporated Wilson County that there is a better way. We need to make the sale to Watertown that there is a better way. We need to make the sale to those living in Mt. Juliet that there is a better way. We need to make the sale that cooperation is better than politics, all day, every day, all the time. Finally, we need to make the sale that we are serious and that we are going to find a solution to this problem no matter what!

    So the question is; “Are we going to just sit around and talk about how much we need better fire protection and emergency services, or are we going to do something about it?

  39. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    I agree Chris that there is a need for another station in the area, the question who is going to pay for everything that is utilized by the station. The construction, equipment, and personnel costs.

    Everyone makes a good point. You may want to look at another district and add Watertown since they have their own department also.

    With Lebanon wanting more funding from a county level, if it was agreed by all governments to a plan that had all the districts on board it would be a good thing.

    Commissioner Graves term ends in 2010.

  40. Brent Dyer

    Hope all of you are doing well, most seen my name being tossed around not long ago for the Mt. Juliet City Commissioner for District 1 race. I had recieved some much appreciated support for that, I wanted to let folks know that I regret backing down from candidacy, however I got together with some of my colleagues and we made the decision that trying to put some of our own in office in 2010 would be more beneficial to the people of the county. We definitey agree that Mt. Juliet’s administration needs an enema, but it seems as if there is more complacency on the county level. (No offense Mr. Sorey, we look forward to working with you as you set sail in stagnant waters)

    I’m no politician, but I am a dedicated public safety professional in our community and my priority is to bring the issue of public safety deficits to the community’s attention. The professional firefighters/EMS personnel in this community need everyone’s support to direct current and future leadership to take the first step whatever it may be. There are several ideas, I believe it should be up to the people to decide what is best for them. We have relied on a complacent local government to take care of the people who elected them to do so. We are at a higher risk of life and property loss in this community right now than ever before. I have described situations in previous comments that are evident that we have to do something now or else the next close call will end in absolute tragedy. I worry that our luck is running out friends.

    I could type all day and never run out of interesting material that would shock and scare the average person beyond their imagination. Bad things are going to happen, accidents, sudden cardiac arrest, fires, severe weather, whatever it may be. When these things happen, you find lunatics like myself who are willing to fix what can be fixed. However we can’t fix it if we don’t have the tools we need. “We have been keeping our heads above the water by treading through rough seas long enough, we’re drowning now. Current leaders need to throw us a lifejacket here. Most importantly, it seems as if we must elect some officicals who are ready to atleast get their feet wet.”

    (With the exception of Mr. Sorey and some commissioners with public safety experience) I wish members of city and county commissions could see for themselves what it takes to pull up in someone’s driveway when family members are screaming for help. As we tried to resuscitate a man one morning, a little boy probably 5-6 years old held his fishing pole in one hand and asked me if his pa-pa could still take him fishing that day …

    Some of my colleagues pointed out to me one night that as rats were running out of a buidling on fire, we were the ones running in…

    Man! We should have been an attorney or something, at least then we could get paid for arguing our point. Or, if nothing else we could then become an elected official and hook up with some developers, take a right onto ethics lane, a left on moral avenue, and park at Corruption Bank and Trust. Then, after making a hefty deposit, we could run for re-election,…hmm? Now that takes more guts than fighting fire and crime ever could!
    Sounds like an exciting career change with lots to gain personally. Oh wait, I forgot… none of us really want to mess over the people we serve. Alright, nevermind on that idea then.

    Enough said, I would like to envite everyone in the community to attend a public meeting on resolving the public safety /emergency services deficit. The members of the Wilson County Professional Firefighters Association will host this meeting on Saturday, September 20th at 1800 hours (6pm) at the Mt. Juliet Community Center. We will be advertising this starting next week in local papers, etc. I am personally going to invite all candidates running for local offices and we are looking forward to seeing current leaders and potential future officials there as well. There will be food and drinks on hand. This has been arranged to serve as an educational function to raise awareness to citizens and help us gain support to better protect our community. If anyone on this site needs more info, please contact me. Please set your schedule for the evening of Sept. 20th, 6pm Charlie Daniels Park. Look for more details in upcoming days. Thank you all and please continue to show support for those who chose to make a difference in our community.

    Brent N. Dyer, Paramedic/Firefighter
    President, WCPFFA
    I.A.F.F. Local 4238
    mbdyer@tds.net
    (615)440-6657

  41. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Brent,

    So we can get your opinion on record like the others on this.

    You mention that Mt. Juliet is not adequatelly protected with regards to emergency services like everyone else (since nobody yet has said that we are protected). So who should pay for it in your opinion as the voice of the Wilson Professionals, Mt. Juliet or Wilson County?

  42. Seth Frost

    I am a career firefighter and have been a volunteer. I am also a DOD firefighter for the Army National Guard. I appriciate all the talk about what to do to protect my family and yours. One source we have not talked about in funding, as pertaining to the increasing demand for better fire protection and emergency medical services is the Federal grants that are out there. Both the cities and the county have people on the payroll who write grants for them. I know Nashville Fire recieves grants and recieved one that helped pay for the hire of new fireifhgters. I have helped in this process when I lived in AZ and was a volunteer and DOD firefighter. There is lots of money there and we need to seek after it.
    Keep up the good talks and fight for a great cause,
    Seth Frost
    Also a side note, I disagree with the privatiation of the fire service, I have seen the focuss of life safety get thrown out the window just to get paid. Look at the history of firefighting and see the battles that were fought between the two organizations.

  43. Chris Sorey

    LaVergne is a private department and one other left in TN but I can’t remember where it is. It is paid for the service by the city, and everyone is protected. They work longer hours than most but they are good at what they do and have a good mutual aid mindset. Even though it works for them, my personal opinion is that it is not the way to go when it comes to our needs in this county. A privately owned department still has to provide the service while making a profit. The county tried that with the school bus scenario and it worked for a while but it is gone now.

  44. Shawn Donovan

    Chris,

    The other is Rural Metro that covers Knox County. Knoxville has its own and Rural Metro covers the county.

    I agree that privatization shouldn’t be an option here.

    The grants are a very good resource and should be utilized. The problem you have is based on the make-up of most of the county (rural) and the area covered is sq. miles. If the county put in for a grant for an aerial for example. If you are looking at the area coverage as being mostly rural with 1 building over 4 stories in the jurisdication of the department, it could not be justified. If you submitted this same application as just the City of Mt. Juliet limits, it could be justified since you have one 5 story building, three 3 story buildings and a high amount of planned and currently constructed commercial construction in an area of 20 sq. miles. This on top of the 25,000 residents would increase our chances of getting an award.

    The issue though is that the county can’t request a grant for just one area, but if the city had its own department it could.

  45. Butch Huber

    Shawn,

    So would you be an advocate of fire tax districts

  46. Shawn Donovan

    If it allowed for a reliable source of funding to increase the level of fire protection for that specific district then yes I think it would be a good possible option.

    This would allow for the residents that are paying a considerable amount of tax the option to have a higher level of service also.

    The issue though would be finding what the base amount of funding would be for each district that would be agreed to by the incorporated towns. For instance, Lebanon currently funds their department with a 3 million dollar budget. What portion of that 3 million dollars would be covered by the fire district tax and what portion would the city be responsible for since they have an independent department, same for Watertown.

    Also, the base would have to be defined to figure out what amount of funding the unincorporated portions that fall in the county would receive. If you set up tax districts for the more rural areas the amount they would receive would be little population if you looked at a flat per household tax.

    Lots of variables out there, but looking at having a tax that was city based would solve the issue just as well since Lebanon and Watertown already fund their departments from within.

    So the short answer is yes, if the money from the fire tax that was raised in Mt. Juliet stays in Mt. Juliet, Lebanon in Lebanon, Watertown in Watertown, etc.. for the sole purpose of better protecting our families and providing more manpower to whatever fire department is in place.

  47. Brent Dyer

    From another voice of the “brotherhood”,

    I will mention that we are protected. Everyone in Wilson County is protected by some of the absolute best firefighters, EMT’s, and Paramedics in the state of Tennessee. We are cross-trained in all areas of emergency response which is a value to the citizens we serve, eventhough we don’t see fair financial supplementation of this level of dedication and professionalism.

    My opinion and the opinions I have heard from my colleagues is that Mt. Juliet needs to fund its own fire department, however most of our people agree that WEMA could continue services in the city, but there would need to be a big check wrote by Mt. Juliet to supplement equipment and manpower. Many people may not agree with this, don’t mean to burn any bridges here, it just seems obvious when other cities such as Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Cookeville, Springfield, Hendersonville, and many others in the middle Tennessee area have their own paid fire departments.

    Here we have a city of 25,000 people with no fire department of its own. This is an embarassment to me and other professional firefighters in this community. Not only are we ashamed of the fact that our own families, friends, and neighbors have inadequate protection here, it is obvious that if it continues this community will see a loss of life or valued infrastructure, perhaps more so than before.

    Wilson County has a Sheriff’s Department, that didn’t stop Mt. Juliet from establishing a police department paid for by the city. I find myself asking the question, what’s a priority, getting to make money off of speeding tickets or keeping homes and businesses from burning to the ground.

    The state requires the county to provide a paid EMS service, adequate or not, we do or best with what we have to work with, but the whole fire department thing comes down to the idealology of “you get what you pay for…”

    Here is a quick example of how citizens county wide suffer from the political bickering over territorial emergency response. One week ago, I responded on my usually assigned ambulance to Hartsville Pike for a reported motor vehicle accident with a roll-over. Dispatch had also sent our fire engine from station 1 as people calling 911 reported a man who was trapped in the accident. We arrived on the scene in the ambulance, but before we could do much for the patient, we had to wait longer than we should have to get him out because the fire/rescue unit closest to that area was busy in our light duty rescue truck running a call inside Lebanon’s city limits.

    There is no reason for this when Lebanon has three stations of their own, they could help us out more inside Lebanon city limits. However, I have been told by officials from Lebanon that this great idea will never happen until the county stops letting Mt. Juiet get away with not having the same responsibilites as the city of Lebanon does in the area of fire service. Again, just one of many examples of how some areas have a duplication of services, and others have little or none.

    People in Mt. Juliet are just as important as people in Lebanon, and those people are just as important as people in Gladeville, Lakeview, Norene, Watertown, or Statesville.

    A better resolution that would best serve everyone in Wilson County would be a fire deparment and EMS that was one united entity, such as a metro-style department. It would eliminate east vs. west, one tax rate for the whole county, and resources could be spread out more thoughout all of Wilson County, aerial apparatus in urban areas, tankers in rural areas, evenly distributed EMS units, since we cannot predict where the next life threatening emergency will happen. That would probably be the best scenario as far as public safety goes, but getting that to happen would be near impossible in the Wilson County political theatre. So, we know that will probably never happen, therefore it seems as if the quickest and best way people who live, work, and play in the city between the lakes will get adequate fire protection is for Mt. Juliet to have a department of its own, I personally would be willing to pay a little property tax if it means my family and home is better protected. More so, as a professional responder in this community, our folks are at an increased risk every time we have a significant fire in this community due to inadequate manpower and equipment. Let’s all hope this gets fixed before we see a firefigher’s body being carried to a cemetary on the rear of the fire engine, even worse a citizen who didn’t even see it coming.

  48. Bobby Franklin

    Mr. Dyer,

    I am not a firefighter but I am a taxpayer. The county gets a lot of money from people like me here in Mt. Juliet.

    You admit the best solution is a countywide fire / emergency service “Metro-style” system. I agree with you. That is what we currently have.

    The problem is that the county continues to take more and more money from Mt. Juliet / West Wilson County taxpayers to provide higher levels of fire service but never provide a higher level of service.

    This is not the only example of the county taking money yet not providing service. Wilson County charges rather high building permit fees – fees that, by law, should be used to pay the cost of inspections. But Wilson County has no building code. There is no high cost to inspect structures here because there is no adopted building code! The money taken for inspections is absorbed into the general fund and pays for other things.

    If you ask why Wilson County is the only Middle Tennessee County not to have a building code the answer will be that there is not enough money to pay building inspectors. And that is because it has already been spent on something else.

    That sounds a lot like the answer you get when fire service is brought up. You want to reward this dysfunction by double (or triple) taxing Mt. Juliet taxpayers to provide a service they are already overpaying for? I don’t.

  49. Butch Huber

    Brent,

    As I understand it, the county has been ordered by the court to develop fire tax districts. Supposedly they did set up a fire tax district that would have once again siphoned tax dollars out of Mt. Juliet so that those dollars could be spent somewhere else in the county. Apparently, that plan was shot down and nothing else was ever done about it. I am told that the county is in violation of a court order. If all of this is true, all we really need to do is press the issue that the county is not following a court order.

    In other words, it would be to our benefit in Mt. Juliet to push for fire tax districts that make sense rather than absorb the costs of Mt. Juliet having its own fire stations and emergency services while still paying the county full price for fire protection and emergency services.

    If the city were to take on fire protection right now it would absorb the entire cost of fire protection. But it gets worse. If Lebanon thinks that they get bad service from the county now, wait until Mt. Juliet sets up its own fire protection services. If we had our own services the county would be less likely to provide services inside any incorporated city in Wilson County. They would reallocate equipment and manpower to the unincorporated areas of the county feeling justified because they finally got Mt. Juliet to take on fire protection. They would then say, “you all have your own fire protection and emergency services, the unincorporated people don’t have what you have, so we have to take care of them”.

    I don’t completely disagree with the idea of us having our own fire protection and emergency services. I don’t completely disagree with paying a little more to have those services. I do however disagree with paying the county to provide a service, not getting the services we are paying for, setting up our own service in response, paying for our own services, and paying the county not to provide those services. That having been said, I still say that it is best if the county were to provide adequate services to the entire county.

    I would much rather see the City of Mt. Juliet try to work this issue out hand-in-hand with the county, and then, in the absence of an agreeable solution, forcing the county, through the courts if necessary, to develop fire tax districts that make sense. If necessary, I would rather see the city of Mt. Juliet sue the county in court, even if it cost a half million to a million dollars to wage the battle, and force the county to develop reasonable fire tax districts than to see Mt. Juliet set up its own fire stations and emergency services and pay for those services “and” pay for the county not to provide those services for perpetuity. The county certainly wouldn’t want to wage this battle in the courts when they already have a court order to do what we are asking, especially if they knew we were serious.

    Another thing the city could do to shake things up a bit would be to annex the entire twenty year growth area…that would really shake things up a bit. I mean, if we are going to end up with a property tax, we might as well go all out. Why do things half-way when you can do them all the way?

    What to I mean? I mean, if the property tax proponents want a property tax so badly, let’s really do it. Let’s annex all of our growth area all at once, impose a nice size property tax, and then use that property tax to fight the county tooth-and-nail to make them stop taxing us for services they don’t provide! Unless there is some provision in the law that would stop us from getting money through property taxes on newly annexed property, all of a sudden the city of Mt. Juliet would be flush with cash that we could use to wage a war in court. We would then be by far the largest city in Wilson County in terms of numbers of people. We would be on par with Lebanon in terms of land area, perhaps even bigger. We could wage a war in court and use the property taxes of those people who currently live in the county to help pay for it! I mean, if we are going to break with tradition and really put in a property tax, let’s go all the way. The county can’t afford a protracted court battle over this issue, but we could if we enacted a hefty property tax, annexed rest of our growth area, and then used that money to fight the battle.

    I wonder what the people who live in the unincorporated portion of our 20 year growth area would do if they knew we were about to annex them into the city and impose a hefty property tax on them if the county didn’t stop this non-sense? Do you think they would say “ok” or do you think they would be screaming at their County Commissioners to end this stand-off?

    If we did enact a property tax and annex the rest of our growth area, we would be much more likely to attract more growth to Mt. Juliet because we could provide more services and amenities. We could pay for more roads. Mt. Juliet would have a second explosion of growth. We would soon top 70 to 80 thousand people living here! Are you kidding? Mt. Juliet is a jewel in the Middle Tennessee Area! No other place in the entire Middle Tennessee area has what we have to offer. Two Lakes, a train, close to the air port, shopping, close to downtown, a race track, etc.! We would probably double the size of Mt. Juliet in just four to five years! Imagine the strain that would put on the county considering they still have to provide schools. But then, the county would start screaming about Mt. Juliet providing its own schools. They would look to Lebanon’s special school district and say, “Lebanon is paying part of the costs for education in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet should do the same.”

    Mt. Juliet is trying to do things right, in spite of some of the commissioners we have, we are trying to do the right thing right. I still say, in opposition to some of the people who are closest to me, that the best solution is for the county to do the job right and take over all fire protection and emergency services for the entire county and end this political issue. We all end up paying for it one way or another, so why not do it the most effective and economical way to start with.

    Peace through strength!

  50. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Thanks Brent.

    I was not talking about the training or qualifications of your current staff. Most of the members of WEMA I have come in contact seemed highly qualified and the citizens are lucky to have them.

    I don’t care how good a firefighter, emt, paramedic, ect.. you are, but when your running two man engine companies and using a ambulance crew to fight fire, that is not adequatre protection for a town of 25,000. Being cross trained is a good thing when moving personnel between engines and ambulances, but using that same philosophy during operations is risky. I look at ambulance crews personally as being there for medical calls (which that what they are used for most of the time in MJ), not fighting fire when its needed for a medical emergency.

    So we can say that from your position you agree that Mt. Juliet should pay more for fire protection as it stands and have no control on how its spent?

  51. Brent Dyer

    Friends, I have been away for the weekend for some badly needed R&R. I wanted to respond to the questions and comments seen here sooner, but I saw them the morning after I had ran non-stop EMS calls for 24 straight hours and I will admit, I fell asleep reading them.

    First, I would like to make sure my position on the issue of fire protection is clearly understood. It is the opinion of myself and my colleagues that the best option for the taxpayers of this county (including all cities) would be one united fire/EMS service, possibly even all public services including law enforcement. This would better serve all people in the county, and would furthermore work to eliminate the political boundaries that I have seen first hand threaten lives of people who live in this county.

    Eventhough the idea of metropolitan style public services would be best, I believe that it is a far fetched idea given the number of political egos that would take a beating from this.

    For now, and most likely for the future, the best and most definite way to have better protection in the MJ area will be for MJ to establish its own paid fire department. I do not think that MJ should give the county any money for what has not been provided because county government has other priorities than MJ. If MJ established its own fire dept., which may happen, the county will still get tax dollars from MJ for schools, EMS service, etc. I don’t see how we can keep this from happening. I am still surprised MJ got a new high school before Lebanon. When I saw it for the first time, I pulled over and felt the ground to see if hell had indeed frozen over.

    Mr. Franklin,

    In regards to your comment(s), as you may well know already, at this time we do not have a county-wide fire/EMS cooperation among all entities involved, although most of us wish we did.

    – In regards to the comments on buidling codes, I completely agree with you, especially since many building codes are set aside for safety reasons. We’re on the same page here. However, I will tell you that if you or anyone else feels that I personally or any of the local professional firefighters want to reward dysfunction within Wilson County government, in any way what so ever, then you would be badly mistaken. We suffer from the county’s dysfunction everyday we operate with poor staffing and more so every two weeks when we take our checks to the bank. Most important, I apologize if I made it sound like the county needs anymore power to free-lance around the people of MJ’s safety, it sounds like we agree here too.

    Lebanon’s officials talk big about having their own fire department in the faces of MJ’s officials, but county fire engines and rescue units continue to respond inside the city limits of Lebanon pretty much every day as Lebanon Fire doesn’t respond on rescue or EMS back-up or first response calls. This being said, I don’t like seeing MJ being blamed for the county’s deficits entirely when it comes to this issue.

    In the end, I just want to see people in need get an appropriate response to their call for help in a timely matter that doesn’t involve my colleagues being at risk due to being understaffed and poorly equipped.

    Butch,

    You should run for mayor. I agree with your ideas friend, but as far as taking the legal route, I would love to do that, but I would not be the one for this job. The reason for this, as I’m sure you realize, is if I pressed the issue of legally forcing or even questioning why the county hasn’t done the right thing, the “mutts” up there at the courthouse, would pick up the phone and make one call… next thing you guys would hear from me is “ahhhh…” which would be the sound of my termination/sigh of relief. Even though that wouldn’t stop me when it came to doing the right thing, I do a lot of positive tasks within WEMA and I really enjoy serving the people who are my famiy and neighbors. I try to not get caught labeled by county officials as a political activist, although that is a risk we take when we want to see the right things get done in life. I look forward to taliking with you more, I believe you have some well thoughtout ideas that we can implement if done strategically, you know… in a polically correct/job security kind of way?…

    Last but not least, my friend 1 voice…

    Thank you for the nice comments directed towards my colleagues. I will share that with them. Lately, community support is about all I have to try to support the morale with and a compliment like that goes a long way coming from fellow firefighters, even though they won’t tell us who they are. (just picking on ya)

    Yes, I agree that MJ needs to pay for more or better fire protection, but this would only be if MJ estabished its own fire department independent of the backwards county government. Like you have seen, I would like to see the more efficient and effective scenario of a county wide united dept., but knowing how politics works, you surely agree that this will most likely never happen, atleast no time soon. Never the less, we will KTF that it will all work our soon.

    All of you stay safe,

    Brent Dyer
    mbdyer@tds.net

  52. Brent Dyer

    Fire protection…

    Roads…

    Schools…

    Politics…

    People, Friends, Neighbors, Family, Politicians good or bad, elected or appointed officials good or bad… we are all people, who have families of our own who need us, and love us, no matter who we are and no matter what others think of the good or bad we do…

    Today, September 11, 2008, the 7 year mark of a nationwide life changing event, I will abstain from my comments on how I feel about some of the local political corruption, and instead use today to honor the memories and heroism our country saw 7 years ago, and continues to see today from the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting others.

    Please continue to support your public safety heros, regardless of the fact that we won’t get raises or the community may not get what we need to protect them, we continue to serve with pride in our community. The support from citizens like many of the ones using this webiste makes our jobs even more rewarding on a personal level. Thank You so much for that.

    Brent Dyer, President
    Wilson Co. Firefighers Association
    IAFF Local 4238

  53. May God bless the 343 brothers and sisters lost 7 years ago as well as the 2700 souls and give them rest in his arms for all eternity. May we never forget their loss and sacrifice. May we find peace in the Love of our Lord.

  54. Thank you for your time in reading this letter concerning the issue of fire protection for the citizens of the City of Mt. Juliet. It is written with the intent to educate and consider for future decisions, nothing more. It is not written in anger or desperation, but in the hope of good will. It is not written with the desire for position or power; just protection. I am 44 years old and have lived in Mt. Juliet all of my life. I grew up in the Lakeview area and currently make my home with my wife and son in the Windtree Trace subdivision. I have been an Industrial Firefighter, Medic, and Haz-Mat/Rescue Technician at the DuPont Plant In Old Hickory for the past 15 years and a Firefighter, EMT, Haz-Mat/Rescue Technician for Wilson County Emergency Management Agency for the past 10 years. I am doing the job along side the very best men and women, brothers and sisters, God could possibly bless me with. I am humbled to be in this profession and proud to serve the people in my county and my city.

    Mt. Juliet is a jewel in the crown of Middle Tennessee. It has grown and continues to grow into the best place I know to live and raise a family. It gives a sense of pride to see in my lifetime where we were, where we are, and where we are headed. As a boy, my friends and I would sit on the side of Saundersville Road and count maybe 12 vehicles driving by in a day. A third of those would be farm equiptment. Toady, you can see 12 cars in 12 seconds all headed to new developments that used to be working farms. We have grown from party-line phones to 758 to 754 to 773. From a single flashing red/yellow light at Mt. Julit Road and Lebanon Road to nearly a dozen red light intersections, Mt. Juliet is booming. Again, we should be proud of our city and what it has become. My point for consideration is this: We should protect it.

    Mt. Juliet has done a great job in the areas of law enforcement and public works. But what of loss prevention and life/health safety? Specifically, in the areas of fire suppression and emergency medical care, not enough has been done given the current and consideration of future growth. Wilson County Emergency Management Agency provides these services to the city. The City of Lebanon has 20,000 citizens with their own fire department and serviced by 2 county ambulances. Mt. Juliet has 25,000 citizens, no fire deoartment of their own (WEMA provides) and serviced by 1 county ambulance. Other med units will respond out of zone to the city (Lakeview, Laguardo, Gladeville) but only 1 unit is stationed in the city. Six weeks ago, my neighbor 2 blocks away fell and required transport to Summit ER for aid to his injuries. His ambulance came from Gladeville because the MJ unit and the Lakeview unit were on calls. He laid ther in pain longer than he should and it breaks my heart that he did.

    A confirmed single structure fire in the city of Mt. Juliet will be addressed with the following response: Station 3,4,5,6, and a tanker from WEMA station 1 in Lebanon. Each station consists of 1 engine and 1 ambulance each with 2 personnel for a total of 16 firefighters. Responsibilities include attack lines, rescue, rapid intervention, engineering, salvage/overhaul, safety, and incident command. Those 16 get used up pretty quick but that is not the point. Consider the fact that now you have no fire suppression units or emergency medical units west of Highway 109 and certainly not in the city. Further more, if someone gets sick or injured in the city at this point, their care will be coming from Lebanon or Watertown. This is not the way the it should be and is unacceptable. The City of Mt. Juliet needs its own Fire Deaprtment, firefighters, medics, and equiptment. It should not rely on part-time personnel, volunteers, or mutual aid. Our city has grown to the the point it seems obvious…a full time, paid, and dedicated department. I have no problem with part-time personnel, I am one. I have no problem with volunteers, I am one. I have no problem with mutual aid, I have provided it. But Mt. Juliet needs to stand up and have itself countedwith the same approach it has taken with law enforcement and public works. Mt. Juliet’s growth and futuer growth far outweigh the capabilities of a volunteer department. At the current rate, our city’s industrial/residential size and citizen numbers will require a full time professional department. Let’s be pro active on this so we can be proud of this. Let’s use money wisely and prioritizethe safety, health, and property of the citizens of Mt. Juliet Volunteers, part-time personnel, and mutual can compliment this department in due time.

    Again, thank you for the time in reading this and the platform to express. My passion lies in seeing its citizens, my family, and friends properly protected for the furure and all it holds. may the blessings of our Lord be to you all.

  55. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Thanks Brent and Jamie for your service in the brotherhood protecting our community.

    I think all the brothers are wanting to get to the same destination. We just all have different “road maps” when it comes to getting to the Mt. Juliet Fire Department. As we all know we just have to continue planting the seed in the ears of our elected officials of what is needed and how we can fund it.

    As we all have said countless times, it all comes down to the mighty dollar.

    FTM-PTB-EGH-KTF-DTRT

  56. Brent Dyer

    Chris Sorey,
    please call me. I had to replace my phone and lost my contact lists. Thanks

    Brent Dyer
    615-440-6657
    mbdyer@tds.net

  57. Randy

    As a local EMT-IV/FF in the Mt.Juliet station I would like to take this time to say “We are just asking for manpower to make sure we all go home safe”. As was stated many times in earlier post, when we respond to a structure fire in the city of Mt.Juliet we respond with two personel on the engine. That is if the med unit is on a call. To operate a successful working fire call you have 2 personel per handline, one man working the pump, two personel on deck per handline in case the two inside the fire get in trouble and need to be rescued or just for relief. Thats not including command, if you have shuttle proceedures going on, or any medical on scene for the homeowners or rescue personel. The typical house fire has at least 2 hand lines. We have 4 personel at that station at all times. With saying that, if we get to a house fire and the people on the scene advise there is people in the house, we cannot ethically stand by and wait for another engine to get on the scene to go in. That means the 2 people on that engine have to set the pump, grab a line and go in with no one to make sure we have enough continuing water flow or no one to come in if we get in trouble in the fire.. All we are asking for is to make sure we go home safe to our families. That means more personel and equipment..

  58. Butch Huber

    I can’t encourage you fire fighters enough to raise the issue of the Old MJES site as an asset that could be sold at full price and the capital raised used to provide better conditions in the area of fire safety and emergency services.

    I appreciate what you folks do to help keep us safe. There is a solution to the fire safety issue and emergency services issue, we just need to “force” the issue to the forefront.

    There has to be an acceptable level of provision that can be arrived at.

  59. Randy

    I have to agree with Mr. Dyer. about a metro style emergency services department. Let’s take a look at this, If we had a metro style emergency services department we could group our manpower for the good of all of Wilson County. We could even have true PSO officers that are no less than EMT-IV,Firefighter and police officer to first repond on medical, fire and back-up for police calls. We could combine manpower of Wilson County, Lebanon and add for additional stations in Mt.Juliet. There is no easy fix any more. We have had the “make do” attitude for to long now! We need to simply take care of the responders that we put our lifes in thier hands everyday. Let’s make sure they go home to thier families at the end of thier shift. It seems everybody agrees there is not adeqate fire service in Mt.juliet. Now, lets see if we can get together to change that and take care of the responders that risk thier lives to save the the lives of the citizens of Wilson County……..

  60. For this to become a reality, the mayor and the city commissioners are going to have to work together. They must be aware that this will be a benefit to all the citizens of the city. For now, table recreational facilities, tennis courts, and localized road projects that only benefit a few and work on something that will be for all. If our city leaders will make this their #1 priority and conduct themselves as true PUBLIC SERVANTS not self serving individuals, professional loss prevention and effective emergency care will come to fruition. All citizens of the City of Mt. Juliet deserve this. Please consider this as you enter the polling places and educate yourselves on the choices. We need good people to do great things.

  61. APB: Advise to all…Brent Dyer will be granting an interview to Channel 5 News for broadcast at the 6pm newscast. Please watch and thank you for your heartfelt support.

  62. Butch Huber

    What is needed here is a serious groundswell of citizen activism. Politicians acting alone cannot settle this issue. I agree with most, if not all of what you have said here Jamie, but without serious citizen activism nothing will be accomplished and I will tell you “why” I say that.

    County and City political leaders are too “biased” and they have diametrically opposed interests. The East/West divide is too polarized, too wide, and too deep for one or two political leaders to bridge on their own. We would like to think that they could overcome their differences on their own, but I don’t believe that will ever happen. However, with enough citizen pressure, and I believe there would have to be significant pressure, we will never get the county and the city to work together.

    What we need is a countywide Ad Hoc Congressional Caucus that includes each and every elected official from this county. In addition to elected officials, the citizens should elect one civilian to chair the caucus (to further remove “politics”). That caucus should be tasked with overcoming the major dividing issues that we face in this county. (this won’t happen in just one session. And I am not suggesting that we redesign our county government by forming an ad hoc committee. Each action taken as a result of the ad hoc congressional caucus would have to be agreed to by each official body and pass according to the laws, regulations, statutes, ordinances, and resolutions of each governmental body. However, letters of intent or conditional agreements could be drawn up in the caucus that become binding upon ratification or approval of the several bodies. )

    The issues we face are not so big that they can’t be overcome, but they are of such importance and there are enough passions involved, that they “won’t” be overcome unless rational, responsible, and visionary people come together to find a way to overcome them.

    The County feels that Mt. Juliet should provide its own fire protection. They base that perception on the fact that Lebanon has its own fire protection and Watertown has its own fire protection.

    Lebanon is of sufficient size, and until recently was the largest city in the county, that it has sway over the political landscape in this county.

    The political districts of West Wilson have been developed in such a way that it limits the power of West Wilson County. However, in just a few short years that is going to change drastically and the East is going to watch the political power structure shift westwardly. While I look forward to the day when the West is in more control of the political power structure, I hope that shift won’t be a political slap-shot in which the West “abuses” the East in a retaliation for perceived or real past abuses the west has endured, (either in perception or in reality), from the East.

    The major issues are too politically intertwined to segment or isolate. We have to be willing to compromise, negotiate, and cooperate in order to really overcome the obstacles that keep us from developing a working and friendly relationship between the east and the west.

    One of the great benefits of a cooperative relationship between the governmental entities that make up this county is that we could develop a “growth friendly” county.

    This is my belief regarding Wilson County. I believe that Wilson County contains some of the most beautiful landscape available within a 40 minute drive from downtown Nashville. We have two major lakes right here, and we have Center Hill Lake just down the road a bit. We are not that far from mountainous land. We have a major interstate that runs through the county. We Have a part of 840 running through the county. We have the airport just down the road. We have plenty of space for commercial growth. We have a Nascar Track right down the road. When you look at things geographically, there has been a huge shift in growth to the east side of Middle Tennessee (Consider the growth of Rutherford County, Smyrna, Lavergne, and Mt. Juliet/Wilson County). I believe that, regardless of how fast Mt. Juliet has grown over the past 6 years, growth throughout Wilson County has been stifled by politics. For the record, I am not for a government that promotes growth for the sake of “growth”, but I am for government that presents itself as being open and friendly to business and a government that allows capitalism to flourish. So what I am saying is that if the Government bodies that make up Wilson County were to come together in a “congressional caucus” through which each entity is willing to address all of the dividing issues, define the differences between positions of each entity, isolate the real sticking points, address those sticking points, find solutions, find points of willing compromise, and then develop plans and agreements that will enable us to overcome the polarizing and dividing factors then, and only then, can we move on. But if we do find those solutions, I think we can develop and engineer an environment that will usher in growth of not only retail, but high quality jobs. We need more than quality retail, we need to develop an environment in which major corporations will want to locate large branches of their companies as well as corporate headquarters.

    I believe we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to steer this county toward becoming a model community, but that will only happen if we can ever get the power brokers together. I think the only way that is going to ever happen is if citizens get intensely involved and force them to sit down in the same room and address their differences.

    Fire Protection is an important component, perhaps the most important component, but it is still only one of many components that create the divide. That divide will never be bridged until we address all of the issues at the same time.

  63. Looking Toward The Future

    I agree with you Butch on that issue that we need to create an environment in which major corporations will WANT to move to Mount Juliet and Wilson County. We are getting a bad rap in the business community that it is too difficult to work with current leaders. This is a great city and county in which we need leaders that can market us as such. One example, trying to sell a nearly worthless piece of land on York Road is like trying to sell a big bag of air (no pun intended).

  64. Chris Sorey

    The “County” does not want MJ to provide fire protection. What you hear is the few who do, and they are not “County” but rather others who have interests in other locations.

    Again, this did not happen overnight, and it will not be fixed overnight.

  65. Bobby Franklin

    Chris is right. It will cost the county more money if Mt. Juliet goes into the fire protection business.

    This issue is not understood because most people have no idea how small Mt. Juliet really is when compared to the rest of the county.

    Only 20 square miles out of 600.

  66. Butch Huber

    I know that Chris is right, but the best defense is a strong offense. It is time to put these issue to bed once and for all. It is time to take the safety of the citizens of Mt. Juliet out of the hands of the politicians and force the adequate provision of fire protection in Mt. Juliet.

    I don’t think the county commission is made up of bad people. They have all been very nice and polite to me.

    I just think that there is a wall that exists between Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, and the County that needs to be torn down.

  67. Chris Sorey

    Brent Dyer called and let me know of a house fire in my district. The home was in Springmont, which is not in the city. The issue of fire protection is something that could effect anyone, no matter where they live. My fear is that the city will create their own FD, leaving pockets of areas that are not as well protected. The other side of the coin is that the city would be mutual aid. As Bobby pointed out, fire districts do not have to stop at the city limits. Either way, station 3, behind city hall was the first on the scene. This is why I believe the Hamilton building is not the best choice for the city. If they put that much into one building, it will become the only building due to the cost. If there is to be more than one station, then they should be at other places, as discussed in the study. If the city is going to have one station, what is the benefit over the county service?

    “If” the city decides to create their own, or “if” we can fund more through the county, there are still areas that are many more miles away from a station that would be first on the list.

    It all boils down to funding, and as much as I hate to admit it, everyone knows that there are no extra funds right now, city or county.

    Luckily, no one was home when the house caught fire, but the family did lose a couple of pets. I made the statement earlier that this mess didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be fixed overnight. This particular home was not a new home, or part of new growth. The home was built in 1983.

  68. Butch Huber

    My condolences to the owners of the house and the pets. I wish them a quick recovery from their losses.

    Chris, your thoughts about the Hamilton seem very logical to me.

    Right now, raising taxes is not the best option. People are hurting financially and cannot take more expense. This is especially true when you consider the number of banks that are going under. Who knows where all of this is going to end up.

    I think more appropriate use of taxes that are already being paid is a better option.

  69. Brent Dyer

    First, let me apologize openly to the MJ city manager. I have upset my friend here by placing comments that I will admit could be considered unprofessional. I allowed my opinion and fingers on a keyboard to worsen an obvious communication problem.

    I do not agree professionally or personally with many of the decisions I see coming from city hall. However, I should not allow this situation to have caused a bridge to be burned with any admin from any of our governments.

    I have been misunderstood apparently by city administrators in regards of representing professional firefighters of this community. We look forward to cooperating with anyone who is willing to subject themselves to what we do for a career in any form of a combined attempt to better protect the people of this county. That being said, as professional firefighters, EMT’s, Paramedics, etc., our primary concern is not the fact that we worry our jobs will be replaced by volunteers, or job security at all… I feel that the people of the community wouldn’t let this happen.

    Our primary concern is this: Our next fire or large scale event may cost someone thier life and it will happen soon if we don’t have the staffing we need to prevent it. It may be one of us, a civilian, or even a proud volunteer who signed up to help us. I started my career as a volunteer rescuer. Those are my grass roots. The majority of this nations fire service is provided by volunteer fire departments. However, the majority of city’s as large as MJ, do not rely on volunteers to provide the everyday demands for staffing of fire stations in those cities. As evidenced by todays house fire, even with people in a station it can still take over 16 minutes to get a fire engine to the scene in certain areas. Asking a volunteer firefighter to leave their homes, and burn their own fuel out of pocket to respond to the call with WEMA units is something that a community of this size should not have to rely on.

    I highly respect anyone who is willing to do this to help their neighbor. There has been many days, I have left my home on a day off duty to respond to a fellow citizen when no fire engine was available, and more so when an ambulance was far away. I wish I had in my pocket the amount of money I have spent out of pocket to do what I felt was right when my community needed me. This holds true for all of my colleagues. This is the kind of dedication we have for the people in Wilson County.

    If a citizen wants to be a volunteer, then I expect to see the same amount of dedication and high level of standards we try to provide with the limited resources we have to work with.

    Any individual who will provide this to our team of professionals will be invited with open arms into our organization. As the president of the firefighter’s association, I would offer any of these people the same kind hand I give to existing colleagues.

    I am curious though as to why city government overlooked the potential working relationship with citizens who serve this community to gather assistance from fellow citizens who are fellow firefighters in another area. No offense to Mr. Donovan.

    Shawn if you see this, I respect the idea that you are doing what you feel is right. I respect more though that you at least had to courtesy to invite our members to sit on the interview panel since the volunteer applicants will potentially be tasked with saving the lives of our professionals. That was the first and only opportunity the professionals in this community had to be a part of the solution to work together with city government. To you and whoever cares within city government, I may not like this solution as much as I would other solutions, however I agree that it is better than nothing. Not to mention the fact that perhaps if MJ gets their end of the contract fullfilled, we as citizens can press the issue to get that equipment back down here that is being hoarded in Lebanon.

    Shawn, if you will answer your phone, I have somethings to discuss with you. We have talked before as professionals with the same primary goal, to better protect the people of this community. Simple communication and not believing everything you are hearing will make the cooperatve efforts with the MJVFC and WCPFFA go much better when these two organizations will be working together through WEMA to serve our community.

    To MJ management,

    We need to talk, look forward to 1530 hrs. on Wednesday… hopefully we can discuss more in addition to our professional conversation we had earlier today in the hallway. I come in peace, and my apology made here for everyone to see is sincere.

    ps- This doesn’t change things with the county finance director…, to all who know what happened 2 years in a row now…

  70. Thank you, Butch. I will try to clarify my plea. Yes, the citizens who will reap the benefit of professional loss prevention and emergency care do need to take an active part and make a vocal plea. Unfortunately, in the fire service, it is not usually a priority unless it’s your home in danger of fire or your chest pain 10 out of 10. Straight talk, we are usually only a priority to one or two people at a time. However, we stand ready and willing to serve all at any time. The citizens of this great city will need to realize that at any time they may be the ones we are called to. My desire is that they have the secure knowledge that professional and passionate assistance will be there. It will not be cheap nor easy to come by, but well worth what it takes. Firefighters and Medics are motivated and driven to serve others. We know what it takes to be proficient and we want the chance to succeed. So my message to the masses is this: educate yourself on what you have, decide on what you need, and support those who will make it their #1 priority. Let me know if I can help.

  71. Shawn Donovan

    Brent,

    Like Butch I will apologize up front for the length

    As you noted that this current situation didn’t just come about, its been building over the years. The fix won’t happen overnight either, it will take a lot of work, money, and time by all involved.

    I like you started as a volunteer firefighter in Michigan, and am one of the “lucky” ones who worked hard to get a position as a Professional Firefighter. Starting as a volunteer, I never forget where I came from like some of us do. I have always looked at this profession from day one, as we are the ones who are there to protect the citizens when something bad happens, (i.e. fires, medical calls, car wrecks), and may lose our life in the process doing the job. As any firefighter will tell you, that’s the risk we take when we say good-bye to our wife and children in the morning going to work, that there’s always a chance we may not come home.

    Why did the city administration seek out a non-WEMA Firefighter to work on this program? Actually the city didn’t seek me out, it was reversed. I went to them, as most of the City Commissioners can verify, asking the questions on why this with regards to fire protection wasn’t being done or offering information to them, i.e. residential fire sprinklers. I was the one who went to the City Commisssion with a plan and the information as to how they could get the 10 Volunteer Firefighters that was part of the fire contract with Wilson County. From that plan, myself and Randy Robertson began the “journey” towards what is now called the MJVFC. Some members of WEMA are under the impression that I just created this 10 Volunteers plan out of thin air, when indeed its in the contract. It has also been asked on me “Why is a Professional Firefighter who is a member of the IAFF pushing for volunteers”, and the answer is my family. If I had my choice between an all-volunteer department or a full time fully staffed department following NFPA 1710, I would choose the later every time. One thing about me also is that I’m a realist. As a taxpayer who keeps up with what’s going on, I don’t see millions of dollars just sitting around collecting interest in Mt. Juliet. With that being said, if we can’t get more full time firefighters, having volunteers in place to fill the gap until more can be budgeted is the logical answer for the protection of our firefighters and our family’s. I will not sit by as citizen and a firefighter who has to leave my family every third day, and hold out for full time firefighters. I can replace my house, but I cannot replace my family or my brother firefighters.

    With the process for the MJVFC Volunteer Firefighters, I have tried to make the process as close to the real selection process for firefighters as possible. We had introduction meetings, interviews, background checks, and upcoming physical agility tests and final interviews for the selection of the Firefighters. I made a point to involve WEMA Firefighters who work at Station 3 and Brent himself in the interview process. This was done for two reasons, one is that they will be working with these new volunteers and two is because I value their opinions. This new group of volunteers working relationship with the men and women who work for WEMA is imperative to the success of the program. Without mutual respect on both sides, it will be a failure.

    Brent, I believe any further discussion regarding the future past this point will need to be brought up on Sept. 30th. We have had a good professional relationship in the past and the issues of late between a few of my brothers and others that has led to Sept 30th meeting will need to be resolved until we can move forward. Yes, we both want the same end result in principle because we are looking out for what’s best for the safety of the WEMA firefighters and the Citizens. I will not use this blog to discuss those issues because its between the brothers involved.

    If anyone has any questions about the MJVFC feel free to ask.

  72. Looking Toward The Future

    Hi Brent. Good points. My question, what ever happened to the Volunteer Fire Department the city was trying to gather. At one time they were at the center of community discussion. Once a meeting happened the idea seemed to drop to the wayside (similar to other important commission decisions). The YMCA, York Road, and other “pending” issues seemed to take over. I hope the Volunteer Fire Dept is still a workable plan.

  73. Shawn Donovan

    Looking,

    Its still in the process of getting formed. One thing though its not a volunteer fire department. Its a manpower suppliment, made up of volunteer men and woman firefighters from MJ, to the WEMA staff at Station 3. Its been in the press as a independent department, but that’s not accurate.

    I have been heading the process for the Mt. Juliet Volunteer Fire Company (MJVFC) since getting go-ahead in April. As with anything new that involves two different governments, its a slow process because your creating it from the ground up basically.

    Once operational the Mt. Juliet Volunteer Fire Company Firefighters will directly reported to WEMA and be part of their Volunteer Division, working out of Station 3 in Mt. Juliet. The current Volunteer Division has been in existence for a long time and includes residents from throughout the county (including a large number from MJ). This new group is somewhat different since they are being raised to run calls in Mt. Juliet and assist Station 3, while the other Volunteers run county wide.

    We currently has 29 applicants, all men and women who live in Mt. Juliet. Of the 29, the hope is to bring between 12-15 of the applicants on as Firefighters to fulfill the 10 Volunteer Firefighter requirement as part of the MJ/Wilson County Fire Contract.

    As part of the contract Mt. Juliet is responsible for the recruiting/equiping/training of the firefighters. At this point we are completing the recruitment portion of the process, which included organizational meetings, application period, application review, initial interviews conducted by myself and two firefighters from WEMA. In the next few weeks all the applicants will complete a physical agility test and final interview conducted by WEMA Administration. Once the final interview is completed applicants will be ranked for selection.

    Once the selections are made, the training portion of the process will begin with various courses to be completed including a Basic Firefighter course conducted by a State of Tennessee Fire Instructor and WEMA specific courses.

    Finally, the last portion of the project will be the equipment which will include all of a firefighter protective equipment, that includes turnout gear, helmet, gloves, radios, and self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or the air tanks we wear to fight fires.

    Once all the parts are completed this new group of trained and equiped volunteer firefighters will begin to assist, not replace, the full time firefighters with manpower for structure fires, car wrecks, etc..

  74. Chris Sorey

    Who what when and where for the September 30 meeting? I knew there was something planned, but the last date that was offered I was on shift and could not make the meeting. Maybe this is something different.

  75. Shawn Donovan

    Chris,

    This is not a city or county meeting. It something different. I can’t expand on it.

  76. Looking Toward The Future

    Shawn, good to see all your ducks are in a row and that you are still on top of this. All to often in the past I have seen the City brush aside important issues to work on their own private agendas. Kudos to you.

  77. Shawn Donovan

    Thanks Looking.

    Can’t take all the credit though. There are 28 residents out there who are concerned enough to volunteer their time to do this from all the districts in town and without them we wouldn’t be where were at today.

  78. Butch Huber

    Okay all of you firefighters, riddle me this:

    “What would be wrong with the county and all of the incorporated cities getting together and developing one fire department that provides the entire county with fire protection, just like the county now does with Ambulance Service”?

    I know that the county was ordered to institute fire tax districts, and I know that fire tax districts are in the best interests of the Citizens of Mt. Juliet. And I also know that, once re-districting occurs and the power base in Wilson County shifts westwardly, fire tax districts will likely become a reality unless the county acts now to appease those who have been spurned over the years. But the nagging question of “why not one fire department” needs to be answered.

    Any takers?

  79. Chris Sorey

    Butch, you have written about the county being ordered by a court to create fire tax districts many times, so can you point me in the direction of where to find order?

  80. Butch Huber

    Chris,

    It appears that there are several different versions of this story floating around out there. I will look into it deeper. It appears that I may have been given some incorrect information or I may have misunderstood some of what has been stated. Either way, I think it would be a good idea to dig in and find the actual laws regarding this issue.

  81. Chris Sorey

    A county wide fire department, which is what we have in that WEMA responds to all calls for service. The law says that there can be fire tax districts but does not require them. I wanted to make sure that there had not been a court case. If anything, it lends to Lebanon overpaying, but we do provide services through WEMA in Lebanon as well. Thanks. Here is the TCA.

    5-17-105. Fire tax districts. —

    (a) (1) The boundaries of fire tax districts shall be determined by the county legislative body or other governing body, and shall become fixed by resolution of the county legislative body or other governing body thirty (30) days or more after notice of the determination of the boundaries of a district has been given to the property owners of the district.

    (2) Such notice shall be given by mailing a description of the boundaries of the district to all of the property owners of record within the district, at their last known address.

    (b) The boundaries of any district may be altered at any time by means of the same procedure by which the district was created.

    (c) In the case of county-wide fire districts as authorized by § 5-17-101, the fire tax district shall comprise the entire county outside of any and all incorporated municipalities within the county, but each and every such incorporated municipality within the county may elect to contract with the county for inclusion in such fire tax district as authorized by § 5-17-108.

    (d) In those counties having eight (8) or more incorporated municipalities that levy a property tax and four (4) or more special school districts, the fire tax district shall comprise the entire county, including each and every incorporated municipality.

  82. Butch Huber

    Chris,

    I am not saying that there aren’t some court orders and or lawsuits involved here, I am saying that I have conflicting information that I haven’t resolved yet. I appreciate you providing the TCA on this. I have already been going over it and it appears that my perception may have been incorrect. However, there are snags and barbs that seem to be involved in this still.

    Considering how convoluted TCA is regarding this issue I can understand why things are so heated around here.

    That having been said, it appears to me that the city really should have its own fire department, but along with it we should set up ambulance services to offset some of the cost. I am still researching.

  83. Brent Dyer

    Shawn,

    please call.

    thanks

    I lost my contact list in phone replacement.

    440-6657

  84. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Good stories all around regarding fire protection this week. Maybe it will finally get the complete stage now and throughout the election.

    Funny how the Mt. Juliet News never covers anything about the fire protection until it becomes big story in Lebanon…

    By the way, good interviews Brent and Jamie. Standing up and making the other brothers in town proud. FTM-PTB-DTRT

  85. Butch Huber

    Firefighters,

    You have done a good job getting the fire protection issues on the front page.

    I still say that the right course of things is to put together a caucus in Wilson County where all concerned can show up, air their grievances, share their opinions, and gain understanding. We don’t want this issue to become a political game forever. What we need is the right solution, not an expedient one. We need a solution that depoliticizes the fire protection services throughout the county.

    You have to admit, we do have a bit of a weird set of conditions here in Wilson County. From what I can tell, Mike Jennings, the county Attorney, also is the Mayor of Watertown. Jason Holleman, the city attorney of Mt. Juliet, is also a Nashville Metro Councilman. We had a mayor who was working for a developer (who knows who she works for now). A commissioner who doubles as a sheriff’s deputy for the county. There simply seems to be too many people with allegiances to too many people.

    I am very interested in developing proper fire protection services in Mt. Juliet, but I am even more interested in developing fire protection services that are not being used as political pawns anymore. We deserve better in Wilson County.

  86. Shawn Donovan

    I agree Butch. I think though it needs to start in Mt. Juliet, to address the specific needs for West Wilson and then look at the whole county.

    If you involve residents who live in West Wilson it will reduce some of political aspects of the dialogue. There are a lot of firefighters who live in West Wilson, who work for many departments outside of just WEMA, like myself, who can bring a lot of different perspectives.

    I believe the best time to get true communication is to do it after the November elections. It would give us time to plan a “forum” like you mention that can involve the education of the fire protection issue to the general public. It is similar to the education issue, if you want a good picture ask the one’s who work in the business.

  87. Every article I read concerning the creation of a fire department for the citizens of Mt. Juliet has at least one person quoted as being opposed to the idea because of the possibility of having to raise or create a tax to pay for it. A tax does not currently pay for law enforcement nor does it pay for public works. If you place the need for professional loss prevention and life safety at the top or somewhere near the top of the budget, you will not need a tax to pay for it. Now, you may need a tax to pay for a YMCA, a wider Curd Rd., or tennis courts; but not for the essential services our city leaders should see fit to provide. The citizens of the City of Mt. Juliet are NOT the ATM of the city leaders. There is money available for this. City leaders are charged with being good stewards of our money. There are 14 banks and financial institutions on Mt. Juliet Rd. from the interstate to Lebanon Rd. Forty years ago, there were 2. There is money in Mt. Juliet and there is money for our protection. Commissioners need to get together on this for the benefit of the entire city and stop simply working for the benfit of their districts. The city as a whole and every citizen therein deserves to be protected and safe. Their lives and their property should find itself somewhere near the top of your budget.

  88. Quickly, another point to the candidates…Why would there have to be fire districts and different levels of pay for service? There are no law enforcement district pay grades or differential services. Same for public works. Please do not simply tack the safety and health of the citizens of this city on the bottom of your budget. Their lives and their property are much more importanr than a line item on a shopping list.

  89. Lex Luther

    I am against Mt. Juliet paying twice for fire protection. We already pay to have adequate service – the county takes our tax money and spends it elsewhere.

    We are only 20 square miles out of 620. I bet a lot more than 3% of total county property tax collected comes from Mt. Juliet. No telling how much sales tax.

    Should Mt. Juliet spend twice for every service the county doesn’t adequately provide or just this one?

  90. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    Your “put fire protection at the top of the list” position would be a strong argument except that you are leaving out the fact that we are already funding the Mt. Juliet Fire Protection service and we aren’t getting what we are paying for.

    That conundrum is the issue. Many people are saying “we are already paying for fire protection”. Others are saying “Mt. Juliet needs to fund their own fire protections services (typically these are the people who don’t actually live in Mt. Juliet), and yet others don’t know which end is up in the fire protection debate (I fall in this category more than I would like to admit, but I am trying to learn).

    It is patently unfair for Mt. Juliet to provide its own fire department unless we get the taxation issue settled.

    I would like to see this whole issue solved and soon. I would be glad to stand side-by-side with anyone who wants to solve this whole issue equitably, but I will fight against anyone who wants to solve this without dealing with the entire issue, which will only lead to more political strife.

    I do agree with you that before we give a $2,000,000 land grant to the YMCA we should really consider spending our money on a fire station or a ladder truck. I will give you that one.

  91. Nathan Clariday

    You do already pay a tax for police and public works; which is sales tax. You also paid with an impact fee that was basically added to the cost of your residence. You also pay every time you get a ticket. There are several other smallers taxes also.

  92. Butch Huber

    Good points Nathan.

    Part of public works is also paid for through sewer fees as well.

    Public works also brings in money through permits and other charges as well.

  93. Lex,
    No. Mt. Juliet should not pay twice for the service. I do not know how our county tax dollars are distributed. I do know our current fire protection and ems efforts are stretched too thin. Either buy our own or increase taxes earmarked specifically for fire and medical. I can not answer that from here. As a citizen of this county and growing city, I do want to know why those of us doing the job here have such terrible stories to tell. This is senseless, such prosperity and at such risk.

  94. Butch,
    You are right. We are and we ain’t and we need to find out why. The taxation allocation needs to be scrutinized. It is going to take a honest effort by both the Mayor of Mt. Juliet and the County Executive to properly provide adequate services for the money. Perhaps, even begin a whole new agreement. I am not sure the 2 parties in place at this time could do this. But I do know that the people of this city deserve a more thorough blanket of protection. Thank you for your dialogue.

  95. Nathan,
    Good point and I know there are a heck of a lot of sales being made at 401 S. Mt. Juliet Rd. Other locations as well and more to come from the growth in retail outlets. I just can’t help but think you could buy a fire department as fine as the police department and public works with all that money. However; I am addressing the city tax issue that some think has to be the sole funding of a fire department for Mt. Juliet. The money is here, we do not need a city tax.

  96. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    Perhaps the city of Mt. Juliet could start an ambulance service that provides services for all of West Wilson County. Ambulance Service supposedly makes a profit. We could then use that profit to help fund a fire department in Mt. Juliet! I think I am on to something here. I bet if the rest of the county knew that we were about to take away some of the ambulance service profits they would be willing to be more amenable to a better protection plan in Mt. Juliet without us having to have our own fire department.

    Jamie, this mayor can’t bring things together for us, she doesn’t have the skill or the temperament for that job. She doesn’t appear to have the respect of the county either.

    Jamie, the only thing that is going to really work is for citizens to raise living hell for the politicians until they are willing to sit down and fix this. You do that by not letting them alone. Call their cell phones, bombard their e-mails. Send letters to them. Confront them when you see them (peacefully, but assertively) and let them know how you feel and that you want a caucus. Everyone needs to push the issue until it is brought to a head. Never, ever, let up.

    But Jamie, please understand, I am not for the fire fighters solving this on their own. You folks have a tight alliance with one another, which I think is a good thing, but this whole issue is not “just” about fire protection. A solution that comes from “just” a fire protection angle will not be a solution at all. There are lots of issues, not just fire protection, that need to be addressed at the same time if we are going to be able to have lasting success with any solution we come up with.

  97. Mr. Huber,
    Acknowledged and agreed. I would like to buy you a cup of coffee, listen, and learn from you. If you have the time sometime, call me. My number is in the book. Thank you.

  98. Nathan Clariday

    Anybody know the WEMA budget anyways?
    I wish they would post it where we could find it easier.

  99. Butch Huber

    Nathan,

    I let’s you and I start a Wilson County Citizen’s Coalition for open and honest government. You and I can rouse some people to dig into what the governments of Wilson County are doing, post their numbers and information on this site, and drag the truth out into the light of day.

    I would like to see the entire budget figures of each government in Wilson County. I think that would be important information to have for the caucus. Unless you have a keen sense of where you are you will never figure out how to get where you want to go. There is no way to arrive at a win-win-win if you don’t have a handle on the needs and concerns of all parties involved.

    It is time for citizens to get deeply involved in the politics of this county. I have no ax to grind with Lebanon, Watertown, the County or any other city or town in this county. I have an ax to grind with this current city commission in Mt. Juliet, not because I am against Mt. Juliet itself, but because these folks have done a horrible job leading this government and they have either committed corrupt acts or they have turned their heads and looked the other way when one of their own have committed corruption. No one else is going to do a damn thing about what these folks do to break the law and abuse their offices, so we must.

    Jamie,

    I would be honored to sit down with you anytime. I will call you.

  100. Brent Dyer

    Hello friends…

    Starting next week, please watch the local papers, etc. for advertisement of a fire issue caucus and chili cook off to be held at Charlie Daniels Park, on October 4th, Saturday, Pavillion # 3, 6-9pm, everone is invited.

    This is sponsored and will be mediated by your dedicated firefighters. We will attempt to contact all candidates for local offices and the public is welcome and wanted.

    There is no charge, we will only be taking donations for our “I.O” (Intraosseous) access project in which the firefighters association, and other local sponsors have helped raise money for to purchase $8,000 dollars worth of valuable life saving devices on Wilson County ambulances.

    We are hoping that this will be a good opportunity to educate the public on critical points over this issue and encourage candidates and incumbents who will hopefully be present to focus on communication with the county government, as this will most likely be the better solution for this over-due life safety matter. Who knows, we may be the only ones there, oh well, at least there will be plenty of chili and other goodies.

    Everything will be on hand that evening, except contesting pots of chili, so if you are interested, please join us. Chili or not, everyone is welcome, there will be plenty for everyone. No alcoholic beverages of course, and in case some of our firefighters who claim to have the best firehouse chili makes thiers too hot, we will have EMS folks on hand. Any questions, etc. please contact Brent Dyer 440-6657 or mbdyer@tds.net

  101. ~robyn

    thanks to everyone for your contribution in this thread. learning about issue complexities helps me understand how i might choose to get involved where possible. i’ll try to make it to CDP on the 4th.

    thanks to each of you first responders for all your hard work!
    ~robyn

  102. Nathan Clariday

    Brent Dyer do you remember any of MTAS fire coverage recommendations? Did they make sense or were they way out there? When they came up last year; they seemed like a good deal for everybody but the city kinda blew them off.

  103. Shawn Donovan

    A lot of action the last couple of days on the fire link.

    Butch, as an FYI, EMS agencies don’t normally make money or enough to be worth the cost associated with it. When you look at the overall picture its not worth the effort.

    Nathan, my two cents and we’ll see if Brent agrees since we’re both firefighters, is that the MTAS study was basically a good report in theory. A lot of the recommendations required a significant amount of money to implement and a more/less change in operational attitudes for WEMA as a whole. The document made a lot of recommendatins with regards to staffing that would require a lot more activity by volunteer firefighters which currently is not the case with the current Volunteer Division under WEMA. It also noted the need for many new fire stations and equipment purchases.

    All in all like I said is was a good theory, but not very practical without some good long range planning. It would require great strids to accomplish since it would require a lot of money and hand in hand cooperation with the local governments and the county.

  104. Butch Huber

    Shawn,

    I heard from a very reliable source that the Ambulance service goes out on about 14,000 calls per year with an average charge of about $400. I heard that not all of those calls will pay, but that at least 60% do. That would mean that there are approximately 8,400 paying calls each year. That means that the Ambulance service brings the county about $3,360,000 each year on average. I am told that they county returns about $200,000 to the Ambulance Service to purchase new equipment and the rest stays in the general fund. Now, I am sure that there are other things to pay for that fall outside the realm of “equipment replacement”. But $3,160,000 will go a very long way toward those “other” costs. I speculate that there is a remaining balance after all expenses for running the ambulance services are paid for.

    The goal here is to get the county and the incorporated cities to quit bickering over these issues and solve them. One way to do that is to set things up in such a way that any alternative to a responsible, equitable, and fair plan is unpalatable to the parties involved. In other words, we as citizens need to force them to fix this. One way to do that is to make it unpleasant for them not to fix it. One way to make it unpleasant for them is to hit them where it counts….profit centers. It appears that the ambulance service is a profit center for the county.

  105. Shawn Donovan

    Butch,

    You make good points, but you need to remeber those funds you are noting are for the whole county, not just Mt. Juliet/West Wilson? With that being said do you think that if the county is making those kinds of funds that they are going to just up a give a 911 contract to some new ambulance service when they are counting on those funds for the general fund. That would be a bigger fight the straight fire protection.

    Creating a plan is a good thing I agree, but trying to get everyone to agree on the plan is another. When you have 4 different government (County, MJ, Lebanon, and Watertown) trying to agree on a plan is a mighty task Butch. This goes down the path of you get more with sugar then vinegar.

    I’m in support of any plan that increases the safety of the citizens and my brother firefighters at WEMA. Like most of the brothers can tell you we all know what needs to be done, its getting the general public to realize there is a problem first and bring more voices than just the firefighters to the elected officials.

  106. Butch Huber

    Shawn,

    I agree that getting all of the parties to agree is big league negotiations, but that is the game at hand. Our job is to rise to the challenge. I agree that you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar, but you have to have vinegar. You need a huge carrot and a gigantic stick if you are going to win the day on these issues.

    Shawn, you seem to only be focusing in on fire protection. I am not. There are many other issues that need to be dealt with at a Wilson County Congressional Caucus level other than just fire protection. We need to cooperate, not compete, with Wilson County. Our job is to make it more appealing for them to cooperate than to compete. In fact, we need to convince the county and the other cities that to compete against Mt. Juliet is a losing battle for them, but to cooperate with us is a winning plan.

    Shawn, remember, if the county uses one red penny of property taxes to provide fire protection they “Have” to establish fire tax districts. That fact is their limitation, but it isn’t “our” limitation. If we can’t get the county to cooperate with us on their own, we can put them in a position where it works to our favor anyway.

    The last thing in the world this county or Lebanon want is for Mt. Juliet to have a property tax. At least if the commission uses its head anyway.

    Again, the goal is cooperation, not competition, among the governments of Wilson County.

  107. Brent Dyer

    I will have detailed information on hand on next Saturday night, Oct. 4th regarding many of the questions here. If there is anything specific that hasn’t been mentioned, please contact me and I will do my best to have an answer at the fire caucus and forum being hosted by the Wilson County Firefighters Association. We look forward to meeting some of the folks from this website.

    In regards to Mr. Claridays question,

    I do remember the MTAS study, and I have reviewed it from the video links since. I have tried to look at their recommendations as a homeowner and citizen rather than understanding it in a firefigter/paramedic’s perspective. The main thing I find from the whole MTAS study is two things… and I apologize to anyone who may feel that this sounds negative, but it is how I feel none the less.
    1) How much tax money did city government spend on the MTAS study that could have been used to start fixing the obvious problems that anyone could see with or without the assisance of the fire study. For example, when the study was done and paid for by MJ, it would have been less expensive and beneficial in the aspect of familiarization to the communites needs based on experience to walk up Hill Street and ask a man who had been fighting fires and living in MJ for 30 years what he thought…
    2) Even with the results of the study, why has it taken this long to see even the most simple parts of the reccomendations to be acted upon?

    Oh well, at least things are maybe looking a little proactve for once. I just hope that the city can work together with the county to mend the retroactive approaches that have been taken for so long. I am excited about the idea of change soon in some leadership positions. I believe this will create a fresh opportunity for leaders county wide to cooperate so everyone in Wilson County may benefit.

  108. Chris Sorey

    Again, where does it say that the county has to establish fire tax districts?

  109. Bobby Franklin

    Tennessee Code Annotated – 5-17-101. Formation. —

    (a) The county legislative body or other governing body of any county is authorized to form a new agency to be known as the county-wide fire department for the purpose of providing fire protection services to all of the county

    (b) The powers and duties of the county-wide fire department may be delegated by the county legislative body or other governing body to an existing agency

    (c) (1) The governing body of any county that now has or may hereafter have a metropolitan form of government as defined by § 7-1-101, is authorized to form a new agency to be known as the county-wide fire department, or to extend fire protection services of an existing agency or department to all or any part thereof of the general services district outside the urban services district in the manner and to the extent prescribed in this section.

    (2)In counties governed by metropolitan government, the powers and duties of the agency or department affording fire protection outside the urban services district shall be vested in that agency in which the charter of the metropolitan government vests the responsibility for protection against fire of life and property within the urban services district.

    (d) A fire department established pursuant to this chapter may be funded through one (1) of the following methods:

    (1) As authorized by §§ 5-17-105 — 5-17-107, the county legislative body may establish one (1) or more fire tax districts and levy an annual fire tax upon the property in each district for the purpose of funding the activities of the fire department within that district;

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

    (3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the ability of local governments to provide for fire protection services through an interlocal agreement as authorized by title 12, chapter 9, or any other provision of the Tennessee Code;

    (4) Nothing in this subsection (d) shall prohibit nor be construed to prohibit a local government from accepting donations or charitable contributions to fund the activities of the fire department, regardless of the method of funding selected by a local government under the provisions of this section.

    (e) Any county choosing to create a county-wide fire district as authorized by this section, may, with the approval of the local legislative body, mandate that all interlocal agreements and contracts with providers for services permitted under this section contain performance based criteria designed to ensure timely response and effective services, the exact methodology of which is to be determined by local ordinance

  110. Bobby Franklin

    Chris,

    Kevin Lauer, Fire Management Consultant of CTAS, wrote an excellent handbook found here:

    http://www.tennessee.gov/commerce/sfm/documents/CTASrePort.pdf

  111. Butch Huber

    Chris,

    See section (2) above, see where it says that the county can fund the fire department through shared revenues or situs-based taxes? See where it talks about unincorporated areas of the county? What that is saying, I believe, is that “if” the county were to use property taxes to fund the county-wide fire department they cannot tax the city for fire protection. Essentially, that reduces you to fire tax districts. The county cannot use county property taxes, or non-shared revenues, to fund a fire department unless they establish fire tax districts. That’s how I read this messy law anyway.

  112. Bobby Franklin

    State law requires countywide fire departments to be funded with sources other than property tax so the urban areas won’t be used to subside the rural areas – as is happening in Wilson County.

  113. Lori Ruotolo

    Could they use sales tax revenue to fund a County department? I used to live in an area that only had volunteer fire departments, so most of the money was received through fund raising. Every house was visited every year to ask for donations and I don’t remember them ever having a budget issue with being able to afford what they needed.

  114. Bobby Franklin

    Yes, the county could use sales tax to fund their countywide fire service.

    But they have committed a percentage of that tax to the school system. The annual budget of WEMA currently exceeds the amount of uncommitted sales tax collected.

    It is pretty easy to prove that the county has to be spending at least some property tax money on WEMA.

  115. Butch Huber

    If Bobby is right, and he usually is, then the county is not in keeping with the requirements of the law right now.

    The law regarding all of this is very difficult for me to wrap my arms around and fully understand, but, it appears to me, that if they spend “any” money from any source of un-shared revenues (not just property taxes), they “have” to either establish fire tax districts “or” develop the fire protection service funding program on a situs basis (which to me is nothing more than another way to say “fire tax district”).

    If Bobby is are right about the county spending more on education and fire protection than they bring in from sales tax, the county is in an incredible position of weakness before we even begin the process of straightening this whole mess out. It appears that we will have won any eventual battle before it began. That is a wonderful position for Mt. Juliet to be in. However, I would caution everyone, that if we do have that position going in, it would be wise not to use it unless we have to. The end goal should be to work out “ALL” of the issues and foster and build an atmosphere and environment of friendly cooperation, not a bitter atmosphere and environment of enmity and competition. The goal of the county and the goal of the city should really be the same…to develop Wilson County and its incorporated cities into a business friendly, citizen friendly, responsible growth area of Middle Tennessee. Wilson County needs to become a community unto itself, with Jobs, education, industry, entertainment, shopping, business, and all of the other facets of a society all contained right here in this county. The only way we become as alive and vibrant as a community as we are capable of becoming is to cooperate.

    I love the growth, but I could be okay without it, however, government has no business standing in the way of growth. It is time to settle the differences and get on with getting on.

    It is time for Wilson County to grow up and think like a community of its own, not a suburb of Nashville. Maryland Farms and Cool Springs is what we need to shoot for in Mt. Juliet, large corporations and industrial is what the county needs to focus its attention on. Those are cooperative efforts. I don’t really want industrial in Mt. Juliet, we are too small and are too well suited for upscale business complexes to waste valuable land on industrial complexes. However, Wilson County is extremely well suited for industrial complexes. Wilson County is also well position for such businesses with 840 “and” 40 running through it. If we think macro first, micro second, we can find common ground in Wilson County.

  116. Chris Sorey

    You guys are really trying to talk yourselves into a city property tax to fund a fire department.
    Two points:
    1. Please look up the definition of situs for yourself and then read the law again.
    2. We have an interlocal agreement. There has been a contract between WEMA and the city of MJ for as long as I can remember.

    There has been a lot of “body bag” blogging on this site, and comments such as “raise living hell for the politicians until they are willing to sit down and fix this” doesn’t do much to motivate.

    A short term solution that I believe everyone can live with is in the works and if the respective commissions agree to it, it will be implemented ASAP. Once the short term fix is in place, we can begin working on the long term solution.

    There is no need for a caucus to be put together, but feel free to do so. I doubt Sen. Beavers or Rep. Lynn will commit to a caucus as was suggested earlier, since this is a county issue and has absolutely nothing to do with the state.

  117. Shawn Donovan

    What is the short term fix you are talking about Chris?

    Butch, turning Mt. Juliet into the next Cool Springs or Brentwood is a mighty task that will take a lot of planning outside of opening some bix box retailors.

    My district at Franklin Fire Covers the east side of Cool Springs, and I used to cover Maryland Farms when I worked at Brentwood Fire. We need a lot of work infrastructure wise to get to that level. I know that first hand, not just going there to go shopping. You think Mt. Juliet Roads traffic is bad by adding Providence.

    I like all the positive discussion regarding the fire protection issue. Hopefully it will turn into action sometime soon.

  118. Chris Sorey

    Short term solution, not fix.Iit will help resolve some of the issues while we work on the long term solution. And the best part, it doesn’t involve a property tax increase. I still have a few ducks to get lined up before we take the idea public and pitch it. It doesn’t involve your volunteers in any way and I still believe they will be a valuable asset to WEMA, and MJ.

  119. Shawn Donovan

    Does it involve elimination of the volunteers?

  120. Chris Sorey

    It doesn’t involve your volunteers in any way. That is a city of MJ issue, and I have no say in what MJ does. Again, I believe the volunteers will be a valuable asset.

  121. Butch Huber

    Chris,

    I believe you will find that Situs in this context means that you pay for what you get and nothing more. What that is saying, Chris, is that the county cannot tax us for fire protection it is providing for those who live in the county. I realize that you are having a hard time figuring this new law out, I agree that it is extremely poorly written, but the basis of the law is that the county is not allowed to abuse the city with unfair taxation.

    Context is important Chris. You like to take things out of context. First off, I have said more than once that the county has been more than nice to me every time I have contacted them. They have acted professional and courteous toward me in every way. I have no beef with the county on a personal level. However, there does seem to be this pervasive and endemic east vs. west mentality going on in this county “and” city. There also seems to be a situation where the county “seems” to be working against the best interests of this city. The context of what I have written, when you take everything in its entirety, is that the city needs to take a conciliatory attitude and try to sit down with all the parties involved and rectify this situation…the entire situation, not just fire protection. However, if the city does take on a conciliatory posture, and attempts to reconcile the situation with the county, and if the county presents itself as unyielding or aggressive toward the city, then the city does need to stand up for itself and go after the county until the county relents.

    Funny that you are on the county commission and somehow, without the knowledge of the citizens of the city of Mt. Juliet, or even the firefighters, you have some stop gap measure being cooked up. Chris, there is more wrong here than just fire protection. In order to have a working, long-term solution we need to deal with all of the problems that have caused the divide.

    You are not being honest by acting like my posture is nothing but “raise living hell for the politicians until they are willing to sit down and fix this”. Of course, you are only doing what politicians do…using half of the truth. Notice that “I” am the one suggesting a caucus. That isn’t something a person who “wants” to raise hell does.

    You don’t know what Sen. Beavers and Rep. Lynn will or won’t do any more than I know. However, this does have something to do with them. They are representatives of this district at the state level, and the laws governing all of this are from the state level. They should want to be involved in a matter as important as this and be willing to sponsor state legislation that will solve it if we can’t come to a reasonable conclusion. The same people who vote for them are depending on an equitable and fair solution. I don’t think this whole thing is one sided. I think there is enough blame to go around. However, blame isn’t important, results are important.
    Chris, you are only seeing the small beginnings of what citizens can accomplish if they work together, after all, it is our government, this is our community, the offices you politicians hold belong to us, and the homes and businesses here belong to us (well, not really, we rent them, but our names are on the mortgages and deeds.)

    Shawn, Brentwood and Franklin didn’t start out the way that they are now. I have watched that city grow up for 13 years. I too know those areas first hand, not just going there shopping. In fact, I probably know Brentwood and Franklin better than you do. If we work at it now, 13 years from now we can have what they have and more. But then again, we can follow this new land use plan and we can just become Hickory Hollow II.

  122. Chris,
    Please explain “body bag blogging”. Thank you in advance.

  123. Brent Dyer

    As a local public safety professional, I do want to say that my colleagues and I agree with the fact that there are more issues than fire protection. Trust me, I am as sick of hearing about it and dealing with it as everyone else. However, it is the most critical of any government controlled resource issue out there. Therefore we must continue to stay focused to ensure our community is protected and can meet the needs of a growing area. Again, thanks to everyone who continues to stand up for what is right. The support that is seen from citizens gives us hope that maybe someday we can serve our community more efficiently and more effectively. Although we may be limited in some areas, our pride and intergrity is where it needs to be here lately, just knowing we have our community’s support. It means a lot. Thank You.

    Brent Dyer, President
    Wilson Co. Firefighters Association
    IAFF Local 4238

  124. Butch Huber

    Brent,

    I believe you have to attack this from a macro level, handling all of the issues at one time, or you end up right back where you started. I don’t disagree that fire protection is a major issue, perhaps “the” major issue, but my senses are telling me that unless we drag all of the issues that divide us in Wilson County out into the open, find solutions and compromise, develop levels of understanding and cooperation, and institute mutually beneficial plans and concepts, we gain no ground.

    Consider the pay of Employees of Mt. Juliet city government. We spent months trying to get the payroll right. We got some raises and benefits for the employees and now, most, in not all, of the advances we made have been wiped away. The reason is simple, we didn’t change the hearts and minds of the leadership. They just don’t get it, the employees here are grossly underpaid. Brent, that is a major issue as well. They are now about 14% to as much as 17% behind were they should be. That is a huge pay disparity and it is getting worse, not better. In terms of revenue, this is a huge issue because one day they will have to come to terms with this disparity, only they won’t have the money in the budget. Now, this is a Mt. Juliet issue, but it is still and issue that has to be dealt with head-on.

    I appreciate all of the fire fighters and emergency service personnel, I am glad you are there and I hope that in an emergency I can depend on all of you to do a great job and help me or my family. I have been around the block enough times to know that unless you deal with the whole matter you gain nothing. We need to close the divide, and we need to close it now.

  125. Chris Sorey

    Jamie,
    Body Bag Journalism is an approach that media has used to raise awareness on issues, such as when the newscasts would end with a body count during the Vietnam War. It really drives the issue home when you have numbers.

    Butch, I should take time to respond to your comments, but I won’t. Honestly, I think you just want to bitch.

  126. Chris,
    Thank you for the response. My question may have been vague, however and I do apologize. Specifically, the reference of “body bag” blogging on this site should have been included in my question. May I trouble you once more for explaination? Again, thank you.

  127. Mr. Huber,
    The pay problem exists at the county level as well. The guy making your lunch in the fast food restaurant is making on the average of .17 cents more an hour than the guy making your heart beat in the back of the ambulance. The manager makes more. Speaking of which, if anyone wants to do lunch today, please call.

  128. Brent Dyer

    Butch,

    I agree that the matter of pay of employees is a serious issue, especially if we want to attract quality individuals to serve our public. I feel this one brother… an interdepartmental study was done a couple of months ago and it was determined that Wilson County’s Paramedics are more than 30% behind compared to surrounding counties when it comes to compensation of services. Not to mention that paramedics in this county also serve as firefighters with a whole mess of other credentials that isn’t required in most other communities. Most of WEMA’s staff are firefighters and state of TN liscensed EMT-IV’s. Approximately 3/8 or less than a quarter of the staff who respond to the calls are paramedics. We continue to see other areas attracting our good employees because of pay and safety issues such as adequate staffing and equipment.

    You are right though, from what I have seen some really nice and professional people work for MJ, and I hope to see them better taken care of by a potential new city leadership. As far as the county goes, 2010 cannot get here soon enough.

  129. Butch Huber

    Brent,

    It isn’t okay for any government employee to be underpaid. I served 9 years in the Military and was under paid compared to the civilian sector all 9 years. I got a lot of other benefits, but what I did was a service to the country. I don’t regret the difference in pay, because I knew the score going in. However, here in the real world, you have to compare same service with comparable market. Government employees do have to be compared directly with other government employees and indirectly with private sector.

    Again, more reason to get all of the issues settled, not just focus on one item.

    Chris,

    You are wrong, I don’t like to bitch, I just have so many things to bitch about I can’t help myself. The problems we have are the result of politicians thinking they know more and are smarter than they really are…sound like anyone you know?

  130. Shawn Donovan

    Jamie, Brent, and Chris

    We need to get together for a “brother” lunch. I would like to sit down with you guys and talk a little about your thoughts since basically we all work for different agencies and all have had a part with WEMA at one time or another or currently.

    If we could get a group lunch of brothers who simply live in Mt. Juliet, not necessarily needing to all work for WEMA since I would be out myself, and put our heads together and brainstorm what we all think we need in Mt. Juliet, with obviously WEMA personnel leading the discussion since they work here, I think it would be a great thing.

    I know personnally we have brothers from Nashville, Smyrna, Brentwood, Franklin, and WEMA represented in town. I’m sure there is more that I don’t know about.

  131. Chris Sorey

    Shawn,
    Great idea. I work A shift and we are on the same schedule as WEMA, if that helps get a day pinned down. If you guys are up for it, we can talk about the idea that a few folks have put together and see what others in the profession think. It is a new idea, even though it is relatively simple, input is welcome.
    579-6068

  132. My schedule is flexible for the month of Oct. Make the date and I will arrange to attend. Best to all.

  133. Shawn Donovan

    Good. Chris if you work WEMA’s A-shift then we are one the same one.

    Let me talk to a couple of the other brothers and we’ll try to get something together. Thanks guys

  134. Brent Dyer

    The meeting sounds like a great idea, however I would like to see it open to not just firefighters, but others in our community who are focused on solutions like ourselves. You know, something like the chili supper on Sat. night… speaking of which, to all who see this, please know everyone is welcome. I have contacted as many officials as I can and other ads have been made. Look forward to seeing everyone there. Tomorrow night, 6-9pm, Charlie Daniels Park, pavillion 3…

  135. Shawn Donovan

    This wouldn’t be the first and last meeting by any means. I would like to have a meeting with only firefighters who live in MJ at first, so we could all throw ideas around that are firefighter specific since its our profession. As any firefighter will tell you, we all do things different and have different ideas based on past experience.

  136. Chris Sorey

    Make it happen. I’m off on Monday so set it up.

  137. It was great seeing and meeting everyone in person last night at the civic gathering. Hope everyone who tried “Sweet Natty’s Engine 6 Firehouse Chilli No. 2” really enjoyed it. I am Josh’s Dad and I approve this recipe. The dialogue was the best. My plea to the cadidates is simple: Do something effective now. There are many options available to improve the coverage of fire protection and emergency medical services to the citizens of this city. We look to you to do what is best to provide this safety. Everyday dirt is moved and Mt. Juliet grows, we fall farther behind if we do not act. Make it your goal, please, to work this opportunity, and the many others we have, to completion quickly and effectively. Call on us if you need. We are public servants as well. Again, thank you and may God bless you and your families.

  138. Butch Huber

    To the fire fighters and EMS personnel who put on the meeting last night, thank you for putting that together. I gained an insight by listening to you last night that I otherwise wouldn’t have gained. I only wish that I could have heard from you more. I enjoyed listening to that candidates talk about what they thought on the subject, but I already could have told you what they would say. I need to hear more from you. However, I believe I have heard enough to figure out an “acceptable solution” to the problem.

    By acceptable, I mean politically acceptable while still being acceptable from a protection standpoint.

    Let me see if I can shed some light on this based on what I learned last night.

    First off, there is opposition coming from some of you in WEMA regarding the development of fire tax districts. Your opposition comes from two issues that I could pick up on. One issue is that you don’t want to disturb the Lebanon Fire Department, you say “those guys have their thing, we work well with them, and we don’t want to mess them up”. The second issue that I heard was that you don’t like fire tax districts because “you can’t expect a fire fighter to just sit there while his brothers in another district fight a fire”. The second position is, in my opinion, just support for the first position because you know that you could offer mutual aid even with fire tax districts.

    The county doesn’t want fire tax districts because if they put fire tax districts in place (without a workable plan) they are going to have a real problem on their hands. The problem is that the county is obviously subsidizing fire protection in unincorporated Wilson County using tax dollars that come from Mt. Juliet and, with the advent of fire tax districts that practice would end. The other reason that the county would be reticent to develop fire tax districts is due to the conventional belief that they would have to turn over the fire department in Mt. Juliet and go build another fire department building somewhere inside unincorporated Wilson County. That presents a compounding problem for the county because they would have to invest in a new building, which is expensive, and that building would be locate in the growth path of Mt. Juliet, which would mean that in a short timeframe the County would own a fire department building inside the city limits of Mt. Juliet. If the county went with fire tax districts they would have to abandon the efforts afoot to get the city of Mt. Juliet to buy WEMA a ladder truck/aerial truck. I agree that we need a ladder truck/aerial truck (not sure what the difference is, but I trust your opinion that we need one or the other or both), but if we were purchase a ladder truck under fire tax districts the city would actually own and operate the truck, not WEMA. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t use it in mutual aid, but our investment would go to our citizens first and then to mutual aid secondly.

    I can understand all of those positions, but I can also see a solution.

    Who says that by putting fire tax districts in place you have to mess up Lebanon?
    Who says that by putting fire tax districts in place WEMA will have to give up its Mt. Juliet station?
    Who says that you can’t offer mutual aid with fire tax districts?
    The county may have to accept that it has a duty and responsibility to develop equitable taxation for fire protection, but who says that they won’t if they are presented with an equitable plan? Besides, if the county doesn’t respond to this issue with an agreeable posture, the city and the citizens of Mt. Juliet should lobby their state representative and their state senator and ask them to sponsor a resolution to repeal the provision in the TCA that allows for fire departments located in counties with populations falling between 80,000 and 83,000 in the 1992 census to fund fire departments with shared tax revenues. You see, it is that provision, which was developed specifically for Wilson County, that is causing the problem. The county is saying that they are funding WEMA from shared tax revenues. That, if true, would make it legal for Wilson County to discontinue service to Mt. Juliet as long as they always fund WEMA with shared revenue. That makes Fire Protection a “political” issue. Repeal that provision and the county would have to fund fire protection from property taxes. When the county goes to funding fire protection from property taxes it has little choice but to develop fire tax districts. Besides, Mt. Juliet could easily create a situation where the county has to use unshared revenue to fund WEMA, then you go to fire tax districts. (I believe they already do fund WEMA with unshared revenue, but I haven’t obtained the proof yet.)

    I think the county, if it knew that you guys were very, very serious about this issue, and if they knew that you had enough citizens behind you, and if they knew that we had state legislators lined up and ready to repeal the provision that allows them to fund fire protection with shared tax revenues, would stand up and take notice.

    This is a “county problem”, not a “Mt. Juliet” problem. But you don’t easily make old issues disappear just because you want them to, you have to offer a better solution.

    So here goes:

    1.) Mt. Juliet needs to face the fact that it needs to develop its own fire protection service, not because it is the best way to cover fire protection, but because the men and women that fight fires in this county do not want to support, and won’t support, anything that messes up the Lebanon Fire Department. I get that now, I understand. I didn’t understand until last night, but now I do. Lebanon started its Fire Department supposedly around 100 years ago. Fire Departments are staffed by people who are attracted to tradition, heritage, and culture. You are steeped in tradition, you identify with your brothers and sisters. So, to you, doing anything that would upset your brothers and sisters in Lebanon, a department with which you have a good working relationship, is just out of the question. You already know that they are not interested in going to work for WEMA, (because as was stated by one of you last night, “I don’t want to work for Mt. Juliet”, when you read between the lines you hear, “the folks that work for Lebanon are not going to be interested in going to WEMA”. So you know that you can’t support anything that would dismantle the Lebanon Fire Department. Mt. Juliet has been taking the position that if Lebanon wants to have its own fire department than “go with God” (As Linda put it last night), but that doesn’t mean we should have our own fire department. That is the practical and logical answer, and I get that answer, but that position doesn’t solve anything. I have always said, being “Correct” doesn’t always mean you are “right”. From a legal and financial level, taking the position that we are already paying the county to provide fire protection is the correct answer…but I am finding that it isn’t the “Right” answer. That answer leaves too many factors out of the equation. You see, it’s not enough for me to have adequate facilities, adequate equipment, proper break-out gear, and proper staffing, in Mt. Juliet, I want the people who stand guard over this city to connect with me, Joe Q. Public; I want them to feel like they “belong” here in Mt. Juliet. I want them to feel like Mt. Juliet is their base of operations. I am getting to the point where I don’t believe that will happen unless Mt. Juliet has its own department.
    Last night I got the distinct, and I believe very real, impression that no answer other than Mt. Juliet developing its own fire department will suffice for those who work for WEMA. You seem to have developed a paradigm that “the” solution, the “only” solution, is for Mt. Juliet to have its own department, and that instead of developing the “correct” political solution, you want, and are determined to get, what you believe is the “Right” solution. Okay, I get that, too. I may not completely agree with your position, but until I am ready to suit up with you and man a hose, my opinion really isn’t going to matter much, and probably shouldn’t.

    So, if Mt. Juliet is going to have its own fire department, the next question is, “how do we do it without upsetting Lebanon, without developing a situation where there is no longer mutual aid, and under which the citizens of Mt. Juliet don’t end up being double taxed for the same service.”

    I think the answer is simple, but maybe not easy. As a matter of fact, I believe it is tremendously simple, but it will be up to you and the county how “easy” it is. WEMA is going to have to agree to be flexible. You guys will have to be willing to bend just a little, or a lot, and do something that may be uncomfortable for the next 5 to 7 years. But my solution, if implemented, will get you where you want to be while keeping an even balance within the borders of Wilson County.

    Cooperate! Just because we implement fire tax districts doesn’t mean that the county has to completely abandon the MT. Juliet fire department building. You see, that has been a sticking point. It is a sticking point that has been developed due to “paradigms”. Paradigms, for those who are not familiar with the term, are beliefs that are so strongly held that you can’t see a different way.

    What if: wilson County agreed that it would pay for fire protection services only out of property taxes?

    What if: wilson County abandoned the practice of paying for, or pretending to pay for, fire protection from shared tax sources and simply allocated a portion of property taxes to fire protection?

    What if: for that consideration, Mt. Juliet agreed to develop its own fire department.

    What if: the county would set up fire tax districts within the unincorporated areas of the county, as it probably should have already done years ago.

    What if: the incorporated areas of the county would be 100% responsible for their own fire departments.

    What if: the county were to make that concession, and then the city of Mt. Juliet, agreed to immediately annex areas that it hasn’t annexed when those areas would put an undo burden on the county. I am talking about areas around Langford farms and those areas where it makes sense for them to be in the city more than it makes sense for them to be in the county. The city would then become responsible for fire protection services to those areas.

    What if: The county agreed to develop a plan of service for those areas that lie outside the 20 year growth plan for Mt. Juliet and outside the incorporated areas of the other cities and their growth plans.

    What if: The incorporated areas of Wilson County developed a service plan for their twenty year growth plan so that everyone could examine the overall plan in Wilson County and identify strengths and weaknesses in the plan and develop a comprehensive plan for the entire county that ensures that we are making smart decisions, and not just “political” decision. In other words, I get it that if the county were to build a WEMA station somewhere between the Current Mt. Juliet line and 109, eventually, that station would be within the city limits as the city annexed more and more areas within its growth plan. However, until that happens, WEMA must continue to provide services to those areas. If I were a county commissioner, I would have to consider that factor when I was making decisions about all of this. With that in mind, perhaps we need to develop an agreement between the city and the county under which those facilities would be turned over to Mt. Juliet, when the time was right, under agreed terms. In reality, those stations would be paid for by the people who live in that fire tax district, so the building and equipment eventually should be turned over to Mt. Juliet’s fire department without charge to Mt. Juliet as those areas are annexed into the city. However, I realize that something about that part of the plan won’t sit well with the county, but it would be “equitable”:

    but what if: until Mt. Juliet annexes all of its 20 year growth plan, WEMA would be allowed to house fire engines and staff inside Mt. Juliet’s fire houses wherever WEMA needs to protect areas just outside Mt. Juliet and vice versa

    What if: Mt Juliet agreed to build the additional fire houses we need in the Mt. Juliet area?

    I know that this solution isn’t what you guys would want, you want to be WEMA and you want Mt. Juliet’s Fire Department to be Mt. Juliet’s Fire Department (meaning you don’t want to share spaces), you don’t mind working together to fight fires, but you don’t want to live together. But I implore you to keep your eye on the ball, this isn’t about you, it’s about the protection of the citizens. There are no short-term solutions to this long-term problem. Besides, if WEMA, the County, and Lebanon are going to make it so Mt. Juliet “has” to have its own Fire Department, then you should help make sure that it is fully functional and the department has a chance to get off of the ground before you pull out of Mt. Juliet anyway. I don’t want to one day start a Mt. Juliet Fire Department and have you guys pull out of Mt. Juliet at the same time. That would be a dangerous situation. So I suggest a five-year transition with an option of 2 additional years if necessary. During that transition, Mt. Juliet would develop its own department, expand its boundaries, and Wilson county would make preparations for the time when they have to eventually abandon Mt. Juliet’s fire department buildings and move its equipment elsewhere. The county could focus its attention to the areas of the county that are outside incorporated growth boundaries. Nobody is left unprotected under a plan like this.

    The county would have to provide a property tax offset to Lebanon, Watertown, Mt. Juliet and any other incorporated city within the county. The county would establish a fire tax on the property of the unincorporated areas of the county. The city would have an offset equal to the fire tax the county charges on the property inside the unincorporated areas of the county. The city would have to have a property tax increase equal to the offset from the county (meaning, if the county allocated 20 cents to fire protection inside unincorporated Wilson County, the incorporated areas of the county would see a decrease in property taxes of 20 cents. As a result, we would have to have a 20 cent increase in city property taxes, but our overall taxes paid probably would not increase. Although each city could spend more than the offset if their commission so voted.)

    Each department could enter into mutual aid agreements all they want. We could enter into inter-local agreements regarding equipment and sharing resources.

    Everyone ends up with better protection under this plan (unless the county doesn’t do its part for the citizens of unincorporated Wilson County), we end up with better inter-department cooperation, less enmity, Incorporated Cities can focus on what they need rather than leaving it in the hands of the county, the fire departments would feel connected to the citizens they serve, everyone wins.

    The only downside to this plan is that the county would probably be resistant to it because they may have to increase property taxes inside the unincorporated areas of the county even more than they already charge in order to cover their territory. But that isn’t Mt. Juliet’s fault. If the county wants us to develop our own fire department, they are going to have to compromise.

    As long as Lebanon has its own fire department, and WEMA is unwilling to mess that up, a true county-wide fire protection service is not plausible. So the BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) is to develop a phased-in approach through which Mt. Juliet takes over its own fire protection services in exchange for WEMA assisting us and in exchange for the county taking responsibility for the costs of their own protection.

    Under this plan, nobody gets the rug pulled out from under them, we don’t have to spend a lot of time and money going to court, we don’t need a change to legislation, everyone gets taxed equitably, we end up with a workable plan for many, many years, Lebanon gets a boost in revenue because they would get the offset too (although they would have to take over more of the responsibility for their protection as well), WEMA could begin to focus more of its time, money, equipment, and attention to those areas of the county that will remain unincorporated once the cities have finished their growth plans within the county, we end up with a cooperative program where mutual aid is the watchword, we make better use of equipment and personnel than if Mt. Juliet is forced into a situation it doesn’t like, and perhaps we can begin to settle some of the other differences that exist between east and west.

    Now, the alternative to this plan leads to bitterness and rivalry. If WEMA sides with the county and Lebanon and attempts to force Mt. Juliet to fund its own fire department without tax equity, the result will be more hostility and even deeper enmity, court battles, vicious politics, and conflict. In other words, I can envision a battle that would rage for years. The problem for Lebanon and the County is that Mt. Juliet is truly positioned to win that war for the next thirty years. We can easily make the law work in our favor. The county and other incorporated cities in Wilson County won’t like a protracted battle with Mt. Juliet, we are poised for greater and faster growth than any other place in Tennessee. If we put the right people on our commission who take up the charge, this city could explode with growth. The county has to fund schools through property taxes. Mt. Juliet could so put a hurtin on the county that they are brought to their knees just trying to keep up. I don’t want to see this battle begin, but I believe that if the city of Mt. Juliet continues to be pushed without there being an acceptable plan, we are in for a battle none-the-less. It simply is not fair or responsible for fire protection to be held over our heads like a political weapon, and that is what it feels like is being done right now. It feels like there are forces in this county, not saying “WEMA” is that force, but that there are groups of people bent on forcing Mt. Juliet to form its own fire department and pay for fire protection services twice, once with the county and once with our own department. You guys have to know that that wouldn’t even be a good situation for the men and women who work for the Mt. Juliet Fire Department. How would you like to work for a department that was begrudgingly formed and is begrudgingly operated? I don’t think you would, therefore, I believe it is only fitting for you to support a plan that addresses “all” of the concerns, and not just what puts a band-aid on the problem.

    Seriously guys, I believe my plan would work, and based on the wants, needs and attitudes of everyone I have heard so far, it is the only solution that will work…but work it will, if it is put in play.

  139. Chris Sorey

    Butch,

    I realize you are trying, but you still have not provided any information to your claim that the county “has” to provide fire tax districts per a court order. It would appear that your facts are wrong.

    On the other hand, you brought up last night and have now based part of your opinion above on a provision which you are quoting from TN state law that you believe was passed for Wilson County in regards to fire tax districts. I believe you have more bad information, in that the population in Wilson County for 1990 was 67,675.

  140. Chris:

    Ask the folks at the county for a copy of Alsup et al v. Wilson County – sometime in the early 1990’s. The County was ordered to implement Fire Tax Districts. The plaintiffs were residents of parts of rural Wilson County who were, at the time, not receiving ANY coverage by WEMA and objected to paying for WEMA.

    The county drug their feet, and eventually, the section of TCA which said “shall” was amended to read “may” which relieved the county of an obligation to implement fire tax districts.

    See also this bill from 1999, sponsored by Sen. Rochelle which amended the language about fire tax districts. The county is no longer under any obligation to adopt/implement fire tax districts – but they may do so if they want to.

  141. Chris Sorey

    Thanks. I hadn’t put much effort into looking for the court case, and I had asked the person making the claim to find it.

    The funding portion of the entire bill says “may” and does not obligate the county to pay for the WEMA budget out of any particular revenue source as some have claimed.

    So can we now drop the idea that the county HAS to implement fire tax districts?

  142. At one time TCA (state law) said if a county provided a county-wide fire service, they had to adopt fire tax districts. Wilson County got into the fire protection business a little at a time, but eventually they were providing a county-wide fire service (thanks to their absorption of the Mt. Juliet volunteer fire department in 1986).

    The county lost a lawsuit and was ordered to implement fire tax districts, but they never did.

    And the law has since been amended so that the county currently does not HAVE to implement fire tax districts.

    But they MAY, if they wish to.

  143. Shawn Donovan

    Butch,

    Just for education wise, an aerial and a ladder are basically the same thing. When your talking aerial apparatus their are different types, such as straight ladders and platforms. Aerial platform trucks have a bucket on the end of the ladder and a straight ladder just is that, just a ladder.

    Then another thing is the height of the aerial, anywhere between 55 ft. and most 102 ft., for example we both 75 ft Quints (which is a ladder with no bucket) and 102 ft. Towers (which have a buckett).

    If you want to see some different types to hopefully give you some more info look at this website http://www.sutphen.com/Products.asp_Q_navigationid_E_4 This is one mfg. out there.

    Hope that helps

  144. Chris Sorey

    Not trying to pick a fight, but laws that are no longer in effect have no bearing on what happens today or in the near future.

    Publius, if you knew the court case that was being represented as the proof, why didn’t you bring it out a long time ago? It might have stopped the spread of a lot of the misinformation that has been presented.

  145. Butch Huber

    5-17-101

    (a) The county legislative body or other governing body of any county is authorized to form a new agency to be known as the county-wide fire department for the purpose of providing fire protection services to all of the county.

    Chris, 5-17-101 is not saying that the county “must” establish a county-wide fire department, it is saying that it is authorized to form a county-wide fire department.

    (b) The powers and duties of the county-wide fire department may be delegated by the county legislative body or other governing body to an existing agency.

    (c) (1) The governing body of any county that now has or may hereafter have a metropolitan form of government as defined by § 7-1-101, is authorized to form a new agency to be known as the county-wide fire department, or to extend fire protection services of an existing agency or department to all or any part thereof of the general services district outside the urban services district in the manner and to the extent prescribed in this section.

    (2) In counties governed by metropolitan government, the powers and duties of the agency or department affording fire protection outside the urban services district shall be vested in that agency in which the charter of the metropolitan government vests the responsibility for protection against fire of life and property within the urban services district.

    (d) A fire department established pursuant to this chapter may be funded through one (1) of the following methods:

    Chris: Section (d) right above where it says “may be funded” should be taken, in my opinin as “shall be funded” when you take the following sections in context.

    (1) As authorized by §§ 5-17-105 — 5-17-107, the county legislative body may establish one (1) or more fire tax districts and levy an annual fire tax upon the property in each district for the purpose of funding the activities of the fire department within that district;

    Chris, this isn’t saying that the county “Has” to establish fire tax districts, it is saying that it “May” establish one or more fire tax districts and levy and annual fire tax upon property in each district for the purpose of funding the activities of the fire department within that district. Now, pay close attention to this because there is going to be a quiz on this later.

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

    Chris, there are some key points to section (2): Watch closely; see where it says “as an alternative to fire tax districts? The use of the words “as an alternative” should be understood as saying “fire tax districts are the primary option for the provision and taxation for fire protection services, but just in case that doesn’t work for your county for some reason, we are including an option for you to make it easier. See where section (2) says that the county is authorized to allocate money from the general fund of the county to fund fire protection services to be provided to the unincorporated portions of the county? That is saying that the county can use those funds in the unincorporated areas of the county if it doesn’t elect to establish fire tax districts, but it cannot use those fund to provide fire protection to the incorporated sections of the county. Section (2) clearly states that there are two options from where that money from the general fund may be collected and used. One is from situs based taxes collected in unincorporated areas of the county and the other is shared revenues, which means sales taxes. This section precludes the county from using property taxes from incorporated cities and using them on fire protection in unincorporated areas of the county. It is plain English. Notice where it says situs based taxes collected in unincorporated areas of the county “OR” shall originate from other revenue sources that have already been shared with municipalities? First off, notice the “or” in that sentence. I take the word “or” to me either you can do it one way “or” you can do it the other way, but not both. Otherwise the law should say “and/or” instead of “or”.

    (3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the ability of local governments to provide for fire protection services through an interlocal agreement as authorized by title 12, chapter 9, or any other provision of the Tennessee Code;

    Chris: Section (3) goes back in and allows the county to provide fire protection to the cites through interlocal agreements with incorporated areas of the county.

    (4) Nothing in this subsection (d) shall prohibit nor be construed to prohibit a local government from accepting donations or charitable contributions to fund the activities of the fire department, regardless of the method of funding selected by a local government under the provisions of this section.

    Chris, notice in all of this where they are talking about the county the law says “county” but when they are talking about incorporated governments they say “local government”? I believe what this is saying is that we can do fundraisers here in Mt. Juliet to raise money for the fire department, but it doesn’t address the county doing it.

    (e) Any county choosing to create a county-wide fire district as authorized by this section, may, with the approval of the local legislative body, mandate that all interlocal agreements and contracts with providers for services permitted under this section contain performance based criteria designed to ensure timely response and effective services, the exact methodology of which is to be determined by local ordinance.

    Chris, I have to admit, I don’t fully get section (e) above. I suspect that this is saying that the county can mandate the quality and quantity of services provided under a local agreement as long as the city approves what they are mandating. Again, I think this law is very poorly written.

    [Acts 1965, ch. 138, § 1; 1968, ch. 611, § 1; 1973, ch. 211, § 1; impl. am. Acts 1978, ch. 934, §§ 7, 36; T.C.A., § 5-1701; Acts 1999, ch. 125, § 1; 2007, ch. 145, § 1.]

    5-17-102. Powers and duties. —

    (a) With the specific exceptions relating to metropolitan governments provided for in this section, the county-wide fire department is empowered to do all things necessary to provide coordinated fire protection to all areas of the county, including, but not limited to:

    (1) Sue and be sued;

    (2) Take or acquire real or personal property of every kind, or any interest therein, within the county, by grant, purchase, gift, devise or lease, and hold, manage, occupy, dispose of, convey and encumber the same and create a leasehold interest in the same for the benefit of the county;

    (3) Exercise the right of eminent domain, but only with the consent of the county legislative body or other governing body;

    (4) Establish, equip, operate and maintain a county-wide fire department and establish and enforce regulations including, but not limited to, those for the administration, operation and maintenance thereof;

    (5) Appoint and employ necessary employees and define their qualifications, duties and responsibilities, and provide for payment in reasonable sums for such duties;

    (6) Employ counsel;

    (7) Enter into and perform all necessary contracts, including, but not limited to:

    (A) Contracts for the supply of water where necessary for fire protection;

    (B) Contract to have existing fire departments and others provide fire protection services in any area of the county, including, but not limited to:

    (i) Contracts with incorporated towns and utility districts to provide such service within or without their corporate limits;

    (ii) Contracts to provide fire protection services for any city, town, district, or any part thereof within the county;

    (C) Contracts to provide and be provided training and maintenance;

    (D) Contracts to provide and be provided all special service functions, such as arson investigation, inspection, and emergency ambulance and rescue services;

    (8) Provide and maintain all special service functions necessary for the prevention of fires, including the investigation of the cause of fires and the enforcement of regulations to prevent harmful fires and smoke;

    (9) Provide and maintain an emergency ambulance, first aid and rescue service;

    (10) Make regulations, in order to prevent harmful fires and smoke, that shall have the force of law when approved by the county legislative body or other governing body;

    (11) Give aid anywhere in the county in the event of fire, flood or other disaster;

    (12) Assist local and volunteer fire departments whenever necessary. Such assistance includes, but is not limited to, financial aid and shall be upon such terms as agreed to by both parties;

    (13) Provide training and maintenance services for the benefit of any fire department;

    (14) Set up a central communications network connecting all fire and emergency units in the county;

    (15) Train, equip, maintain, and provide for the payment of volunteers at the discretion of the county-wide fire department;

    (16) Recommend the boundaries of fire tax district or districts to the county legislative body or other governing body, in those counties that have chosen to fund fire departments through fire tax districts, in order to have the fire taxes more nearly reflect the cost of services to be rendered in each area of the county, and recommend the amount to be spent in each such district;

    (17) Make reasonable charges for any services rendered that are not included in the fire tax of the district; and

    (18) With the approval of the county legislative body or other governing body, make written agreements for allocation and conveyance of any or all public functions, rights, duties, property, assets and liabilities of the county-wide fire department to any annexing municipality that justice or reason may require in the circumstances.

    (b) In those counties that now have or may hereafter have a metropolitan form of government, the powers described in subdivisions (a)(1)-(3), (5), (6) and (9) shall not be vested in the county-wide fire department, but shall be vested in the metropolitan government, to be exercised in the manner provided by its charter.

    [Acts 1965, ch. 138, § 2; 1968, ch. 611, §§ 2, 3; impl. am. Acts 1978, ch. 934, §§ 7, 36; T.C.A., § 5-1702; Acts 1999, ch. 125, § 2.]

    5-17-103. County fire chief. —

    (a) The county-wide fire department shall be headed by an official to be known as the county fire chief, in whom shall be vested all the powers of the agency and the right to delegate those powers to such persons as the fire chief may see fit.

    (b) While responding to, operating at, or returning from an emergency site, the fire chief, or any member serving in the capacity of fire officer in charge, shall have all authority granted to municipal fire departments by the provisions of § 6-21-703.

    (c) The county fire chief shall be appointed by the county mayor, subject to confirmation by the county legislative body or other governing body.

    (d) In counties governed by a metropolitan government as defined by § 7-1-101, the provisions of this section shall not be effective, and the management and control of the agency or department shall be vested in the person in whom the charter of the metropolitan government vests the management and control of the agency that has the responsibility for the protection against fire of life and property within the urban services district.

    (e) In any county having a population of not less than eight hundred thousand (800,000), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census, the county fire chief shall be appointed by the county mayor, subject to confirmation by the county legislative body. The county mayor and legislative body shall ensure that the views and opinions of all participating governmental entities are given full consideration in the selection of the fire chief, with the exact methodology to be determined by local ordinance.

    [Acts 1965, ch. 138, § 3; 1968, ch. 611, § 4; 1978, ch. 674, § 1; impl. am. Acts 1978, ch. 934, §§ 7, 36; T.C.A., § 5-1703; Acts 1999, ch. 125, § 4; 2003, ch. 90, § 2; 2007, ch. 39, § 1.]

    5-17-104. Budget. —

    (a) The county-wide fire department shall prepare an annual budget of anticipated receipts and expenditures, and it shall be submitted to the county legislative body or other governing body of the county.

    (b) In those counties that have established fire tax districts, the county-wide fire department shall determine what share of the total annual expense of the county-wide fire department must be allocated to each fire tax district.

    (c) In those counties having a metropolitan government, the budget for the county-wide fire department shall be prepared, submitted and adopted in the manner provided therefor in the charter of the metropolitan government.

    [Acts 1965, ch. 138, § 4; 1968, ch. 611, § 5; impl. am. Acts 1978, ch. 934, §§ 7, 36; T.C.A., § 5-1704; Acts 1999, ch. 125, § 3.]

    5-17-105. Fire tax districts. —

    (a) (1) The boundaries of fire tax districts shall be determined by the county legislative body or other governing body, and shall become fixed by resolution of the county legislative body or other governing body thirty (30) days or more after notice of the determination of the boundaries of a district has been given to the property owners of the district.

    (2) Such notice shall be given by mailing a description of the boundaries of the district to all of the property owners of record within the district, at their last known address.

    (b) The boundaries of any district may be altered at any time by means of the same procedure by which the district was created.

    (c) In the case of county-wide fire districts as authorized by § 5-17-101, the fire tax district shall comprise the entire county outside of any and all incorporated municipalities within the county, but each and every such incorporated municipality within the county may elect to contract with the county for inclusion in such fire tax district as authorized by § 5-17-108.

    Chris, again, this law is ambiguous to say the least. It appears to me, when you take this section (C) in context with the other provisions in the other laws, that this is saying that the county cannot tax the incorporated areas of the county for fire protection. However, we can contract with the county for WEMA to provide us services.

    (d) In those counties having eight (8) or more incorporated municipalities that levy a property tax and four (4) or more special school districts, the fire tax district shall comprise the entire county, including each and every incorporated municipality.

    [Acts 1965, ch. 138, § 5; 1978, ch. 674, § 4; impl. am. Acts 1978, ch. 934, §§ 7, 36; T.C.A., § 5-1705; Acts 1996, ch. 836, § 1.]

    5-17-106. Fire tax — Levy. —

    (a) The county legislative body or other governing body shall levy an annual fire tax upon the property owners of each district. The county legislative body of any county having a population of not less than eighty thousand (80,000) nor more than eighty-three thousand (83,000) according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, that after April 8, 1992 establishes a fire tax district, may levy an annual fire tax upon the property owners of each district. If a tax is levied, the provisions of subsection (b) shall apply to such fire tax.

    Chris, this one threw me as well. It appears that the wording of the law allows any county that ever exceeds 80,000 people to elect to establish a fire tax district, to levy an annual fire tax on property owners of each district if they so choose. What this provision for cities that exceed 80,000 after the 1990 census does is it allows them to pay for fire service in the unincorporated areas of the county through shared revenue or situs based property taxes. However, if a county does not meet the 80,000 threshold of this provision it “Must” levy and annual fire tax in each district.

    (b) The fire tax of each fire tax district shall be set at a rate sufficient to pay that district’s share of the total budget of the county-wide fire department.

    [Acts 1965, ch. 138, § 6; impl. am. Acts 1978, ch. 934, §§ 7, 36; T.C.A., § 5-1706; Acts 1992, ch. 649, § 1.]

    5-17-107. Fire tax — Inclusion in property tax. —

    (a) The fire tax shall be assessed in the same manner as the county property tax and collected as an addition thereto.

    (b) The fire tax shall in all ways be treated as a part of the county property tax.

    [Acts 1965, ch. 138, § 7; T.C.A., § 5-1707.]

    5-17-108. Service supplementary. —

    Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit in any way the fire departments of any municipality or utility district providing fire service, but merely authorizes such county fire protection service to contract with municipalities or utility districts in order to coordinate fire service county-wide.

    [Acts 1965, ch. 138, § 8; T.C.A., § 5-1708.]

    Chris, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. I think what these laws, when taken together, are saying is that unless the county can pay for all of the fire service for the unincorporated areas of the county with shared revenue that it has already shared with the city “or” they have to pay for their tax services through property taxes from the county. Now, if the county can pay for “all” of their fire protection services within the unincorporated areas of the county using only sales taxes, the Mt. Juliet could legally be put in a place where it either has to elect not to have city fire protection services, establishes its own fire department, pay a private fire to provide fire protection services, or pay the county to provide the service. However, if it cannot pay for the entire fire protection service throughout the unincorporated areas of the county with shared revenues, meaning in this case, sales taxes, it has to either go with situs-based property taxes in the unincorporated areas of the county or fire tax districts. Just as I have said. Either way, the county and the city need to really get together, because I don’t think it was the intention of the legislature for the county to use situs-based revenues, fire tax revenues, or even shared taxes that have already been shared to pay for the provision of fire protection services to Mt. Juliet. In other words, I believe we are outside the spirit of the law, if not the letter of the law, right now…that is, unless there is sufficient evidence that the value given to the county by the city by leasing the fire department building to the county and other items add up to the value of the protection we are getting here in Mt. Juliet. But at the same time, if the county can’t satisfy the requirement of the “or” in the choices between situs or shared revenues, then the whole game changes and county residents in the unincorporated areas of the county are either in for an increase in property taxes or we who live in the incorporated areas should see a decrease in county property taxes and a bill for what the county provides to us. It could be a shell game, but it is a game that must be played. We need to fix this and make it legal.

    But then, Chris, you missed the point of my last post. My plan works. Even after having gone though these laws it still works. In fact, I think it more correctly fits what the legislature passed than anything I have seen to date. As evidence of this see 5-17-102 (18) where it is talking about the conveyance of county fire department buildings from the county to the city as the city annexes in more and more sections of the unincorporated areas of the county.

    Chris, again, I could be wrong about this matter, the law on all of this is very confusing. But I think I am right, and until someone can show me that I am wrong I am going to continue to think I am right.

  146. Butch Huber

    Thanks, Shawn.

  147. Butch Huber

    Chris, you are simply wrong. You won’t admit it for some reason, but if you go and read the law you will find out that revenue sources have everything to do with this.

    The legislature didn’t want counties to be able to do what it appears the county is doing right now…which is take money from the citizens of one area of the county to provide services to citizens of another area of the county. Shared tax revenues are a horse of a different color, they aren’t based on property and they come from citizens throughout the county and beyond. Since they are shared revenues, meaning the incorporated areas get their share of the loot, the county can, under the provisions of the law, pay for fire protection with that money. But what they can’t do is use property taxes while they fund the department with those monies.

    Chris, “You” are the politician, not me. You are the one that should be doing the research, not me. You are the one that should be representing Mt. Juliet on the county commission, not me. Do your homework, obviously you haven’t read the law.

  148. Chris:

    History is important. If I had been able to produce a copy of the judge’s order in Alsup v. Wilson Co. I would have. But I’m sure it exists.

    You can’t understand the current fire protection situation in Wilson County without knowing the history. As late as 2006, the county confidently asserted that WEMA had always provided Fire Protection in Mt. Juliet and denied that there had ever been a Mt. Juliet Volunteer Fire Department. There was, and Mt. Juliet provided fire protection in west Wilson County when the County couldn’t.

    That fact is important.

  149. Chris Sorey

    Publius,
    History is important, but old laws and court cases that have no bearing should not be considered in this scenario. Why should they? They have absolutely no bearing on the current situation. The fire protection issue in 1986 or 1966 has nothing to do with the current situation other than old grudges. What does a grudge get you at the end of the day? Nothing.

    On the other hand, maybe history does have something for this discussion. Do any of you remember when MJ was incorporated, or how many times it took to pass? Any idea how many votes it passed by? Wonder who was subsidizing who when we had a DQ, Green Hill Market and not much else?

    Butch,
    The case you have been spewing about has absolutely no bearing on the present situation, and you “heard” about it and nothing else. I asked for that information many times, and you could not produce it. If you had any credibility, I might have done the research, but you don’t, and besides, you said a court case and no other information was given. Give some information such as Publius did about the case, such as, oh, I don’t know, maybe some names involved to actually be able to find that case, and I might spend the time to research. Either way, the case has absolutely no bearing.

    To top that, the law that you spit out last night about fire tax districts has absolutely nothing to do with Wilson County. The population in Wilson County in 1990 was 67,675 and the special act you were speaking about last night was set up for counties with a population of 80 to 83k. Again, nothing to do with Wilson County. I don’t care if you admit you were wrong, it happens, and we are all human. The more misinformation you put out you less credibilty you have.

    Do you realize that when the word “may” is involved in a law, it allows for something but does not require it?

    More importantly, the words “politician” coming from you is like a badge of honor for me. In case you weren’t aware, I was sworn in around 35 days ago, and the short term plan I hope to present doesn’t require additional taxation, and is on the way to CTAS for their opinion. If you want your plan, run against me in 2 years and raise taxes. Or run against Sellars and do a city FD and really raise some taxes!

  150. Butch Huber

    Obviously, Chris and I have some differences on this topic. I am eager to see his short term plan.

    I will search a little deeper and see if I am wrong. If I am, I will admit it, but hopefully, if Chris is wrong, he will admit it as well. As I have said many times, I don’t want to be wrong, I want to be right.

    For the record, the post I sent out at 5:30 was not meant to be sent, it went out somehow by mistake when the long post went out at 5:28. Chris has made an attempt to be civil on here, and I didn’t want to send out a harsh post, but it got past me somehow. Sorry Chris.

    I believe we are looking for the same things, but we may be going about it from different angles. At the end of the day I am looking for an honest board of commissioners who will set this city straight.

    Chris, as I have said many times, I am not interested in running for local office, and that includes the county commission. You get offended by the word “politician” but you shouldn’t. There is nothing wrong with being a “politician”, there is just something wrong with being a “bad politician”. Holding public office isn’t a bad thing, it is a good thing. Abusing public office is the bad thing. I don’t suspect you are doing that. I believe you want to make a positive difference, we just butt heads once in awhile. That doesn’t make you a bad guy or me a bad guy…it means we are human and not just sitting around doing nothing. I realize you don’t think I am getting anything done Chris, but I assure you that I get a lot more done than you give me credit for…perhaps that is because you don’t know the rest of the story.

  151. Chris Sorey

    I can live with that. Please check the facts though that we spoke about on the phone. If you find the facts in your favor, I’m sure you will let us know.

  152. Comparatively speaking, how does the MJPD/WCSO differ from a MJFD/WEMA relationship? Keep in mind that mutual aid is not duplicate service. How are the MJPD and the WCSO funded? Thank you in adavance.

  153. One more thought on duplicate service. Given my example to candidate Mack on Sat. night, house fire in MJ with no MJFD, WEMA responds with 16 FF’s. Now no fire protection or EMS west of 109. MJ serviced by units from as far away as Lebanon and Watertown during the event. Not an acceptable result. Now, same fire with MJFD. The 12 FF’s from MJFD mitigate fire while a) no FF from WEMA may be needed. MJ and rest of county covered. or b) Engine 3 and Engine 4 respond with mutual aid via 4 add’tl. FF’s. This leaves all EMS units manned and ready at stations. Engine 5 goes roadside to provide dual fire protection coverage for MJ and south county. This is mutual aid at its best. It works between WEMA and Lebanon FD, WEMA and Nashville Metro FD, and WEMA and Watertown VFD.

  154. Chris Sorey

    Jamie, first off, there is no MJFD. “MJ”PD is funded through city dollars, and “WC”SO is funded through county dollars. WEMA is a county organization and is funded entirely through the county. Mack nailed it the other night, you guys have no beef with the mayoral candidates, because there is no such animal as MJFD.

    Please understand, just because Lebanon has something, does not mean that we need the same. They have a fire department and a special school district. If you get a MJFD, should we then start our own special school district? MJ is not under taxed, Lebanon is over taxed. Instead of the people of Lebanon getting tax relief, you have people in Lebanon who want MJ to pay as much as they do.

    And for what it is worth, where is WEMA headquarters? In downtown Lebanon, and has twice as much staff and equipment as the station in MJ. WEMA provides two ambulances in Lebanon due to the need, and they provide extrication as well as engines at fire scenes. It is not a scenario of Lebanon paying for our fire protection, because they have more county equipment in Lebanon than we have in MJ.

    Don’t get caught up in the Lebanon mayoral race antics. It is a simple strategy of playing on emotions and nothing else. Farmer got some headlines a few weeks back with his proposal to cut off mutual aid to MJ, which they have sent to MJ a total of twice in six years.

    The S & S fire was mentioned the other night as well. It would have burned to the ground no matter how many firefighters were on scene. Ladder trucks would not have made a bit of difference. It was property, and not one life was to be sent in a building that had no occupants. They build fiberglass products, and they have insurance. You know as well as I do, when you have lives to save, you risk lives. When you don’t have lives to save, you don’t risk lives.

  155. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    You seem to be stuck on this argument. It is an argument that you can’t win with. I understand your position, but you are not going to get five commissioners to make yet another mistake because someone made a mistake before…if it was a mistake. You have to do the comparison of the laws, not opinions. The only thing you can accomplish by this line of debate is to dissolve the Mt. Juliet Police Department, not develop a Mt. Juliet Fire Department. You are basically saying that “because” Mt. Juliet funds its own police department it therefore has to fund its own Fire Department, an argument that I not only don’t agree with, but I oppose. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The only reason I would support a Mt. Juliet Fire Department is if we couldn’t fix whatever needs to be fixed with how the system is set up right now and we were not getting proper coverage here. I am not convinced that both of those conditions are being met right now. I believe that we can find a common ground with all of this without developing a money pit that will never be full. Duplication of services of this type are always an unnecessary liability.

    The other side of that same coin Jamie, it is possible that a Mt. Juliet Police Department is the “right” choice, while a Mt. Juliet Fire Department is the “wrong” choice. That prospect puts your debate on this issue on a different plane.

    Mt. Juliet should only develop its own fire department if it is the “right” thing to do or if the citizens vote to do it even if it is the “wrong” thing to do. (I know one of my friends won’t like that statement at all.) But we should never, in my opinion, develop a Mt. Juliet Fire Department because we have a Police Department, that is a Non sequitur argument.

  156. Chris,
    I did not mention the LSSD because that is not part of my question. I have never said that MJ should mirror Lebanon. My issue starts and stops with the FD. The LFD works in Lebanon for the citizens of the city and works well for them. Personally, I would like to see (if there were to be a MJFD) the big red trucks as BLS and/or ALS first response trucks. This is something Lebanon does not have and would be an improvement over. I am well aware there is no MJFD. That is just one proposal, not all.

    Butch,
    Let me state for the record that I am in NO WAY in favor of any changes or dissolving of the MJPD!!! I am NOT saying that because MJ has a PD they HAVE to have a FD. I AM saying that because MJ has a PD they CAN have a FD. It can come about and operate in a similar manner. The MJPD is NOT a mistake! As far as proper coverage goes, if you are not convinced at this point that there are large and dangerous gaps in protection service, then Butch I do not know what to tell you to convince you. I invite you for further dialog, I invite you to ride along with me on shifts, or simply grab a map and a scanner and log the daily activity for yourself. I am not an alarmist. There exist a problem in the current provision of life/safety services for the citizens of the city of MJ. It is not a constant continuous problem, but there are times when the citizens of MJ are at great risk. More times than should be allowed or expected considering where MJ is today as a city with the ability to eliminate these times of risk. The creation of a MJFD would not be a wrong choice and it is not the only right choice. But a choice needs to be made NOW. We need help to provide safe coverage for our neighbors.

  157. Chris Sorey

    Simply put, the homes that are on the N Greenhill side of your neighborhood are in the county, and why should there be a man made line that starts and stops the fire protection? MJ is not a box, and there are many areas that would have less protection than they do now. The Lakeview station would be off by itself with the closest county mutual aid being the Laguardo station. I know what you will say, MJ could and would provide mutual aid to them. Then we are leaving MJ without coverage and that is what half of this is about, right?

    Jamie, at some point you will realize that I am in favor of beefing up WEMA, and against MJ starting their own FD. On ther other hand, if you want to push yourself out of a job and into a property tax, feel free.

  158. Lex Luther

    I agree with Chris on this.

    When you fully understand the issue you will realize that a Mt. Juliet Fire Department will only make fire protection in Wilson County more expensive – not better.

    It might make people in Lebanon feel better but it won’t save them any money either.

  159. Chris,
    “out of a job and into a property tax” is very limited thinking. Surely, you are capable of better. I have stated before, MJFD is not the only option, beefing up WEMA will help. Whatvever the plan, the time is now.

    Lex,
    if doing the job does not give me the understanding I need, then tell me your qualifications and what else I should know. Do you fully understand the issue? If so, please share with me and the citizens of this city that are at times at risk your insight.

  160. Chris Sorey

    Jamie, I was sworn in 36 days ago. How quick do you think things happen?

  161. Chris,
    by the sound of your previous post, with the example you gave of N Greenhill Rd, the Lakeview station, and how mutual aid would put us right back where we are now, I got the feeling you had it all figured out. You certainly do not write as a public servant with only 36 days under his belt. To be effective, you must listen, learn, and think with a creative process. Do that, and you can start making progress on issues from day one. I do not have all the answers but I do have all the intentions of making improvements in the safety of the people in this city. Please, if you are going to tell me what is wrong with my suggestions, then please tell me what is so right about yours. Creation of a MJFD will cause a redistribution of the areas covered by WEMA and possibly a relocation of station 3. Just a possibility to consider. The reason beefing WEMA up is not my first choice is the possibility that it will disrupt the current way of life at LFD. I love and respect LFD and do not wish to do anything remotely that might rock their way. If MJ writes WEMA a check for anything less that $3mm (that’s LFD’s annual budget, give or take) then does it not make sense that Lebanon might want that cherry of a deal on fire protection. Not only that but with a beefed up WEMA, Lebanon could get EMS, Haz-Mat, etc. Lebanon city gov’t. in the past has hinted as much. I do not want that for Lebanon or the Godsent FF’s at LFD. I wish for MJ to take care of the citizens of MJ. MJFD or not, something to improve the ability to care for these folks. Tomorrow morning at a little after 6am dirt will be moved and MJ will grow, residential and commercial. Tomorrow is day 37. You have 1,423 to go. I know you will do well, I have you in my prayers.

  162. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    I am glad that you are saying that there are more options than Mt. Juliet developing its own department, because the impression that I have gotten from what I heard at the meeting the other night was that a MJFD was the only real solution.

    I am with Chris, too. I think a beefed up WEMA is the better choice, but the funding to beef it up should be equitable. But more funding to WEMA isn’t the end of the day, the funding must be sufficient to provide adequate and appropriate coverage for all of Wilson County. However, I think if you really learn the truth about the law, I think you will have to agree that there will have to be substantial changes to the law in order to make everything nice a legal.

    I know you disagree with me in the interpretation of the laws regarding fire protection, but I have done as you asked me to the other night and it turns out that you are wrong. Not only have I done what you asked but I went steps further and it still turns out that you are wrong. Its okay, like I said, it is a poorly written law, hard to understand.

  163. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    Lebanon has absolutely nothing to do with Mt. Juliet. Lebanon makes its own decisions and Mt. Juliet makes its decisions. Sure, there needs to be inter-governmental cooperation, but Lebanon making the decision to continue to provide fire protection has nothing to do with what is right or wrong for Mt. Juliet. Your passion about not wanting to change LFD is wonderful, but this is not “just” a fire department issue, and it has nothing to do with Lebanon. At the end of the day, Jamie, this is all about whether or not Mt. Juliet is going to let the rest of the county dictate what we are going to do in Mt. Juliet. Last I checked, we have our own commission and they are elected by the people who live in Mt. Juliet and pay taxes in Mt. Juliet.

    In another post you stated that something about me not knowing the gaps in coverage. I am not disputing that there are gaps in coverage. I also don’t think you are doing yourself any favors when you paint dire pictures that are possible, but not probable. There is no way that this city can cover all possible emergency situations. What we need is coverage that is at least adequate. Let’s focus on what is needed to give the city reasonably acceptable coverage. What ever that coverage turns out to be, that is what we need. However, I think we need to be realistic and rational in the approach to arrive at that plan.

    I think that the problem with the CTAS/MTAS report, other than the fact that the county commission has not dealt with it, is that it doesn’t take fully into account the depth and breadth of the divide between east and west wilson county. We need a comprehensive solution to this problem that considers all aspects of the problems we face and not just fire protection. I have been saying that for a while now. I will give you an abstract example. You can’t be mean and nasty to my children, return a set of tools that you borrowed from me a year ago and never brought back, and expect everything to be a-ok with me. I am still pissed about the way that you continue to be nasty to my kids. We can solve the fire protection issues by building 12 fire departments in Mt. Juliet, buying 30 fire trucks, and hiring 120 fire fighters, but that won’t settle the rest of the issues, and in the end, we will have unnecessarily spent millions upon millions of dollars. The problem isn’t the fire department, the problem is the divide. The fire department is a symptom of the problem.

  164. Absolutely sir, absolutely. There are more ways to protect MJ than a MJFD. I have never felt that a MJFD was the only way. I do feel it has merit. I think we can agree that the MJ today is not the MJ those laws were written for. Certainly an area for further dialog. Certainly an opportunity for improvement. Do explain though, how I was wrong concerning the fire protection laws. If you want to do it here, ok, or you may come by Station 4 Fri. at Lakeview. Hope all is well with you and your family…Have a good night.

  165. Butch,
    Paragraph 1: If MJ makes the gesture of writting a large check to WEMA for fire protection less than $3mm, Lebanon has in the past and will again make talk of getting shed its $3mm FD and writing a check to WEMA for the same. This is not conjecture, this happened and was in the print media Lebanon Democrat. Being a lifelong resident, my belief is the city should do for the city because it is in the best interest of the city and in no way be dictated to by another city.

    Paragraph 2: The dire pictures I paint, Butch, are real and they happen every day. If you choose not to believe me, you have that option, but I can prove it to you any day you choose. I do not believe in radical scare tatics, I hope you believe that of me. These examples are very probable. Current coverage is not adequate after the first incident, period. I am realistic and rational, you be open and receptive. Come ride with me. You will see. The example I gave Kevin is very real. You have my word.

    Paragraph 3: I agree with you on the study. I would rather die than be mean to your children. I have my own tools and I hope everything will be ok with us. You are right. There are many more issues to be addressed. This one is mine because I have so much of myself invested and share this desire with the finest of people for the benefit of the best city around. I want to know your issues and maybe help with some fire and desire . No pun intended. I do want to see these issues addressed to completion instead of talked flat off the table.

  166. Lex Luther

    “Lex,
    if doing the job does not give me the understanding I need, then tell me your qualifications and what else I should know”

    My insight into the fire issue has to do with many decades of paying taxes to Wilson County for fire service. I’m old.

    I have no special interest to skew my take on this matter. If Mt. Juliet goes into the fire business it will not give my friends or me more or better jobs. My expertise has to do with being a long time objective West Wilson County taxpayer who wants his county elected officials to solve this county service problem. It’s their problem to solve.

    If Wilson County stopped putting tires on School Buses I wouldn’t lobby Mt. Juliet officials to buy a tire store. I stand by that opinion but have never worked in a tire store.

    Let me give you a few reasons why a Mt. Juliet Fire Department is not the solution:

    1) 100 percent of Mt. Juliet homeowners are Wilson County taxpayers and this will cost the county more money. That’s right. The first thing the county will have to do is build another station to replace service to the area Mt. Juliet will not have to serve. The station behind City Hall belongs to Mt. Juliet. It presently services as many county residents as Mt. Juliet ones. That will add cost to the county taxpayer without adding any real benefit of service to anyone.

    2) It will cost Lebanon residents more money. That’s right, because 100 percent of Lebanon homeowners are Wilson County taxpayers too.

    3) There will be dispatching conflicts. Turf wars.

    4) There will be mutual aid agreement conflicts. Turf wars.

    5) Ambulance service could be divided with that revenue stream diverted from WEMA. Turf wars.

    6) This will duplicate an already consolidated service.

    The problem is that the county does not fund WEMA properly. I believe every resident should pay their fair share (and no more) for emergency services. If the funding of WEMA is done fair and equitably through fire tax districts there would be no cross-county jealousy.

    I want to fix the problem not one or more of the symptoms.

  167. Sir,
    I thank you for the beneficial dialog. I am aware and understand each of the points you have made and respect your years of knowledge foundation. My special interest is the proper protection of you and your property. This has not skewed my insight. I have gained my views from doing the job. I hope you can respect that as I respect your years and wisdom. Age is not the only school of higher learning. We do agree that the buses need tires and the citizens need protection. Just some thoughts, finance it through sales tax not additional property tax as with the law enforcement. Dispatch conflicts do not have to occur, they can and are currently being properly mitigated between existing agencies. Mutual aid agreements do not give rise to conflicts…at least not at the operator level where it matters most. Ambulance service should be enhanced through WEMA not divided. The fire trucks of a proposed MJFD should be manned by BLS and ALS providers thus improving the time for critical care. Mutual aid is not duplication of service. Example: MJFD FF’s mitigate fire in city freeing up WEMA FF’s to continue coverage for county. I agree wholehearted with you on the funding of WEMA issue. However, fire tax districts are a bad idea. You do not have law enforcement tax districts. FF’s efforts are the same whether you live across the street or across town. You call, We haul. I also agree this is not the only issue. Again, thank you for the response. Best wishes.

  168. P.S. to Chris,
    concerning your comments on the S & S Industries fire… I am intrigued by your comments in that I did not see you on the scene. I was there for 15.5 hrs. Had the owner acknowledged the first activation of their fire alarm and allowed MJPD to dispatch the info to WEMA, a better outcome could have been expected. What we do at WEMA is work to preserve life AND property and our job requires acceptable levels of risk. Not one but two attempts at interior structure fire attack were made but were unsuccessful due to the delay in sending the original alarm. The bravery displayed that night should not be fodder for ambiguous and bland strokes of a Monday morning quarterback. I am not sure of the policies governing your version of firefighting, but we do agressive fire tactics in our service to the citizens of this county. Your statements are reckless and offensive. You should be ashamed.

  169. Chris Sorey

    Jamie, feel free to call me, but I will not be ashamed of my comments. If the alarm was not acknowledged by the owner, then it is on him. You’re right, you didn’t see me on the scene. I was at my fire hall, in another county, with no idea it had happened until later in the day after it had burnt to the ground. It was a property only scenario, with not one person in the building and was evidently fully involved or the interior attack might have helped. How many firefighters was the building worth? I want you to realize, I have the same background you do, and half of my district is in the county. Which half should I stand up for? Both.

    I look forward to hearing from you, or if I have time, maybe I will see you on Friday if nothing else.
    579-6068

  170. Lex Luther

    Because the level of WEMA fire protection in West Wilson County is a symptom of a county funding problem, there is no reason to believe that Mt. Juliet can or should solve it by starting its own Fire Department.

    I believe West Wilson County taxpayers are subsidizing the rest of the county right now funding WEMA. Why would the county be opposed to fire districts if West Wilson was underpaying?

    If the WEMA funding inequity is not dealt with this problem will not go away. It will just rear its ugly head in a turf war somewhere else.

  171. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    Please understand me, my issues are with the city of Mt. Juliet, they are not with the county. I have nothing against the county whatsoever right now. Every Squire from the county that I have dealt with has been very nice and cordial to me. I don’t know enough about where they stand on issues and I couldn’t even pick them out of a crowd. I have only spoken to them on the phone. I realize some of them can’t get passed the fact that Mt. Juliet doesn’t have a property tax or its own fire department, but beyond that, I have no opinion except that there seems to be an East West divide that is allowed to continue in the county chamber.

    My problems, or concerns, have little to do with this issue except that the commission does little to bridge the gap between east and west, and in fact, Linda’s arrogance and condescension toward the county at times tends, in my opinion, to harm relations. She can act like she has a wonderful relationship with other Wilson County politicians, but even the people who serve with her on this commission can’t stand her. It even appears that Will is separating from her.

    Jamie, my problems are not a part of this issue. The issue is that if we don’t cure the cause of this problem, which is the enmity between governments and citizens, we will be paying for a $3 million dollar band-aid every year. A Lebanon Fire department is a mistake in this day and age. They can make that mistake if they want to, but it is causing us more harm than good.

    I believe my comment about the law was directed at Chris, not you. If I missed something I apologize. I don’t think you have said anything about the law, perhaps I am wrong.

  172. Chris Sorey

    Butch,
    The law that you are writing about says “The county legislative body of any county having a population of NOT LESS than eighty thousand (80,000) NOR MORE than eighty-three thousand (83,000) according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census” but we didn’t have a population of 80k in 1990. It was 67,675. Our population in 200o according to census records was 88,809.

    In other words, that special act was passed for another county, namely, Williamson. It has nothing whatsoever to do with us, but yet you refuse to understand the facts. Your argument the other night was that we have passed the 80k mark, and so it now applies to Wilson county as well. I refer you again to the part of the act that says, NOR MORE than 83k according to census records, and we have not ever had a federal census population of between 80k and 83k.

    Go to the US census Bureau website and verify that for yourself. Please verify all of your facts before you mislead anyone such as what was done on Saturday night when you spoke about this.

  173. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Great dialogue out there about the fire protection.

    One thing being a common theme in the responses is that none of the people who are making the long posts are municipal firefighters with the exception of Jamie. Most of you are strictly looking at the dollars and cents because you don’t have our perspective. Making posts about unifying the government are great, but they don’t have a solution attached. Getting elected officials to sit down and discuss something is the easy part, voting is another.

    I respect the responses, but until you are sitting in the hall or simply doing a ride along and get the perspective of the members of WEMA you are not making educated responses. The comments Jamie are posting are all logical and giving his experience in the area should be grasped, not fought against. Chris, with you being a brother you should aleady know this, but when we get an structure fire in the middle of the night we have to always assume that people may be in there unless notified otherwise. S&S, for example, unless one of the WEMA brothers worked there part time, how do they know if they don’t have a midnight shift and having people working in there. Yes, its always a risk/benfit, but you have to verify no one is in there. Its been over 2.5 years since that fire, that was probably the biggest commercial fire in years, and still nothing has been done.

    As Jamie and the rest of the brothers say, you are not seeing any slowing on the building are you? The facts that Jamie describes are REAL, they are not SCARE tactics!! The opinions he gives are what needs to happen here and I honestly believe most of the posts are from people who don’t understand the basics of fire operations, mutual aid, and manpower.

    Here’s a question for Butch, Lex, and the other non-firefighters, “Whats is your definition of adequate fire protection”. Also, as part of the answer, how do you think WEMA is going to fund operations that meet your definition without additional funds from MJ?

    Education is needed for the whole community and paint the real picture of the fire issue. Hopefully the Wilson Professionals benefit is the first step towards an extensive program. Jamie, Brent, Shawn, Chris and the others brothers have seen first hand the pain and suffering of residents. You can alway replace your property, but my family is not. .

    Lastly, here’s a good video for you to watch. With this being Fire Safety Week which starts with the National Fall Firefighters Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, MD. This service honors all of our brothers that passed in the line of duty each year (avg over 100 firefighters a year). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeq5wfTgfEA
    Let us pray that we don’t have to attend this service for one of our brothers at WEMA, while we continue to fight for better protection.

    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  174. Butch Huber

    Chris,

    So you are a doctor now. Chris, I am doing fine. The reason I am so open about depression is because for too many years people have seen it as a weakness of character. People suffer in silence in shame when they really need to seek help. Depression is not a lack of strength, it is a physical dysfunction brought on typically, but not always, due to overwhelming circumstances and personal crisis. I don’t think you could quite understand what it is like to risk everything you have to pursue your dream, investing all the money you have in the world into the pursuit of your dream, investing 80 to 120 hours a week getting it off the ground and building momentum and structure, fighting high taxes that rob you of the lifeblood (money) you need to re-invest in your operation, deal with the snakes and wolves that want to steal everything you have, build your business to a point where its momentum is on a trajectory that would give you everything you ever wanted in life, only to have it stolen from you by the person you invested the most in. The momentum I built went on to be a $100+ million dollar business, but in someone else’s business and where someone else reaped the reward of all of my investment. Perhaps you can’t imagine what it is like to be abused and physically and emotionally be tormented (don’t draw conclusions about who was abusive or what the abuses were) when you are growing up and having no person of authority to stand up for you and make it stop. Perhaps you don’t know the struggles a person goes through when they are being shaped by God to be Christ-like in the way that they handle situations. Perhaps you don’t realize how hard it is not to take such severe situations into your own hands and deal with them yourself and the tremendous stress a person is under during times like that. So I will forgive you for trying to use such a very serious, dreadful, and sometimes deadly infliction as a means to further stir your brew of deception. I will forgive you, but you have to know that it further speaks of your character. You aren’t concerned about my health, you just know that if you were to make a public statement like “Butch needs to take his meds, knowing that I have in fact dealt with depression, it would make you look very bad, so you couch your comments as if you actually care.” I know where you got my e-mail address and I know what you stated in your text message. Of course, you knew that I would hear about it when you sent it.

    Chris, my willingness to be public about having suffered a severe depression is to give hope to those who are in the deepest part of depression, where it is everything that they can do to hold on to life. It is to give hope to those people who are looking for a reason to live, Chris, not for people like you to misuse. There is life after depression. For those who are reading this post who are suffering depression, which accounts for probably 5% to 10% of you, and will probably one day account for another 5% or 10% of you, remember, life goes on and things get better. I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone, not even my worst enemy, but if you find yourself in depression, look around you and take assessment of what you are going through, in the deepest part of your depression, you will find a pearl, a great prize, that will help you through the rest of your life. Snatch from the jaws of that despair and destruction a great prize that provides you victory over your infliction. In the midst of my depression I saw the what I call the true love of God. I can’t explain it to you more than to say that it was the whitest, softest, brightest (without being blinding), most pure thing I have ever seen and/or imagined. I finally understood what the Love of Christ did for you and me, it is said many times that the Blood of Christ covers everything, but at that point I understood “how”, I can’t explain it, but I understand it. I won victory over my depression and God cleaned my heart of years and years of bitterness and hardness brought on by what people had done to me. I won, and you can too. Don’t let people like Chris Sorey, who will stoop to anything to get under someone’s skin, keep you from letting someone know that you are depressed and need help. You are not weak, you are suffering a bodily abnormality that is no less a bodily abnormality than cancer, but could quite possibly be more deadly. It is no laughing matter. There is victory over that disease, and if you learn from it, if you embrace what you are going through as just another part of your life, if you let it, it will cleanse you of things you never thought you could let go of. Depression is an event, it is not meant to be a lifestyle. Press on, don’t take up camp in there, that is not where you belong! Again and again people told me that I was in a great place when I was going through depression, (I am not sure that they ever went through a depression), but they were right on one level, God didn’t cause my depression, but he used it to make me whole again. I reconciled my past. I forgave everyone who ever did anything to me. I asked forgiveness from people who I had harmed, harmed usually in response to what they had done to me, even when they themselves were unrepentant. Man, the freedom that came from that is something I can’t explain. If you are in depression start forgiving other today! It gives you liberty!

    I don’t need meds anymore, Chris, although I once did, as well as therapy. I am doing better than good. One of the things I learned that I need to do is to stand my ground. I for years allowed people to step on my boundaries. Rather than make a big deal about it, I would let them walk around in areas of my life that I would rather them stay out of. Then, it being the nature of some people to set up camp in another person’s boundaries, I would blow up with anger when they started pitching their tents. (Chris, I don’t expect you to understand all of this, I am not really talking to you anyway. You can actually go back to playing jacks.) I have learned to take a stand and not allow people to enter my boundaries uninvited. People like you don’t get to me anymore because I see you as you are. Your many personal attacks against me on this site are a testament to your character. Anyone who would like to investigate our exchanges will see that you started each exchange. You, and many others like you, would try to debate me on issues, and when you couldn’t win the debate, you would resort to personal attacks. Most of the time, I would continue to attack your position rather than attack you personally, but when I did attack back you always lost. Chris, you are the one who may need help. You seem to always want to dish it out, but you can’t take it.

    I knew what I was doing when I made it public that I suffered a depression. I knew that you would eventually have some comment about it. Chris, I know what you are going to do before you know it. I have been dealing with shallow thinking people like you all my life. People like you are the reason all too many people die from depression through suicide because they are ashamed for being sick. I also know that you aren’t the last that will try to use it against me, to make it seem like I am weak. However, you have no idea the kind of courage it takes to be an open book with your life in order to help others. I hold back on what I write only as to protect the living who have harmed me and others who would be hurt if I told the whole truth, perhaps one day I will write it in a book, but only after those people are gone, not that I will use their names, but because, if I wrote it while they were alive, they would likely read about what they have done in a book and they would know that it was them that I was talking about. I don’t want to cause them pain, Chris, and the reason is that God showed me that the people who did bad things to me were merely reacting to the bad things that they had had done to them. This hurting thing goes back to Cain and Able. Many people have suffered in life much more than I have, and we all suffer in life, but as for me, I found myself in a perfect storm of hurt during times of my life that my heart couldn’t bear, so I built a shell around my heart to protect it. God broke away that shell early in my walk with Him, but the heart itself was still broken, and in the midst of the most difficult time of my life, at a time that was life or death, he made me whole again. What I thought was the end of me turned out to be the beginning! I am not a slave to my past anymore, I am not a victim of the pain, I am the victor through the working for the Holy Spirit. I can’t easily express to you the rewards I have received for standing strong during that time and not giving in. For those of you in depression, don’t see yourself as weak, see yourself as being challenged. You can make it through, and in the middle of your depression, when it is darkest and hardest, press on, don’t go back, on the other side is a life you couldn’t have imagined! Don’t let the Chris Soreys of this world, who would like to use your infliction against you, hold you back from your prize. I am amazed at the life that I have been given. It isn’t without challenges, but it is full of hope!

    Thanks Chris, for giving me yet another platform from which I can reach out to help others. I can always count on you to be “you”.

    What untruths have I ever said about Brydalski, or anyone else for that matter. Point them out and I will apologize to them! I have tried to be as honest as I can be.

    Chris, I knew what I was writing would get under your skin. That’s why I did it. I knew it would provoke a response. I was provoking you because you were being deceptive. You say things on Radiofree that you should be ashamed of. You hide and throw stones rather than state your position and defend it. You don’t do what you do to make things fair and balanced, what you do is to stir the pot without taking a stand. When someone asks me who I am supporting for Mayor I don’t stutter, I say “Mack”. From that position everyone who reads my posts knows my bias, and they can take what I say in context, that way I am not being deceptive. You on the other hand support Ray for Commissioner and won’t admit it. You want to run your mouth “or fingers in this case”, but you are not honest enough or man enough to step out from the sidelines and allow people to know from whence you really come.

    Chris, if you are going to joust, at least bring a pole…I will let you figure that one out on your own.

    Chris, what you take for “anger” is a passionate pursuit of justice. I know you don’t get it, Chris, but the mayor of Mt. Juliet has used her elected position to cause great harm to others and she has gotten away with it up until now. The system is broken and needs to be fixed. You words are nothing more than an attempt to deflect the focus on the real issues. Mayor Elam needs to answer for her crimes. This isn’t about revenge, she really hasn’t done anything to me personally. This is about justice and reckoning. No matter how much good she may have done for this city, and I will admit there has been “some” good come from her, her misdeeds overshadow them by miles. The same holds true for your candidate for D1, Ray Justice.

    On Oct 8, 2008, at 9:26 AM, chris wrote:

    Have you ever seen me write anything on RFMJ in support of Ray for this election? Do you remember me standing up for Brydalski almost everyday when you were spewing your untruths all over the place? And then Deyo with his statements, and he didn’t even realize that everyone knew he was posting under multiple names. Then he acts as if he was the victim. Ridiculous. Do I need to make it any more clear?

    You assume way to often, and honestly, that little illogical rant when I posted the other info on the mayoral candidates was about as far fetched as it could be. If that were the case, and Rob was wanting me to post the info on Kevin and his issues with the local party, it would make absolutely no sense for you to write that statement. I posted that so that it is fair and balanced. You act as if it helps to get the info out before the forum this week. It was in the friggin papers! It has been out since the Police went to the meeting and was written in the papers. No secret there, so why was it so good to have that out there before the forum??? It made no difference whatsoever.

    I know you have written about your depression, and I am not trying to make a jab. I wrote this in an email so as not to make it public, but I have to question your status. Only you know if you need help or not, and then again, I have answered many calls where the person in question did not know. Your anger over the MJ situation has clouded you mind. Please, take a break form the grudges you hold and re-evaluate. The sun will come up on November 5th no matter who wins any seat, local state or federal. I am not happy with the current MJ administration, but you have taken your fight to an unhealthy level.

    Feel free to send this to anyone you want. I don’t care what you do with it, but if you make it public, that is your decision. I decided to send this to you in an email rather than blast you on RFMJ. I am tired of the battles you start and most likely won’t respond to your comments any longer, unless it is misinformation and stirs people up such as when you misquote law, court cases, etc.

    You have my number and email, but I will not argue with you in public formats any longer.
    Chris

  175. Butch Huber

    Chris, if you are right on this point it gets even worse for the current situation. I will let you figure out “how”. Let’s see if you can really read the law. If you study the law you will see that if that provision doesn’t apply to Wilson County it will be a game changer in Wilson County. The more I look at the law the more I realize that there is a game changer in there.

  176. Butch Huber

    1 voice of the brotherhood:

    first of all, adequate fire protection is not something I presume to be able to define. I am not sure you are qualified to make that decision either, even though you are a fire fighter. Years ago I was on a fire fighting team on my ship, that didn’t make me qualified to make any decisions regarding fire safety. There were people who knew way more than I about fire safety that were more qualified to make those decisions. But you are looking for a political solution to this issue, and if we are going to solve it politically you have to think like a politician and not a fire fighter. That is probably the biggest mistake those of you who are fighting this fight are making, you are not thinking “politically”. If you don’t want to think politically, then solve it privately, by developing a Mt. Juliet volunteer fire department and raising the money through private donations and keep it out of the government.

  177. Chris Sorey

    Thanks Butch. I had hoped you would be a good sport and post that.

    Now, how about a response to the post on the law, and check the facts this time.

  178. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Butch I would hope not since every sailor is taught be a firefighter and is on a team. Unless you were a DC

    Politics are the route to every issue and that’s how the game is played. Firefighters know that better then average citizens sine we work in that world.

  179. Butch Huber

    1 voice of the Brotherhood;

    I don’t know what you are talking about when you say that every sailor is taught to be a firefighter and is on a team. Sure, shipboard firefighting is everyone’s job, and everyone goes through some fire fighting training, but not everyone on my ship was on the fire team. Damage Control is what I am talking about, 1 voice. I am not talking about someone who went through fire fighting school in boot camp, hell, I didn’t even have fire fighting school in boot camp. I went to shipboard fire fighting school in Virginia and was on the ship’s fire fighting/damage control team. I really didn’t want to be to be honest with you, but I was assigned to it. It was a co-lateral position for me, not my NEC. I was a Fire Controlman, and if you know as much about the Navy as you seem to present yourself as knowing, you know that job has nothing to do with putting out fires. Irony in this story, isn’t it? But never-the-less, I had to respond to shipboard fire drills every duty day. Not everyone does that in the Navy. Otherwise my ship would have had hundreds of people responding to shipboard firefighting drills every day.

    I can’t say that I remember a lot about it today, things slip away when you don’t use them. However, that training helped me when the fire house fire in Willoughby Station burned. I knew what to do before the fire fighters arrived and I knew what to do to help the fire fighters who arrived first. Once the rest of the team got there I got out of the way.
    Shipboard fire fighting school helped me to get over my fear of fire. I was badly burned when I was a child and after that I was terribly afraid of fire. Going into the burning oil tank and having to put the fire out cured that fear.

    I may have forgotten a lot of what I learned, but I know that fire protection is a serious issue. I do remember that much. I realize just how fast fires burn and can spread. I realize the dangers you guys go through when there is a fire and you have to respond. However, if you are going to play politics, you are going to have to get better at it. You are making a lot of headway at making this a burning issue (pun intended) during the election, but on November 5th, unless you elect the right people, and maybe even if you elect the right people, nothing is going to get done unless you play politics “right”.

    Playing politics right means that you find a lasting solution to the real causes of the problem. Just like in fighting a fire, you have fire everywhere, but there are some places that are better to aim the water at than others, in politics, you have to aim where there will be the best results. I have to tell you, I don’t think you guys are doing that. I may be wrong, but that is my opinion. Keep trying it your way if you want, but in the end, I don’t thing you are going to put this fire out the way you are going about it. Even if you win the day on this issue, you better set a re-flash watch.

  180. 1 Voice: Thank you. If being on the end of the pipe and attacking the seat of the fire or being in the back of the bus as someone’s loved one looks at you and ask you not to let them die does not qualify as expertise on this issue, then I resign myself to continue to do the job and keep the faith. These examples seem radical and dire to some on the outside looking in. They are not used to seeing the real world incidentsup close and personal. The 20 second story on the 5 o’clock news does not do justice to the entire hour(s) long ordeal. They nor the cameras are ever there to see this happens to us everyday. We are not the problem, we hold the world together while others seek a solution. It is unfortunate that those that can do something don’t for whatever reason. Whether they be too proud to accept the facts we have presented or some other reason. I resign myself from this fray. The stresses of the job have not jaded me nor will the frustration of trying to help those that can do. Some people that have posted here have a preconceived notion of what they believe to be true and right and will not entertain the thought of being open and receptive to what is real. This is the fire section of RFMJ and that is what I have posted on and am concerned with. I am open to help with other issues but this is where my knowledge is most extensive. I truly feel the slate needs to be cleaned, old laws and preconceived notions of taxes, districts, turf wars, and 100 other why we can’t reasons need to be removed. There is a need to do something for others to help them in times of trouble and pain. I will continue to do my part with a spirit of service on the job. I am a public servant, not a politician. No disrespect intended.

  181. Butch Huber

    Jamie, perhaps the last thing you said is the best thing you have said so far. There are old laws that have been written that need to be fixed. The law regarding fire protection is very poorly written, and is in fact written to serve a few at the risk of others.

    And, no, Jamie, being on the end of the pipe or the back of the bus doesn’t “qualify” you to make a political decision. Sorry. It doesn’t even qualify you to make “fire department” decisions. I can man the end of the pipe, and you certainly wouldn’t want me to make the decisions for you regarding fire protection. I might be able to “help” make decisions, and I certainly could make “political” decisions, but you should know that there are different levels of decisions.

    If I had an endless supply of money every home would be outfitted with sprinkler systems, fire retardant walls, ceilings and floors, and there would be emergency breathing devices in every bedroom, one for each person in the house plus more for guests. Each room would have fire extinguishers. Every second floor room would have folding ladders. We would build a bunker in the middle of town and several around the outside of town. I mean, if money is limitless, why not have all of the protection money can buy?

    However, we don’t have limitless money, and there is a city and county to run. Running those involves more than fire protection, although fire protection is very, very important. This problem has been boiling for many years now, and it isn’t likely to be settled overnight. You are seeming to get irritated because you aren’t getting the kind of traction you want. Where does the current fire chief fit in with all of this? I haven’t heard a thing from the fire chief. Why? Are you guys out of line? I have heard from a few of you on Radiofree, and I saw a bunch of you at the meeting the other night, but I didn’t see the chief there, did I miss him?

    We need the best solution to the problem with the money that is available. There may be 14 banks in Mt. Juliet, but that doesn’t mean that the citizens who live here “want” to spend money on their own fire department. I am not saying that “I” am not willing to spend money on one, I am saying that a politician needs to be concerned with what everyone wants.

    Yes, you are in the field doing the job, but that doesn’t mean you get to call the shots. The closest thing I have to compare to what you do is my time in the Navy. So I will give you a parallel. I once had a radar malfunction, which required the radar techs to go aloft, which means climb up into the superstructure of the ship. We were steaming, (which means we were underway, moving through the ocean). Before we went aloft I noticed the stack gas (exhaust) was blowing right across our radar platform and the guys would be standing right there in the gas in order to fix the problem. I was concerned because the gas is deadly. I went all the way to the captain of the ship to try to get him to change course so the gas would no longer blow across the platform. He told me to have the guys put on dust masks and send them up, that he couldn’t change course. He heard me out, and he made a decision. I trusted him with my life, I knew he had heard me and he knew more about what I was doing than I did and he wouldn’t let me risk my life needlessly. I went up with the radar techs that day, in the stack gas, and made sure that everyone stayed safe. I would rather he let me make the decision myself, but it wasn’t my place to make that decision. He was infinitely more “qualified” to make that decision for the safety and welfare of the entire ship and the performance of our mission. To me, it seemed like a simple request, but I didn’t know the “rest of the story”. Was my life in danger? Yes. Would the dust mask “save our lives?” No. But they helped. We got the radar back up and running and everyone lived. But it could have turned out differently very easily. Nobody has said that they don’t appreciate what you do for the public. Nobody has said that there doesn’t need to be more equipment and personnel in Mt. Juliet. You have garnered some support from the public. This issue is top shelf in this election. But if you take the position of being snippy because we don’t fall in line with what you are asking for you will lose that public support just as fast as you have gained it. I am on your side, and I think most of the public are on your side, but you have to accept that not everyone is going to see this the way you see it. That doesn’t make them bad people, it may or may not make them wrong thinking people, but it doesn’t make them or me, bad people.

    Please accept that I am on your side, Jamie, I want to see more fire protection in this city, but I want it to be the “right” set up and I want it to be set up in the “Right” way. I think I have backed up what I am saying by my actions. I am seeking the truth about fire protection service in Mt. Juliet, the whole truth.

    I would suggest that you get the publicly stated support of the Fire Chief before you get to far down this road. I am concerned, but not hearing from him regarding this topic does peek my interests a bit.

  182. Butch,
    Thank you for the dialog and let me say it has been a pleasure to meet you. Your passion and ability to research is commendable. While we may not see eye to eye on a path forward or what qualifies as qualifications, I do believe you have the best in mind for the city. As far as being “snippy”…not worth rebuttal. I have given my perspective here on this forum and I greatly appreciate the webmaster for this venue. You have my number for a bagel and cup of joe in the future.

  183. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Jamie,

    As you and I both know that is how we are. The brothers make due with what we have and still responded and go to work regardless of the living conditions and do that job because its a calling for most of us.

    Butch,

    Ok, I understand you have your opinion but trying to make out people who do this job while you sit back never doing it is funny. Being in the Navy as a DC compared to be a Municipal is apples to oranges. Please if you want to stick to the political group hug that greats, but don’t try to perceive yourslef and understanding the fire service. As the brothers will tell you, you don’t insult the brothers if you are outside the family. Thanks for the support in kind, but we are the one’s on the line that know how fire departments work and don’t work.

  184. Looking Toward The Future

    Hey 1 Voice, Chris, and Jamie,
    Why don’t you see if you can get the candidates together for a meet and greet (or maybe meet one at a time). That way you can see which one is full of gas and who really cares about your issues.
    Seems like we have a huge situation regarding the fire protection and it would be good to see which candidate is in your corner. After all, these will be the guys working to correct the shortfalls and hopefully making us safer.

  185. Lex Luther

    I wonder how many of the “brotherhood of fire station lobbyists” actually live in the City of Mt. Juliet?

  186. Thank you again, 1 Voice. Keep the faith and keep the peace. You know as well as I do, we gain our pride from the humble calling. Our best efforts come when the heat is on, the load is heavy, and the way is uphill. No worries. The information from my knowledge and experience has been presented and I am grateful for the opportunity. Until the existance of a problem is fully acknowledged and believed, no credible, effective solution will be sought after or achieved. Butch is right, not everyone will share my views. I am ok with that. My intentions were honest and NOT motivated by the desire for personal gain. In a way, I am very glad they think it bizarre and somewhat unbelievable what I and you see on a regular basis. They do not need to know. Best wishes and prayers to you and yours.

  187. Looking: We did last week at a chilli cook-off. The story is in the current edition of The Mt. Juliet Chronicle. What you don’t read about is how “Sweet Natty’s Engine 6 Firehouse Chilli No.2” by Josh’s Dad totally dominated the chilli competition.

    Lex: I do. Others do. What weight does that lend to the issue? Our desire is to be able to adequately take care of your family as well as our own.

  188. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Amen, bro.. FTM-PTB-KTF-DTRT

    Actually Lex there no absolutes on how many actually live in MJ. With us being so close to many other towns I’m sure a bunch of brothers work for departments outside WEMA and call MJ home.

  189. Looking Toward The Future

    Jamie, I thought that chili cook off was for firemen only. Did any candidates show up to be heard?

  190. Lex Luther

    It does make a difference to this Mt. Juliet resident when non-citizens attempt to influence our political process.

    Be honest, how many of you guys really live inside the city limits of Mt. Juliet?

  191. Butch Huber

    1 voice of the brotherhood,

    You are right, Municipal Fire Fighting and shipboard firefighting are two entirely separate issues. I never said they weren’t. I am not making out that I am one of you. I never “wanted” to be on a fire fighting team, they assigned it to me. I took the job seriously even though I wasn’t please to have been assigned to it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate what you do, it just means my heart wasn’t in that job.

    However, if you want to see what shipboard fire fighting can be like, look up a video on the U.S. Forestal fire. The difference between what you do and what shipboard firefighters do is they put the fire out or their ship can sink. When is the last time you had 3,000+ people who depend on you putting a fire out? You make out that shipboard fire fighting isn’t serious business. Obviously, you don’t know much about shipboard fire fighting.

  192. Looking: It was sponsored by the Wilson County Firefighters Asso. Anyone could attend to my knowledge. Heck, they let Butch in without ID. (just kiddin’ Brother Butch) Bradshaw, Mack, Marlowe, and Elam spoke and took questions as well as State Rep candidates. Good story on page 12 MJ Chronicle free at there location just east of Burger King on Lebanon Rd.

    Lex: For my part, I have lived in Mt. Juliet for 44yrs. You will find me in the city, in the book. Windtree Trace just above Rice’s Ham Store. And for the record, my intentions, as stated, are not intended to influence your political process. I man a post with the purpose and desire to provide for you and your family the best in loss prevention and emergency medical care. If, in calling to your attention the need for additional resources to improve the current inadequacies brought on by econimc/residential growth, this causes political turmoil, then sir, I suggest you consult with those representing you in public office. This was never my intent.

  193. Lex Luther

    Thank you for your service Mr. Luffman. I mean no disrespect. You have just as much right to your political opinions as I do to have mine. We are residents. Forgive me for being paranoid about outside influence in Mt. Juliet politics but that has always been this city’s biggest problem.

    I do voice my opinions to elected officials.

  194. You are very welcome Mr. Luther. None taken. Being a lifelong resident, your worry is well understood. My belief is MJ is at a size now where it can have its own influence. The city has outgrown some of its elected officials. It needs public servants that can identify and address in a timely manner major issues that effect the whole not just the parts. Best wishes and prayers, sir.

  195. Looking Toward The Future

    Jamie, I agree. The city HAS outgrown some of it’s elected officials (if not all). Hopefully, this election coming up will bring in a new hope that the city can turn around and develop into something it should have been for a long time now. It is time for our town to be all that it can be…with new bodies at the wheel. Let’s see if some of this talk can turn into action.

  196. More walkin’, less talkin’. Wish we had some customer service cards (besides our one ballot every 4 yrs) we could fill out. Have a good night, Looking.

  197. Butch Huber

    To the fire fighters who fight fires in Mt. Juliet, whether you live here or not, I say again, thank you for your service. I understand Lex’s point, there are a lot of people who live outside Mt. Juliet who try to influence the politics of this city, for better or for worse, and it has been said that the vast majority of those who are involved in the Mt. Juliet fire department debate live outside the city limits. That doesn’t mean that they are not right, but it does mean that their residency should be considered.

    A suggestion to all of the fire fighters: Go back and read through all of these posts. The impression that I am getting is that there are you guys, and then there is the rest of us. For instance, take 1 Voice’s last post. Rather condescending isn’t it (as are some of the other things that I have read on here)? You guys have a brotherhood, and that’s fine. I wasn’t trying to be a part of your “brotherhood Family”, I was responding to 1 Voice’s constant belittling of my experience with this issue. The point I was making by bringing up the fact that I have been through fire fighting training and served on a fire fighting team was that I realize how dangerous what you do is, and also that I am not the ordinary citizen who has no clue what it takes to actually fight fires. I realize that the “brotherhood” is part of the attraction that brings you to fire fighting. I get that. God Bless you for what you do and who you are. But you are entering into the world of politics, seemingly without your chief. That can’t be good. I understand some aspects of brotherhood, but I also understand organizational behavior. When a group of people who are supposed to be a part of a cohesive group, with command and control, and with discipline, begin to take action outside that command and control, it raises eyebrows…at least it raises mine. The question becomes, if this is so important, why is the Fire Chief not leading this charge?

    Hint: “when you have a citizen who is willing to help you (if we ever get on the same page) with the local politicians, you don’t try to tear them down, you build them up” I am used to people trying to tear me down, however, if you want to go this alone just say so and I will back away. However, if you want a citizen’s support in this, don’t belittle their connections, if you do, they will never gain any credibility, and credibility is what they will need in order to gain any traction themselves. Now that I have had to write this on a blog (I tried several times to get you to see that this is political, not personal) it is going to be even harder to build any level of credibility. This is an issue that will be settled by the next administration in Mt. Juliet…if you don’t blow all of your credibility by being isolationists and trying to force a fire department on Mt. Juliet.

    See, to politicians, you are insiders in the fire debate. To them, you have a personal agenda in all of this. When you say, “Mt Juliet needs its own fire department, (without the support of your chief, and without a comprehensive plan) they hear, wouldn’t it be nice if Mt. Juliet had its own fire department? They hear “I would ‘like’ to have a new department”. You even strengthen that perception and argument when you act like its you and then the rest of us. You need citizens to help build your case, but you project the image that somehow, when it comes to this issue, we are less than you. Please keep in mind, whatever solution we come to in all of this, we are the ones who have to pay for the service that is provided and we are the ones that are dependent on it. We have a right to have a voice in the debate whether or not we man a pipe.

    If you get any real traction in this effort, you will need your chief onboard and you will need citizens onboard. How in the hell are you going to get citizens onboard if you don’t change the tone of this thread?

    If somehow I frustrate you, I apologize for your frustration. Am I not allowed to gather information and facts? Am I not allowed to assemble information and develop my own perceptions? I am sorry, buy I got the very distinct impression at the meeting last weekend that the majority of those who showed up at that meeting (Fire fighters that is), took the position that the only solution to the fire department issue was for Mt. Juliet to develop is own department. I am not sold on that position yet. I have a right to my opinion since I am one of the many people who are going to pay for the solution and who will have to live with, or die from, the decisions that are made. I am not looking for the quick fix, although we need that too, but rather I am looking to see if I can influence the effort toward a solution to the causes that brought us to this place.

    I am not working “against you”, but rather, if your aim is to provide adequate fire protection to the city of Mt. Juliet, I am working to “help” you. But I am not going to just jump on the “Mt. Juliet Fire Department Bandwagon”. None of the arguments that I have heard so far have convinced me that a Mt. Juliet Fire Department is the “best” solution. It may turn out that it is the only solution, but before I posted my solution had you ever considered the other side of the equation regarding what would happen over time as the city grew to its boundaries? How is the county going to cover its territory that lay inside the twenty year growth plan of the city of Mt. Juliet until it is annexed? I heard some of you saying that you don’t want to put a band-aid on this issue. If you don’t account for the unincorporated areas of the city, and the annexation thereof, you are putting a band-aid on it. If you don’t consider how the city will develop a fire protection plan inside the city as it is annexing property you have again put a band-aid on the problem. This is more complicated than just deciding one day that it would be a good idea for Mt. Juliet to build its own fire department and then rushing off to try to get us to buy-in to your plan. Even if you get past the idea that we would be paying twice for the same service, you have to have a comprehensive plan of attack for the next 10, 20, and 30 years. If you can show the politicians that you are interested in what is fair, equitable, and doable, and if you can show them that you have a well thought-out, comprehensive plan that addresses the immediate, intermediate and long range needs for fire protection, and if you have citizen support, and if you have your chief’s support, then you have a chance of getting the “right” thing done. That is my goal, to help you get the right thing done! If you don’t want my help, then just say so and I will let you go it alone. But look around you…how many people, who are not in office, running for office, or connected in some form or fashion to the WEMA or LFD, are in the game on your side of this issue? Consider how many people are visiting this site, which is considerable, and consider how your comments of exclusion impact them. Early on in this thread, someone brought out an acronym that I found quite curious. It shed some light on how fire fighters view civilians and those in government and, actually, everyone who is not in the “brotherhood”. I have to tell you, it is disturbing to say the least. It speaks of your attitude toward us. I would encourage you to consider how that plays when you are now seeking support for a Mt. Juliet Fire Department.

    You are not right about the way that you are going about this. Just saying “Mt. Juliet needs a fire department of its own” and developing scary, real or not, scenarios doesn’t accomplish what you should be looking for in all of this, which is the comprehensive, long-term, right solution to the problem. Go back and re-read my solution with an open mind, pick it apart, and tell me why it wouldn’t work. (Be prepared to debate your points) Perhaps we will both learn something. You are going to find it does more damage to your cause, and according to what I can gather from your posts, further endanger us due to lack of proper coverage, if you don’t stop trying to cram a fire department down the throat of Mt. Juliet. If you are going to pursue a long-range, comprehensive, right solution to the problem, I don’t think you will find it hard to get your chief working on this with you, I don’t think you will find it hard to get politicians working on this with you, and I don’t think it would be hard for you to get citizen support. Everyone wants to feel safe, nobody wants to be “sold”. If you try to force a wrong solution down our throats you are “selling” us on a position that our subconscious mind, as well as your conscious mind, are telling us is “wrong”. That, my friends, is a hard sell. Selling us on working toward a comprehensive solution while at the same time addressing the very immediate need, will likely get you a long way. Remember, this doesn’t have to be a straight out of the box solution, meaning “cookie cutter”. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing solution. It can be a combination of mini-solutions that blend together to arrive at the right solution.

    With all of that having been said, if from something I have said or done I have given you the impression that I feel connected to your brotherhood, or that I think I am one of you, I apologize. I am who I am, and you are who your are. I am simply trying to help arrive at the “right” solution.

  198. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    More and more great dialogue.

    Butch you make some good points. Just an FYI, I do understand what you are saying about the shipboard firefighting since I too was in the Navy. I was stationed aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)

    We all appreciate any help from the citizens to correct this issue since its so important. The firefighters who live in the community is small in number compared to the over 25,000 who call MJ home and can’t get the work out alone.

  199. Just to add: The scenario I spoke of in earlier posts and at the chilli cook-off occurred once again this past Friday night. House fire on Vanderbilt Rd. MJ”s coverage from Lebanon and Watertown 10/10/08 @2250 till 10/11/08 @ 0230. House heavily damaged but still standing. All mitigation efforts safe and effective. At 2 times during the incident sub-set crews were called away to mitigate other calls. (cp/sob & mva with extrication) Hats off to all involved, excellent job. It is extremely difficult to switch gears from firefighting to medical and then to rescue in a matter of a few minutes. These souls are blessed and ready to rise to the challenge. Thank you.

  200. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Thanks for the update brother. How many personnel were on scene for the fire on Vandy

    Here’s a good video about fire protections. It makes some very good points and a lot of education about what the fire service is and isn’t. Hope you all can get something out of it

    Stay safe out their.. FTM, PTB, DTRT, EGH

    http://community.fireengineering.com/video/video/show?id=1219672%3AVideo%3A8003

  201. There were 10 personnel actively fighting fire, 1 battalion chief, 1 fire chief, 1 logistics, and 2 volunteers performing rehab. Excellent response, effective knock down, and complete mitigation to salvage and overhaul. Have a safe night to all.

  202. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Jamie,

    How does it work for the volunteers getting called out? I’ve heard you mention that you are a volunteer for WEMA and there is a Volunteer Division I understand. How many are part of it and what the difference between the WEMA CERT and the Volunteer Division?

    If there was only 10 on scene with 2 Volunteers they must not be called out on a regular basis or toned out at all? I know more about the paid side of the fence, so to say, then the volunteers out here.

    Thanks again for all you do brothers

  203. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Also Jamie, who is the logistics person for WEMA? I guess I come from a different world since the departments I know only use a logistics person for large scale incidents not the standard run of the mill fires, also do they have a safety officer/accountability on every fire?

    I”m still learning the ops side of WEMA. I know the county has a manpower issue, but didn’t know if WEMA has a safety officer, rit teams, etc.. that are required, due to the short amount of manpower

  204. Bobby Franklin

    The house that burned on Vanderbilt Road belongs to my dentist, Mike Atchley.

  205. Brent Dyer

    Jamie Luffman,

    Obviously, the best thing we should do, is back off. I haven’t posted here in a while, and after catching up, I see why. Come on friend,… ebay or something… bid on a boat… I say we take up fishing and turn off the scanners, radios, and for sure the computer. Imagine the gas money we could save, not to mention the extra time with our families. See smoke??? No, me neither…

    The idea of concerned public safety personnel who are also city and county citizens working to solve the problem JUST FOR PERSONAL GAIN is sickening. I am surprised and hurt that anyone has this opinion. I am thankful, or was, that other people who had no background in fire, etc. were with us on this. Even more of a slap in the face, is the fact that in the midst of giving TRUE stories or scenarios about situations that have occurred in our community, when our people have risen above the challenges to serve our community, we are potentially being called liars. To think, that we would create a fictional event of such magnitude just to get the attention of the government officials is ?… I have lost words for that… Don’t believe what you heard?… buy a scanner… No, I tell you, just nevermind to those who posted these things. Your opinions that were once considered to be very valuable and educational, are not even valid to me anymore. Thanks for your time, but when you question the credibiity of the persons who will risk their lives to protect yours, I have no time for that. Just one or two people out of thousands… I believe it is time to get away from those opinions in order to keep a good opinion of the people who actually appreciate us. True colors… I was told plenty, thought I would trust my own info though and not judge a book by it’s cover. Some books are apparently only a few pages long.

  206. 1 Voice: The volunteers usually respond before there is a need to tone out. We call it “squirrel” and myself and others do it quite often. Many times, we are just needed for support (ie. roll hose, air bottle change, etc.) other large scale events require call out, but thankfully those are few and far between. I am a volunteer, but I also work part-time. The logistics I spoke of was the tanker operator involved in water shuttle ops and air bottle replentishment.

    Bobby: Please pass along my concerns for his loss. Have him call me if I can be of service. My church, West Hills Baptist, has an avenue of help available if he wishes. We have a little tornado named Anna Kay that would love the opportunity to organize for his benefit.

  207. Brent,
    I agree. It has been a eye opening education to say the least. There are those that want to make this political and have it resolved in the political process, I can’t. There is too much of my heart and desire involved to religate it to a system that though it is the best we got, it is flawed. I understand there is not another way. I brought forth the information as real and true as I could. When someone not on the line questions that, I look at it as a good thing…that they do not see what you and I see. They certainly have the right. If I didn’t see it, I might not believe it either. Like I said before, the cameras are not there, and the 20 sec. news flash does not do the incident justice. So, that being said, I will take your advice. You are a good man Brent, I am proud to know you.

  208. Butch Huber

    Fellas,

    I listened to your fire chief at the commission meeting Monday night, he doesn’t seem to be as alarmed or concerned about Mt. Juliet’s need for its own fire department as you guys are. He had the perfect opportunity in that meeting to state so if that is how he felt. Will Sellers gave him opportunity after opportunity to make that statement, and it never happened. He even indicated that there were more pressing needs here than a ladder truck. It seems that “people”, “able bodies” is what is needed here more than anything. Mt. Juliet is in the process of equipping and training 10 volunteers, can you give me an idea of how much more you think will be needed?

  209. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Butch,

    One figure that is normally used when determining the amount of manpower by NFPA is 1.3 Firefighter/per 1,000 residents. It is similar to how PD comes up with how much staff is needed for proper police protection.

    Granted this is just a formula that is normally utilized, but doesn’t take into effect the type of structures or community make-up.

    So, i.e. if you looked at MJ with our current population just in the city, it would be 21 Firefighters.

  210. Butch Huber

    How many do we have?

  211. You have 23 covering the county today.

  212. Butch Huber

    1 voice of the Brotherhood: Wouldn’t the number be 32.5? We have 25,000+ in Mt. Juliet. If you multiply that by 1.3 doesn’t it come to 32.5?

    I have to agree that there is either a very, very serious shortfall of fire fighters in this city and county or the manpower figure is very, very skewed.

    It appears that Wilson County has over 100,000 people in it, which using that above multiplier of 1.3 fire fighters per thousand would mean that the county should have at least 130 fire fighters in it…and we have 23? However, if you were to assume that the 23 is adequate coverage and work your way back it would appear that Mt. Juliet only needs about 6 fire fighters. Here is how I get that number. If the county has exactly 100,000 people in it, it has more, and the city only has 25,000 people in it (it has a little more) that means that one quarter of the people who live in the county also live in Mt. Juliet. So, if 23 fire fighters is adequate coverage for the county as a whole, then one quarter of that number would be 6. However, if you were to that type of equation by square miles it would come to a different number. We have roughly 600 square miles in the entire county and Mt. Juliet encompasses roughly 20 of them. That means we Mt. Julians occupy 1/30th of the total land mass of Wilson County. That means we need less than one person to cover the needs of Mt. Juliet. It would appear that the number of fire fighters needed to adequately cover Mt. Juliet falls somewhere between less than 1 and 32.5.

    How many do we have in the city? Obviously, if we only have 23 in the entire county either we have a serious shortfall throughout the county or we need to use different numbers for Mt. Juliet.

    Fellas, there is a saying that I like to use that goes “if you don’t know where you’re going, anyplace will do”. I see the fire issue as being nothing but a political football right now. One of the reasons I believe it is a political football is because you guys don’t have a central leader in your cause. It should be the Chief. He is either the right man for the job or he isn’t. If he is, then why isn’t he out in front of you? If he isn’t, then why isn’t there a move to get rid of him? I don’t know what the truth is, you guys live inside your brotherhood, so how can we know what is really going on? I don’t doubt your chief’s ability, not at all, so far I have had no reason to doubt him. But from what I can see, your efforts are being used right now as nothing but a political football. In fact, you are making it political with all that you are doing. You have to have a central leader that everyone gets behind if you want to have real and lasting change. The second thing you need is a comprehensive plan that is backed up with facts and data. That plan has to be doable, meaning that we can afford it. It has to be simple, so even I could understand it. It has to be what is in the interests of John Q. Public, not Rusty the Fireman. It has to be one that protects the public as well as our fire fighters, but it doesn’t need to be based on what makes you comfortable, it has to be based on what makes the citizens secure. Your plan should take care of the needs of today “and” the needs of tomorrow in a graduated growth plane or phased in approach. Your plan has to address the many concerns that come into play, such as how Lebanon fits in or how it doesn’t, how things will evolve as we annex more and more territory around Mt. Juliet. It has to take into consideration the type of buildings that will be built in each area. It has to take into account the types and amounts of products and materials that will be stored and staged in each area and how long they will be here. It has to take into account land use plans and projected growth in certain areas of the city and the county. It has to take into account projected and anticipated roads and thoroughfares. The key to saving money on things like this while still accomplishing the mission is to plan properly. Simply looking at this as Mt. Juliet having a few more people in it today who will fight fires or Mt. Juliet having its own fire department won’t really get us what we need.

    The only way to really fix the problem is by being true professionals about it and developing a comprehensive, all encompassing, cohesive, strategic and tactical plan, that everyone buys into and agrees with, and will support, that provides at least minimum adequate coverage for all areas of the county. I said this from the beginning of all of this discussion, not quite as detailed, but I did say it, and I am still saying it. If you are going to go after this, do it right. Wilson County is said to have a very unique fire protection system in Tennessee, shouldn’t we set the example rather than just be unique? Either WIlson County is on the right path for fire protection with this county wide system or we aren’t. However, if we are on the right path we should make sure that we are the best. Why not? Why shouldn’t we be the best? We have the second highest income in the state, so that shouldn’t hold us back. We have the flexibility in how we can provide fire protection, so that shouldn’t hold us back. Why don’t we have the best system for fire protection in the state? What exactly is holding us back? Or should I say “who exactly is holding us back”? Fellas, if there are bigger problems that we are not being told about we can’t fix them. If you guys are protecting someone who should be exposed you are putting all of us at risk. Are there other politics being played out behind the scenes that we don’t know about? Are there other interests here that are coming into play? The role of government is to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves, is government doing things for us that we can do for ourselves and not doing things for us that we can’t do for ourselves because they spent the money on other things?

    What is the root cause of our problems here? Until you address the root cause of why we don’t have adequate coverage and facilities, practically everything you do from that point will be less than perfect or less than acceptable. Remember, “if you don’t know where you are going, anyplace will do”. You have to have a plan.

  213. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Butch,

    I don’t know how I got 21,, mistypes as usual.

    Currently there is 12 Firefighters, with 4 per shift (2 on the ambulance, 2 on the engine).

    That would be 23 per shift w/3 shifts equals 69 Firefighters (I can add). Then you would have to add the number of Firefighters in both Lebanon and Watertown, which I don’t know how many they have. Any way you slice it the manpower is understaffed for the population covered regardless of where you look.

    Your right in a sense that you would look at the Chief to lead such an effort, but when you have 4 different governments with 2 Chiefs (LFD with Chief Dowell and WEMA/Watertown with Chief Jewell he’s the chief of both) getting adequate dialogue that is going to make everyone happy is hard. But you have to start somewhere.

  214. Butch Huber

    1 voice:

    At this point, I think that the discussion needs to remain with WEMA and its manpower strength because the county taxes all of us the same, regardless of whether we live in unincorporated or incorporated areas and the county is using the county-wide option of fire protection with inter-local agreements (at least with Mt. Juliet) in the incorporated areas.

    So, from my point of view, it appears that we are staffed with 69 people. Could an additional 150 to 200 fire fighters working on a volunteer basis and directly under the control of the WEMA chief cover what is needed to adequately staff WEMA? I believe we would be able to find a lot of volunteers if the county really sought them out. Maybe we need to add another 31 paid and perhaps another 50 volunteers. Maybe that would fix it. All I am saying is that numbers and facts bring the picture into clearer view. You have to be able to see the ball to have a decent change of hitting it.

    From what you wrote above, it appears that Chief Jewell is the Chief of WEMA. He would be the person that needs to spearhead this issue. Would you share with me why we haven’t heard from him? I heard him speaking to the commission last Monday and he had ample opportunity to address the need for a fire department in Mt. Juliet and he didn’t. He must not feel that would be the appropriate answer or he would certainly have used that opportunity to address our commission…or at least I would hope he would have. He seems to think that we need manpower here, and equipment, but he stopped short of saying anything that would lead me to believe he felt our own fire department was appropriate or necessary.

    I believe that the county should do what it is legally authorized to do in this fire protection issue, and I think the citizens should hold the county accountable for doing what is right for the county as a whole, whatever that is, and if the cities need to contribute to the effort, either through volunteerism or extra finances or the purchase of equipment or what-have-you, then as long as it is equitable we need to do that. However, I believe if you are going to tackle something, you go all in and do it right. We need the right solution, a solution that is developed by a broad base of people having input. Whatever solution must encompass all of the needs, conditions, concerns, and probable changes of the county and of the cities involved.

    I think that anyone would want this to end up being fair.

  215. Chris Sorey,
    When you get the opportunity and the time is convenient, please call me.
    Home: 754-5807
    Cell: 566-7571
    Pager: 276-2544
    Thank you in advance and have a great weekend.

  216. Larry Whitney

    Sorey is being investigated by the TBI for his looking into this. MJPD requested the payback, ooops, I mean investigation into Sorey.

  217. Looking Toward The Future

    Why? What happened?

  218. Madi

    Why are they going after Mr. Sorey for doing the right thing. They should be ashamed of their self. Isn’t there any justice at all?

  219. Butch Huber

    I have not had the opportunity to read that article yet. However, I find this whole thing to be quite interesting. The city is looking for something that they can hammer Sorey for in retaliation for his being involved in bringing such an issue to the attention of the public. I find that ironic considering that the city has a lawsuit against it for retaliation. They couldn’t have done anything more damaging to their case than to publicly retaliate against Sorey. However, if Sorey did abuse his privileges as an officer of the law by checking backgrounds on people then he should have to face the music for what he has done. Maybe this is why Sorey was so concerned about what I posted about some named Chris Sorey looking into my background…who knows.

  220. Butch Huber

    I just got to thinking about something today and I want to bring it to the attention of the public. Where I grew up, fire departments were referred to as “Fire Halls”. The Fire Halls seemed to all have some things in common with each other. One thing they had in common was that they all had dance hall/reception rooms above them or connected to them that the fire department could rent to different organizations. They were great for wedding receptions/dances/meetings etc. You could set up catered affairs if you wanted to hire a caterer or you could take care of food yourself. They had fundraising gambling nights at the fire halls and they ran bingo as well. In addition to all of that, once each year each fire district would have a fire man’s carnival to raise funds.

    Why couldn’t we do some version of this to help raise funds to offset the costs of a fire department here in Mt. Juliet? I know, I know, someone is going to say something like “bingo and gambling are illegal in Tennessee”. To that I say: “They are currently illegal if they are illegal, but that doesn’t mean that things couldn’t be changed”. But what of the other possibilities? Couldn’t we do those things?

  221. Shawn Donovan

    Butch,

    Just was reading your post from the 14th. This is true that in the past they did utilize fire halls for both purposes (similar to K of C halls).

    Actually it is still used a lot in the north in states like New York and Penn, that still run mostly volunteeer department. I think the reason you don’t see it much anymore though is due to the liability issues. In the lawsuit-happy state we live in now its risky.

    Like you said anything possible. I just think a plan for the future of fire services in Mt. Juliet needs to be put together by some type of committee that looks at what would be best for the community, not this group or that group. Of course funding will have to be in that discussion as well. I believe also this type of committee needs to be made up of Mt. Juliet residents and not just a consultant from MTAS.

  222. Butch Huber

    I don’t disagree with your assertion that a committee should be put together, and that it should be made up of citizens of the city and not just consultants from MTAS, but I do believe that the Chief should be a major contributor to the discussions and formation of ideas and ideals.

    It may be risky to have something like I mentioned, but so is having a fair and we do that every year, in fact, it is the biggest in the state from what I hear. We could have carnivals here, and we could have halls like I mentioned, it would just have to be insured properly.

    Perhaps it is time to think outside the box a little and find new and innovative ways to fund things without having to resort to taxation for everything. The more we can do for ourselves the less power the government has, and that is always a good thing (except national defense).

  223. Butch Huber

    The Mt. Juliet News has a couple articles on fire protection that you would do well to read. Laurie Everett has done an good job in digging up some interesting information, however, I would caution you to take that information with a grain of salt. My impression is that Laurie is a proponent of raising the property tax rate in Mt. Juliet, and it appears as though she is using fire protection as a justification for such an increase. She is right, in my opinion, that this city does need better fire protection, however, she seems to slant her editorial toward the need for the city to pay for the increase in fire protection rather than dealing with the inadequacy of fire protection on a county level. Mt. Juliet isn’t the only area of the county in need of an increase in protection, in fact, there are areas of the county that don’t even have a fire department at all. The fire protection issue is a county issue, not a city issue.

  224. New to MJ

    Just a question, isn’t an editorial supposed to be the opinion of the editor??

  225. Bobby Franklin

    An emotional response to the fire issue could actually make the problem worse. There are three false assumptions the local media continues to promote.

    One, every fire at a home with a 37122 zip code is referred to as a fire in Mt. Juliet. Readers unfamiliar with the municipal boundaries of the city are left to assume every fire is in the city limits. There are only 20 square miles of Mt. Juliet but another 90 square miles of 37122 west of 109. Most of these fires are actually occurring outside Mt. Juliet city limits. The media could describe the homes as “just outside Mt. Juliet in Wilson County” – but they never do.

    Two, It is insinuated that fire service would improve for every home with a 37122 zip code if Mt. Juliet would just start its own fire department. But service to that 90 square mile area west of 109 will stay the same or could possibly become worse.

    Three, duplicating existing fire service in Mt. Juliet will somehow reduce the cost of fire service in Lebanon and Wilson County. The exact opposite is true. Wilson County will have to invest in at least one more station in West Wilson County to replace the loss of the Mt. Juliet station.

    Throwing more taxpayer money at a problem without improving service is not a solution at all.

  226. Butch Huber

    I just visited the city website and read Mr. Robertson’s little blog. I am constantly amazed at his arrogance and his obstinate behavior! He appears to be trying to blame the messenger. He is questioning the “motives” of the whistleblower! Who cares what the whistleblower’s motive was?!!!! What was important was the Chris Sorey tried to get Robertson to take this problem seriously, and Robertson refused! Chris tried to get the Board of Commissioners to take this problem seriously, and they too refused!!! He drug them out in the media, and still they largely ignored the problem!!! Chris didn’t let up until they were finally taking the problem seriously. Robertson is now offering the excuse that its sometimes hard to tell the difference between a 1/2″ sheet of drywall and a 5/8″ sheet of drywall! I’m sorry folks, but that dog just won’t hunt. Anyone who has been involved in construction for any length of time could eyeball a sheet of drywall and immediately tell you if it is 1/2″ or 5/8″. Robertson goes on to talk about how the county doesn’t have fire codes. So what? Does the fact that the county doesn’t have fire codes somehow absolve the city from not enforcing its own codes? Either the code that was adopted has a sound reasoning to it, and therefore should be adhered to, or the city should repeal or amend that code, but until they do, the city is obligated to enforce the codes.

    Most people wouldn’t have known that their home wasn’t up to code if Chris hadn’t broken this story. How many of us would give up the 10 or 15 extra minutes of time that the extra 1/8th inch of drywall would provide if that was what was supposed to be installed? Regardless of what was done before, regardless of what is done in the future, if homes were supposed to be built with a certain type of drywall and they weren’t then the problem needs to be solved. Let’s not forget that the estimates for those houses were likely developed with the more expensive 5/8″ rather than the 1/2″ drywall on the materials list. I bet the homeowner was charged for the 5/8″, why shouldn’t they get the 5/8″? You say that the people who brought this story out cost builders. How? Because they were held to a standard they should have met when they built the home? Or could it be that they wasted money buying off someone and ended up having to go back and fix the problem? I mean, how exactly did he cost “them” money, Mr. Robertson? Aren’t you just running off at the mouth? The builder cost themselves money, Randy. The city leadership and public works cost the citizens money, Randy. And you are costing us dignity by refusing to simply except that there was a problem! If only you would have listened from the beginning there wouldn’t be such a media problem, Randy. How about this, how about a sincere, heartfelt, honest to God apology to Chris and to the public for your having been so stiff-necked when Chris tried to inform you of the problem? I have experienced your stubbornness first hand, Mr. Robertson. I told you that you have major errors in your budget and you ignored me, or blamed the errors on the prior administration. Turned out that the errors were your errors and I had to actually write an official complaint against you to get you to take me seriously. Chris tried to talk to you about this and you refused to listen. You are the reason this was a media parade!

    Was his motive pure? I simply don’t care what his motive was, he gave them a chance to fix it without all the publicity and they refused…that’s what I care about. Randy blames those who brought this story forward for wasting taxpayer money! Randy, let me get this right, your on record as having said that it was a waste of money to fix the error that your staff made? Randy, would it have been a waste of time if your wife burned in a fire in one of those homes? Suppose she was asleep above the garage in one of those homes and it caught fire. Suppose she would need just one of the 10 to 15 extra minutes that drywall would have provided, but because the proper drywall wasn’t installed, she didn’t have that one minute, would it have been a waste of money to fix this problem then? Obviously, someone saw it as beneficial to install 5/8 inch drywall above those garages, so either we have the wrong people making decisions or 5/8″ should have been installed!

    You even went on to blame the builder, stating that it is their responsibility to ensure codes are met. Randy, let’s shut down building inspections altogether then! I mean, if we are going to have a codes inspector out there on the site inspecting homes the very least they could do is actually inspect homes, wouldn’t you agree?

    Randy Robertson, you are unbelievable! How about taking some time to look at the man in the mirror! You’ll find that you are looking at a large part of the problem in this city. Nobody had a bone to pick with you when you came to this town. It’s not your fault that Linda illegally pushed Rob Shearer out of office, we knew that then and we know that now, but you have put yourself in her camp (at least until she gets wind of the latest news on the street). You are not helping things, you are getting in the way. How dare you play the role of protector of this commission from the public! I think you have forgotten your place…you ultimately work for the public, Mr. Robertson! The public at large was very concerned about what was coming out in the news regarding fire codes. Turned out Chris was right. Hell, even if he was 1/2 right about what he was bringing forth he deserves credit for being willing to stand in the gap. Of course, Randy, you wouldn’t be able to tell if he was 1/2 right or 5/8ths right, would you?!!!!

    I am certain I can raise the funds to send you back to Ashland, Kentucky, perhaps they would invite you back with open arms!

    That you would use a public website for such rubbish is detestable. The fact that the commission allows it is deplorable. Instead of indulging your dribble they should reprimand you for your inane behavior! You sir, are out of line!

  227. New to MJ

    Another question.

    Does the city have a fire code that it follows? Does the county or the city have any type of fire inspector? From what I read from most posts on here is that fire protection in MJ is the county’s responsiblity since its has a fire contract for all fire department activities, if that’s true then shouldn’t it be the counties responsibility to enforce fire codes?

    Another questions.. if the county will not give the residents more fire trucks since the town has exploded.. who is supposed to bring it to us? All I keep reading from the posts is that its the county’s responsibility, but if someone dies here in a house fire, who do I blame MJ or County, because we should have had more?

  228. Madi

    Mr. Huber:

    It looks like we are beginning to see a part of the big picture. Speaking of the firewalls; another thought was brought up that “If” there were a house fire on a home that was built during the time frame the city states was under code; and “If” they were inspected and given the ok for a family to move in; they were naturally insured by homeowners; then “If” they were built against the plans of the construction then, don’t you agree that when an investigation of the cause of burn was determined; the insurance company could not pay the claim because it was not built to code? If so, that means alot of houses would be up in smoke with no money to replenish… Thats a scary thought. It could happen, and it could be a disaster.

  229. Butch Huber

    New to MJ,

    The answer to your question of “Whom to blame” is…the county. The county is under contract to provide fire protection to the city. If the county doesn’t provide adequate service then the county is to blame. I guess they would come back and say that part of the contract is that the city provide volunteers, however, “we” are citizens of the county just as much as we are citizens of the city, the county shouldn’t ignore its obligation to us, their constituents, because they have a tiff with the city leaders. We pay our taxes to the county, the least the county could do is give us the level of service we are paying for, Right?

    Madi,

    I believe I spoke to my insurance agent regarding whether or not a homeowner would be covered under those circumstances. If I remember correctly he said that my policy would still cover me even if the home wasn’t built to code. Perhaps other companies would handle it differently.

    The problems with those homes can be fixed…the lack of integrity on the part of the city is another thing entirely. It’s hard to put integrity back once you lost it…not impossible, but difficult. The city manager is blaming Chris Sorey and the builders for this problem with inspections. Sure the builders shouldn’t have made the mistake in the first place, but we don’t pay taxes to builders to ensure they comply with codes, we pay the city taxes to run herd on builders. The inspection issue is a city issue, not a Chris Sorey issue or a builder issue. Lack of responsible leaders is the problems in this city. Too many people with power trying to get their way in such a small little city is the problem. We are breeding monsters and then we wonder why we have so many problems. Its time for citizens to take a stand.

  230. New to MJ

    Then would you suggest everyone contact their County Commissioner to complain about the level of fire protection we are paying for and not getting?

    Maybe we could get the County Commissioner district map posted so people know who to call

  231. Lex Luther

    Here is a link to some county information:

    http://www.wilsoncountytn.com/commission.htm

  232. Dave M

    New to MJ,

    Welcome to MJ, it is really a great place to live. In response to “who is to blame”, you can blame both the county and the city. Both the county and the city are aware of the lack of fire protection in the city and west Wilson county. Both sides are pointing the finger at the other and saying it is their fault. The citizens of MJ are caught in a tug of war between the two comissions.

  233. Lex Luther

    This fire protection issue has gotten pretty absurd. I suppose house fires in Watertown will soon be blamed on Mt. Juliet too. Two employees out sick at the station on 109 North is now Mt. Juliet’s fault?

    It appears the bias local media is no longer content just blaming every 37122-address house fire on Mt. Juliet. They are extending the blame to Mt. Juliet for employee absentee problems at fire stations with different zip codes! Maybe the brush fires in California are somehow related too. Perhaps even global warming!

    For those new to town please be aware that this issue is much more about the press forcing Mt. Juliet into a property tax than it is about fire protection. The fourth branch of government in Wilson County (Lebanon Democrat) also owns the Mt. Juliet News. The constant media slant is to recreate Mt. Juliet in the image of Lebanon. I like Lebanon but one is enough.

    If duplicating services is now such a great idea why did the Lebanon Democrat once endorse Metropolitan Government for Wilson County? And why did that idea go away so quickly when Mt. Juliet’s population exceeded Lebanon’s?

    And why is Wilson County government given a complete pass for providing inadequate service anywhere in Wilson County? After all, the county receives exactly the same amount of sale tax revenue from the retail in Mt. Juliet that the City of Mt. Juliet does. And the county receives 100% of the property tax. Wake up folks…

  234. Lori Ruotolo

    I agree Lex, WEMA’s lack of pay (yes, they are underpaid) and need for more equipment/employees issues should be taken up with Wilson County who receives property taxes from all of us. We all have property taxes paid to Wilson County although I am willing to bet that Mt. Juliet/Lebanon pay more of the percentage due to high home values.

    Lebanon should not be required to have their own department either. Mt. Juliet having their own department in the end will be a bad thing for the rest of Wilson County because then Mt. Juliet and Lebanon will be on the same side of the arguement. With both cities combining their power they will be more likely to get a percentage of funds back from their property taxes to cover fire protection which will lessen what is available for other Wilson County residents.

  235. Good information for everyone!!!

  236. 1 Voice of the brotherhood

    Lori,

    Actually Lebanon isn’t required to have a fire department. Their department has been in existance for well over a 100 years and they chose to continue the department back when WEMA was formed and took over as the primary response agency for the county in the 80’s.

    I agree with your points with regards to the property tax and that is true that a great majority of the funds do come from the incorporated towns of Wilson County. The issue is though that the WEMA agency is responsible for coverage for the whole county as a whole, except the area covered by Lebanon Fire and Watertown VFD. The only way you can justify spending more money i.e. Mt. Juliet is by this fire district tax option if you continue with WEMA, unless Mt. Juliet contributed to the WEMA general fund outside of their current funding stream. Is it fair that we pay a large chunk of tax and don’t get more focus with more equipment and staffing no, but its also not fair that someone who lives in a distant part of the county who also pays their property tax but has to wait 20 minutes plus for an ambulance. If you review the WEMA MTAS study listed at the top you will see my point on that one.

    With this issue you are never going to come to complete even ground, regardless of the plan. If you as a resident want more protection, you are going to have to pay more in the form of taxes. I would suggest you get the word out to other Mt. Juliet residents to attend the Mt. Juliet Fire Protection Meeting on Jan. 29th at City Hall. This will be the best forum to voice these very concerns.

    I personally look at it that I don’t care what we do, stick with WEMA start our own department. I just want more protectin NOW. Battling back and forth about who getting shafted and politics isn’t making our neighborhoods any safer and the building surely isn’t stopping. We can say that we are getting screwed because we are paying property tax and getting nothing more, but look at Lebanon. They provide there own department and getting little in return also. Lucky for their residents they have there own department that gives them close to adequate fire protection and some very highly trained firefighters. We are covered by some highly trained firefighters from WEMA also, but its not adequate enough in manpower.

    Finally, like I mention before. Go to the meeting and voice your concerns or just listen. This is your town, the brothers who staff your fire stations are doing the best they can with what they have. If one of these brothers were your family members would you be satisfied and feel safe for them to do their job? I don’t.

  237. Butch Huber

    1 voice of the brotherhood;

    what goes on in Mt. Juliet has absolutely nothing to do with Lebanon and Watertown. If they want to subsidize fire protection by having their own department that is their business. However, you can’t say that WEMA doesn’t provide fire protection to Lebanon to at least the same level it provides it to Mt. Juliet. We have one station in Mt. Juliet, they have one station in Lebanon. They have way more equipment and manpower because WEMA headquarters is in Lebanon.

    I am all for the debate over this issue, but let’s bring facts and figures, not opinion and conjecture. Documentation beats conversation every time. Let’s look at the documentation.

    I think anyone who looks at the facts will clearly and easily see that Mt. Juliet more than pulls its share of the load in Wilson County.

    If WEMA needs more money, and I suppose it does, then everyone who lives in Wilson County is responsible for the additional funding.

    As far as people who live in remote areas of the county are concerned…they chose to live in that area of the county. They should have adequate fire protection coverage for a domicile located in a remote area, but they shouldn’t expect the same kind of coverage as someone who lives in an area with 1000+ people per square mile. Part of the coverage in densely populated areas is to limit the spread of fire from one domicile to another. In remote areas there is little chance of the spread of fire from one domicile to the next because the houses are so spread out.

    I am not underestimating the need to guard against loss of life, but even police departments don’t cover remote areas like they do densely populated areas. When someone decides to live in a remote area they give up the conveniences and protections they have in urban and suburban life for the privacy and open spaces. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t entitled to services, but they aren’t entitled to more costly service.

    Try to build a house in the middle of a hundred acre piece of land and you will find that it comes with substantial costs. You have to pay to run electric to the home, you have to have a septic system, you have to pay to run telephone (I think), and you have to provide your own driveway. You trade dollars for open spaces and privacy.

    Let’s keep the debate consistent and sequitur.

  238. 1 Voice of the brotherhood

    Butch,

    You make a good point, re-read my post as me saying “adequate fire protection”. If you think that the citizens receive “adequate” protection in Mt. Juliet then you need to do a lot more research. Here let me give your the first piece for your research, NFPA 1710

    Here the problem Butch, you mention that we need to all get together as “one” county and then when another town is covered by this same county department and is mentioned, its “we don’t need to worry about them”.

  239. Brother Butch,
    Hot dog and hallalujah! Finally, someone talking my language. Facts and figures yes/ opinion and conjecture no…what a concept. Wouldn’t you agree that if we were to look at just facts and figures we would already have the solution? I’m glad to hear this school of thought being considered. Just for fun, let’s apply that to your last post.

    “What goes on in MJ has absolutely nothing to do with Lebanon and Watertown.” CONJECTURE. The fact is the % of sales tax from 401 S. MJ Rd. (that’s Providence Place) going back to the county benefits both Lebanon and Watertown as well as the rest of the county.

    “If they want to subsidize fire protection by having their own department that is their business.” OPINION. And I am sure the good people of Lebanon appreciate your blessing.

    “However, you can’t say that WEMA doesn’t provide fire protection to Lebanon to at least the same level it provides it to MJ.” CONJECTURE. Yes, I can. FACT, WEMA does not fight house fires, gas leaks, smoke investigations, etc. in the city of Lebanon unless requested by mutual aid. If you live in the city of Lebanon and your house catches fire, the call is routed to LFD not WEMA. Now LFD may get on the scene and request a WEMA engine or ambulance crew, but initially, the call belongs to Lebanon FD. In the city of MJ, house fires go to WEMA.

    “We have one station in MJ, they have one station in Lebanon.” Neither CONJECTURE nor OPINION. It is just wrong. Fact, Lebanon has 3 fire stations in the city limits of Lebanon.

    “They have way more equiptment and manpower because WEMA headquarters is in Lebanon. ” WRONG, again. Fact, Lebanon FD also headquarters in Lebanon and they have 3 stations with more crew than WEMA in the city. As far as “way more equiptment”…fact is the equiptment between the LFD and WEMA is different, i.e. LFD has a ladder truck, WEMA has a tanker or 2.

    “Documentation beats conversation every time.” CONJECTURE/OPINION and WRONG. Fact is, conversation creates documentation. Furthermore, the documentation known as THE CONSTITUTION allows for conversation…every time. P.S. Your next statement alluded to an opportunity to look at the documentation, however, none ever materialized throughout the remainder of your post.

    “I think anyone who looks at the facts (???) will clearly and easily see that MJ more than pulls its share of the load in Wilson Co.” OPINION. Fact is, what facts are you speaking of and what load are you referring to? If you are simply speaking in terms of fire protection, then the fact is you are wrong. You know MJ folks pay the same county tax for fire protection as the rest of the county. Being a life long resident of this great city, I would love to give this one to you but the fact is, can’t.

    Anyway, you get the picture. The rest of your post dangerously explains your OPINION of urban verses rural living choices. I will leave that one alone. The reader’s can form their own opinions of your opinion on that one, with the exception of the statement, “…they (folks choosing to live in rural areas) shouldn’t expect the same kind of coverage as someone who lives in a area with 1000+ people per square mile.” Butch, please, show me the facts, figures, and/or documentation on that whopper.

    I train annually in a program called RCFA. Root Cause Failure Analysis uses different methodologies to arrive at the true cause(s) of a problem. More times than I care to admit, the problem stems from the one moving part with a pulse. People. In the case of providing better fire protection for the city of MJ, people are both the problem and the solution. In reading all the different websites, news stories, and blogs I see the people concerned with this issue but misdirected by its many extentions, i.e. opinions and conjectures. Responsibility. Who is responsible. Should the growing city accept the responsibility of its own fire protection as it has with its law enforcement, or should the county, who has responsibilty for the city protection along with great other areas and is strapped tight now be responsible? The answer will be the people. They will have to take the facts, figures, documentations, conversations, opinions, and conjectures and create a solution. I offer this…I hope it is done before we lose our ISO rating and our home owner’s insurance premiums increase. Now that is a fact with a figure.

  240. 1 Voice of the brotherhood

    Thanks Brother Jamie, very good points

  241. To all,

    Great resources to study…

    1. State of Tennessee Department of Emergency Services-EMS Division. Statues

    2.National Fire Protection Agency. Standards

    3.Code of Federal Regulations/ CFR from Government Printing Office. Law

    4.State of Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance-Fire Prevention Division. Information facts and figures

    Additionally, to consider. The TN State EMS recommends for adequate and effective patient care and medical transport, municipalities should maintain 1 ambulance per 10,000 persons within a designated zone. Using this, with the numbers supplied by recent census (26,000 and growing), MJ should consider 3 med units for the foreseeable future soon.

  242. Great resources Jamie.

    Your comment on ambulance coverage raises several interesting questions. Most people may not know that WEMA provides ambulance coverage for ALL of Wilson Co. The City of Lebanon does not operate an EMS/Ambulance service.

    Based on the figures you cite, Wilson County should maintain a total of 10 ambulances for its population of a little over 100,000. Since Lebanon and Mt. Juliet each have populations of about 25,000, there should be at least 2 and probably 3 ambulances stationed at the WEMA stations in each city.

    How many ambulances does WEMA have at each station?

  243. 1 Voice of the Brotherhood

    Publius

    WEMA Ambulances

    Station 1 (Lebanon)- 2
    Station 2) (watertown)- 1
    Station 3 (MJ) – 1
    Station 4 (Lakeview)- 1
    Station 5 (Gladeville)- 1
    Station 6 (Laguardo)- 1
    Station 8 (Tuckers Crossroad)- 1

  244. Sir,
    Currently the med units are stationed as follows:

    St. 1 Lebanon–2 units with 4 reserves

    St. 2 Watertown–1 unit

    St. 3 Mt. Juliet(city)–1 unit

    St. 4 Lakeview(county)–1 unit

    St. 5 Gladeville(county)–1 unit

    St. 6 Laguardo(county)–1 unit

    St. 7 Statesville (county volunteer)–0 med unit/engine only

    St. 8 Carthage Hwy(county)–1 unit

    Each unit is manned by 1 paramedic and 1 emt as best as staffing will allow. These are called ALS units(Advanced Life Support) At times, these units are manned by 2 emts. These are BLS units(Basic Life Support)

    Total med units for county coverage, Lebanon, MJ, Watertown, Gladeville, Martha Leeville, and Tucker’s Crossroads=8 med units for Wilson Co.

    Thank you for this outlet and best to you in the new year.

  245. Curious

    Theory – The powers that be (County or City) Obtain a bond for the purpose of building two additional Fire Halls within or very near the city limits of Mt. Juliet with a goal in mind of not only providing the necessary coverage but in addition have a goal of lowering the ISO rating a point or two. Not only would there be no additional cost to any taxpayer, the taxpayer would enjoy the benefits of lower insurance.

    Question – Why is it I see the same people posting and not a wide range of concerned citizens?

    Another question – If Mt. Juliet has 30,000 residents why is it there is only one ambulance assigned when Lebanon has two?

    Again Question – Has anyone done a survey to see how many times another district has had to answer calls in Mount Juliet or go on stand -by because the Mount Juliet ambulance was on another call.

    Who has statistical information on the amount of calls coming in per district? Who reviews those statistics to insure needs are being met.

  246. Butch Huber

    Curious,

    You are looking for facts, figures, logic, and statistics. If you keep it up you are going to end up being labeled like me. You will be considered the cause of the problem. Before long they will be calling you names and throwing barbs at you. All that is desired by the people pushing this issue is that those who live in Mt. Juliet should just roll over and let them strip millions of dollars out of our pockets so we can end up paying for service for unincorporated Wilson County “AND” pay for our own service. They think because Lebanon pays for its own service and because Watertown has a volunteer service that is how it should be in Mt. Juliet.

    I encourage you to continue to ask for proof and justification, but just know if you do they will bite you.

  247. One voice of the brotherhood

    Good questions curious.

    My answer would be to contact your county commissioner and ask that question regarding the ambulances.

    All the stats can and should be be available by request to the WEMA Administration on Oak Street in Lebanon. You can also visit their website at http://www.wilsoncountyema.com/public_awareness.html and they have a few charts regarding calls on that.

  248. Curious

    O.K. – One Voice, Thanks for the information. I have reviewed the numbers along with the 5 mile radious maps. If you are not careful, one would miss the fact that the highest populated areas have had coverage for many years. A lot of stations 3 and 4 overlap, this area is also a densley populated area that Mount Juliet has recently been annexing, stations 3 and 4 are counting some of the same homes twice. Whereas Lebanon has very little share overlapping with any other station.

    Now that I see that I am not so convinced there needs to be another Fire Station built at all , unless, it would be for the purpose to updating and housing the proper equipment. It appears to me the ambulance coverage is sufficient.

    So the real issue is manpower AND being under paid. Correct?

  249. Curious

    Well I have had time to sleep on my last comment and I am thinking, that with all of the additional traffic and populous around providence, and the poor condition of Mt Juliet Rd, N & S. , the providence area would be better served with a fire hall nearby. And the proper equipment to handle all buildings in that area.

    So with the tax issue being of such a big debate has anyone thought of asking the commerce for donations? Would it not be in their best interest to donate a little something? Would it not be a tax write off for them? Would donations be a tax write off for any citizen that wanted to donate? That might be a little dreamy on my part but even if it netted 50,000 dollars, thats some you did not have before.

    So, bonds and donations are a start, what about grants from the Federal level?

    I will say I am very disappointed County commissioners from years past did not keep up with the manpower and pay issue, that is a sad state of affairs. All of you fire fighters and medics are in my prayers daily, seems you have been getting by on a wing and a prayer, so I will keep praying. And I will pray County Commissioners of present have more concern over this than the ones of past. Thanks for ALL you do and God Bless You ALL.

  250. Butch Huber

    I have been engaging some fire fighters and EMTs on another blog site lately. It has been quite a lively exchange. Sometimes not so cordial, but at least the juices are flowing.

    I have a hard time convincing fire fighters and EMTs that I am on their side in this issue mainly because I don’t agree with their solution. They seem to think the problem is the fault of Mt. Juliet, and they could be right, but they haven’t convinced me yet. I am open minded to hear what they have to say and I try to look at things from their point of view, but I constantly get blinded by the seemingly universal attempt to shove this issue down my throat rather than show me the evidence to support their position.

    The fire protection problem doesn’t just exist in Mt. Juliet, it exists throughout all of Wilson County, as evidenced by the station on 109 not being manned properly around the holiday timeframe. So if the problem is county-wide, and if we have a county-wide fire protection problem, why not look at the issue a little less myopically. Let’s broaden the scope of our analysis to include a solution for the entire county.

    Now, the guys I have been going back and forth with on the other blog would say “if Mt. Juliet would only carry its own water the County would have the resources to take care of the rest of the County”. But before we go that far, let’s look at how that plays out.

    How much would it really change things if we were to develop our own fire department? We currently only have one fire station in Mt. Juliet, which we own. We gave the county fire equipment that we owned when they asked us to go over to a county wide service, shouldn’t they return equipment to us if they abandon that station? Shouldn’t it be in a condition of repair, maintenance and of roughly the same age as the equipment we gave them? I think so. So if we were to take over station three right now, what benefit would the county receive financially? The fact is, rather than be a benefit to the county, our taking over station three as our fire department would actually hurt the county. The county would have to purchase property further east on Division, erect their own fire station, and purchase equipment for it. I guess they could get away with just not replacing what we gave them over the years equipment wise, but it wouldn’t be right.

    The county would still have to maintain all of the other stations they are currently maintaining, so they wouldn’t get a break there, and they could drop manning levels in those stations any further or they would really be in trouble. So, how can this mess be the fault of the city of Mt. Juliet? The simple truth is, it isn’t our fault.

    So, since it isn’t the fault of Mt. Juliet, let’s see if we can find a county-wide solution. I have one. If it is a great idea for the city of Mt. Juliet (with a population of roughly 25,000 people) to establish a volunteer fire fighting team, as was suggested by CTAS in their study, it would naturally be about 4 times a better idea for the county to develop a volunteer augmentation team to support the regular full-time fire fighters and EMTs. The City of Mt. Juliet has spent about $100,000 training and equipping our volunteer force, perhaps the county needs to spend about $400,000 to train and equip four times as many volunteers. I believe we could probably find a bunch of people across the county that would love to be on a volunteer force. If you have enough volunteers you will have what you need to support the fire fighters.

    Now, I am not suggesting that volunteers will be the only additional manning the County will need, but they are certainly a help.

    Then, on top of the volunteers, we could put on a part-time crew that serves as a swing team, going from station to station filling in gaps.

    Mt. Juliet nor the County really have the money to take on starting another department (although the city could probably pull it off if there was enough community support), so let’s look at what is really needed instead of trying to re-invent the wheel.

    let’s set up a quasi-public/volunteer fire fighting/EMT force to serve all of the county.

    We could hold a Wilson County Fireman’s festival at the county fair grounds once per year where all of the proceeds go to the fire protection service. There could be community fundraisers and other events to raise money. Any number of things could be done to increase the quality of our fire fighting ability in Wilson County. We could even hold a carnival or two to support the fire fighters in the other municipalities as well.

    Yes, let’s look for grants.

    But while we are doing all of this, we should also be picking apart WEMA to see if it is being run properly and to see if there are any ways we can increase efficiencies.

    This whole mess about Mt. Juliet not having its own fire department is a sham to force us into raising our property tax rates. It won’t solve a thing for us to start our own fire department.

  251. Butch Huber

    The following has not been checked for typos or errors, but I believe I have the solution to our fire protection issue. I apologize for its length, but it is a big problem.
    While fire protection should never be diminished in its importance, overall safety of the citizenry must include other aspects of government as well, such as traffic and safety. Just as a business can earn profits by increasing revenue or decreasing costs, or both, such is the equation for safety in our fair city. Do we increase manpower, equipment, stations, etc., or do we decrease the need for fire protection and emergency services, or do we do both? I for one, just like in business, believe that you do both to the maximum practicable and responsible level.

    I have done some studies today to try to educate myself a little. I don’t know if I am going to be able to make the meeting on the 29th or not, but I want to try to prepare myself so that I can contribute, whether through e-mail or in person.

    I looked over the CTAS study that was done back in 2006, I looked over a couple websites, I examined the city limits and surrounding areas, and I have made some preliminary conclusions regarding my perception and opinion on the issues at hand.

    If you look at the CTAS study you will find a map that depicts where there have been incidents that have required a roll out of emergency vehicles and personnel. If you examine that map you will likely conclude, as I have, that the vast majority of the calls that have occurred inside Mt. Juliet have occurred right along our roadways, especially our main arteries. That, to me, indicates that the vast (Overwhelming) majority of the calls responded to inside Mt. Juliet are for automobile accidents. If you look at the WEMA website you will see that the vast majority of the calls for WEMA are in fact rescue and ambulance, which further substantiates my position.

    My point is that, when you are allocating revenues, you want to target every dollar to where it will give you the largest return on investment. It is therefore important to ensure that we make sure we are looking at the cause of the problems we are dealing with rather than the symptoms.

    There have been stories in the paper and on Radiofreemj.wordpress.com about how fire fighters are arriving at the scene of a fire with too few people and too little equipment to properly and safely fight a fire, and then, once they finally do get manpower strengths up, people are called away to respond to rescue or ambulance calls where there is a threat of loss of life.

    Now, as far as I am concerned, the first and most important issue that needs to be attacked is the threat of loss of human life. Sure, structures are important, the possessions in one’s home are important, but they can all be replaced. But a life is too precious to lose because we, the citizens and governments of this county, were too stubborn and stiff-necked to take appropriate action.

    In the reports that I have gotten it states that there should be one ambulance for every 10,000 residents under the protection of any fire station. I don’t know how overlaps are factored into that equation, but I believe that it is important to ensure that if we are going to err in the area of ambulance service, it is important to err on the side of caution, which means if we err it should be because we are over staffed and because we have too much equipment, not because we don’t have enough.

    I saw a report that stated that we have 110,000 residents in Wilson County. I don’t believe that report because the same report said that Mt. Juliet has 30,000 people and we just did a census that indicates that we actually have just over 25,000. Therefore, I am going to use the number 100,000 for my consideration in these issues. If that number is correct, it would seem that the county should have 10 ambulances in service, however, from what I can tell they only have 7 on the street in use. However, the number 7 is quite deceiving, because it doesn’t tell the whole story. You see, Station 3 in Mt. Juliet covers 34,406 people (which, obviously, considering we don’t even have that many people in all of Mt. Juliet, means that station 3 really does serve unincorporated Wilson County as well as it does Mt. Juliet). Now, if there are 34,406 people being served out of station 3, and if there should be one ambulance for every 10,000 people served from station 3, then there should be 4 ambulances, and crews to run them, at station 3. Station 3 should have 4 ambulances, yet it only has 1. Station 4 is located north of Mt. Juliet in the unincorporated area of West Wilson County and it covers 29,063 (our second largest fire coverage area in the County). Using the same formula for ambulance per capita, station 4 should have 3 ambulances and crew to run them, however, it has…1.

    Now, if you are trying to identify the breakdown in a plan, you look for its weaknesses first. You look for the things that put a drain or strain on your system and you address those things first. Once you have lessened or removed the drain or strain on your system you can begin to take note of the other issues that still need to be corrected in order to arrive at the place where your system is operating optimally (and I believe it is in everyone’s best interest that your protection systems are operating at optimal levels, don’t you)?

    Since just about every dire scenario that I have heard of involves people being used in rescue and ambulance while they are needed on fires, and considering that there are so many more ambulance and rescue calls than there are calls to put out a fire, and since we are so obviously understaffed and under equipped for calls that require an ambulance, it would seem to me that it is important to first look at ambulances and their associated crews before we delve to deeply into the issue of fire protection. I know that is not what some of the people from WEMA want, and I know that isn’t what the property tax proponents in Wilson County want, but it is logically the first best place to start. To start somewhere else would seem to me to be like the joke were a guy is looking for something he lost when his friend comes up and asks him what he is doing. The guy who lost something tells him that he lost something and he is looking for it. The second guy says, “where did you lose it”? The first guy says, “I lost it at Joey’s house”. To which the second guy says, “so, if you lost it at Joey’s house, why are you looking for it outside my house”? To which the first guy says, “because the light’s better here”. To me, it appears that the biggest cause of problems is that the ambulance service is under equipped and under staffed, so, naturally, I would start with ambulance service if I were examining the needs of this area.

    Although I would start with ambulance service as the primary needs area, I would have to look at the issue as a more broad spectrum issue than just the city limits of Mt. Juliet. Seeing as all of the area now covered by station 4 will one day be inside the city limits of Mt. Juliet, or at least it will likely be in the city, and since I wouldn’t be looking for a band-aid solution, but rather a long-term, durable solution to the problem, I would have to include station 4 in my analysis. But that isn’t everything that has to be considered. I would have to consider all of the twenty-year growth boundary of the city and how fire protection and ambulance service will play out over the next twenty years. But, then again, I couldn’t stop there either, you see, the entire area west of the far eastern boundary of Lebanon is going to keep growing out at an alarming rate over the next 15 to 20 years, so I would have to consider the growth of the entire area if I were to come up with a long-term, durable solution to the overarching problems in the area of Fire Protection and Emergency Services. If I didn’t include all of that area in my analysis, I wouldn’t be doing a service to those who would rely on the analysis for their decisions.

    But more is involved than just the growth area alone. You have to look at present and future traffic patterns and corridors in your analysis. Since most of the activity from WEMA will likely continue to be along main arteries of traffic, it makes sense to put stations in areas of the county that will be closest to where the need is today, and where it will be in 3, 5, 10, 20, and 30 years from now. If you don’t do that, you will end up with another report from CTAS that suggests moving stations to another location because they are not longer centered in their respective coverage area. Moving stations into the center of their coverage area is expensive, and if it could have been prevented, it is wasteful. But, in placing fire stations, you do also have to keep in mind present and likely future population clusters and what is going to be built where. In other words, you have to ensure that you are providing the kind of coverage that is going to be needed where it will be needed. In other words, if there is going to be heavy industrial businesses built in a certain area, you might need to ensure that the stations being built in that area, while there are only houses there now, is being built to accommodate a Quint, because it will be needed in the future. However, if there is nothing but open land in an area now, but it is projected that that land will one day contain 5,000 new homes, you might need to plan for that as you develop your fire protection and emergency service plan.

    But, protecting citizens doesn’t just include what you see in the fire house, it also includes proper road signage, adequate roads, properly designed roads, properly police coverage to control traffic, proper lighting, proper traffic control devices, and a myriad of other issues as well. Prevention of needs is vital because prevention of needs saves lives before there is a threat, while most of what WEMA does is reactionary. For instance, there is a section of road near station 4, it is at the split of two roads (the names of which escape me right now) that if you take the right hand portion of the split you better be on top of your game because the road goes up, around a turn, down, and to the left at about the same time. It is hard not to fly right off the left hand side of the road. Put a little ice on the road and you are really in trouble. Now, add in a southerly moving vehicle in the same area and you have a head-on collision. I understand that there is one accident after another at that location and yet nothing is ever done to straighten out the road. The least the county could do is put up traffic control devices to protect lives at that location. Mt. Juliet Road has a similar problem. As you travel north on Mt. Juliet road approaching the old high school (I believe that is the new middle school), there is a stretch of Mt. Juliet road where there is a high incident rate, and then when you get in front of the school there is a high incident rate. I am quite certain, with enough focus, something could be done to reduce or eliminate accidents in that area.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know there needs to be some changes in Manpower strength in WEMA, and I know they need more equipment, but I also know that more needs to be done to prevent injury and death on our city’s roads as well.

    Another thing that may help reduce the need for service is the ability to get rid of unwanted used, oil and chemical soaked rags, old chemicals and paint, and other materials that sit in garages because you can only get rid of them once each year and you have to be home and remember that day or you have to wait another year. Now, I know that most people are probably slipping them into their trash, but that isn’t the right solution to the problem, it is the convenient solution to the problem of storage, it creates yet another, perhaps even bigger problem down the road.

    ISO ratings are important, but the ultimate first goal should be to save lives and reduce suffering. If we focus on that I am sure our ISO ratings will improve automatically.

    Proper planning: It is equally important for the planning commission to approve or disapprove development of property until such time as the State/County/City can provide adequate and proper roads, signage, police coverage, and fire and ambulance coverage. Growth, without planning for growth, leads to chaos and unsafe situations. I am all for growth, but it must be planned and controlled to ensure that there is safe growth.

    Planning based on demographics is also important. For instance, Dell Webb will likely need more ambulance service per capita than other areas of the county because there are more elderly people per acre living in that area than most places in the area.

    But I couldn’t limit my analysis with just the area west of the eastern boundary of Lebanon because there are areas of the county without any fire protection service at all. The uncovered area of the County presents a compounding problem for all of us for at least two reasons. One, we need to be citizens of the County, meaning we are all citizens of the County “before” we are citizens of the City, just as we are citizens of the Country before we are citizens of the state and citizens of the state before we are citizen of the county. The people who are not receiving any service at all are our neighbors and fellow citizens and we shouldn’t leave them out of the equation. They also present a problem because if anyone of them were to sue the County for inadequate service any plan we develop based on the current funding methods would be rendered useless because they most certainly would win and the County would be forced into fire tax districts most likely, which would be a major game changer for all of us. Now, I am not saying that they need to have the same level of coverage as we do in the heart of Mt. Juliet, but they do need at least a minimum standard level of coverage for their particular situation, which they are not currently getting.

    You see, there are way more things to consider here than just whether or not Mt. Juliet needs to build its own fire station.

    While ISO ratings shouldn’t be first and foremost in the equation, it needs to be considered because every dollar we spend on insurance that could have been saved by having adequate fire protection is a dollar that could be used (yes, through increased taxes) to improve or maintain fire protection and ambulance service, and in the same vein, every dollar we stop paying insurance companies in premiums that would then be used to fund fire protection frees up money to put toward adequate roads, signage, safety education and other programs, which reduce the need for rescue or response. Savings as a result of lower ISO ratings is something the average citizen will never know anything about, but that saves them money every year or cost them money every year, depending on your point of view.

    At the same time all of this is going on, one needs to look into the actual needs in regard to manpower and equipment. Certainly, operating at just the manpower needs to staff all of the stations at the minimum level is not sufficient. We have to consider contingency plans. The cold hard truth is that fire fighters die, get sick, have accidents, go on vacation, and have lives just like the rest of us, and we need enough redundancy built into the city to enable us to cover our needs during times when all of our personnel can’t be available. Additionally, fire fighters have to attend training classes every year, we need to be able to cover for them in their absence. But beyond that, I think it is important to just have a couple extra sets of hands on the scene just because. I know if my house was on fire and there were a couple extra fire fighters on hand it wouldn’t bother me, how about you?

    Fire Fighters want to be paid properly just like the rest of us, and from what I can tell, our fire fighters earn their pay more than just about any other system in the state. We owe it to those who man the pipe (hose) to provide for them the way we would want to be provided for if we were doing their job. This is the right thing to do and it is the prudent thing to do. My sense of enlightened self-interest tells me that I don’t want other departments snatching up our fire fighters, especially after we have spent a lot of money training them. If we don’t pay them right they won’t stay. If we don’t treat them right they won’t stay.

    Our fire fighters are cross trained in Emergency Services, which makes them more valuable than those who are just fire fighters, I wonder if we are paying them based on their true value to us? Personnel turn over is very costly for any organization, but for an organization that requires so much training, turn over in a fire fighting organization is even more costly than most positions. One way to cut down on costs is to keep your people.

    By starting with Ambulance service, making sure we have enough ambulances and EMT’s and paramedics to man them, we would be taking a burden off of the fire department and increasing the availability of response teams in the area of most need.

    If, at the same time, we were to work to increase the level of volunteerism in the county, we could augment the existing department and take some of the strain off the full-time department and help to ensure that they have help when they arrive at the scene of a fire or emergency. Now, this isn’t the panacea of our predicament, but it is an “aid”. We could also develop a healthy reserve, or part-time, force to further augment WEMA. Mt. Juliet has taken a very positive first step toward providing a volunteer force, however it probably wasn’t the city’s responsibility to do so from a financial perspective.

    Which brings me to the underlying hardest problem to overcome….funding. This county needs to decide which form of funding for fire protection and ambulance service it is going to use long-term and then we need to build our service based on that decision. However, boards of commissioners change and so do laws, so we need to do what we can with contracts and agreements, and we need to project what the future will hold to the best of our ability, to ensure that we are all very comfortable with whatever is agreed to now so that in the future we don’t end up with any more of a mess than is absolutely necessary. One way to do that is to make sure the voters make the decision with a taxpayer’s bill of rights at both the city and county level. If you leave it to the voters then whatever happens is the will of the voters, not the agenda of the politically powerful.

    We need a think tank in Wilson County to tackle this problem rather than making it such a political football. We need the governments of this county to establish a committee, whose findings and determinations will go before the voters of the county, and if approved by the voters, it should be immediately implemented. This would certainly take the issue out of the hands of the politicians. The population should be divided in some fair and equitable way that insures that we are all equally represented based on all contributing factors and one or two people from each division should be selected from a panel of nominees. The government representatives from every government entity in the County should vote for the person they want from each division based on a resume and interview. Perhaps we could even get Senator Beavers and Rep. Susan Lynn in on the selection process. The citizen’s committee should have access to experts in the several areas of concern so that they can make informed decisions. Once they have developed a consensus on what they believe is the best plan, the plan should be presented to the government leaders of the county, but also put to the voters after a brief citizen education period.

    In the meantime, since we know we will need more manpower and more equipment no matter what measures are taken, we need to buy more equipment and find more manpower immediately. The County and the City of Mt. Juliet should enter into a memorandum of understanding under which they both agree to reimburse the other if one spends money they wouldn’t have to spend had the voters taken a vote today. This would get them both past the sticking point over financing issues and on to solving the problem.

    I don’t know much about the County’s finances, but I do know that Mt. Juliet has some reserve funds, and because we were able to defeat the YMCA deal we should have an extra $210,000 in the budget, that could be a good start toward getting the ball rolling. There is no reason the city shouldn’t and couldn’t make that money available if the county were to enter into an appropriate memorandum of understanding under which the county would reimburse the city if the voters decided that the County should be responsible for funding the additional protection. Of course, we would need to have a good lawyer draw up the agreement so that everyone is comfortable with it.

    Additionally, the county and the city would have to agree to, and demonstrate a willingness to, work hand in hand to solve our problems rather than fighting each other all of the time. It is time to stop the bickering and fighting and work together to solve the issues and provide for the needs of the citizenry of all of Wilson County.

  252. Chris Sorey

    http://www.firegrantsupport.com/safer/

    This particular grant is one that is easily obtained, and pays for the firefighters salary on a sliding scale for five years. Anyone hired under this is required to obtain a Firefighter I certificate within a time frame that is fairly rapid, but it can be done easily with the right person(s). I ran this idea past Elam at the meeting called by the fire fighters a few months back. Maybe someone could ask her about this if they are planning to go to her meeting. I explained that she could have 4 full time firefighters in addition to the 2 on the ambulance, for around 25k the first year. Yes, that would cover all three shifts. Of course, you would have to factor in time off, but it is a start. The county has no funding left at this time, but hopefully it will be available next year. Ambulances in Lebanon answer more calls and that is why they have two. They are rapidly approachingthe need for a third, and MJ is approaching the need for a second. We need a station somewhere near MJ and Lebanon road and another near Providence. I still stand by my prior comments that this needs to be a county service, but we have many areas of the county that have no station within a reasonable distance, and they should be given some level of protection before MJ gets a second. I know there will be some who say we subsidize them, but as individuals we don’t, only as a collective entity, also known as a city… For those that say that, the only real alternative is a city fire department. If the city creates a fire department, it will leave pockets of the county in worse shape than they already are.

    One other thing, the 5 mile radius maps that are out there, are just that. The real 5 mile maps should be road distance, not as the crow flys. ISO is a five within 5 miles of a station, and ten outside of that. It would be extremely difficult for WEMA to get lower than a five, and few around here have that. Brentwood, Franklin, maybe someone else, but those are the only departments that come to mind.

  253. Butch Huber

    The more I have thought about the many facets that need to be explored before we make a decision on fire protection, the more I have realized just how important it is that the several governments of this county come together to form an alliance for the smart and prosperous growth of this county.

    Forcing the City of Mt. Juliet to raise its property tax rates may be looked upon by some as a “win”, however, those people may be doing their thinking in a vacuum (which tends to crush the head and end good reasoning). When the realization hit me that fully fifty percent of the citizenry of Wilson County lives inside about a 40 or 50 square mile area of Wilson County (out of a total area of close to 600 square miles), I began to realize that the Mt. Juliet area is going to likely be the growth center of this county for some time to come.

    The growth of Mt. Juliet can be attributed to many factors, none of which is more important than its proximity to Nashville. Drive time to and from other parts of the city will continue to be a major factor when someone is deciding to move to an area. Most people also want to live close to amenities as well, which means the masses want to live relatively close to cities. Wilson County only has two medium sized cities, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. For people to move close enough to Lebanon to be comfortable they find themselves a little too far from Nashville for comfort (I am speaking “generally” here). That means, if Lebanon and Mt. Juliet were equal on all other levels, the majority of people moving to this area from outside Middle Tennessee would likely choose Mt. Juliet over Lebanon for their place of relocation. I think the growth rate of Mt. Juliet over the past several years is hard evidence that my position is sound.

    Mt. Juliet has been able to lure a tremendous amount of retail to the area, which is helping us maintain a zero property tax rate in Mt. Juliet and it is helping the County pay its bills as well. Retail, as opposed to residential, doesn’t put the same strain on the County because retail itself doesn’t mean more students that will be subjected to…ahem….I mean, it doesn’t mean more students that will have to be put through public education.

    While retail doesn’t mean more students, retail improves the quality of life in the area, which lures homebuyers, which in turn does mean more students…but given the conditions throughout the rest of the Middle Tennessee area, and give the conditions around the country that are causing people to consider Middle Tennessee, Mt. Juliet would likely have grown considerably regardless of the lack of retail.

    The more we grow in this area the more the pressure for adequate roads, infrastructure, and protection. However, the rest of the county needs to consider how much the growth in retail is bringing in tax dollars to Wilson County that otherwise wouldn’t have been there. My point is, rather than do something that may tend to stem the tide of growth in Mt. Juliet, perhaps it would be best for the other governments to “help” the growth in this area instead.

    If the growth in Wilson County spreads throughout the county, rather than being confined to this general vicinity, the county will have road issues throughout the County rather than concentrating them in one area. By concentrating road development to a confined area you limit the amount of money that is necessary to grow. Instead of having to build multiple roads to provide traffic flow, you can build one good one that handles most all of it. Instead of buying massive amounts of right-of-ways, you buy relatively few. Instead of many court battles, you limit the number. There are a lot of advantages of economy of scale. Students live closer to schools. Less roads to maintain.

    Sure, eventually all of Wilson County is going to be built out, just like other areas around Middle Tennessee, but that doesn’t mean that the governments of this County can’t work together to create a smart growth plan that benefits everyone.

    Rather than work against Mt. Juliet’s growth, especially now that we are officially the largest city in the County, the rest of the County should work hand-in-hand with Mt. Juliet to help it become the most efficient smart city in the area. Remember, the county gets an awful lot of money from the cash registers that are ringing in Mt. Juliet. Shared revenues can be distributed throughout the county. On a county level, it is similar to if a certain part of Mt. Juliet really started to take off in growth, like Providence and the Paddocks, the rest of the city benefits from that growth through increased tax collections. If Mt. Juliet grows, so does the county, except when Mt. Juliet grows it brings in revenue from outside the County, which benefits our residents throughout the county through increased sales, but that increase comes without a corresponding tax burden! Not many people in this region will travel to Lebanon to do their shopping, however, they will come to Mt. Juliet.

    It is time to stop kicking Mt. Juliet around and embrace it as the growth sector of the County.

  254. Shawn Donovan

    Chris your correct with the ISO ratings. Franklin is a 3, but based on our recent site visit we are pushing a ISO 1 level. If you looked at my department you would see why we are that low and have worked hard to get to the best ISO rating.

  255. Butch Huber

    Shawn, if you are correct, and I have no reason to believe you aren’t, let me be the first to say, “great job to you and the folks who work at station 3”!

    Thank you for your hard work and effort. An ISO rating of 1 is phenomenal!

    Sincerely,

    Butch

  256. Shawn Donovan

    Thanks Butch,

    I was referring to Franlin’s ISO rating actually and not Mt. Juliet/WEMA ISO rating. I work for Franklin as a professional firefighter.

    Yes it does take a lot of hard work from the FD at all levels, and a lot to do with support of the City Leaders and the residents. Without their support it wouldn’t be possible to get that high a ISO rating.

    I also agree that the guys at Station 3 and WEMA in general are doing a great job regardless of their ISO rating.

  257. Butch Huber

    Shawn,

    Still, very well done to you and your FD. And I still appreciate what you do for this city, as well as what you do for Franklin.

    Thank you for your service. Now that you know what it takes to get an ISO rating of “1”, perhaps you can help duplicate it here. And, yes, I did get the part about “support of the City Leaders and the residents”. You have my support, however, it may not come from the exact angle you and your brothers and sisters would like. We agree in theory, not in application.

  258. Shawn Donovan

    For those of you out there who don’t read the Mt. Juliet News, please be sure to try and make the Mt. Juliet Fire Protection meeting next week on Jan. 29th at City Hall at 7. MJ Mayor Linda Elam will lead a discussion open to all residents regarding the fire protection in Mt. Juliet. If you want your voice heard about fire protection be sure to attend

  259. Butch Huber

    For those who are following the fire protection issue in Mt. Juliet, you should know that there is a lot more behind the scenes than you are reading in the paper or hearing on RadioFreeMJ so far. Just like most other issues, fire protection cannot be looked at in a vacuum, it has to be looked at in context with everything else, and it has to be looked at from the 30,000 foot view first. Once you have a clear picture of things from the 30,000 foot view you can begin to focus in on issues a little closer, but you still have to analyze how one issue interacts with another. For instance, if we can fix the roads and add adequate roads in Mt. Juliet and around Mt. Juliet, there would be a substantial decrease in the work-load of WEMA. The vast majority of the calls received by WEMA are for rescue and ambulance, not fire, so it stands to reason that if we were to reduce the number of accidents that occur in this city we will be killing two birds with one stone. Firstly, we would reduce the amount of pain and suffering because we are preventing need for response by preventing accidents. Secondly, if we reduce the number of accidents we have less need for response personnel.

    An increase in the number of police officers in this city, to the level that is called for in the statistics, would have a profound effect on the number of accidents in this city because they could more closely monitor and control traffic, which in turn would reduce the need for emergency response.

    Looking at our speed limits and perhaps installing digital speed limit signs that can be changed with weather and traffic conditions might cut down on the number of accidents in the city, which cuts down on the need for response personnel.

    If you look at the MTAS/CTAS report, you will quickly discover that station 3 and station 4 are both woefully understaffed and under-equipped in the category of “ambulance” service. The problems that are being reported seem to all involve not having enough people to fight a fire because an ambulance crew is called away to another location. Adding volunteer fire fighters to the force may help to a degree, but the real problem seems to be that the county isn’t running the ambulance service properly. I am not saying that we don’t need more fire protection, rather, I am saying that before we go about starting our own fire department, perhaps we should be looking at how things are being done at the county level with regard to the services that are being provided now. Have you noticed that nobody is calling for Mt. Juliet to start its own ambulance service? Well, nobody except me and Ed Hagerty that is. Ed knows, just as I do, that ambulance service is a profit center for the County. The county is making millions off that service and then transferring the profit to fire protection service rather than beefing up ambulance services so that we are properly provided with ambulance services. If the County properly ran the ambulance services we would automatically have better fire protection coverage. However, if the county were to actually provide adequate fire protection coverage they probably couldn’t fund fire protection with shared revenues, which would mean we would have fire tax districts, which would result in Mt. Juliet having its own fire protection service with a reduction in county property taxes, and the county wouldn’t be able to use tax dollars it takes from Mt. Juliet and spend it somewhere else in the county.

    This is a very complex issue, with many variables and consequences. All of the politicians have to keep in mind that a concerned citizen, if it can be proven that the city and/or county are not doing their business according to law, can sue at any time. This becomes very tricky because if a citizen of the city were to feel slighted, and if they could prove it in a court of law, they would win, however, the same holds true for the citizen that lives in the unincorporated area of the county as well. So, unless the governments of this county actually abide by the law, and properly discern the intent and meaning of the laws regarding this matter, all it takes is one citizen to file a lawsuit and they are back to square one.

    What I have written here is the reason that I say that there should be a county-wide committee of concerned citizens working on this problem with the help of MTAS/CTAS, legal counsel, WEMA, the police departments of the county and the city, public works, and other entities that have relative bearing on this topic and related topics. They should develop an overarching plan for smart growth in this county and in the city, a plan that all government entities would endorse, and then the matter should be put in a referendum for the voters to decide.

    Too many people are trying to use this issue to force the city of Mt. Juliet to have a property tax increase, people who don’t even live in the city, and we need to look at this with the kind of professionalism and seriousness the issue deserves. Yes, we have a fire protection issue in Mt. Juliet, but there are many causes and contributing factors than what we are hearing about in the news and on the blogs (including my posts: I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do seem to have more questions than anyone else I am hearing from.)

    Unfortunately, I won’t be attending the meeting on the 29th, I am otherwise engaged, but I hope that someone brings up the fact that there are many more factors that need to be considered than an increase in the property tax rates in Mt. Juliet.

  260. Butch Huber

    I just read on the City Manager’s blog how there are many accidents occurring at major intersections in this city. In fact, the number is quite alarming. According to his numbers, between October and December (whatever that means: it could mean the Month of November; it could mean October and November; it could mean November and December; or it could mean October, November and December) there were 127 accidents in Mt. Juliet, of which 56 were at major intersections. It is quite possible that all of those accidents could have been prevented with proper traffic controls. Reducing or eliminating the accidents that occur at intersections will go a long way toward reducing the need for response personnel from WEMA. The City Manager’s blog also stated that in the first part of CY08 there were 500 accidents in Mt. Juliet. I have no way to quantify “first part of CY08”, but even if it mean the first “half” of CY08, that would logically relate to at least 1000 accidents in Mt. Juliet each year. Folks, that’s a lot of accidents to occur in an area that is only 20 square miles in size. This, to me, is indicative of a need for more police officers, not more fire protection personnel (I still feel that we need more fire protection though). 1,000 accidents is close to three accidents per day. 1000 accidents is one accident for every 8 homes. That represents an awful lot of accidents. It represents an awful lot of pain and suffering, and it ultimately represents all too many deaths. A lot of the accidents that occur in Mt. Juliet could be prevented if more attention were paid to prevention. Digital Speed Limit signs that can be changed with traffic conditions and weather conditions would be helpful. Police officers pacing traffic during rush hours could be helpful. Upgrades to roads and intersections could be helpful.

    I believe the evidence is pointing in the direction that I am right in my belief about the issue of fire protection and ambulance service….prevention is a major component in this equation. That isn’t to say that there is no need to beef up fire protection services, I am not saying that at all. I am saying that if they look at fire protection only they will be taking inappropriate actions….they will be solving symptoms and not curing causes.

  261. Westsider

    Back in January the city of Mt. Juliet had a meeting on fire protection that gave an overview of the current and looking into the future. During that meeting and after Mayor Elam discussed that she was working on a proposal to give to the county about the future of it in MJ and said it would be sent over in February. Has anyone seen anything about it come out or has it never happened?

  262. Chris Sorey

    When the Fire Fighters had the chili cook off, I spoke with a few of the candidates, including Elam about a grant that will pay 90% of the labor costs of newly hired firefighters the first year. I don’t remember the exact schedule, but the number drops about 20% each year with the fifth year being paid entirely by the hiring agency.

    To my knowledge, nothing has been sent to the county. It may have been over the last few days. I wrote a resolution last week and will send it through the county in April or May, depending on when committees meet. More or less, it asks for MJ to pay for additional fire fighters to be at station 3. The cost of the first year will be around $30k depending on how many additional fire fighters city hall agrees to, if any. There are a few conditions that have to be met in order to get the grants such as training but WEMA has applied for and used the grant several times over the last few years.

  263. Shawn Donovan

    The SAFER grant program is a very good one and has has been utlized extensively since it was created. That along the Assistance to Firefighter and Fire Prevetion and Safety grant programs are all well managed through FEMA and have been very successful. I have been involved with AFG program over the last couple of years and its a great program. WEMA received one of these AFG grants this year/end of last

    For those out in RFMJ land if you want to get an idea of what we are talking about with regards to these programs go to http://www.firegrantsupport.com for more info.

    Thanks Chris for working on this at the county level since its very much needed

  264. Butch Huber

    I read in a local paper how a Lebanon Commissioner is trying to make it so that Mt. Juliet pays them for calls that their equipment and personnel (fire department) respond to when that call occurs inside Mt. Juliet. Hmmm. Okay. Except that would be a bill that would be charged to the County. From what I can tell, as long as the county continues to refuse to develop fire tax districts the county will be footing the bill for fire protection inside the city of Mt. Juliet. Therefore, if the City of Lebanon were to have to respond to a fire inside Mt. Juliet they County would have to pick up the tab.

    I know this whole issue burns the backside of the talking heads in Lebanon, but the reality is that the only equitable and reasonable way to handle fire protection in this County is to establish fire tax districts. Then, once the fire tax districts are established, each municipality can, at its discretion, and with concurrence of the County, enter into inter-local agreements with the county for Municipal fire protection.

    So, folks, we can put this fire that is burning over fire protection out just as soon as the county is ready to establish fire tax districts. This really doesn’t have to be a big deal.

  265. Butch Huber

    Why has this issue completely fallen off the radar?

  266. Brother Butch,
    What is there left to discuss? This issue has been explored from every reasonable and unreasonable angle on this site. You currently have 12 highly motivated and well trained volunteers on the listening end of pagers ready to respond to fire calls and mass casualty incidents in the MJ city and surrounding area. You do not have a property tax paying for a city fire dept. You do not have $$$ going to supplement WEMA. Its done. There’s no further discussion needed on the idiotic notion of “duplication of services” or the complexity of fire tax districts. It is off the radar because the FLR (forward looking radar) has past this point. Have a good week and a safe July 4th.
    Jamie

  267. Shawn Donovan

    As Jamie has noted yes we have completed what I was tasked to complete by the City and currently have 12 fully equiped and trained volunteers firefighters.

    What the future holds for public safety in Mt. Juliet is a question that needs to be directed towards the City Hall and County Courthouse. I have spent a great deal of time on the subject and now we wait for the elected officials to decide a course of action to further help the men and women who work full time at the Wilson Emergency Management Agency and to protect the ever increasing number of businesses and residents.

  268. Westsider

    Residents of Mt. Juliet and west Wilson County pay more property taxes per capita than their counterparts in Lebanon and east Wilson County.

    Fire service has never been about Mt. Juliet’s property tax rate. It is about Wilson County taking west Wilson County tax money and not providing adequate service in west Wilson County.

    One day the election cycle will solve that problem.

  269. Butch Huber

    Fellas,

    I realize we differ on the solution to this issue, and perhaps we differ on what the real issue is, but rest assured we all seem to agree that there is an issue to be solved.

    The problem we have had in trying to come together seems to be that some of you have decided that the only course of action was for the City of Mt. Juliet to pony up more money for services and I and others believe we have already put up more than our share of money and we simply want the county to apply the money we put up for fire protection to where we live.

    I always admired your desire to stand for what you believed in, for what you thought was right, I simply disagreed with the tact you were taking.

    Shawn, well done in putting together the volunteer fire fighting force, thank you. I am sure this augmentation of WEMA is a large step forward toward helping to make Mt. Juliet safer. As I remember, this is a big part of what the MTAS/CTAS study suggested as a way to rectify the disparity between the level of protection currently being provided in Mt. Juliet and the level that MTAS/CTAS considers to be “Adequate”. Isn’t it the County’s turn to step up to the plate?

    I don’t agree with the MTAS/CTAS findings BTW, because they simply avoid the real issue, which is a fire protection system unlike just about any other system in this state. From what I can tell this is one of the few counties in this state that operates without fire tax districts. One has to ask himself, “why is it that we are so different than the rest of the state?” I think the people doing the fire protection study simply avoided the issue because they realize it is a hot topic that, if they delved into it, would have steam blowing out of the ears of some involved. Regardless, it appears the county couldn’t care less about the study because, from what we have heard on here, they never even cracked the covers of the findings. CTAS/MTAS found as non-political of a set of solutions as they could, and I can’t really blame them on one hand for avoiding the real issue, but they never really got at the root cause of the problem in this county.

    Now that the city has taken a step toward accomplishing the list of suggestions outlined in the MTAS/CTAS findings shouldn’t there be a push to get the county to take a step in good faith to fix this issue?

    Again, I believe the bigger need is in ambulance service. The county is using money generated through ambulance services to fund fire protection service (according to WEMA’s finance director) and leaving the ambulance service without enough money to hire enough people to adequately staff ambulance services. Then, fire fighters in Wilson County serve double duty as EMT’s, when there is a fire and an accident it requires the fire fighters to leave the scene of the fire to attend the accident. The statistics prove what I am saying to be true, the scenarios that have been painted on here seem to prove the same, so why aren’t we attacking the root cause of the problem? When you guys attack a fire, don’t you attack the base of the fire? Honestly, isn’t the real need, or at least bigger need, in the ambulance service? If not, please explain? Before you answer, if you decide to answer, please consider the statistics and the scenarios posted on this site first because they really do point to my position.

  270. Shawn Donovan

    Thanks Butch

  271. Butch, Shawn, et al…
    My comment and information are better suited for this section. It is my belief that when we begin to speak in terms of fire protection in comparison to the police issue as well as comparisons to other counties, cities, department, etc., we begin to lose true north on our county situation. Our fire protection and ems service provisions are very dynamic due to the resposibilities, coverage areas, and population density of this county. The county (WEMA) has the responsibility for fire protection and ems service for the ENTIRE county. The degree of this responsibility varies from one area to another. Lebanon, of course, has its own city
    FD. WEMA does not initially respond to structure fires in the city of Lebanon unless there is a mutual aid call for a WEMA fire engine or med unit for assist or stand by. Watertown and Statesville have organized VFD. However, with respect to the response mode(house/job to hall then to fire) and personnel logistics, WEMA will respond on initial call with a full response. For all other areas, MJ, Old Hickory, Green Hills, Lakeview, Laguardo, Gladeville, Beasley’s Bend, and Tucker’s X-roads, etc. WEMA is the only fire entity (barring a mutual aid need) that responds. MJ has recently initialized to formation of a volunteer division designed to respond and
    supplement the efforts of the paid staff of station 3 under the direction of WEMA. As 1 of the 4
    officers that commands this division, I can tell you their efforts and dedication to the service of this community and its citizens is above ALL reproach. Their desire to do the job and the direction given them by the officers is outstanding. They have already proven their worth and if need be I can provide examples. My point is this, WEMA provides service to the entire county in one way or another based on the differing needs of the differing areas. For MJ specific, the opportunity for improvements comes when you cosider that the coverage area has not increased but the population has greatly. In previous post, I have made reference to 3 governing bodies of the fire service from which WEMA takes direction. Not one of them bases fire service or ems needs based on area size, all are based on population density. WEMA does not service square miles, they service people. True, MJ is only 20 sq miles, but we have stacked 28,000 and counting citizen in this area. Mr. Franklin first brought this up in a previous post and unfortunately his intent was incorrect. Our governing bodies, the NFPA, DOT, et al, base needs assessment on number of people in an area not the size of the area. In Providence upon completion there will be @3500 new structures. That’s 3500 opportunities for structure fires. Put 3 people in each and you have 10,500 opportunities for health related ems needs. This is just Providence, now add the citizens from I-40 north to Lebanon RD and that is what Station 3 has to cover. Station 3, 4 people total for 2 fire trucks with 7 seats and and ambulance with 2. Makes the offer of a ladder truck for the station even more unrealistic. The ladder truck has to be at the scene to do anything and there is very good reason to believe there will not be anyone to man it in times of need. The city pays the county one dollar/year for fire service. As of this moment, with the scanner, 2 radios, and 2 pagers in the house quiet…they are getting a real good deal, but for how long? This dynamic opportunity will need
    a dynamic solution. My politics takes place in the booth behind the drawn curtain and nowhere else. When dealing with people’ s welfare and livlihoods, there are no politics, no personal gain. The solution may come from politicians but it can not be political. Our leadership at both levels will need to put true public service before personal or political gain. The facts are in place and the numbers are real. They represent real lives and souls that need care and protection. The soulutions are many and flexible, our leaders need just make it a priority and decide.

  272. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    The city and county had an exhaustive study conducted, the city seems to be trying to keep up their end of what that research team recommended.

    I agree that there really is a terrible situation here in which politicians are positioning themselves against one another instead of for the citizens.

    The problem is many fold. One, if you are a County Commissioner and you represent a district that is east of 109, and you are looking as two cities on your side of 109 and they both have fire departments of their own, and you look at Mt. Juliet, with all of its retail and all of its development, and you refuse to look at the actual tax receipts that the county takes in from Mt. Juliet, and if you refuse to look at the law, but you do look at the city commission of Mt. Juliet, and the way they have acted in the past five years, and how they have acted in the past, would you want to do anything to increase any service in Mt. Juliet? They think we have a new high school just for Mt. Juliet citizens. They look at Mt. Juliet High School as a school that was erected just for those children who live inside Mt. Juliet. I am sure some of them are upset that Mt. Juliet doesn’t annex the rest of its twenty-year growth boundary. I am sure they look at Mt. Juliet as having its cake and eating it too. If you thought like they thought would you do anything for Mt. Juliet?

    But the reality isn’t what they think it is. It doesn’t matter though, they believe what they want to believe. I am certain that the recent failure of the Wheel Tax increase didn’t help a thing in terms of what they are willing to do for Mt. Juliet and the surrounding area. They don’t realize that the more people who live in Mt. Juliet the more calls there will be and the less coverage for those who live just outside Mt. Juliet, but inside the county. They don’t look at those of us who live in the city as “County” citizens. I am not talking about all county commissioners, just those who think like what I have described here.

    Yes, we do need to have a county-wide solution to the fire protection issue. Perhaps, rather than the city of Lebanon and Watertown footing the costs of their own fire department, and rather than forcing them to shut-down their fire department, and rather than duplicating services in those areas, the county could reimburse the City of Lebanon and the City of Watertown for legitimate, pre-approved (By the county commission) expenses for the services they provide. Then, because everyone would be happy, they could equitably fund fire protection and ambulance services throughout the county. Lebanon wouldn’t have anything to grip about anymore because they would no longer be paying for their fire department. If that isn’t legal perhaps they could get Senator Beavers and Representative Lynn to sponsor whatever legislation to amend the law to allow for it to be legal.

    I get it that Lebanon doesn’t want to give up their fire department, it has been here longer than there has been a county or since dirt was made or something. I am not sure I want to see such an old fire department dismantled either. By having the County foot the costs of running that department (within reason; if there are extraordinary costs connected with running such an old organization the city of Lebanon should be responsible for the added costs) and by kicking in to help Watertown, the county could be politically untied so they could then properly cover all citizens of Wilson County, and yes, that even means covering those of us who live in the city of Mt. Juliet.

    Beyond the political reality there is the financial reality. The county, nor the city, has the money to develop a new fire station. Perhaps in a few years they will, but for now they simply don’t have the money. We could raise county property taxes, but that isn’t likely to happen. This isn’t a Mt. Juliet issue, so it is unfair and unlikely that Mt. Juliet should raise its property tax rate to fix this situation. I don’t see this being fixed as long as Linda Elam is mayor either. If you were a county commissioner would you want to do anything that makes her look good? I am sure they can’t stand her. Her arrogance speaks so loudly who can hear what she says?

    I suggested before, and I suggest again, put together a well thought out, well planned, well constructed plan and be prepared to present it in a few years. Until that time I am afraid you are probably dealing with what you are going to have. It may suck, but that is most likely your reality and mine. One day, there may be harmony in Wilson County, but that day isn’t this day.

  273. If there is no money, then there is little reason to persue this. I believe there is money. Looking back over 45 years in Wilson Co. and seeing it now verses then, running the west side hunting and fishing in the 70’s to running the streets from Big Springs Rd to Matterhorn Dr to Beasley’s Bend to Statesville Rd in the 80’s to a job in public service from the 90’s til present, there ‘s money. How that money is being allocated, that’s the target issue. I have sat in budget hearings at the county level, it is a difficult time for all. Planning and priorities are the keys. At this time, emergency services needs to be planned for and prioritized in the budget. In your last post to Shawn, you spoke of his personal interest in the matter. Let me tell you mine. My personal interest is YOUR personal safety. Period. That sentiment is shared by the vast majority of people I work with. We do the job while in uniform AND many times when we are out of uniform. Never nekked, though. You seem to think we are operating behind a hidden agenda for personal and financial gain and that is not true. The money we ask for is not for our pockets, although that would be nice, it is for additional and essential manpower and equipment to help us help you
    and the others during times of need. Your personal safety and health are paramount and should be reflected in the actions of those that have the means to improve it. It is certainly paramount for the men and women doing the job.

  274. Shawn Donovan

    Thanks Jamie

  275. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    A person interest doesn’t necessarily mean “money”. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have some behind the scenes interests. When a person invests themselves into something it usually, if not universally, means that they have a personal interest in that project or cause. They get something in return for what they invest. For some it is just the satisfaction of knowing that they matter, that they have contributed in some form or fashion. One need not listen to you fire fighters talk back and forth long to realize that part of your return for what you do is the brotherhood you share. One only need read a few posts made on this site by members of your brotherhood to discern just what they think of the rest of us. (It isn’t pretty) You and the other fire fighters get something in return for what you invest, or you wouldn’t invest it.

    Anyone belonging to something that they have a passion for also has a person interest, they go hand-in-hand. A healthy human mind cannot separate the two. In other words, you can’t go to work as a fireman, have tremendous passion for what you do, and not have at least some personal interest and pride in the equipment you use or in the fire house. You can’t really say to yourself, “I don’t care what the fire engine looks like or what kind of shape it is in or how old it is as long as it gets me to the fire and it works fine when I get there.” People who are the closest to a thing are typically the ones who can’t see it for what it really is. I have a hard time believing that you fire fighters are so altruistic and selfless that there is no level of self-interest whatsoever, even to the most infinitesimal degree. If you can tell me that you wouldn’t like to have a shiny new ladder-truck, a new fire house, new equipment, and more staffing, and that you wouldn’t enjoy that on a personal level, on a level that makes you feel better about what you do and who you do it for, for the purpose of making yourselves feel better, even to the slightest degree, and you can keep a straight face you are either better men then me or better liars. I say that because if I were in your shoes I would want the best equipment and the newest trucks and more people and I would want it for all the right reasons, all the professional reasons, but I have to admit, I would also want it for personal reasons as well. I think I would much more enjoy racing to a fire in a nice shiny new ladder truck, fully staffed with highly trained, dedicated, professional fire fighters, and I mean enjoy on a purely personal level just as much as I mean professional level, then to go to a fire on a truck that is being held together and working for an organization that just gives me what I absolutely need to get by. I would justify every request based on the need of that item in order to provide necessary protection, and I would be honest in that assessment, and I would never ask for anything I didn’t need professionally, but I could not separate the personal interest from the professional interest. The trick for those of us in the rest of the world is to try to discern from the requests where professional lets off and personal begins when we are reviewing your requests and hearing your pleas.

    There are many factors that enter into this equation, Guys.

    There are political factors:
    1) City Politics in Mt Juliet
    2) City Politics in Lebanon
    3) City Politics in Watertown
    4) County Politics
    5) Politics between Mt. Juliet and the County
    6) Politics between Mt. Juliet and Lebanon
    7) Politics between Mt. Juliet and Watertown
    8) Politic between all the city’s in Wilson county and the county government
    9) Probably state politics

    There are economic issues:

    1) There is a reasonable person theory to just about everything, including fire protection. You guys are in the thick of it, you are on the scene, you deal with this everyday. The rest of us rarely ever deal with this issue. We occasionally hear a fire engine or ambulance and for the most part that is the extent of our involvement. For most people, when you say you need more equipment they think it is going to cost me more money. Guys, a lot of people don’t have security systems in their homes. Probably a lot of people have disabled smoke detectors in their homes. People are simply not as safety conscious as you are. Thank God for people who fight fires, we need you. But the fact that just about every ordinary citizen knows we need you does not mean that they are going to be reasonable in what they believe you need in order to do your jobs. It also doesn’t mean that they are going to believe out of hand whatever you say you need either.

    There are growth factors that need to be considered. I made a plea to you fellows awhile back to put together a comprehensive plan of action, a sale plan so to speak, that was full of facts and figures, proofs of what you were saying. I am a professional sales person, guys. I am one of the best in the field of sales. I know sales. I am fully trained on sales. I am also somewhat political. I am also business minded. I promise you that the best thing you can do is work on a comprehensive plan that progressively sells point by point what you need and specifically why you need it. You need to back up everything you say with facts, figures and documentation. You can’t dismiss the MTAS/CTAS report, otherwise you will be dismissed by some of the decision makers. You also don’t have to completely concede that the report is precisely correct either. MTAS and CTAS are fine organizations and they employ professionals who should not be dismissed, however, MTAS and CTAS could not possibly fully understand the politics of this county, but you guys can. Your sales plan has to take all factors into consideration.

    Remember, “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. How do you sell? “One commitment at a time”. By obtaining assent to one position at a time you can win the day, walking into a county commission meeting or city commission meeting and trying to sell the whole ball of wax all at one time puts them in tilt. Major on the majors then move to the minors. Figure out the most pressing need in Mt. Juliet, then work on that one item. Keep hammering away until you get them to cave in on that one thing. As soon as you get it, start hammering on the second biggest thing. I do not think you are going to get everything you want all at the same time. I do believe, with the right approach, you can get most of what you want, one item at a time. It is all in the presentation.
    But I will also tell you, as Herb Cohen says in his book, “Negotiate this”, “You can negotiate anything by caring, but not THAT much” Notice it says, by “Caring”. You have to have a personal interest in the outcome, you have to care, but you can’t let that personal interest rule the day. You have to have a personal interest in order to put the kind of focus and intensity in the effort that is necessary to carry it through, but you can’t have so much personal interest that you fail to succeed in anything because you are trying for everything.

    So far, after all this talk, after all my efforts to get you to put together a plan, a sales plan so to speak, all I have heard is pleas for things, but not the hard evidence that is necessary to convince the people you need to convince. You are failing. I know that last statement doesn’t sit well, but until you realize that fact, until you accept it, until you acknowledge that your way of doing what you are trying to do isn’t working and won’t work, you won’t try a different approach. Einstein’s definition of insanity was to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. You approach to this issue isn’t working, stop it. Regroup, get your ducks in a row, be able to prove your position beyond a shadow of a doubt, couch everything you are selling in the interest of the person you are trying to sell, without hiding the fact that you have a personal interest in the outcome (If you do try to hide the fact that you have a personal interest in the outcome you will lose their trust. If you don’t have a personal interest in the outcome you have to fake it, because they aren’t going to believe you otherwise.) Remember, you can’t sell something to someone if they have no interest in what you are selling. You have to find their hot button. Their hot button may not be enhanced protection for the citizens. In fact, the hot button for a lot of the people you are going to be approaching is their political career. I believe you need the assent of 13 county commissioners. Find 13 that you can figure out their hot button and then go press it again and again until you get what you want.

    You have essentially lost the newspapers now that the election is over. You aren’t going to win by posting on this site, although it may help you because I respond and give you someone to argue against.

    I don’t think you are going to win over the city commission anytime soon. Your hope is with the county. Find 13 and you win. If you win, we win, right? If your passion is our safety, and if you are serious about your passion, and if you truly believe in what you are selling, go close the deal. Stop talking about the obstacles and start focusing on the objective. You need a plan. You need a plan. You need a plan. You need a plan. Hope is not a plan. A plan is a plan. You need a strategy. You need tactics to carry out that strategy. You need a plan. Facts, figures, documentation. Professional witnesses and consultants.

    Again, guys, I am not your enemy. I am on your side of this thing you are trying to do, but you have not ever presented me with any type of plan that would convince me of all that you seek. I don’t have to agree with you just because you are fire fighters and I am an ordinary citizen. Let’s remember how government works. We the people, are the boss, and that includes you as a private citizen, but it doesn’t include you when you wear the uniform. Then the elected officials are next on the org chart. Then the workers within the system, even the volunteers. When you get outside that structure you lose credibility. As much as what I or others might say, you have to remember, when you are speaking of things that are under the control of government and you are working within that system, and you become disrespectful or intolerant of those who hold the purse-strings, (ultimately the people) you lose. Keep in mind, taking the attitude that says, “Well, if I lose they lose”, won’t work in your favor. Most people are not that concerned about safety. They will just a quickly dismiss you and then nothing gets done.

  276. WOW! Where do I start? Did you realize that you used the pronoun “I” 40 times in the last post…that’s really impressive. Having a minor in psychology, “I” know what that says about a person that uses “I” in excess. Back on track though, to address a few points then it would seem we are done here. You have the wrong impression of how I feel about you. I do what I do because of the scripture Matthew 25:40. Nothing more or less, I promise…which brings me to the better man/better liar…wouldn’t know. Like my father, trying my best to be one and not allowing myself to be the other. Concerning the appearance of the engine, you obviously never saw Engines 16, 17 or 21. If you had, you would know you were wrong about that too. The rest, well, it is just too exhausting. I was working to have a dialog with you not get a lesson in how wonderful at sales you are or that firefighters may suffer from a touch of insanity (duh) or that I have to fake my passion about answering the call. You are so very wrong on these points and many others, but mostly you are wrong in your claim that we will fail. Never, as long as there are people who will come to the aid of others, irregardless of the hardships, will we ever fail. You need me, I will be there…and I’m bring my brothers.

  277. Butch Huber

    Jamie,

    The evidence of failure to this point is stark. I am not talking about failure as firemen, I am talking about failure as far as getting what you want. I was not saying that the engines are in disrepair, I was drawing comparisons to illustrate a point, my God.

    As far as use of the person pronoun “I”, I wrote 8 times as many words and used the word “I”, according to your numbers, 40 times. You used the word “I” 10 times when referring to yourself in your last post. That means you used the word “I” twice as much as I used the word “I”. Does that mean that you are twice whatever using the word “I” means I am?

    Jamie, you are trying to sell here, not put out a fire. I wouldn’t presume to be a better fire fighter than you are, and you shouldn’t presume to be better at sales than I am. It isn’t about how good I am at sales, it is about how much you have to learn about sales if you are ever going to accomplish what it is you are trying to accomplish.

    It isn’t about your impression of me, it is what the evidence of some of the posts on this site says about how some of the members of your brotherhood feel about ordinary citizens. I am not lumping you in “as” one who uses inappropriate, disrespectful acrostics to describe citizens, however, those who posted such things and use such things represent a part of your brotherhood.

    I am glad you are there to help if I need you, Jamie, just as I would be there to pull you out of your car if I found you on the side of the road. You choose to do your thing to contribute, I choose to do my thing, does that make one of us better than the other?

    I suggest that, if you don’t want feedback and suggestions, you refrain from making public statements regarding this topic.

    Did you actually read my post, Jamie? I didn’t say to fake your passion about answering the call, I said you need to fake your “personal interest” if you don’t have one because if you display no signs of personal interest whatsoever at a negotiating table the other side won’t believe you and won’t trust you. You are the ones who say you have no personal interests, not me. If you don’t have a personal interest, as you purport, you will have to fake a personal interest to get the other side to trust you. I would become very uneasy in a negotiation if I felt the other side didn’t have some level of personal interest in the outcome. I am trying to give you tools and insight on how to sell your message and you are trying to personally pick me apart. What does that say about you?

    If you really, truly believe you are right, and if the city or the county really need to do more in this part of the county, and if you are really that convicted and passionate about what you do, you owe it to yourself to learn how to sell your position. Selling it on here isn’t going to get you anywhere, Jamie.

    Again, break it down in bite size pieces, figure out which bite size piece is most important, figure out how to sell that piece to 13 county commissioners, and just keep pressing their hot button again and again until you get what you want. But come to the table with all the necessary documentation to shut up everyone who might speak against you. Focus on the objective, not me, I am trying to help you, why is that so hard for you to understand?

  278. Have a nice day and a great weekend. Be safe.

  279. Butch Huber

    You, too.

  280. Westsider

    I think Mr. Huber is trying his best to help.

    Everyone is somewhat limited by their skillset but at least Mr. Huber is offering his.

    Come election time it might be nice to have a salesperson on the “WEMA needs funding” team.

    That is, as long as he doesn’t charge by the word. 🙂

  281. Butch Huber

    This debate need to shift from “Fire Protection” to the broader picture of “Emergency Prevention and Response.”

    Police/fire protection/security/disaster preparedness should not be viewed as separate issues because they actually go hand-in-hand with one another. We need a comprehensive plan for the provision of all aspects of those services. They all need to drill together, plan together, and share assets and cross train personnel.

    It appears that some camps believe we need more fire protection services in this side of the county, while others believe we need more ambulance services. Still others believe we need more police protection. I believe we probably need enhancements on one level or another on all three, but I also believe we need a much better disaster preparedness plan as well. It is likely that there are tremendous efficiencies that can be found by looking at everything from the 30,000 foot view rather than the 1000 foot view. Additionally, by looking at things from the 30,000 foot view more people are likely to support the final recommendations and more people are likely to get behind the cause.

    By mapping out 1yr to 3yr, 5yr to 7yr, 10yr to 15 yr, and 20yr-30yr plans you are able to develop somewhat of a moving picture of what protection and response in this county is going to look like in the future and you present a workable plan of action that will accomplish it. Once agreed upon, before any candidate for public office is voted for they should be asked to sign a pledge to continue to support the plan or offer insights as to why they wouldn’t support continuation of the plan and suggestions as to how to make it better so they could support it.

    The cities and the county need to stop the politics over our protection and cooperate. In fact, they really need to start cooperating on every issue. The divisiveness is costing all of us on more levels than we probably realize.

  282. Westsider

    There has been a terrible lack of leadership at the county level. Mayor Dedman is a nice guy but no one believes he is leading the county. Political operatives in Lebanon and Watertown have controlled the county for decades and it shows.

    That all may be about to end. Fox and Hutto will likely divide the Lebanon vote and Mae Beavers should easily become the next County Mayor.

  283. Butch Huber

    The next step is to replace most of the Mt. Juliet City Commission and replace them with people who are willing to think about the broader picture while still representing the citizens of Mt. Juliet. We need a City Commission that understands that while we are citizens of Mt. Juliet, we are also citizens of the County, State, and Nation. We need to fit into the rest of society while remaining uniquely Mt. Juliet. We need to adopt resolutions and enact ordinances that embrace growth but that ensure that growth is accommodated through increased revenues caused by that growth and created through that growth. We need to ensure that we are governing from the thirty thousand foot view and from the 1000 foot view and every level in-between.

    Mae Beavers is going to definitely make a huge difference, but we have to give her city governments that are willing to stop playing silly games.

  284. Butch Huber

    Yesterday, in an impromptu situation, I asked a couple of Brentwood Police Officers what they thought about housing police and firemen in one building (Brentwood actually has that situation). They said there is no problem. They said they kid and cut up with the firemen, all in fun, but that all in all it works well. They said it isn’t the ideal situation, but only because the firemen actually sleep there and you have to be careful how you design things and how you do things, but other than that there doesn’t seem to be any problem.

    I see no reason why the county and the city can’t put together a joint operation through which our Police Department, perhaps the Sheriff’s Department, and the Fire Department and EMS couldn’t work out of the same facility. This would centralize operations and it would save a lot of money.

    The only thing stopping us from accomplishment is inaction.

  285. Shawn Donovan

    Butch,

    I actually used to be the Engineer on Engine 1 at Brentwood Fire Station 1. Having everyone in the same building is not a problem since at Brentwood City Hall, Fire Station 1, and Brentwood PD are all under the same roof and have their own spaces. We shared the same lockeroom and workout room with PD but everything else was seperate. The remaininng 3 stations are independent. The only issue is the growth of the departments, if you ever get a chance to look at the Brentwood City Hall complex its pretty tight on available space.

    This is actually a quite common arrangement in cities that house their Fire Dept HQs at City Hall as well as their main station. This is also the case when see a public safety facility that will have a fire station and a PD sub-station located inside. The issue you come to in Wilson is having multiple agencies located in Lebanon with LPD, LFD, WCSO, and WEMA all being based there. Not to mention with WEMA’s multiple mission status (Fire/EMS/Rescue/Hazmat/EMA) it takes a lot of room to store all the equipment to do the operational side effectively. If you look at WEMA current HQ/Station 1 on Oak Street you will see what I mean.

    It can be done with a lot of land and a good plan though

  286. Butch Huber

    Shawn,

    I really wasn’t talking about Lebanon, I was talking about solving the problem in West Wilson. I don’t hear a peep about fire protection in East Wilson, although I would suggest the coverage there is as wanting or more wanting than it is in West Wilson (except in Lebanon and in Watertown).

    What is most likely going to have to happen is for Mt. Juliet to do what it needs to do anyway, which is develop a police HQ, and make it so easy for the County to say “yes” to playing ball with the city that any county commissioner who voted against it would be committing political suicide. I really think this city needs two complexes, one on the north side of the city and one on the south side. I believe those complexes need to house as much of the protection and response efforts as possible. I am not sure that we need to make it a city hall, police department, fire department and Wilson County Sheriff’s department. I believe that we could have a satellite office for the Wilson County Sheriff’s office located in our sites, we could have Mt. Juliet police department offices in both sites and we could have the Fire Department and EMS located in both sites. What the rest of the county does is up to them. Mt. Juliet has the assets to develop the structures, they could build the buildings and rent the space back to the county for the Fire Department, EMS, and WSO components.

    I really think my idea of having the county reimburse Lebanon and Watertown for their expenses, within reason, for running their own fire departments is a good idea and a step in the direction of equitable relations in this county. Any commissioner of any government entity that is trying to get something that isn’t fair and equitable should be dragged out in the press until they relent and start acting properly. To continue to pursue a path that would cause the citizens of Mt. Juliet to pay twice for fire protection, one time paying for the citizens of Wilson County who don’t live in the city and the other time for citizens who do live inside the city, is simply morally and ethically wrong. That is what I am against. I am not against enhancement of fire protection and EMS services in West Wilson County. I am also against doing anything stupid that would end up costing me more money for fire protection services than it needs to cost due to political infighting.

    Designing a facility that would be able to properly house each unit shouldn’t be that hard.

  287. Watching the Westside

    Good to see Vice Mayor step up during his commissioner comments and put back out there the needs for more manpower in the westside at Station 3. This will not be a final solution to the issue, but its a good start. Hopefully the other commissioners will jump on board to open some discussions with the county to make this a reality.

  288. Westsider

    If only the County would step up.

  289. Watching the Westside

    It will take both sides since they point at each other on the issue. Since WEMA is responsible for covering the whole county it understandable that they are trying to cover equally by having all the station covered with the same amount of people at each. If you look at the amount of tax funds generated for the county on the Westside, we are not getting our fair share and deserve more.

    I would just ask everyone to contact both their City and County Commissioner and ask them why their hasn’t been a solution to the problem since the MTAS study was done

  290. Paul Deyo

    I think the goal for everyone here is what Butch laid out. A fair but non-duplicative approach that provides fire protection for everyone.

    Lebanon is being double-dipped by their own choice, but that is always thrown in our faces by those Lebanon-centered commissioners that pretend to ‘represent’ the west side and those that actually reside there. So that needs to be worked around, with Butch proposing a starting point.

    Although I have issues with the mayor’s ethical compass (or lack thereof) and lack of vision brought on by being ‘worked on’, I think some of her input has also been worthwhile. Her fire districts proposal makes sense as a way to separate in-city from out-of-city on both the west and east sides of the county, although I question the fee structure.

    We also need to continue to work to make development pay its own way, and not directly into policians’ campaign accounts. Tightly packed subdivisions and multifamily as well as tall commercial structures need to chip in in particular. New residents should not create a financial burden for those who have lived here for years.

    A combination of current and new facilities are needed to handle growth. The current city hall would make a good police-only facility and a new city hall should be located nearby but off of Mt. Juliet Road. The rag-tag collection of buildings behind city hall seem to perform their functions well although razing and rebuilding on the same land is always an option if long-term benefits can be justified. Since the mayor has sold her soul on the MJE property it looks like that site is no longer on the table. Butch, with fire and police the only departments needing a fast-response location, I don’t see regional comprehensive facilities, but police and fire certainly could share.

  291. Southside

    A petition drive has been started in the Del Webb community to get a better focus on fire protection and emergency services in Mt. Juliet by the City and County Commissions.

    If your interested in signing the petition please follow the link to the online site.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/increase-fire-protection-emt-services

  292. Butch Huber

    To the 47 people who have signed this petition I have some questions:

    1. Who is going to provide this added service for fire protection?

    2. Who is going to provide this added service for Emergency Services?

    3. Who is going to pay for those services?

    4. If Mt. Juliet is going to pay for the added services, how are you going to overcome the objections that are going to come from the other districts?

    5. If the county is going to pay for this added service, how are you going to get them to do it?

  293. Watching the Westside

    Great questions Butch that will need to all be answered moving forward. I would like to see all the elected officials who represent residents in MJ answer, both county and city.

    My answers (or guesses)
    1) WEMA
    2) WEMA
    3) The citizens who work, shop, and live in the County
    4) If they have objections they need to generate the same amount of funds or population that require additional service
    5) Flood the current Commissoners with calls; fill up the seats with residents at the EMA, City Commission, and County Commissions meetings; August and November Elections (not in that order)

  294. Butch Huber

    I believe that it may be time for a citizen’s congress in Wilson County. We are all citizens of this county, it is time for us to act responsibly and civilly toward each other. Politicians are not going to deal with this issue unless we force them to deal with them. We need to develop a comprehensive plan that solves the issues and then present it to the separate governments of this county with a mandate that they enact the changes and implement the plan or face the consequences. With enough citizens standing arm-in-arm they have little choice but to obey or face being put out of office and have the plan put in place anyway.

  295. watching the westside

    Butch,

    What are your answers to the questions you posed?

  296. Butch Huber

    Watching the Westside,

    Before I go into all of this, please note that I am a supporter of enhanced fire protection and emergency services in not only Mt. Juliet, but throughout Wilson County. Many people who have posted on here either believe I am against the fire fighters, or they know that I am supportive, but don’t like my opinions and insights and try to paint me as being in opposition to enhanced fire protection services.

    Also before I go into this, please note that I am not shortwinded. You asked me a question, and I am going to answer your question. It takes a lot of words, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in.

    First question:

    1. Who is going to provide this added service for fire protection?

    Answer: This could be handled in a lot of ways. But before I go into that question, let me say that neither you, nor I, have a “Right” to fire protection. No law requires that the State, County or Local governments provide you or I fire protection service. That was kind of a shocker to me when I learned that nifty little fact. Some people, including at least one on your petition site you mentioned above, believe that they are “entitled” to fire protection and emergency services. I can’t say with absolute certainty that you and I are not “entitled” to emergency services, but I can see quite clearly that fire protection is not an entitlement, and I don’t believe emergency services are either.

    Now, we have to cover the proper use and allocation of tax dollars. This comes into play here because you don’t want taxation without representation. Some people may think they want it as noted by some of the things we see going on at the federal level, but those people are only happy when they are the ones getting the money, the minute the pendulum swings the other way they start to scream and cry. So what does that have to do with fire protection services? It has a lot to do with it as you will see in a moment.

    Wilson County has what is known as a “County-Wide” Fire Department, which means that it provides fire protection throughout the county, as the name implies. Now, the county is able to provide that service based on one of two funding models. (If you are going to have a service it has to be funded, and if you are going to have a funding source there has to be a law that allows it.) One way the county can fund the fire department is through “already shared tax revenues”. What that really means in Wilson County is Sales Taxes. There may be some other sources that are already shared, but I can’t think of them at the moment. When you go out and buy something at Providence you pay taxes. Part of those taxes are what are known as “Local option sales taxes.” Those local option sales taxes are paid to the county, then shared 50/50 with the city from whence the taxes were collected. The state considers the County’s portion of the Local Option Sales Taxes to belong to all citizens of the county, and not just the property of those living in the “Unincorporated” portions of the County. Since that money is the property of “ALL” Wilson County Citizens, it can then be used to provide services to “ALL” of the citizens of the county under the determination of the County Government. Now, “IF”, and that is a big “IF” the county can prove that it is fully funding fire protection services without using unshared revenues, the county doesn’t have to provide fire protection to the City of Mt. Juliet at all.

    The second way that the County can fund the Fire Department is through property tax collections. If the County uses even one red cent of property tax collections to fund the Fire Department it has to universally change its funding model so that all funding comes from property taxes. In other words, they can fund it one way, or the other way, but not both ways. Now, if, and that is a little “if”, the county uses property taxes to fund the fire department it must do so through “Fire Tax Districts”. This presents a real problem for the county, as I will explain in a moment.

    Fire Tax Districts are intended to ensure that the County doesn’t take the wealth of citizens in one area of the County and spend it on people on the other side of the County. If you take it to the extreme, without fire tax districts, if the county were using property taxes to fund the Fire Department, they could take every portion of the property taxes they spend on fire protection and spend it all on fire protection for those who live in one district within the County. Would that ever happen? No. But could I see them using that money to fund everything outside of Mt. Juliet and not fund Mt. Juliet? Yes, considering the political climate of Wilson County I could easily see that happening. In fact, the County was seriously considering shutting down Fire Protection in Mt. Juliet just a few short years ago. They were acting as though all funding for Fire Protection in Wilson County was from “Shared Revenues”, which, if true, would have given them the right to cancel services.

    Now, there is a big push within this County to force Mt. Juliet to develop its own “City Funded, City Run, Fire Department.” The basic argument is that because Mt. Juliet is growing so much and causing the need for enhanced fire protection services the city should fund it. The problem with that mentality is that it causes the citizens of Mt. Juliet to fund fire protection twice, once at the City level and once at the County level. Now, I agree, that if the county can prove that it is fully funding fire protection in this county through “Shared Revenue”, then those who live outside Mt. Juliet have a legitimate complaint. But if there is just a shell game with monies to allow for the Fire Department to be paid out of “Shared Revenue”, or if the fire department isn’t paid for out of “Shared Revenue”, they don’t have a complaint.

    Remember the Local Option Sales Taxes? Remember that the County gets half of those dollars? Isn’t the rest of Wilson County greatly benefitting from the growth in Mt. Juliet? Even if the County is paying for Fire Protection using only “Shared Revenues”, don’t a lot of those dollars come from Mt. Juliet? In reality, I don’t think the county can prove that it is paying for fire protection with Shared Revenues because, if I am not mistaken, all, or substantially all, of those funds are going toward public education in Wilson County. If I am right, then the county is illegally funding fire protection through the “Shared Revenue” model, but actually funding it through property taxes. If I am right, then the county could potentially be sued and forced to develop fire tax districts, which would ultimately be a boon for Mt. Juliet. I believe a fairly and equitably run County-wide Fire Department is the best model as it allows maximum utilization of resources, but if it isn’t run fairly and equitably it is a disaster waiting to happen.

    So, the answer to the question who is going to provide the fire protection service is quite tricky, isn’t it. The county isn’t going to pony up any more money for fire protection in Mt. Juliet. Enhancing Fire Protection in Wilson County is a losing proposition for many who sit on the Wilson County Court (Wilson County Commission). The politics of this County cannot be overstated. If you look at the districts in this county, you will see that they emanate, for the most part, out of Lebanon. It is like Lebanon is the sun, and the districts are its rays. This is true for the most part until you get to Mt. Juliet. Mt. Juliet was born out of acrimony. For some reason, and I am not quite sure, there was a lot of antipathy toward the Mt. Juliet area from those who live on the East side of Wilson County. Somewhere in the course of time, it appears that the powers that be, decided to hedge their desires for Wilson County against the desires of those who live on the West side by making sure that voting districts were heavily influenced by those who live on the east side of the county. In other words, even though the populace was moving Westwardly, the power was shifting and remaining in the east. There really does seem to be a lot of people who live on the east side of 109 who simply cannot stand those who live in Mt. Juliet, even though we have never done a thing to them.

    The County Politics are really bitter, and there are some serious power brokers here that have tremendous, or have had tremendous, influence on the State, and at times, the National level.

    Why is the politics such an important part of this discussion? Because those who are in control of the County Court want to take money from the West Side and provide for those who live on the East Side. If they fund fire protection any further they certainly will not be able to get away with acting as though they are providing for fire protection with “Shared Revenues”. This would touch off a movement to go to fire tax districts, which are in Mt. Juliet’s best interests long-term, but not in the interests of those who live in the unincorporated areas of the county.

    Let me explain fire tax districts a little more. Under Fire Tax Districts, the county is not allowed to provide fire protection to municipalities except through what is known as an “Inter-Local Agreement”. An inter-local agreement is an agreement between the city and the county for them to provide fire protection to Mt. Juliet for a fee. The presumption there is that the city would pay at least the cost of operation of a fire department that provides fire protection to the inhabitants of the city rather than develop its own fire department. This simply wouldn’t happen in Mt. Juliet. Our population is so dense in Mt. Juliet that we could develop our own fire department much more inexpensively than the county would charge for the service.

    The end result would be that the County would have to move out of our Station 3 building (Station 3 is the building located behind city hall. That building belongs to the City of MT. Juliet.) The County would either have to tell those County Residents who live just outside Mt. Juliet that they are not going to be covered for fire protection, enter into an inter-local agreement with the city of Mt. Juliet for Mt. Juliet to provide fire protection to the County residents for a fee {if that is even legal} or invest the funds to pay for a new station to provide the coverage. The county would have to provide us with an offset in our Property Taxes equal to the amount of money they spend on a per capita basis, or percentage of revenues basis, on fire protection for those who live in Unincorporated Wilson County. In other words, we would pay less in property taxes than those who live in the unincorporated areas of the county. We could then raise our city property taxes to absorb those funds back into the city, which means we would have a very large funding source for a City Owned Fire Protection Service. The Counties budget would get much, much tighter. Remember the Politics? This is where they come in. If you are on the County Court, and you represent those who live in the Unincorporated areas of the County, are you going to vote for things that are going to raise their taxes, as this change would necessitate?

    There is what is known as the twenty-year growth boundary. Years ago the County was divided up into growth boundaries. Lebanon’s growth boundary extends to Rt. 109 on the east side, and then even further west along Rt 40 up to the Beckwith Road area. (I am not sure how they got to close to Mt. Juliet, but they did.) Mt. Juliet’s growth boundary covers just about everything on the westerly side of Rt 109. So, you see, the County Government is going to be squeezed out of this part of the county eventually. They have no long-term interest in maintaining a fire department in this area of the County as they will be squeezed out eventually. It would be just as well for them to let Mt. Juliet take over the responsibilities of providing fire protection if only they could convince us to pay for fire protection twice. Stubbornly, Mt. Juliet residents have been unwilling to pay twice for the same thing. It would be like going to the grocery store, checking out with your cart of groceries, then rolling the cart back around to the back of the check-out line and checking out and paying for the same groceries again. We just haven’t been willing to do that, but that is exactly what some in the county want us to do. Sound unbelievable? Yeah, I agree, but that doesn’t make it untrue. Do they consciously want us to do that? Probably not. They are operating under a paradigm. They think that we should provide for our own fire protection because Lebanon and Watertown provide for their own fire protection.

    Lebanon has a fire department of its own, but where is WEMA headquartered? Right in Lebanon! Lebanon “ELECTS” to provide for its own fire protection services. It could shut down its operations at anytime and all fire protection in the city would either be the responsibility of the County or there would be major uproar in this county and we would immediately go to fire tax districts. While Watertown has a volunteer force, I believe there is more to this story, however, right now I can’t bring it to mind. I think WEMA is more involved in Watertown than anyone would like to let on.

    So, you are not going to get the County Court to vote to expend funds in Mt. Juliet. They would touch off a sequence of events that would be very detrimental to their agenda. (Now, I don’t want you to get the impression that I dislike the County Court. The fact is, they seem to me to be more likable and more reasonable than the City Commission and leadership in Mt. Juliet. I am just telling it as I see it.)

    Now, if the City is going to provide fire protection services in Providence you touch off another storm. Most of the people who are signatories on the petition you posted about live in district 4, or at least I presume they do. Now, put yourself in the shoes of someone who lives in one of the other districts. They all know that there has been inadequate fire protection service in this city for years. Now, Providence moves in and we are going to erect a shiny new fires station for them, but let the rest of the city go wanting? Really? I know it is hard for you to put yourself in their shoes, and I am sure you have a lot of arguments as to why it would be fair and equitable, based on your feelings as a district 4 resident, but I believe I could counter every one of your positions with a counter-position of equal or greater strength. I am not saying I am against you getting a new station, I am just saying that I could debate this issue to a point of a win or a draw if I was so inclined, or at least I believe I could. I am saying this to say that the moment the city commission elected to raise property taxes to pay for a fire station, and they would have to raise property taxes because they couldn’t really afford it otherwise, those who live in the other districts within the city are going to have a cow, and I think you know they would. None of your justifications would settle the issue. We would have a bitter battle in this city the likes you have never seen.

    In addition to all of that, if the city were to develop “A” fire department of its own, the county court would decide that the city could provide “ALL” of its fire protection services, comfortable in their belief that nobody could force the county to develop fire tax districts. The lawsuits would start and the battle would heat up.

    Are you beginning to see how complicated this issue is?

    Now, there is another alternative. If a district, or group of people, decide that they want enhanced fire protection services they could always start their own privately funded, privately run fire department. If the residents of district 4 decide they want enhanced services they could form a non-profit organization, collect dues or fees, and erect their own private fire department to augment the existing fire protection service. Here is the argument that would ensue. “Our district is providing tax revenues for the county and for the rest of Mt. Juliet and yet we have to form a non-profit to get fire protection service? What’s-up-with-that?” But I would be willing to bet the most expedient and expeditious way for District 4 to enhance fire protection in that area would be to develop its own fire department privately.

    Now, the non-fire protection politics in Mt. Juliet would carry over into the fire protection arena as well. Do you really think that District 4 could get past the other three districts to have its own fire department paid from city funds without enhancing the rest of the city? But even if somehow you could, let’s say, get the Mayor, who serves at-large, Bradshaw, and let’s say, Sellers, to vote to build a city owned fire department in Providence, can you imagine the political backlash that would come with it from now on? You would have an uphill battle from that point on for everything that you want in that district. It would come with a political cost that I am not sure you would want to pay.

    Again, this is a very, very complicated issue. The county cannot afford to go to fire tax districts, the city cannot afford to erect fire halls in all four districts within the city, or the three that don’t have them currently, the county cannot afford to replace station 3, the city cannot afford the cost of the equipment or manpower, the city doesn’t want to cave to the county and end up paying twice for the same service, you won’t likely get three votes to pay for a fire station in Providence, and the list goes on.

    So, with all of that having been said, who will provide for the enhancement of fire protection in District 4? Nobody, because it isn’t going to happen. That is the most realistic answer to the question. But if we are going to speak hypothetically, you. The only way you reach a point where you have a fire department in Providence is to force fire tax districts throughout the county, which puts the city in a position where it develops its own city-wide fire department. Then everyone has their own fire department or fire protection service and it is paid for through city tax dollars, which are your tax dollars.

    Question 2:
    “Who is going to provide this added service for Emergency Services?”

    Along with fire tax districts, and the subsequent development of a city run fire department within the city, the city would likely go into the emergency services business. Emergency Services is a profit making entity. They make money. In fact, the county uses those funds to help pay for fire protection services in this county. From everything that I have seen looking at the relative documentation and according to the CTAS/MTAS study, Emergency Services is drastically understaffed in Mt. Juliet. We have the equipment, we don’t have the personnel. WEMA cross-trains and Cross-utilizes its personnel to serve in both fire protection and Emergency Services, and they seem to count that person twice in manpower terms. A person cannot be rendering emergency services “AND” be putting out a fire at the same time, but our manpower strength seems to suggest that someone thinks they can. If the county won’t provide adequate manpower to staff emergency services now, they certainly won’t properly staff them if we go to fire tax districts (Remember, fire tax districts are a financial drain on the county and a boon for the city). We will have little choice but to develop our own emergency services department along with our own fire department. We would build the buildings to accommodate both fire and emergency services, and if they were smart, police.

    Sounds like we need to force fire tax districts, doesn’t it? There are political ramifications for doing that, but it appears inevitable. Trust me, the county will put up a major fight to stop us from having our own emergency services as we would be tapping into their cash-cow.

    Question 3:

    3. Who is going to pay for those services? Answered: You and I, through an increase in our city property taxes, which are offset from a decrease in our county property taxes. But you wouldn’t be the only district to get a shinny new fire station, each district would likely get a shinny new fire station. The nice thing about all of this is that the offset in county property taxes would likely pay for the costs of the entire thing over time.

    Question 4:

    4. If Mt. Juliet is going to pay for the added services, how are you going to overcome the objections that are going to come from the other districts? You will have to overcome the objections of the county. Then you will have to overcome the objections of the other districts within the City by making sure that they have equal and adequate coverage in their areas as well. I don’t foresee anything else appeasing the other districts.

    Question 5:

    5. If the county is going to pay for this added service, how are you going to get them to do it? Answer: You’re not going to get them to pay for it. You are going to get them to develop fire tax districts, give us a tax reduction on our property taxes, and the city will pay for it.

    I told you that this would be a long post. There are no easy answers, and there are no answers that are going to make everyone happy. There is a reckoning though. That reckoning is fire tax districts. You are only going to further embitter those who hate those of us who live in Mt. Juliet, but at some point you have to do the right thing regardless of who it upsets.

    Now, if you change that petition to one that says that we are going to work together to solve once and for all the fire protection/emergency services issues in this city I will sign it and work hard with anyone who wants to really fix this situation. However, up until now, the momentum has always seemed to be toward making Mt. Juliet pay twice for the same service, and I just can’t subscribe to that.

    Hope this helps bring some insight to this situation for you and those who are behind you. This is my take on everything you are going to face. Good luck.

    BTW, you already have the land in the providence area. Mayor Elam ripped it out of the hands of the developer. Just thought you might like to know you have a good start in District 4. There are also 8 acres in Paddocks that the Mayor ripped from the hands of that developer as well.

    I have spent considerable time writing this post, but haven’t taken the time to go back and re-read it, or proof read it, please don’t hold typos, misstatements, or other errors against me. I am not intending to ruffle feathers, just trying to provide my insight and perspective to this situation. I take safety very seriously and I think this is a very serous issue that deserves attention and resolution. I am not trying to throw a wet towel on your efforts either, I just want you to know what you are up against, and if you are going to fight, I want you to know “How” to fight. You are up against many contravening forces, don’t think this is just sign a petition and government will respond accordingly.

  297. Butch Huber

    Watching the West Side,

    I want to expound on the point that I made in my earlier post regarding Lebanon being the sun and the districts being its rays. I have included that portion of my post below so you can easily familiarize yourself with the section to which I am referring.

    “So, the answer to the question who is going to provide the fire protection service is quite tricky, isn’t it. The county isn’t going to pony up any more money for fire protection in Mt. Juliet. Enhancing Fire Protection in Wilson County is a losing proposition for many who sit on the Wilson County Court (Wilson County Commission). The politics of this County cannot be overstated. If you look at the districts in this county, you will see that they emanate, for the most part, out of Lebanon. It is like Lebanon is the sun, and the districts are its rays. This is true for the most part until you get to Mt. Juliet. Mt. Juliet was born out of acrimony. For some reason, and I am not quite sure, there was a lot of antipathy toward the Mt. Juliet area from those who live on the East side of Wilson County. Somewhere in the course of time, it appears that the powers that be, decided to hedge their desires for Wilson County against the desires of those who live on the West side by making sure that voting districts were heavily influenced by those who live on the east side of the county. In other words, even though the populace was moving Westwardly, the power was shifting and remaining in the east. There really does seem to be a lot of people who live on the east side of 109 who simply cannot stand those who live in Mt. Juliet, even though we have never done a thing to them.”

    The powerbase that has existed in Wilson County is as it is because of “districting”. I believe there are 12 or 13 districts that have a portion of Lebanon within them while I believe there are 4 or 5 districts that have a portion of Mt. Juliet within them. That is 12 to 13 out of out of only 25 districts in the entire county are designed in such a way that they include a portion of Lebanon. What does that mean? It means that the residents of Lebanon have an ability to run for 12 to 13 of the 25 seats on the County Court while Mt. Juliet residents can only run for 4 or 5 seats. Why is that important? Because of the bitterness that has existed within the Lebanon powerbase toward Mt. Juliet.

    In the fire protection arena the bitterness couldn’t be more stark. From what I have been able to discern, Lebanon has fought for years to force Mt. Juliet to pay for its own fire department on the basis that Lebanon pays for its own fire department. Their position is absurd. They elect to continue their 100+ year old fire department because they “WANT” to continue it, not because they “HAVE” to continue it. In fact, it would be better for the rest of us if Lebanon would just close its fire department and let WEMA handle Fire protection throughout the County. But who are we to tell them what they can and can’t or should or shouldn’t do?

    The power brokers have ensured for years that Lebanon has a powerful voice in County politics, but their day is coming. Redistricting will soon occur again, and this time it will potentially have a heavy impact on the make-up of the County Court. They may still try to manipulate things, but the population base has drastically shifted since the last election. Districts are not based on square miles or acreage, it is based on numbers of people. Since the last districting was conducted our county has grown from about 88 thousand people to what will likely be between 115 thousand and perhaps as much as 123 thousand people as of the next census. With such growth we may see an increase of perhaps as many as 8 to 10 districts, or it would seem that it would increase by that many. A large percentage of that growth occurred west of 109, and largely inside the city of Mt. Juliet. In fact, Mt. Juliet grew from about 12,000 people to more than 25 thousand people during that timeframe. The power is definitely going to shift to the west, to a large degree, in the next redistricting of this county. I am not sure if we will have enough districts or power to fully sway things or not, but having a greater share of the voting districts in and around Mt. Juliet will greatly increase our odds of getting a fair shake in Wilson County. Another thing that Mt. Juliet could do is annex to the size of its growth boundaries. This would almost for sure require a property tax, but it would certainly change the political landscape in Wilson County forever.

    I wanted to expound on this to provide some additional insight. I am not certain about all of what I have just said here, but I believe I am correct.

    Stand-by for some real political maneuvering over the next year and a half or so. It is going to be a real humdinger.

  298. Butch Huber

    The following is a statement in a post on the petition mentioned above. The name of the person making this post is “Don Fox”

    “Nothing is more important than the health, safety, and welfare of citizens. The revenue growth of Mt. Juliet has enabled the city to quickly close the gap between Mt. Juliet and Lebanon’s total sales tax revenue. I was able to build two new firehalls, purchase a new 100 ft. ladder truck, fire engines, completely renovate firehall #1, and fully equip and man firehall #3; build the Don Fox Park, Jimmy Floyd Center, North Castle Heights Ave, the Hartmann Drive/I-40 interchange, and most of Hartmann Drive Street from Hwy 231 South to the I40 interchange to Hwy231 North without raising taxes one penny. I am sure that a Mt. Juliet Fire Department could be built, manned, and equipped with no increased tax burden on the city. Some adjustments to the existing budget may be necessary, but what is more important than the health, safety, and security of citizens? You can only have confidence in your safety and security if you control it. You can only control your safety and security if you own the resources that provide it. This will also relieve WEMA of manpower demand that could be directed to the protection of county residents and give them an adequately manned and equipped fire and rescue department. The only other alternative for proper fire protection would be through a contracted service that would be fully adequate for Mt. Juliet through the county, which would cost just as much as owning your own department. Mt. Juliet must start immediately either building it’s own fire department or get serious with the county. The question is asked at virtually every County Commission Meeting: ” Have you heard from Mt. Juliet about fire service?” The answer is always NO.”

    The following was posted on the Mt. Juliet News Website in response to an article about fire protection in Mt. Juliet. It is signed “Don Fox”.

    “Citizens deserve safety and security. The only way you can have confidence in your safety is to control it. The only way you can control fire safety is to own it. The new “growth” revenues should finance the debt service for a city owned fire department without increasing the burden on taxpayers. This would also free up WEMA enough to enable them to have more manpower to staff WEMA stations. If a contracted service with the county is chosen by the city, that service should be no less than the protection the city could provide for itself. The way it is now, both city and county residents are serviced by an undermanned and under equipped department which is a less than adequate to residents of both.
    Don Fox”

    Folks, don’t be fooled. First of all, Don Fox, the former mayor of Lebanon, doesn’t live in Mt. Juliet. Why would we care what he has to say? I will tell you why we should care. He is running for County Executive. Now, I don’t know if those posts are really from Don Fox, or from someone posing as Don Fox. But let’s deal with the content of what is said, and not specifically “Who” said it, then you can draw your own conclusions if it turns out this is really from Don Fox.

    The statement says, “Citizens deserve safety and security.” I don’t disagree, but there are some questions that must be asked and answered. First of all, do you have a right to fire protection? The answer is, according to the State, “No”. You don’t have a right to fire protection. You have a right to “Procure fire protection”. Now, the state made it legal for the County and for Municipalities to provide you with fire protection if they so choose, but they never made it a “required budget item”. So, if you want to have a “Right” to fire protection, you have to go a bit higher up the totem pole than the City or the County. Now, do we deserve adequate fire protection? You betcha. We are paying for it now, the question is, why aren’t we getting it? We pay property taxes to the county, and the county gets half of the local option sales tax money that is generated in the City of Mt. Juliet, and they get other taxes when we grow, so what do we get for all of that money? Mostly a lot of flack because we are growing. We actually are asking that the county spend the money that it takes in from Mt. Juliet on Mt. Juliet. I don’t think that is much to ask for, do you?

    The author of the statements I have included here say that Lebanon has was able to build two new firehalls, purchase a new 100 ft. ladder truck, fire engines, completely renovate firehall #1, and fully equip and man firehall #3; build the Don Fox Park, Jimmy Floyd Center, North Castle Heights Ave, the Hartmann Drive/I-40 interchange, and most of Hartmann Drive Street from Hwy 231 South to the I40 interchange to Hwy231 North without raising taxes one penny. Actually, the author said “I was able to build two new firehalls, purchase a new 100 ft. ladder truck, fire engines, completely renovate firehall #1, and fully equip and man firehall #3; build the Don Fox Park, Jimmy Floyd Center, North Castle Heights Ave, the Hartmann Drive/I-40 interchange, and most of Hartmann Drive Street from Hwy 231 South to the I40 interchange to Hwy231 North without raising taxes one penny”, but we all know that the mayor of a town can’t get anything done by himself or herself, so the use of the possessive pronoun “I” there is a little egotistical, but again, we can’t be absolutely certain that it was actually “Don Fox” who wrote those statements, it could be someone else posing as Don Fox.

    But let’s examine that statement. The statement says “without “RAISING” taxes one penny” The operative word their is “Raising”. That is the problem with politicians in this country. They have a tax rate that is overbearing and wasteful and they spend all that they take in, and when they don’t really need the money, they come up with new projects rather than give people back their money, and they say “I was able to this and I was able to do that and I did it without raising taxes one penny”. They never see the benefit of giving people back their money. It never occurs to them. The author of that statement seems to be suggesting that he/she did all of that with “Local Option Sales Tax dollars”. Folks, the City of Lebanon has a property tax rate of $.3350 per $100 of assessed value, Mt. Juliet has a property tax rate set to zero. All of the growth that has occurred in this city has been the result of great planning and vision of Kevin Mack and the Staff that was in place during his tenure as Mayor of Mt. Juliet. Don’t let anyone kid you and cause you to think that anything going on today is the result of the vision and leadership that is here today, because it isn’t. These projects were in place and on course when Kevin was Mayor, and even those things that came afterward would never have happened had Kevin not put this city on that course. One of the things that Kevin was able to do was influence the power brokers in this city to reduce the property tax rate to zero. Look what happened! For the author of that statement to mislead you to think that he/she was able to do all of that just off of sales tax is shameful. There are many people in this city who have pushed and pushed for the city to raise its property tax rates, but up until now, they have been unable to do so. Many forces that want to see a property tax increase in Mt. Juliet are still at play, even in this “fire protection” issue. Lebanon and other cities have cried and cried for years to force Mt. Juliet to raise its property tax rates. Rob Shearer, as city manager, and Kevin Mack, as Mayor, were able to shame and embarrass other cities in the area precisely because they were able to do all that they were able to accomplish without a property tax while other cities struggled with their budgets even with a property tax. They proved that government is never satiated, and the more you feed it the more it wants to eat.

    If the author of these statements is so concerned about “Safety and Security” then why are they not jumping up and down about “Emergency Services”? Folks, don’t be fooled. Emergency Services are woefully more inadequately staffed than “Fire protection”. Go to the MTAS/CTAS study and see for yourself. The evidence is right there for you, if you will only look. Don’t take my word for it, look it up. If you take the time to do the research, you will find that “emergency services” is drastically under staffed and under equipped. I would even say that it is near crisis status, and yet you never, ever, ever, hear them squawking about “emergency services”, all you ever hear about is “Fire protection”. They are not the same thing!

    Those of you living in Del Webb, you need enhancement of “Emergency Services” much more than you need enhancement of “Fire protection”. Again, don’t take my word for it, inform yourselves. Read the MTAS/CTAS report, and you will discover that I am correct.

    There are very few “Fires” in Mt. Juliet every year, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of emergency service calls every year. Folks, there is an underhanded effort going on here that you simply cannot allow yourselves to be duped into believing. The effort by outsiders isn’t to get you more “safety and security”, the effort is to make you pay a city property tax. They want Mt. Juliet to have a property tax, and they will do anything and say anything to make it happen so they can come back and say, “see, we told you you couldn’t run a city without a property tax.”

    Emergency Services is a profit generating entity. I spoke directly to the finance director of WEMA and he explained everything to me first person. I am a witness to what he said. Don’t believe what you are hearing from others, I was there, I listened with great interest and I am not fooled. But don’t believe me, the WEMA budget and the County Budget are open records, go look for yourselves. According to the WEMA finance director, WEMA uses the profits it generates from Emergency Services to fund fire protection. Connect the dots. The county uses emergency services money to fund fire protection while emergency services goes wanting. Hmmm. Doesn’t that cause you to say, “WHY”? The answer. Because the county doesn’t want to develop fire tax districts and it is doing everything it can to prevent them from happening in Wilson County. WHY? Because, if they were to develop fire tax districts it would mean a tremendous decrease in revenues to WEMA and a Large increase in expenses at the same time!

    I have said this before, but in case you missed it, I will say it again. Station Three, is not a “County” fire station, it is a “City Fire Station”. It is owned by the “City”. The only Fire Station in this city is owned by the “City”. It is staffed by people who work for WEMA, but the Station belongs to the city. The county came to the city, not the other way around, and asked the city to turn over its already existing fire department to the county. The city agreed and turned over the equipment it had, and let the County operate a WEMA station from what is now Station 3. Now, you have to ask yourself, why would the county do that? I will tell you. It is because Station 3 serves more than just the city. At the time, Mt. Juliet was smaller than it is today, and much of the area served by Station 3 was located outside the city. In other words, it served Wilson County’s interests to occupy Station 3 rather than purchase a new building and build a new building and buy new equipment. Station 3 still serves citizens of unincorporated Wilson County both to the east, west, north and south of the City of Mt. Juliet. How, with the kind of density that we are talking about on this end of the County, are they going to serve those people without putting up several fire stations if they abandon Station 3? You see, it is still in the County’s best interests to occupy station 3. If they enact fire tax districts they get kicked out of station 3, and have to erect several fire stations to replace it. Those fire stations would lie right in the twenty-year growth plan of Mt. Juliet, so eventually they would be inside our city limits.

    Lebanon elects to have its own fire department, and they are trying to force the county to force the City of Mt. Juliet to have its own fire department, so they feel better.

    Now, is the effort here to get you more “safety and security”, or is it to get the people of Unincorporated Wilson County more “Safety and Security? Let’s examine that for a moment. The statement says, “This will also relieve WEMA of manpower demand that could be directed to the protection of county residents and give them an adequately manned and equipped fire and rescue department.” Doesn’t that tell it all? He/She is saying that when the city has its own fire department the resources that are now being directed to provide you with “Safety and Security” are going to go to the citizens of Unincorporated Wilson County. In other words, if you develop a fire department in Mt. Juliet you lose what you already have. This is an all-in type of statement if I have ever heard one. This statement is saying, “I want you to provide your own fire safety, so I can take the money I was spending on you and spend it on someone else.” Folks, that rushing wind sound, like you hear in fires, will be your tax money, the money that belongs to you, fleeing the city and being spent on those who don’t live in this city. You spend more, and lose what you already have. Will you end up with more “Safety and Security”? Probably not. You will end up with higher taxes, and less “Safety and Security”. Your city taxes will increase “AND” your county taxes will increase. WHY? Because insurance rates are based on proximity and adequacy of fire protection. If you push to get a city owned fire department the county will be pushed out of Mt. Juliet. They will take their equipment with them. Mt. Juliet will have to purchase all new equipment (even though the county owes it to us to leave the equipment behind, they won’t). The city simply doesn’t have the funding to develop the two or three fire halls it needs and properly staff them without raising property taxes. So, you will see an increase in your taxes to the city. So, why does the county property tax rate go up as well? Because they have to build so many new buildings if they force us into a city owned and operated fire department. If they don’t provide fire protection services to those who live in the densely populated areas of the county that lie outside the city the fire insurance rates will jump sky high. Those who live outside the city will be up in arms over the increase in their expenses. The county will elect to build the buildings, which will cost them a lot of money, and they will have to raise taxes, they have no additional room for more fire service in their budget.

    There is a solution, but the powers in play right now don’t want to take that route because it requires “Cooperation” between the government entities. There may actually need to be some changes to state law in order to get this resolved. They played a political game, which led to this mess, and now they want you and I to pick up the tab to correct it in what could only be an illegal scheme. They want you and I to pay for fire service for those who live in the unincorporated areas of the county. That is the bottom-line. They can say whatever they want, but whenever they speak, hear the words that come out of their mouths as saying, “We want you to pay for fire service for those who don’t live in Mt. Juliet, and we could care less whether you have safety and security in Mt. Juliet”.

    Want proof? Look into why this city was incorporated in the first place. I spoke to N.C. Hibbett about the beginnings of this city. N.C. Hibbett was one of the founders of this city and served as its first mayor. He said one of the reasons this city was formed was because they county wouldn’t provide adequate police protection in this part of the city, so they incorporated this area so they could provide their own police force. This battle isn’t new, it has been going on for years. Had those people in this county cared so much for the “Safety and Security” of those who live on this side of the county the city of Mt. Juliet never would have happened in the first place. We spend millions of dollars every year on police protection because those in the county didn’t want to provide adequate police protection to this area, and now they want us to spend millions more on fire protection service because they “DON’T WANT TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE FIRE PROTECTION SERVICES TO YOU AND I”. They don’t mention emergency services because they make a fortune off of those services and they want to take all of the money that is generated from emergency services, including those generated inside Mt. Juliet, and spend that money on those who live in the unincorporated areas of the county. Their current behavior is a great indicator of future behavior unless something is done to stop it. They are already taking money from emergency services to prop up fire protection so they don’t have to enact fire tax districts, which would serve against their interests. The end effect of all of that is that they are using our money against us!

    If the author of those statements is so interested in our Safety and security, tell them to get on the bandwagon and force the county to adopt fire tax districts, then we can have our own fire department and everyone can shut up. While we are at it, we can develop our own emergency services, which is the bigger issue, and it will help us off-set costs, which make our fire department even cheaper to run. We would end up with much better services, and we wouldn’t get stuck paying for those who live in the Unincorporated areas of the county.

    So, if this is such a great way to go, why wouldn’t Lebanon go for fire tax districts too, wouldn’t they benefit from fire tax districts? Look at the districting. See how many county districts touch Lebanon and also the county. Do you ever think that those county commissioners are going to vote for fire tax districts? It isn’t going to happen. This is a mexican stand-off, folks.

  299. Watching the Westside

    Butch thanks for all the good information regarding the situation with emergency services.

    The thing regarding the “fire protection” and “emergency services” is just a play of words. Everyone who knows anything about the business of emergency services is aware that this is a big umbrella over police, fire, ems, and rescue services. The thing is when you mention fire protection that is only one sliver of calls responded to by WEMA since they cover EMS/Fire/Hazmat/Rescue for the county. When you increase the level of fire protection by increasing staffing and equipment it directly effects the overall emergency services response since its one in the same, i.e. if the city and county work together to build a station in Providence and its staffed by WEMA it would be a win win for both the county and city. If this station was put into service with 5 mile response district it would allow a redistricting of current stations causing a trickle down better response for a large portion of the westside population.

    I”m glad you detailed the Station 3 situation with it technically being a city owned station but is technically a county fire station since they cover a large chunk of county outside of the city limits.

    The issue is a very technical one as you have greatly detailed. It will take clear heads on both sides of the table from the city and county to get a resolution to this problem. As long as we continue to have East of 109 voices in power at all levels of the county (City Commission, WEMA, etc) the city of MJ will never get anything without a significant overhaul of the county commission at the voting box.

    We can only hope for a change coming in the new year

  300. Watching the Westside

    One question about fire tax districts.

    If the County did decide to go with fire tax districts as you detailed, the districts that surround the south of I-40 “Providence District”generate a large amount of funds for the county and the city. If they created a fire district that included district 5 and 16 (Providence and Belinda City) do you realistically see the county/city spending all the fire district revenue there to give the area “adequate” emergency service protection. I don’t, since this would cause a major uproar in the less populated areas in the East.

    I’ll give it to you its a good plan in theory but realistically don’t see it happening.

  301. Southsider

    The cost of fire protection in densely populated areas is much less (per person) than in the rural areas. Fire tax districts essentially assign the costs directly to those served.

    The reason county politicians resist fire tax districts is so the urbanized, densely populated areas will continue to subsidize the rural areas. How dare we ask people in the boondocks to actually pay the real cost of their fire protection?

    I have always liked living in Wilson County because you can choose to live in urban areas or out in the boondocks. There is a higher cost associated with delivering government services to those folks who live way out in the wilderness. They have to learn to live with less water pressure and 45-minute drives to the Nashville airport.

    It is not fair to expect people who live in town to subsidize the infrastructure costs of people who purchase land (and are taxed for land) at 3000 dollars an acre.

    It is not my fault that fire protection is more expensive (per person) in the boondocks.

  302. Butch Huber

    Watching the West Side.

    As long as Bradshaw is the Commissioner for your district you will likely continue to have a problem in the realm of fire protection. As I understand it, he very much marches to the beat of a county commissioner.

    As far as your question about “Fire Tax Districts”, I don’t think you fully understand “fire tax districts”, or I don’t, one or the other. As I understand Fire tax districts, the County cannot include the incorporated areas of the county in their fire tax districts, but rather only the unincorporated areas of the county. If they fund the fire department under the fire tax district, I believe they have to fund it through property taxes collected from only those people living inside the unincorporated areas of the county. They may offer to provide services to the cities under an interlocal agreement through which the city pays the county to provide the services, but the city does not have to agree to enter into the interlocal agreement. In fact, the city doesn’t have to provide fire protection at all.

    Under fire tax districts, the county has to provide fire protection on a SITUS basis, which essentially means that the people who pay for the service get the service they pay for; those who pay a lot in property taxes get a lot of fire protection, while those who don’t pay a lot of property taxes get little fire protection.

    In the event the city decided to provide fire protection services to the citizens, I don’t know that they have to provide those services on a SITUS basis. They may be free to disburse the funds on a population basis, rather than a situs basis. That would mean that they would be able to ensure that the entire city is covered, no matter where the money comes from. If that is true, you would likely be funding some of the areas of the city that are not quite as well-to-do or as densely populated as Providence and Belinda City, but perhaps you would get more, that would be up to the city commission. What you end up doing is taking this from a battle between the city and Lebanon, Watertown, and the County, and make it a battle, if there is a battle, between the several districts of the city. I personally would rather see this being dealt with on a city level where we can more easily get at them and rattle their cages when they are doing wrong or praise them when they are acting right. Besides, on a city level, it becomes much less of an issue. Two or three fire stations would easily cover the entire city, with or without mutual aid.

    As far as “Emergency Services being one in the same”. I am not sure what you mean. We pay a lot of money for police protection in Mt. Juliet and we pay it through our city budget, not through direct property taxes to the county. Emergency services are not the same as “fire protection”. It may seem the same to those who work inside the fire department, but it doesn’t appear to be the same thing politically, financially, and functionally (According to what I have read in the MTAS/CTAS report {Reading between the lines}).

    Have you read the scenarios that have been related in this posts above? It seems that every situation we have in this city comes when there is a fire, and then personnel have to be called away to respond to a wreck or other emergency. If you read the level of emergency services, meaning EMT’s and ambulances that would need to be located in MT. Juliet to meet the level of preparedness suggested in the MTAS/CTAS states, I believe there needs to be something like 11 ambulances or some amazing number and the staff to run them in just Mt. Juliet, or perhaps it would be for the Lakeview station, the Mt. Juliet north station, and the suggested Mt. Juliet south station, but either way, the number is large. We don’t need that many firemen. Not even nearly that many. When you read a report, that was commissioned by the city and the county, as a means of addressing the issue, and it spells out the things that report spells out, and you are told by the experts that these guys (the one’s that wrote the report) are “really” the experts, and that report says that you need to drastically enhance emergency services, but it only suggests modestly (Comparatively) enhance fire protection, well, from my way of thinking, taking into consideration everything else that is going on, and everything else I see, it is hard for me to say that “Fire protection”, Emergency services, and police are the same under one big umbrella. I am not saying that they shouldn’t be under one roof. I am not even saying that I don’t think it would be good idea for them to fall under one leader. But they currently don’t seem to “ALL” fall under one leader.

    I think, with the level of terror threat today, it would probably be a good idea to put fire, emergency services, and police under one authority. But that is a separate subject.

    Again, fire tax districts are your best hope of having appropriate fire protection in Mt. Juliet. There isn’t a need to build another station until the county is prepared to adequately staff and equip the one station they do have in Mt. Juliet. No fire tax district, no adequate staffing, no new fire station, no change.

    I am on your side, if your side is to fix the fire protection issue in “Mt. Juliet”, and not just to fix the fire protection issue in “Providence”. If your goal is to fix the fire protection issue in just “Providence” I can’t help you. We don’t need to foster the same kind of acrimony inside Mt. Juliet that exists between east and west wilson county. You have people on your petition, that only addresses the problem in Providence, who don’t even live here, and apparently one or more of them have a political ax to grind. I am not against “petitioning the government to fix the problem that exists in fire protection in Wilson County, but I do want the problem fixed equitably, and according to law.” We need to set an example in Mt. Juliet. We need to all work together to solve this issue. And it will take citizens to fix this issue as the politicians don’t know which end is up and they run for cover every time this subject comes up. The next election may help, but it won’t solve this issue. What will solve this issue is more and more people becoming familiar with the MTAS/CTAS report. The City of Mt. Juliet has made great strides in meeting the suggestions made in the MTAS/CTAS report, the county hasn’t. Every way you look at this issue it appears the problem lies with the county, not the city.

    Again, if you change the petition to include “ALL” of Mt. Juliet I think you will get a better response. I would put my name on it then, as I am sure a lot of other people would.

  303. Agreed on the “all of Mt. Juliet”. This issue is very complex as one could tell from the posts. The last thing needed would be derailing division of I-40 North vs. South.

  304. Watching the Westside

    Agree with both you and Jamie, Butch we already have the East vs West, dont need a north vs. south. When I continue to refer to the Providence area needing more coverage it is due to the fact that Station 3 covers the Providence area and they can’t make a call with a response time under 8 minutes at the current. With the amount of population and sq. ft. of property both commercial and residential located in South MJ there needs to be a better response to the area. When you look at the remaining sides of MJ (North, East and West) you run into overlapping coverage with both Station 3 and 4.

    As for you referring to the MTAS/CTAS study, you might as well redo it and look at all aspects of public safety (law enforcement/fire/ems/hazmat/ema) with a buy in from the County and the incorportated cities. The last one didn’t even get presented at the County level, not to mention we’ve seen even more commercial built (i.e. Paddocks, hotels, etc) that weren’t even on the drawing board in 2006. Then in addition is solely focused on fire protection and not EMS at all when the call volume for medical calls is higher then 70% I believe.

    I think you may be confusing emergency services and emergency medical service (EMS), I’m talking about the whole overall subject of public safety, when I note emergency services. Sorry for the confusion.

    Honestly any plans for the future layed out here will never come to reality until you get an elected official with a seat at the decision table to step up and champion this. We have elected officials who claim to be “public safety friendly” but never to any of the work to get anything done. Its easy to say your for police and fire, but you need to prove it in getting funding in place to help these men and women working in this sector.

  305. Butch Huber

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/mt-juliet-fire-protection-and-emergency-services

    I have tried repeatedly to get Southside to change the petition to include all of Mt. Juliet. However, having thought this through a little further, I believe we need to solve the issue throughout all of Wilson County, and not just in Mt. Juliet, and certainly not just in Providence. Therefore, I have launched a petition, not to replace Southside’s, but to complement it. I cannot in good conscience sign Southside’s petition, as much as I want to, because I sincerely believe that it is going to only lead to further strife and acrimony because it addresses only the immediate areas surrounding Providence, and being somewhat knowledgeable about the politics in this County, I know that the larger issue needs to be dealt with once and for all if we are really going to have a solution.
    If you want an enduring and appropriate solution to the fire protection/emergency services issues, and if you want the solution to be fair and equitable, please consider signing this petition.

    I am completely open to any suggestions as to how to improve the petition and make it appealing to a broader base of citizens, as my intention is to be as inclusive as possible to all people of Wilson County. If you agree with what I have written in this petition please sign it and pass it on to your friends and family.

  306. Butch Huber

    Watching the West Side,

    I am all for increasing safety and security. I think, and have thought, that the events of 9/11 were a game changer. We need to rethink the way we run police, fire and rescue and all other aspects of “Emergency Services”. I knew that we would return to a day when we have let our guard down and it appears we have. Terror attacks are on the rise. We need to rethink everything.

    We will never be able to “Rethink” if we aren’t “Thinking” at all. I believe everyone should have a seat at the table to address these and other issues that are related. The current group of politicians in this county, at all levels, are incapable of handling these issues. They have too many axes to grind, too many personal and political agendas, and too many political friends. They need for people like you and I to force them to the table and work together to find fair and balanced solutions that are enduring and that really “FIX” the problems.

    We are on the same side, our approaches are different.

  307. Butch Huber

    I got to thinking about the fire protection/emergency services issue last night, and how they county wants to have the cities of this county maintain their own fire department, but doesn’t want to provide an offset between what the citizens of the incorporated cities pay in property tax rates and what those living in the unincorporated areas of the county pay. I thought about what that will look like down the road a bit, when Mt. Juliet grows to the size of its twenty year growth area. Think about that for a moment. Think about how much area of the county will then lie inside incorporated areas of the county. Think about how much money the county will then be taking from those who live inside the incorporated areas of the County to spend on those who live outside the incorporated areas of the County. How unbalanced and how unfair will that be? Mt. Juliet’s growth boundary begins at the Wilson County Line, and runs all the way out to 109, which is the beginning of Lebanon’s boundaries, which then extend eastwardly for quite a bit, and soon you run into Watertown.

    Think of how much growth, how many houses and commercial buildings that represents. Think about how relatively few homes will exist outside the boundaries of those incorporated cities. One day, I think everyone living inside an incorporated city in Wilson County is going to be on my side of this issue. When the County is taking money from 100,000 to 125,000 people, to provide fire protection and other services to perhaps 25, 000 people, it will become readily apparent that there should have been something done about this injustice years ago.

    Time is on my side of this issue. It is only a matter of time before this issue has to be fixed. There may be a lot of things that need to be fixed, but this issue is blatant.

  308. Southsider

    Butch is right; the updated county commission districts formed after the 2010 Census will alter this debate too.

    Remember, the county commissioner who led the vote to cut-off fire protection service in Mt. Juliet was never re-elected.

    There is a lot of great discussion about this issue on this blog. To really resolve this issue I think certain county commissioners need to be unelected as soon as possible.

    We need to make a list and check it twice..

  309. Butch Huber

    The time for action is now. This issue cannot wait for the politicians to own it in the next election cycle, only to swept under the rug as it has been for years and years. We need to own this issue.

  310. Butch Huber

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/fire-protection-and-emergency-services-in-wilson-county-tn

    I thought about the title of the petition I launched, and it is inappropriate. So, I launched another that is more appropriate. The first petition, spoke of fire protection and emergency services throughout Wilson County, but was entitled “Mt. Juliet Fire Protection and Emergency Services”. Once I spotted that I quickly came to the conclusion that it was contradictory, so I relaunched.

    Please consider going to the petition site listed above and sign on.

    If you cannot sign on to this petition for whatever reason, please tell me why. I am sincerely interested in everyone’s input on this topic. This issue needs to be resolved, and if people don’t talk it won’t be resolved, ever.

  311. Paul Deyo

    Mount Juliet will certainly gain county commissioners after the census and redistricting. However there are at least three westside county commissioners still in office who ‘represented’ this area by either abstaining or voting to remove fire protection for Mt. Juliet.

    For example, in the Villages-Providence area County Commissioner ‘Chicken Man’ was chicken to vote against his buddies in Lebanon and those leading the call for more fire protection for that area should remember that. When the August 2010 elections occur there should be alot of interest anyway with the primaries for state offices. Citizens of Mt. Juliet owe it to themselves to become educated about these ‘good ol’ boys’ track records and send them packing.

    It does work. There is the commissioner mentioned by Southsider here in Mt. Juliet, of course. And in Metro a Hermitage area councilman was defeated when he allegedly made decisions that could be linked to ample contributions from developers, including many from Odell Binkley’s relatives and several contributions from a developer PAC. The contributions were posted on a website which is still up. Radio Free could do much to expose the outside interests behind and track record of candidates as they did in the last mayor’s race.

    My commissioner, Fred Weston, has done a good job of representing this district and I will support him if he runs again. There are other potential candidates in this district who wear the ‘good ol’ boy’ mantle well and who I could not support. At least one has name recognition and the potential for ample funding (largely from in- and out of town developers) in his favor.

    A good rule to remember, if you want to see change, put egos aside and try to coalesce behind one candidate. Incumbents love crowded races as we know all too well.

  312. Southsider

    Gilbert Graves, Bob Neal, and Bill Patton are West Wilson County Commissioners who voted against fire protection in Mt. Juliet.

    Someone told me a higher percentage of Lebanon based County Commissioners voted for fire protection in Mt. Juliet than Mt. Juliet based Commissioners. I don’t know if that is true but there should be a news story somewhere with that vote breakdown.

  313. Butch Huber

    I am not sure of which vote you are speaking. Did I miss a vote of the County Commission to enhance fire protection in Mt. Juliet? Are you speaking of the vote to discontinue fire protection services to Mt. Juliet? Are you speaking of the original vote for the county to take over fire protection in Mt. Juliet?

    The county cannot vote for the city to own its own fire department. Well, I guess they could vote for it, but it wouldn’t have any affect.

  314. Watching the Westside

    I guess in a sense the County could in a way since having a fire department is in the city charter currently, but they just contract it to the county. If the county decided they counldn’t provide the requirements of the contract and met the notification timeline, it would force the city into doing something. There isn’t anyone on the City Commission that would sit back and let the city go without some type of fire protection, and if they did it wouldn’t fair well for them.

  315. Butch Huber

    Watching the Westside,

    Can you provide me with the number of the resolutions or ordinances, the one to have a fire department, and the one to contract it to the county?

  316. Watching the Westside

    Butch,

    Go to the City of Mt. Juliet website and go under the documents and see the one that see’s city charter, then go to C-43 or Part 7, Fire. The second I would contact the City Recorder and I’m sure she can get it for you.

  317. Southsider

    I was making reference to the county commission vote to discontinue fire service for Mt. Juliet several years ago.

    Three county commissioners voted to discontinue fire service for their own constituents – Graves, Neal, and Patton. Neal and Patton voted to discontinue fire service for their own homes too. Graves lives outside the city but has part of the city in his district.

    Elections have consequences. All three of these commissioners were re-elected after they voted against the very people who put them in office. They have since done nothing to enhance fire protection services for Mt. Juliet. No one should be surprised.

    The people who are quick to complain about fire protection service in Mt. Juliet are the same people who elect commissioners who vote against it.

    Go figure.

  318. Butch Huber

    While, admittedly, I am not an attorney at law, Part 7–Fire Department 6-21-701. Appointment, which says, “The city manager shall appoint a chief of the fire department and such other members of the department as may be provided by ordinance” appears to be saying that “If” the city passes an ordinance to have a fire department, the city manager shall appoint a chief and other members of the department. The rest of the sections of the charter are contingent on ordinances authorizing the development of a fire department. In other words, I don’t believe this part of the charter is in any way “forcing” the city to establish its own fire department. However, even if this ordinance did force the city to establish its own fire department, there are no directives in the charter that establish the size or strength of the department.

    However, I am glad you posted about this being in the charter. I took a look at the ordinances surrounding the transfer of the city fire department (there used to be one) to the county and the subsequent ordinances. It was interesting. Turns out that in 1975 the city purchased a fire truck and then entered into an agreement with the county for them to supply one fireman on a 24 hour basis to man the fire truck and to train other firemen how to use it. The city was using its fire truck to provide fire protection to the unincorporated areas of the county at that time. Hmmm. We were covering the area of the county west of 109 back in 1975. Then, in 1986, the citizens of this city realized that they were being double taxed, and the commission entered into an agreement with the county for the county to take over the operation of the city fire department and make it a county fire station. Now, from what I have been told, it was in fact the county that approached the city and asked to take over what is now WEMA station 3. Regardless, the county agreed to this on the basis that they could use what is now Station 3 to provide fire protection to those people living in this proximity who live in the unincorporated areas of the county from the city’s fire station structure, which is now WEMA station 3.

    It appears that the city transferred ownership of the fire engine they had in 1986, and then leased a new fire engine in a lease purchase agreement and turned it over, along with all of the equipment that they had, over to the county for the county to provide fire protection to the city and the areas surrounding this city.

    These ordinances strengthen significantly my position that the county has a compelling interest in continuing the relationship it has with the city. They “NEED” to remain in this relationship. Not much has changed in that regard since 1986.

    Those who would have the city develop its own fire department, without really delving in and exploring all the facts and without addressing all of the issues and meeting the needs of everyone concerned, would create a mess.

    If you look at the ordinance that transfers our city fire department to the county you will see that that ordinance, spells out that the citizens of this city recognized that they had a right to fire protection from the county because they were paying the county property taxes just as those who lived in the unincorporated areas of the county were and thus were entitled to fire protection just like those who lived in the unincorporated areas of the county. The county accepted this transfer with that language in our ordinance. There, in my opinion, is implied concurrence in their action. Had they disagreed with the language in that ordinance they should have negotiated with the city to remove that verbiage from the ordinance. Since they didn’t negotiate that verbiage out of the agreement, they, in my opinion, were in either acceptance of what it said, or in agreement with what it said. City Ordinance 86-31 states, “WHEREAS, the citizens of the City of Mt. Juliet pay the same rate of taxes as all other citizens of Wilson County; and
    WHEREAS, the citizens of the City of Mt. Juliet are entitled to all of the fire protection afforded by Wilson County to its other citizens; and
    WHEREAS, the citizens of the City of Mt. Juliet have expressed a desire for fire protection greater than that afforded by Wilson County to its other citizens and have expressed the willingness to pay the costs of such additional fire protection; and,
    WHEREAS, it is not fair to the citizens of the City of Mt. Juliet to utilize their locally collected taxes to pay for additional fire protection for areas outside of the City of Mt. Juliet; but
    WHEREAS, the City of Mt. Juliet desires to continue participating in furnishing of fire protection to the areas outside of the City of Mt. Juliet for a reasonable length of time to give the county time to replace equipment now furnished by the city, the city has taken the following actions;

    NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF MT. JULIET, WILSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, AS FOLLOWS:

    SECTION 1. ORDINANCE 75-9 REPEALED: Ordinance 75-9 of the City of Mt. Juliet is hereby repealed and the contract with Wilson County approved pursuant thereto ended all as of 1 January 1987.

    SECTION 2. APPROPRIATED FUNDS: There is hereby appropriated $60,000.00 to pay for firemen and other expenses formerly furnished by Wilson County.

    SECTION 3. APPROVAL OF CONTRACT: The contract attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference between Wilson County and the City of Mt. Juliet is approved and shall be effective during the interim between the date of its execution and 1 January 1987. The Mayor is authorized to execute the contract on behalf of the city and the City Recorder shall attest execution.

    SECTION 4. NOTICE OF CONTRACT EXPIRATION: The City Manager shall notify Wilson County that the agreement dated 1 August 1975 between the City of Mt. Juliet and Wilson County shall end on 1 January 1987.

    The city even paid the county $60,000 in this deal.

    I find it ironic that the city was providing fire protection for the unincorporated areas of the county, using city taxes, even though they were paying the same property taxes as the other citizens of the county, and appeared to have been doing it for 11 years before they changed things, and now there are those who are throwing stones at this city because we want to get the protection we are paying for in this city.

    I just spent some time going through some of the information on this site. Publius has done a good job of presenting the pertinent facts and documentation in the headline article under “fire”.
    If a person simply read the information that has been provided by Publius, and the other information in the posts under this subject and their references, they would develop a much clearer picture of the issue surrounding fire protection.

  319. Butch Huber

    Thank you Southsider.

  320. Butch Huber

    The following is the petition that I have started regarding fire protection. If, after reading the content of the petition, you feel inclined to become a part of the solution to our shortfalls in protection in this county, please go to the site

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/fire-protection-and-emergency-services-in-wilson-county-tn

    and sign the petition.

    This petition is being launched as an effort to bring to the forefront the severe shortage of staffing and equipment in the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency (“WEMA”). �If you or your loved ones Live, Work, Shop, practice your religious faith, or Play in Wilson County, Tennessee, they could be at increased and unacceptable risk due to severe shortfalls in the level of coverage for Fire Protection and Emergency Services in this County. �While a political stand-off between the Mt. Juliet City Commission and the Wilson County Board of Commissioners, the lives and safety of the people are put at unnecessary and unacceptable levels of risk.
    The causes of this shortfall in WEMA Stations, staffing, and equipment are lack of money and acrimony and enmity between various factions of our political leadership and community. �Money should not be an issue in one of the most affluent counties in all of Tennessee and the Acrimony and enmity must end. �
    It is time for you and I, the citizens, to own this issue. �It is our lives and our security that are being jeopardized by the politicians who have refused to properly and thoroughly address this issue, and thus it is time to take matters into our own hands and force those very same politicians to act. �
    It is apparent that they, the politicians throughout all of Wilson County, will not rectify this issue on their own, so it is important that we as citizens apply substantial public pressure on them to force them into a countywide congress where they face each other, are forced to communicate with one another, and where they hear from the public. �
    Each election cycle political candidates give a lot of lip service to being serious about this chronic and serious problem, but once the elections are over, they go back to doing business as usual and nothing ever gets done to solve this problem. �
    The Fire Fighters and Emergency Service workers in this county have been screaming to use regarding the severe shortfalls they deal with in WEMA. ��

    MTAS/CTAS have conducted a study of the situation in Wilson County, and have delivered a final report to the County Commission, who seemingly have completely ignored the report. �
    Wilson County threatened to completely abandon fire protection for the 25,000 plus citizens that make up Mt. Juliet, without at the same time making provisions for a reduction in the property taxes that they charge the citizens living in Mt. Juliet so that Mt. Juliet could increase its property taxes to raise funds to provide fire protection for itself. �
    The issue of fire protection and emergency services is one that is causing increasing political strife in this county, and is further dividing the citizens of this community. �
    There are laws regarding the funding of fire departments to which it appears Wilson County is not adhering. �
    Elections don’t seem to work, laws don’t seem to make a difference, so what else is there but to force them into a congress where they are forced to hash out the problems and come to resolution? �If enough politicians feel the heat from the public, and the media, perhaps they will decide it is high-time to fix this issue.
    By signing this petition, you are agreeing to the following:
    “We, the signers of this petition, agree that it is time to resolve this issue of lack of fire stations, lack of staffing, and lack of equipment in Wilson County. �We believe that the politicians of this County, and its incorporated cities, have had sufficient time to resolve these issues without citizen involvement and you have failed. �We are no longer willing to sit idly by and put our families, our homes, and our investments at risk because of the acrimony between various politically and financially motivated groups and individuals and because of the inaction caused by those various interests. �We demand that you act appropriately, equitably, and lawfully to resolve this issue. �We suggest that you arrange, on your own, a countywide congress of all political and administrative leaders of the several governments of this County where you face each other, discuss the differences, discover solutions, and take appropriate and decisive action. �We would like to be included in such talks so that we can express our opinions, provide input, provide documentation, and implore you to take proper action to resolve this issue before yet another person is needlessly harmed, or even killed, due to shortfalls in WEMA. �We are also concerned for the safety and well-being of our Fire Fighters and Emergency Services workers. �They are appealing to us, the citizens, because you have been unresponsive to their appeals to you. �The shortfalls in Equipment and staffing put their lives in jeopardy, and we find that reprehensible and utterly unacceptable.”

  321. Butch Huber

    You know, interestingly, according to the MTAS/CTAS report, and according to the actual insurance quotes, the savings in insurance premiums would well more than pay for the cost of fixing the fire protection issue, and yet we still wait, and we wait, and we wait for our leaders to fix the situation. If they are right about insurance rates, we are risking our property, our families, and our fortunes for absolutely nothing!

  322. Just another voice

    Butch,

    Thanks for all the information, but you will NEVER get WEMA to do another ISO inspection with the current situation. If ISO came in and did a site inspection based on the current level of protection versus the population and increased leveled of structures since the last inspection we would see and increase in the score not a lowering.

    Thanks again for all the research you have done.

  323. Butch Huber

    I think the city of Mt. Juliet should develop a fundraising campaign where people can donate toward opening a new fire station in the Providence area of Mt. Juliet and equip it. At the same time, they should also conduct a fundraising campaign for covering the costs of moving Station 3 further north on Mt. Juliet Road. It should be set up as a tax deductible donation so that people can write it off on their tax bill.

    The city should conduct an analysis to determine how much citizens of Mt. Juliet would save if we were to increase the level of coverage in this city in terms of insurance premiums.

    The MTAS/CTAS report says we would save a lot of money in insurance premiums if we enhance service, so let’s put it to the test. Let’s see just how much savings we would get from enhancement of fire protection and emergency services.

    If you get a tax deduction “AND” you get a reduction in your insurance raters “AND” you get better protection and service, what’s not to like?

    This is one way to take the politics out of the equation. The city could build the buildings, equip them, and provide more volunteers to cover staffing needs. If the city were to be successful at this, it would put the county on the spot in terms of manning the stations. The city would own the fire stations, and the equipment, and would have a ready force of citizens of the city to take over the stations in the event that we decide to develop a “City Fire Department”, and the city could do this without raising property tax rates and without forcing the county into developing fire tax districts right away. Eventually, I believe it is inevitable that we have fire tax districts in this county, but I don’t believe it is in the best interests of all Wilson County Citizens to do so at this time.

    The city has plenty of assets that it could sell or trade for land on North Mt. Juliet Road, so there shouldn’t be a big need for raising capital for the land. Building a fire station shouldn’t be all that expensive. Station three currently has equipment, so we shouldn’t have to purchase equipment for that station right away.

    We would need to purchase a Quint, which I believe would cost about $750,000 if the numbers I was hearing in a commission meeting one time were correct. A Quint would also be very, very good for the city. It would help to create vertical growth. (Think Maryland Farms/Cool Springs, Century City.)

    We would need perhaps one to two million dollars to build the two buildings. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that between the new equipment, trucks, training, and station that the total tab was 3 million. Between the 10,000 or so homes that exist in Mt. Juliet, that would come to only $300 per home. If we made this a five year project, it would only come to about $60 per home, per year.

    Now, I know not everyone would give, but there are some who would give a whole lot more if they new it was going to do good in the community.

    We could sell naming rights to the stations, and the engines. They would be ours after all, so we could name them whatever we wanted. Like the library in downtown Nashville, we could have the names of donors engraved in stones set in the walls of the fire stations.

    We could go the extra mile and build the stations with halls above them were people could rent the hall for events. They do this a lot where I came from, and it works great! Wedding receptions, corporate meetings, dances, and other events could be held there.

    I still think the leaders of this county need to form a county congress to address this issue, as well as other issues, but I am also thinking outside the box in other ways as well.

    If we were able to do this for $60 per year, the offset in our insurance premiums would likely come close to covering the donation. Each year we would collect $600,000 or more if everyone participated.

    By owning the fire stations, the equipment, the vehicles, and having a large volunteer force at their disposal, the city would be in a much, much stronger position to force the issue of the county not equitably and fairly distributing funds it collects from this city. If it became a bitter battle, the city wouldn’t be held over a barrel. In fact, if a battle ensued, the city could immediately institute its own fire department, offer better paying jobs to fire fighters and EMTs than they have at WEMA, and take the best and brightest from WEMA.

    Is it worth $60 or even as much as $200 per year for the next 5 years or so to put an end to this problem and put Mt. Juliet in a real power position regarding this issue, especially if it is offset, either immediately, or over time, by a reduction in insurance premiums, and perhaps by elevated property values? I think it is. I don’t agree that the city should raise property taxes until it has exhausted every other means of addressing this issue. Once they raise property taxes they will grow government to meet that increase in recurring money and we will never get rid of the city property tax again.

    Since Providence is least covered in the city, in my opinion, a station should be erected there and equipped as soon as possible. However, at the same time that is happening, the city should be negotiating for the acquisition of the property they desire on North Mt. Juliet Road and the sale of other assets to offset the cost of the acquisition of the new property and should be having drawings and plans developed for the new station on North Mt. Juliet Road. At the same time, they should be identifying and training more volunteers to help man both stations. And they should be working on developing leases or purchasing vehicles so that we have the proper equipment in place in this city.

    The city could then lease back to the county the stations, equipment, and vehicles on a cost share basis if the county wanted to use those stations and equipment to provide coverage for unincorporated Wilson County. (Taking into consideration money that is already collected from Mt. Juliet citizens in property taxes that is not being spent here.)

    The City should seriously consider entering into the ambulance service business. If there are no laws to prohibit the city from entering into the ambulance service business, and if the profitability of the ambulance service is a good as I am told it is, the profits from the Ambulance Service would go a long way toward offsetting the costs of fire protection services. It would provide a ready, ongoing stream of profits for the city.

    (I know this all runs counter to my belief that government should stay out of everything that it doesn’t have to be involved with, but you can’t change 100+ years of socialism overnight.)

    We have 25,000+ people living in a 20 square mile area in Mt. Juliet, Lebanon has less people living in about a 60 square mile area. If we were to equip our area with as much equipment, manpower and stations as exist in Lebanon, we would by far have the best coverage in all of Wilson County.

    I believe in hitting problems from every conceivable and useful angle until they are solved.

    Citizen action to force the governments to communicate and cooperate.

    Fundraising to raise money so that Mt. Juliet owns the fire stations and equipment and staffing levels.

    Reducing insurance rates to help offset costs.

    Entering into the ambulance service to offset the costs and pull profits from the county coffers to the City Coffers.

    Working with the media to get them to remain involved and force the issue from their end.

    Develop a legal battle plan in case it is needed.

    Informing the public of the need and the concerns.

    Developing a political strategy to get rid of those politicians that are holding Mt. Juliet, and, as a result, other areas of the county hostage in this issue because they either dislike this city or because they have other political agendas or axes to grind, and replace them with people who want to fix the problems.

    Working with State Legislators to try to get them to sponsor legislation to fix the fire department funding laws to force equity in funding and end the public fund shell game.

    Developing a plan for taking over our own fire protection if necessary and developing a plan to draw the best fire fighters and EMTs from WEMA and other fire departments if we go that route.

    Working with WEMA personnel when they stand up and make themselves heard. Enlisting their help to apply pressure.

    Funding commercials informing the public of the issue and the proposed solutions.

    The density of this city is really quite incredible. Our density is part of our strength. On top of that, this city is among the most affluent in all of Tennessee, which is another major strength.

    Working together, we can solve the problems we face very easily, without a property tax increase, and without “HAVING” to have this turn into a battle. Following a plan similar to what I have outlined (very roughly outlined) here, if there is a battle, it will be the other guy who started it, and it will be Mt. Juliet who finishes it.

    We need to give our politicians no other choice but to work together for our good. We need to box them in, and keep the heat on until they do the right thing and stop ignoring this issue, and other issue, just because they are “too hot to handle”.

    I would say, “Either we have a problem, or we don’t” to suggest that we either need to put up or shut up on the subject of fire protection, but I can’t say that because I have done enough research to know for sure that we do have a problem. It isn’t a small problem, it is a huge problem. It only seems small until you need protection or rescue, then, as the second hand sweeps at rate of about a year-a-second, it becomes a monumental issue. You and I never know when we will need fire protection or rescue, so it should be an important issue. We need to band together to solve this issue and move ahead to more sexy things, like $20 million bunkers. (Just kidding, I had to throw that in in case Chris Sorey is watching.)

  324. Butch Huber

    Just another voice.

    I would presume you are involved in some manner with WEMA, or government at some level based on your post.

    Do you know if the City could ask for an ISO rating in Mt. Juliet?

  325. @Just another voice: The ISO Fire Protection Rating has nothing to do with density or number of structures. It is based 10% on 911 service, 40% on availability of water & hydrants, and 50% on fire-fighting equipment & personnel. If your house were the only one within 5 miles of an adequately equipped and staffed station, it might have an ISO rating of 4. If 1000 more houses are built (assuming that the developers installed adequate water lines and fire hydrants) around yours, also within 5 miles of a station, you are all going to have an ISO rating of 4 – even if the station does not add any personnel or equipment. Structure fires are, relatively speaking, infrequent occurrences.

  326. Southsider

    Mt. Juliet has a good ISO rating mainly because of the water pressure available from West Wilson Utility District.

    Fire station distance is but one factor contributing to a good ISO score and not even a major one.

    It doesn’t matter how many people respond to a fire without water.

  327. Just another voice

    I don’t belive so Butch. Honestly ISO ratings are slowely but surely becoming less utilized by most insurance companies anyway.

    Well that’s one thing, WEMA is not adequettly staffed. They only way they get around the staffing part is by saying that the ambulance personnel count as fire suppression personnel. This is just a smoking mirror, if most residents knew how personnel are utilized and that they are without EMS coverage more often then not they’d be in a uproar.

    Again thanks Butch

  328. Butch Huber

    You know, honestly, all of this is very important and should be explored and looked into and plans should be made and strategy developed, but at the end of it all, when a structure fire occurs or an accident happens, to the person involved in the incident, and to those who respond, it all means nothing at that moment. What matters at that moment is that there is enough equipment and manpower to deal with the situation and limit loss of life an property and limit harm.

    We simply need to fix this situation. Whatever it takes we need to do it. It is way to far out of hand.

  329. Just another voice

    agree 100%

  330. Nathan Clariday

    Even if the haven’t done another ISO rating; You are already paying for it in home insurance. If you live outside that 5 mile distance( a real 5 mile by the road); your home insurance is a 9 or 10 depending on your distance from a fire hydrant. I believe insurers still use it as a part of their calculations

  331. Butch Huber

    I called my insurance agent today (State Farm). He said that State Farm now does their insurance quotes by zip code and sub-zip codes. I wanted to get him to give me a quote for a rating of 1 vs whatever I currently have. He couldn’t do it. He said that quotes come down from corporate.

    It does appear, though, that a better ISO rating still would give me a better insurance rate.

    You know, though, I am getting to a point were I really don’t care about all of that, nor do I care who pays what, I just want to see this fixed. We can sort everything else out later.

    The City Commission of Mt. Juliet needs to decide if they believe that the county is doing things legally in terms of how they are running WEMA and how it is being funded or whether they believe the County is doing things incorrectly. They need to attempt to meet with the county and the other governments of this county in a congress. If that fails, they need to either sue in court to force change or start a city fire department and move on.

    It is time to fish or cut bait.

  332. Suggestion.
    At present, we have a county emergency management agency providing fire, ems, etc. service for the county either directly or thru mutual aid. Now putting aside any and all city boundaries, think just in terms of county. This is what is out there right now protecting you and it has seen very little increase since 1982 when our county population and retail were considerably less. Now with our county wide population and retail revenue potential at its highest level, why not call on our county leaders for a reevaluation and reallocation of county funds for the purpose of improving the county provided, county-wide emergency management services. Other areas such as education, roads, etc. need to be improved as well. However, when considering the current severity of loss and frequency of need, emergency services by the county for the county should take on increased importance. Wilson County has a great deal more citizens to save and property to protect than it did in 1982. Wilson County has a great deal more revenue being generated than it did in 1982. Wilson County should provide more enriched emergency services than it did in 1982.

    This is just one suggestion. With Brother Butch’s last post,there is a sense he is reaching the point we in the business have been at for some time. We as a county can do better and we should, soon.

    Stay safe and God bless.

  333. Southsider

    The low ISO score in Mt. Juliet is the source of western envy in this county. Many people in rural east Wilson County think that ISO rating is completely tied to fire station coverage.

    But even the best fire fighters have trouble using well water.

  334. Butch Huber

    OMG! The more I look into this fire protection and emergency services issue the more convoluted it all becomes!

  335. Southside

    Excellent discussions from all.

    As we continue to move forward, there will be a need to seriously start considering who we are electing at a city and county level. We need leaders that will be more pro-active to work together to find a solution, not point fingers. This process can begin in August with the County elections and then again in November with the City.

  336. Butch Huber

    Man, I have gained a lot more insight into this issue and I think that there are enough resources available to this city for them to overcome this issue quite easily.

    Today I learned that a lot of the laws, policies, and regulations surrounding this issue have changed drastically over the past 12, 10, 7, 5, 3, and even 1 year that profoundly impact this issue and that provide help and assistance to Municipalities and Counties if they will just avail themselves of them.

    Emergency Management has evolved…a lot!

  337. Southsider

    What will be the legacy of a politician who never really accomplished anything?

    Unfortunately, it always becomes the largest mistake they made while in office.

    Mayor Elam has carried out the “edge city” vision of a previous mayor. The closest thing to an original vision Elam ever had was the Town Center District; and now the business community and city commission have totally rejected it.

    Ten years from now she will be remembered for her ethics issues, not Providence.

    Fixing the fire protection problem in Mt. Juliet could have been an admirable legacy for Elam if she hadn’t squandered her credibility on foolish things.

    Leadership is needed to solve this problem – I just don’t think you will find any in Mt. Juliet right now.

  338. Butch Huber

    I just read an article in the democrat where Mr. Davis (I think it was him) pointed out that the school system is growing at a rate of 36%.

    I don’t know what set of figures he is using to get to that number, but here are some of the numbers I was able to pick up on.

    1. During the school year 2000-2001, the school system in Wilson County employed 1,445 people. In 2010, there are 1,989 people employed by the school system in this county, making it the biggest employer in the county.

    2. In the year 2001 the district had 11,644 students, and now there are already 15,200-plus students. (Doesn’t include recent enrollees-apparently there were 171 new student enrollees over the holiday break and 266 since fall break.) It appears to me that the student population has grown about 35% or so since 2001. Perhaps that is what Mr. Davis meant.

    I wonder if the fire department has grown by 35% since 2001? I suspect that the county didn’t have adequate services to protect and render aid to those students in 2001, and if the level of service didn’t grow along with the level of the student body population, then what is that telling us?

    See, this isn’t just a “Mt. Juliet” problem, it is a county problem.

    We need to do what we can to take care of Mt. Juliet, but some of our city citizens are attending a school in the county, doesn’t that give us something else to consider?

    We really need to work on this and fix it.

  339. I 4 One.

    Hmmm. It has been interesting at the least to read comments on this blog generated for the past several years. The real problem is that the distribution of revenue is not skewed to WEMA, but instead to the school system. The county budget of 190mm or so is 4% to WEMA and 68% to schools.

    The solution is to elect citizens who will put fairness into the spending process and recognize that schools are not the only priority. But they are a very important priority!

    So, my question for all of you is –

    Is this a hot button issue that voters will go to the polls for and actually vote in a leader who will honestly address these issues?

    Or do the voters care?

    I have lived here (Wilson Cty and/or Mt Juliet) for 30 years, and I am ready to step up, but is it a voteable issue?

    What are your thoughts?

    I 4 One (care).

  340. Reevaluation and reallocation of county funds for the purpose of improving county provided, county-wide emergency management services. The county mayoral candidates need to know this is important to the voters now and will continue to be important after the election. What is promised now and what enhancements are fulfilled will be a part of his/her legacy as county leader. I have spoken with all 3 candidates…I encourage you all to do the same. Best wishes.

    Matt 25:40
    Luke 12:32

  341. watching the westside

    I4,

    My thoughts of your questions is strictly my opinion. The issue of fire protection is basically a hot button depending on where you live in the county and/or what level of education, experience, etc you have in the profession. If you live in areas of high growth then it maybe more of an issue then ones who have seen limited growth since if you live in Mt. Juliet its been on the board for a lot longer as an issue. Then the one’s who work in the profession or have been around the profession (family members) have a better understanding as to the lack of resources, manpower, etc since they see it first hand.

    To the general public in Wilson County this issue probably doesn’t seem like a big issue since most never have to utilize this part of the government (police, fire, ems). I believe you can take a straw pole in MJ asking “so tell me about the Mt. Juliet Fire Department” and high percentage would tell you MJ has a great fire department and wouldn’t even know where the fire station is. That’s just reality folks.

    Totally agree with Jamie. Need to get some new leaders in that will bring WEMA from the bookshelf and back to the front of the desk. This department has been neglicated for many years and needs a new long term planning model to better serve the residents of Wilson County. This will take leaders who are willing to work with all elected officials from the incorporated cities and the county. Been an issue in the past but maybe the next election cycle will bring some positive results.

  342. Butch Huber

    The City of Mt. Juliet invested $1 million to build an animal shelter in the city. If my memory serves, they budgeted $400,000 per year to manage and maintain that facility.

    Last year the city’s animal control facility took in 600 animals. So far, the cost per animal appears to be approximately $2,333.

    As I remember it, either the county or the city of lebanon, I can’t remember which, has an animal control center that the city was using. The cost per animal to use the facility was either $50 or $100 per animal.

    If we were to use the $100 figure, how long would it take to break even if we continue to spend $400,000 per year to maintain and manage that facility and if the number of animals taken in remains the same? Answer: eternity! If they are spending $400,000 per year to maintain and manage that facility, and if the number of animals does not go up, the cost per animal, not counting the cost of the building itself, will be $667 per animal. The commission was advised that this would be the case before they made the decision to build this facility. They are pouring approximately $340,000 more money into this every year than they had to spend if they would have just cooperated on this issue with the county or with lebanon. (And that $340,000 doesn’t even include the cost of the facility)

    Even if they didn’t want to work with lebanon or the county, there are vets in this city that surely would have taken care of this for the city at a much better rate.

    But that is not the only cost to the city. There is interest on the bond that has to be considered, which will increase those costs as well. But the larger costs may be in lost opportunity. The city could have leveraged that money to provide better fire protection and emergency services to this city.

    I challenge anyone to go take a look at the animal control facility, then go to our city fire department, and then tell me that this city doesn’t have its priorities screwed up.

  343. Nathan Clariday

    Any money already directed to the schools can not be taken away from them….state law

    So any new money can not be given to the schools but existing budgets must be met the following year even if we don’t want to.

  344. The money is there. One need simply to drive down MJ road and see there are 16 banks and lending institutions with many more thru-out the county. There is enormous growth all around Wilson County with large homes being built outside MJ city limits, not just Providence, etc. What’s lacking is initiative. If the next county mayor wants to be a true public servant, he/she will educate themself on this issue and work diligently to provide the best possible emergency services for the care and well being of the citizens of this county. We, as voters and stakeholders, should also be educated and listen to what the candidates say now and do after the election. This is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in serving the greater good of others. There will be no better time than now. Best wishes.

    Phillipians 4:13

  345. I 4 One.

    Hello All.

    After continued discussion with members of the community, I have decided to “throw my hat in the ring” and run for MJ Dist 4 Commissioner. The reason that I am announcing early is that I want to bring matters (particularly the abandonment of the county court on Wema and fire issues) to the voters prior to the county elections. If we are ever to receive equity in use of the millions of tax dollars that are generated by the Providence venture, we have to have elected officials that will do the right thing!

    My platform includes:
    -New equipment, personnel and facilities for Wema fire and emergency on the west side.
    -No property tax funding for these improvements.

    The MTAS report of 2006 calls for improvements that have not been funded. Since then the county has started receiving est. $5mm a year in new taxes and has not re-invested any of this into necessary services.

    Dick Kasnick
    758-0711

    You heard it here first. Time to quit talking and start doing…

  346. Southsider

    Good luck Mr. Kasnick. You will find Jim Bradshaw to be a much better candidate than legislator.

    I don’t know you but I do know Jim. District 4 will jump 20 years ahead if you beat him. All you have to do is keep up with what is on the agendas.

    Jim has never been able to do it.

  347. Nathan Clariday

    Mr. Kasnick,

    How are you going to tackle WEMA issues when you are running for city council not county commission?

  348. I 4 One.

    Thanks for the responses so far. To answer your question Nathan –

    Lets look at different scenarios for my getting involved in these issues.

    My first assumption is that the priorities in MJ are a little out of whack too. My background in business is to fix businesses that had significant challenges. The City of MJ fits that description so I believe that I have the skill and capability to effect positive change.

    One of the first critical issues is to insure the safety of the citizens. The City and County have allowed this to become critical thru lack of planning and will, to “do the right thing.”

    So – 1. I could be a citizen voice. That has not worked so far, as you’all, the Mj News and others have tried and not had a positive result.

    2. I could run against Gilbert. He is beatable, but then I would have one vote on the County Court. It would not be very effective as there are actually one or two there who have tried and failed.

    3. This is the interesting one. As District 4 City Commissioner, I will have the actual responsibility to ensure the safety of the district. I am the official voice of the people and businesses there. So, my voice can extend to Nashville or national news. As far as I want it to go actually. I will campaign for any County Commissioner who makes a public statement that they will cast their vote to fund these needed services. They all have dropped the ball in funding. None of them will tell you how much the “mall effect taxes” are, but my research shows that the county takes in about $5mm, that is five million, dollars a year and all of the facilities are not built out yet.

    So, who is getting the money and why not the area that is generating it? Because there is a group of good old boys in Lebanon that control things and we need to vote them out. Lets call a spade a spade.
    I promise that I will work tirelessly to accomplish this. I will only run for one term, Promise Made. If I am not successful then, someone else needs to do it. If I am, I have no reason to be there.

    This matter is going to be dramatically put in front of the people. It is not something that can be procrastinated any further. Every day when I get up I look out my front door and see Rutland School populated with 700 of your children. What school tragedy do you want that we have no responders to? If it takes the first one 12 minutes to get here, children could die. Or if a fire blocked exits to MJ High, and children were blocked on the 3rd floor. it would take a while for the FD to come to my house to borrow a ladder to go get them down.

    I think that when the voters see what a poor job the county and city have done here, change will happen. I am the right person, at the right time to do that.

    Anyway, I am willing to try.

    dk

  349. watchin the westside

    Dick,

    Its good to see someone step up and decide to run against Bradshaw in November as the others have noted.

    I also applaud your efforts to try and correct the current situation we have on the southside of Mt. Juliet. Do remember that to correct this situation, as Nathan noted, you will need to the County Commission in order to do so. Yes you would only be one vote at the County Commission, but your only 1 vote at the City Commission. Granted the votes needed to pass anything is 13 at the County and 3 at the City, but you need to sway the other 2 votes on the City to get what you want. There lies the problem.

    Everyone knows the money is there, its getting a group of others to agree to spend it and vote to do it.

  350. Butch Huber

    I 4 One,

    We need to talk.

  351. Nathan Clariday

    I am not disagreeing with you about the “good ol boys” and lack of planning but it is really going to be hard to get all the things you want “now” without raising taxes. Growth nevers pays for the infrastructure it consumes on the front end, it always pays over time if it even pays for itself at all. For example; right now we are spending around 8400.00 per student in this county and that is low compared to other counties surrounding us. SO when you look at Rutland just look at 5.9 million worth of yearly cost to the taxpayers. Plus you have to send a portion to Lebanon Special School for the actual county portion of the budget.

    By the way; where did you move here from?

  352. I 4 One.

    Anybody that wants to may call me at my home – 758-0711.

    Nathan, I do not buy into the “we have no money” mentality in the Govt. The problem is exactly that the county is taking all of the tax revenue it gets from the mall, and not returning the services to the area. If this area continues to develop, we only fall further behind.

    As far as the county elections, I am only supporting the county commissioners that will promise to vote to put fire halls, equipment and manpower in to make our neighborhoods and business areas safe.

    If we elect them and then ask, we get nothing. If we get the promises in advance, we can win.

    In my campaign, I am providing the citizens with tax revenue estimates so that they can see that we send money to the county, and get nothing back.

    My background is business, and I am very good at budgets and expenses. I intend to apply these skills to helping managing the city.

    I have given the MJ News an interview that will run on Wednesday, so that will more fully explain my position.

    I have lived in Wilson County since 1983, Tn since 1980, and District 4 for a year. I lived on Central Pike for about 20 years, across from Meadows, Moody and John Miles.

    Hope this helps.

    dk

  353. Mr. Kasnick,
    Please do call Butch. His info and insight will help.
    Thank you in advance.

  354. 14One,

    You are the start for a change in this city and especially in District 4. Thank you for having the courage to run against a person (Jim Bradshaw) who has a “NO” answer to the majority of issues!

    It’s time for a positive change, it’s time to resolve the issue of the inadequate “Emergency Services/Fire Protection” in this city! No more talk and a lot more action is required going forward.

    I’ll start with you!

    KP

  355. Paul Deyo

    Ah, the campaigns are heating up already….

    I’m not going to get into the D4 race too much. I ran against Jim in 2002 but ran a distant second because the polling area that included the Villages clobbered me (still came in second there). I narrowly won the two smaller districts but it was nowhere close to enough. Jim polled 45-48 percent overall. The presence of a third (or fourth or fith) candidate always works in the incumbent’s favor as was most recently seen in the last mayoral race. Jim and I get along very well now but there were a couple of years where he was mad at me for running against him.

    It is likely that after the census there will be a reshaping of D4 taking out much of the area north of I-40 so if you are in Gilbert’s district keep that in mind.

    The guy that really needs to go (along with Gilbert or his relative designee) is the county commissioner for the Villages who voted to cut off fire protection to Mt. Juliet. He needs one strong opponent.

    If anyone can convincingly win Del Webb they will likely win the D4 election.

  356. Paul Deyo

    I have read the arguments on fire protection vs school expenses and would not support a city or county candidate that would shortchange either. Wilson County schools and teachers do an excellent job with the resources they are given. Despite recent house fires that were well within response zones, our fire personnel also do a great job with what they have to work with.

    But citizens are already overtaxed. We need to look to those who benefit from the ample land, location, and schools to add to the expenses of Mt. Juliet. Consider fire risk costs, school costs, social costs and infrastructure costs. Developers pay a small impact fee to the city, which should be based on bedrooms rather than square footage. They also pay $3000 to the county. Keep in mind the $8400 per student cost and it is clear longtime citizens are involuntarily supporting developers.

    When we see county commissioners building new jails and million-dollar horse barns in Lebanon, then voting against fire protection for their constituents in Mt. Juliet, we have to wonder why we re-elect these clowns. I am going to support my county commissioner (Fred Weston) because he is on point opposing county wastefulness while taking to the front lines when fire protection for Mt. Juliet was almost compromised by a cabal of petty good ol’ boys. But, as Southsider pointed out, there are districts that are poorly represented by their commissioners.

    I 4 One, the fire protection vs schools argument will probably play well in Del Webb but as a parent of a public school student, it won’t play well with me. The solution is to transfer the cost of waste in Lebanon to both schools and fire protection. And to make developers pay their own way. Any suggestion of reducing support for schools in favor of fire protection will cost you my vote.

  357. I 4 One.

    To respond to Paul Deyo.

    Paul, did I miss something? Where is any debate over funding schools vs safety. I did not start that debate, but I will tell you that I am absolutely for funding of schools. I have the same caveat that waste in the schools should not be tolerated, just the same that waste in any branch of the government should not be tolerated. I am for a business model of government in which economic justification should be made for any expenditure.

    Now, to really set the record straight. I made a donation to Wilson Central and Lebanon High of a pair of greenhouses that cost me over $ 65,000. Yes, the numbers are correct and they were only three years old. I did this in 2004 with no fanfare as it was not about me, just about giving some kids better educational opportunities. I also am a proponent of lifelong learning. My software company (in 1990’s) had the second complete courseware program on the internet to deliver adult education. We sold internet courseware to a who’s who of corporate America when none other existed.

    So, this is not about schools vs safety. It IS ABOUT SCHOOL SAFETY. Most deaths in a fire are caused by smoke inhalation, and fire is not the only hazard in a school. Schools are soft targets, we have earthquakes, tornadoes, mechanical malfunctions, etc. We need emergency response for all of that. THAT IS WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT.

    Also Paul, since you are passionate about schools, why not run for the school board!

    I 4 1 (care).

  358. I 4 One.

    Regarding Del Webb and the schools.

    “vs schools argument will probably play well in Del Webb”

    I wanted to respond to the implication in Pauls blog re: Del Webb and the schools. My interpretation was that because we do not have children in the school system, we would not want to fund schools.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. We (me included) live across the street from Rutland. There is a large and active group of volunteers here that constantly helps the school and its children. Some of the activities that we participate in are: reading mentoring, hosting the Halloween party, providing a huge offering of Christmas gifts, providing bags of school supplies, and any other opportunity that presents itself. Whenever the call goes out from Ms. Kittrell, volunteers line up to help.

    Many of our residents are retired school teachers, (I know a dozen at least) school principals, and district superintendents. I know at least 3 that have PhD’s in Education. We are all parents and grandparents, many with ties to the community and many have grand children in the Wilson Cty system.

    So, I would not want to ever characterize that because we are seniors, we do not care for and support the school system as in my experience, that would be just plain inaccurate.

    I 4 1 Care.

  359. Nathan Clariday

    We all know there is waste in any government system. But there is not 5 million dollars just laying around in a room somewhere. You are going to have to cut it from somewhere. NOw can you make several little cuts to somethings and end up with a considerable amount of money, “yes”. But it will mostly come from schools; because it is about 66% of the budget. County commission has no real control over that budget only the school board does.

    Another point; I want to make is that the county fire department was set up to provide equal coverage over the entire county. MJ receives no better or worse than anybody else in the county( this could be arguable in certain areas). IF the city want more fire coverage they need to come to the table and help pay for it too; not just the county. That is exactly what Lebanon did, but in order to provide more service for an area than you have to pay more taxes.

  360. Southsider

    The money coming to the county from Providence Marketplace, Paddocks, and all the new retail in Mt. Juliet has placed no burden on the school system. No childeren live in these stores.

    Remember, the county gets 100% of the property tax and 50% of the sales tax from this retail and spent no money to recruit it.

    So it is safe to say that there should be growth money available if the county hasn’t squandered it all on horse barns at the fairgrounds.

    The county should want to provide adequate fire protection for this retail – it is their cash cow!

  361. I 4 One.

    To be specific about the current revenue.

    The city is currently receiving $2.8 mm in sales tax.
    The county gets the same $2.8 mm in sales tax.
    The new homes are currently paying about 1.5mm in property tax and the mall is paying 1.0 mm property tax. Add in Lowes and WalMart for .5mm.

    So, add it up (not even including hotel taxes etc) and you get about 8.6 mm in current tax revenue. Now this has all ocurred in the past 3 years. So before that, none of that revenue was collected. What happened to it? It just got absorbed into projects that are in the budget. We should be able to take that revenue and put it to the infrastructure that is needed here in the community. That is why I call it “found money”!

    I project that when all of this is built out, it will amount to about 15mm dollars. Are we going to wait until all of that is spent too before we recognise the needs of the community?

    dk

  362. Nathan Clariday

    1. Has the county squandered money on frivolous ventures; “yes”. I would argue the speedway is probably a bigger boondoggle than the horse barn. We are still on the hook for several million dollars worth of bonds for sewer service and it is exempt from property tax. The Dell building was also exempt on property taxes.

    2. I believe there can be more fire protection in Mount Juliet if the city and county want to work together to get it. It is not going to happen overnight; there will have to be a shift of money from unproductive county ventures to more benificial ones.

    3. There is 9.25% sales tax. 7% goes to the state
    1 1/4% goes to county and 1 1/4% goes to city. By the way, we send out more to the state than we get back.
    3b. They do get 100% of property tax, kinda. The Lebanon Special school district gets a certain percentage of the school budget. So it isn’t quite 100%.
    3c. Did the county provide fire protection for the oulet malls in lebanon, industrial buildings off 109, industrial buildings in lebanon,Walmart, Home depot? These were the “cash cows” before providence and paddocks.

    3d. What do you does your “cash cow” get from the city of Mount Juliet in services compared to the county?

    4. No those buildings do not make children; although the 1000 or so apartments behind them do. It is all about mathmatics. Business and commercial property always pays taxes that support the residential services. Commercial consumes less in services but residential consumes huge amounts. Especially in cities; where you can build house on 1/4 acres lots and 10 ft offsets. While in the county most housing is limited by septic tank drainage. A household of 2 adults and 2 kids in a 200,000 house pay $1215 in property taxes but just children alone contribute ~16000 in cost.

  363. Nathan Clariday

    How many schools did we add in that time?

    Expanded MJHS by about 1000 students, New MJ elementary, Elzie Patton, expanded Rutland, expanded Stoner Creek. So I would guess; between Providence and other building in the west side of the county.

    Special census said our population grew by 4842 people from 2006 to 2008. Which has probably grown even more since 2008. In 2006, about 30% were under age of 18. SO lets just use that to the new additions ~1450. ~1450 x~8400=$12.1 million
    or we could use a more conservative #
    1000 x 8400= 8.4 million
    like I said it is hard for explosive residential growth to ever pay for itself

  364. Nathan Clariday

    Commercial and residential have a symbiotic relationship…..but if you build either one too fast it alway tips the scales

  365. Southsider

    Mr. Clariday,

    The county has the power to tax. And it does. It taxes growth through an Adequate Facilities Tax on every structure built in Wilson County.

    If that tax is too low to pay for growth it should be adjusted until it slows growth or pays for it.

    But Wilson County is not spending money collected for growth on services to support that growth.

    Retail growth has not produced a need for more classrooms. Residential growth certainly has. But the county is pouring retail growth dollars into everything except services to support the retail growth.

    How is that right?

  366. Paul Deyo

    My apologies to I4 and all Del Webb residents who support the schools and city. The last thing I want to do is imply people there aren’t doing their part to contribute to the community and I am well aware of the help given to Rutland. I confess to misinterpreting a January 20th post from I4.

    I will also confess that I voted ‘no’ on the recent wheel tax hike so I shouldn’t even begin to throw stones. My vote represented frustration with the county commission and not a failure to recognize the need for a new LHS. I’m tired of county commissioners repeatedly putting the schools up for ransom after wasting money on other things.

    I4, if you live at Del Webb, aren’t you in Bob ‘Chicken Man’ Neal’s county district rather than Gilbert’s? Either way, one good candidate needs to contest each of those races. I know of someone who is thinking of taking on Gilbert and I hope he runs. Not to dissuade anyone from the D4 race, but you’ll be surprised at what you run into out there. Jim campaigns year-round and has lots of support, some of it passionate.

    After seven years on the Planning Commission, with two as Chairman and four as vice-chairman, plus two years on the Parks Board, the Greenway committee, the Parkland Search Committee and two unsuccessful City Commission runs, I am done with municipal politics in general and elective politics in particular. But the School Board suggestion is appreciated.

  367. Shawn Donovan

    I am both a resident of Providence and a Firefighter. I have been very active in this issue of fire protection as both as resident and as a member of the small group of MJ funded WEMA Volunteers as many know.

    I’ll be the first to say that its good to see the “political” atmosphere beginning in January with races in both the county and city district already making the headlines. As a former candidate for District 4 in 2006, one thing I have learned since is that you will never get any change without both a buy in from the West Wilson County Commissioners and the City Commissioners. If we want real sustaniable change to occur there will need to be a buy in from both sides.

    As a father, I do not see the taking of funds from the schools to pay for fire protection as realistic one and should be scraped. I don’t believe that was I4 one intention though based on what I’m reading or having first hand knowledge living in Providence.

    The issue of fire protection and how we get to the proper level within not only Mt. Juliet but the County as well is going to take a lot of calm heads who can agree to sit down at a table and hammer out a plan. At this table you will need not only “elected” residents, but those who do the job every day. We have a large group of very experienced and educated professionals who work for WEMA and live in our community, we need to listen to the ones who fill the seats of the emergency equipment (fire engines and ambulances)

    I look forward to the upcoming months not only with the fire protection issue, but the campaigns as well…

  368. Nathan Clariday

    I am with you Southsider. I not trying to be combative; just trying to show how we got in the situation we are in. They squandered their growth money; instead of using it for infrastructure. Once they were behind; they never implemented anyway to catch.

    I believe they can have some more fire protection for Providence but it is going to take both the city and county working together to provide it. There is no way the county can do it without the help of the city. Just like MTAS stated, the city should help buy some equipment and the county help provide the staffing. The city could donate the land which they already have plenty of it scattered around and the county could take that 650,000 and build a firehall.

    Mr. Weston and Mr.West tried to raise the impact fees but they were shot down.

    The schools for the longest have gotten a large part of these fees. They added it to their budget then the following year the county would have to pay this new reoccuring amount. This year; some on the county commission stopped this practice. In the headlines; you read that they were taking money away from schools but really they just took half the money that was not ever intened to go to them and put it in the rainy day fund. SO they could fund last years +half growth funds on this years budget.

  369. Shawn Donovan

    Paul,

    The entire Providence development falls in Commissioner Graves area (District 16). Bob Neal covers the area on the north side of Rutland Road. As you noted after the census, the district boundaries should be interesting to see with the population growth.

  370. Butch Huber

    Mr. Clariday,

    Are you suggesting that the city put up the land for the construction of a fire hall, then allow the county to use the $650 k from the enhancement of the reverse L reimbursement to the city to pay for the building? If so, wouldn’t the city really be paying for everything? How is that right?

    The city commission needs to resolve to take up this issue and force a positive change, a fair and equitable solution, and a lasting and durable solution. It isn’t enough to put up a new fire station. We need a comprehensive plan of action that will enable us to take care of our needs today and in the future. This isn’t a simple matter, it is a very, very complex matter that needs to be solved using good sound reasoning. There are many, many variables that need to be considered.

    This issue didn’t spring up overnight, and it won’t be solved overnight. We need to develop a blue ribbon committee to attack this from every angle. No option should be thrown out without being considered. Closed minds rarely ever come to new conclusions. We need people who will creatively look for unique answers.

  371. Paul Deyo

    Shawn,

    You are mostly correct, and certainly Mr. Kasnick is correct. Mr. Neal, who lives on Belinda Parkway, has almost all of the Villages and limited parts of Providence in his district (11). That district extends north all the way to Lebanon Road and I see it and Gilbert’s district (16) as prime candidates for adjustments when they do redistricting. The Benders/Beckwith corridor has added quite a few homes and Providence, well, we know the story there. I didn’t know Rutland was the boundary, thanks for the clarification.

    Saw Jim at my daughter’s basketball game tonight, he makes it to alot of the games and to everything that happens at Charlie Daniels Park.
    Not to mention National Night Out and other events where he is often the lone face of Mt. Juliet government. This is read, I think correctly, as an honest commitment to the people of the city and his district. I covered the arguments for change back in 2002 and won’t do so now. I’ll probably end up back in D3 by Election Day anyway, and if Ed runs again he certainly has my vote.

  372. Shawn Donovan

    Here’s the current district map from the Wilson County website. Just a little old since most of the new development isn’t even shown, so like you mentioned with Providence depends on what part of no mans land on the map as to who your squire is.

    http://www.wilsoncountyplanning.com/pdf/gis/county_commission_district_precinct%20map.pdf

  373. Butch Huber

    Nathan, you really seem to be defending the county. Do you really believe they are equitably distributing tax dollars?

  374. watching the westside

    Might be a good way to start a campaign. Aren’t you running for County Commissioner Mr. Clariday?

  375. Nathan Clariday

    Mr Huber: Do you consider the surrounding population in “Mount Juliet” or just MJ city limits to constitute Mount Juliet? If you consider MJ at 26000 and the county at the old 88,000( which is more likely 100,000+); MJ city limits is about 29% of the population.

    Yes, I am running for D10. Although I am not doing a good job persuading anybody that political rhetoric will not produce viable county cooperation for solving the problems that face our growing county and city. We already have a committee for the county (WEMA committee); if you can get good people on it. This will happen if we elect a county mayor from MJ or let a MJ commissioner be chairman of the county commission.
    I will reiterate; county wide protection protects area (like sq miles) not population density. That is how it was set up. In every other city/county with a high population density, they always make their own fire department…ie…..gallatin, hendersonville, franklin, brentwood, lebanon, murfreesboro…AS far as fire coverage does the west side of wilson county have more coverage than the south or east or north? You have 2 stations in the west(Lakeview & MJ), 2 centrally located (109N and Gladeville) , 1 in lebanon, 1 in watertown, 1 far east of carthage highway and a volunteer in statesville. The system covers areas not population.
    SO if you want a fire dept that covers population then you have 2 options. The city makes their own or you reengineer how the WEMA is set up.

  376. watching the westside

    Thanks Nathan,

    I do believe you meant that if we have a chairman who is from MJ as head of the EMA Committee not the chairman of the County Commission. Actually the current chairman and 4 members of the EMA committee represent West Wilson districts.

    Bill Patton, Chr. (West)
    Bernie Ash
    Frank Bush (West)
    Bob Neal (West)
    Gary Tarpley
    Clint Thomas (West)
    Gilbert Graves (West)

  377. Shawn Donovan

    I have first hand knowledge of the Williamson County Fire Departments, since I work for Franklin Fire Department. There are 4 departments within Williamson County (Franklin, Brentwood, Fairview, and Spring Hill) that are basically city funded departments that do not receive funds from the County and 5 others that do.

    As I have stated before on RFMJ about the issue of city departments that don’t depend on county funding. If a city wants to provide a higher level of service then the county can provide, then its going to take funding from that city to do it plain and simple. Cities around the country have to step and do this in order to provide this higher level of service. Do I believe that the MJ citizens are getting are fair level of services from the county with regards to fire protection for what we pay in taxes NO, but either does Lebanon. Lebanon like the departments mentioned by Nathan all have stepped up and paid for their own departments to acheive a higher level of protection.

  378. Nathan Clariday

    Guess who is chairman of WEMA committee?

    Mr. Bill Patton

  379. Butch Huber

    Mr. Clariday,

    I consider those who live inside the city limits to be those who are citizens of Mt. Juliet. Those who live outside the City of Mt. Juliet, but who live inside the twenty year growth area of the City of Mt. Juliet are “future citizens of this city”.

    There are laws regarding funding of county fire departments. Please read the law. Also, the county is required to have a WEMA that provides services to the entire county. There is ambiguity in the law when you compare one law to another. Some say that there isn’t a law requiring the county or the city establish a fire department, yet the twenty year growth act requires the city to provide a plan of service (other than the county) for public services, including fire protection. How can one read that and not conclude that both the county and the city have a requirement for providing fire protection? The stipulation of “Other than the county” presupposes that the county would have its own fire department. But the law also specifically excludes a requirement that the city have its own Emergency Management Agency (although it recommends it establish one of its own). The question is, what services are required of an Emergency Management Agency?

    All one need do is start reading the laws surrounding the issue of fire protection and emergency management and they will realize how convoluted it all has become.

    On what basis do you come to the conclusion that the county is authorized to provide fire protection on a square mile basis? If the county is providing fire protection on a square mile basis, then how can it justify not providing fire service on any level to certain areas of the county?

    The law allows for two ways to fund the County Fire Department, one is through already shared revenues and the other is through property taxes. The law does not allow for a blend of shared revenues and property taxes, it only authorizes one or the other. If the county is using already shared revenues, then it can provide fire protection to the incorporated areas only through inter-local agreements. If the county is funding the fire department through property taxes is must fund the department on a SITUS basis, which means that it must spend the money on a basis of where it comes from. Granted, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it comes from more populous areas, but it is probable that the higher population centers provide the larger amount of the revenues to the county and therefore should have more enhanced services.

    As a citizen of the county, I would like to see everyone have fire protection services. As a citizen of the city I would like to see adequate, and even superlative, levels of services inside the city limits.

    Mr. Clariday, the ongoing issue is that the county takes in so much money from this city and then doesn’t return that money in the form of enhanced services or even adequate services. It is important that the city of Mt. Juliet determine just where the money is going and where it is coming from and then demand that the county properly distribute funding if the county is wrong, or take appropriate action to provide the needed services if the county is doing things properly. But maintaining status quo is not the answer.

    As far as political rhetoric is concerned, one need not run for political office or even be political to accomplish much. But being active in the community and making your voice heard takes a lot of work. The banter, debate, and postulation that has occurred on this site has actually accomplished quite a bit over the past few years.
    There is a lot to be said for what you are calling “Political rhetoric”. The notion that the only way that a person’s voice counts is if they run for political office is the very thing that has brought this nation to where it is today. We the people are supposed to be in charge, not the politicians. We are the owners of the keys to the country, not the government. The people who run for political office are supposed to do their jobs based on the things that they promised to do in order to get elected. They are supposed to take their marching orders from the people. They are supposed to listen. They typically get into office, forget the voters until election time, and do whatever they want the rest of the time. In the past they have gotten away with that, but today that isn’t going to work very well for them anymore. People have become fed up with politics as usual. I hope you will be different, Mr. Clariday. I hope you will be willing to find the hard answers, such as where is the money really coming from and where is it being spent? I hope there isn’t anything in you that would enable you to believe that it is right for the government to take money from one person to give it to another. That is not the function of government and it is an illegal taking, even though the supreme court doesn’t believe that our money is our property.

    The county has two options, Mr. Clariday, not me. If the county can prove that it can fully fund the fire department through already shared revenues, then it can vote to discontinue services to Mt. Juliet or maintain the current level of services or enhance or decrease services to the level it wants, because they are authorized by law to do so by law. However, if the county cannot prove that it can finance the fire department without using any property taxes or unshared revenues than it has no choice but to establish fire tax districts. But the county still has an obligation under the law to maintain a WEMA regardless of whatever choices it is authorized to make as they are required by law to do so, and the WEMA must be county-wide. The county will not be able to alleviate its financial burdens much, if at all, by not being in an inter-local agreement with the city of Mt. Juliet to provide fire protection, and in fact, it will likely increase its burden if it ever elects to discontinue services here.

    And by the way, if you do include the people who live outside the city of Mt. Juliet, but who live in the twenty year growth area, we most likely collectively account for 2/3rds of all revenue the county takes in from all intra-county sources and we probably make up 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the population.

    Another option that has been discussed in the past, but has been dropped, is to establish a metro government here in Wilson County. A metro Government would really shake things up because then Mt. Juliet becomes the power base of operations for the entire county. If I were on the city commission, and I couldn’t get cooperation in making things equitable in this county, I believe I would start pushing hard to annex the rest of our twenty year growth area as quickly as possible (there are limits as to how quickly you can annex) and I would push for developing a metro government. There is no way that county or any of the other cities could stop it if there was a will on this end of the county to make it happen.

    I would also sponsor a resolution to establish a team of lawyers to attack this issue relentlessly until it is resolved. However, if I were to see that the county and the other cities in this county were willing to sit down and cooperate to come to a reasonable and equitable solution to the issues we face I would be willing to work very, very hard to come to an amicable solution.

    Also, if I were on the city commission, and it could be proven to me that the county is operating correctly and equitably, I would be the first to stand up and take up the cause of establishing a city fire department. I don’t want anything that I don’t deserve, Mr. Clariday, but I do want everything I pay for, isn’t that fair enough?

    The coverage that is provided in this city should not in any way be predicated based on what Lebanon does, which I believe has been the case for many years. The coverage in this city should be predicated on what is right and equitable on the basis of the money that is taken in from this city. The coverage in the twenty year growth area should also be provided on the basis of what comes from those areas. What could be more fair than that? Once we establish what is fair and equitable, if we need even more services, then it make sense that we pay more for those services.

  380. watching the westside

    Thanks Butch, excellent post.

    I think Lebanon is on to something. Go to http://www.lebanondemocrat.com/ and read the “City’s request for info get’s lost in the shuffle” story. This article list in numerical order all the specific requests that the City of Lebanon has asked for from the county with regards to funds. I think we need to get this report for Mt. Juliet as well. Can’t imagine why the County Attorney hasn’t released the information!!! Come to think of it, its this same person that “lost the request” that has recently been costing us taxpayers thousands in dollars in lawsuits because he’s not doing his job. Maybe we need to count the County Attorney as another needed replacement in the county system.

    Yes, your opponent is the current chairperson

  381. Paul Deyo

    Westside, I see that 5 out of 7 County Commissioners are on the WEMA committee are arguably westsiders. What I don’t see are four commissioners who ‘represent west Wilson districts’. I see four commissioners who live in west Wilson districts.

    I think Mssrs Thomas and Bush are relatively new and I’ve heard Frank Bush does a good job. But ‘Chicken Man’ Neal and Gilbert Graves voted to cut off fire protection entirely for Mt. Juliet and Bill Patton sat on his hands and abstained. So we may have more County Commissioners next session but they may not represent the citizens of Mt. Juliet. One potential (and potentially strong) candidate from the north side of town has already said in the past that the city should pay for its own department. But I seriously doubt that person would vote to cut off fire protection like those two clowns who thought nobody was looking. We’re looking now, and everyone needs to look-and vote!

  382. Southsider

    West Wilson County has had plenty of bad representation on the County Commission.

    Gilbert Graves has been talking his buddies into voting against Mt. Juliet for decades.

  383. Nathan Clariday

    It will be interesting to see what that Lebanon request will show. I don’t think it will be accurate though. They probably won’t separate actual city limit calls vs. just area calls in each fire station’s zone.
    They same will apply to other figures such as schools, road, ……city vs. west wilson county

  384. watching the westside

    I agree with that. I’m sure someone from the City of Lebanon will be spending some time breaking down each report if the county actuall give them an address on each call that came out of station 1.

    Mt. Juliet needs to do the same thing to get an accurate picture as well, but either way you look at it WEMA has more equipment located physically inside the city limits of Lebanon with Station 1. In addition Lebanon Fire doesn’t do any type of medical calls or rescue I do believe, so that will be another breakdown. In general the City of Lebanon gets two ambulances and a rescue that stays pretty busy within the city limits of Lebanon. Not 3 million dollars worth of busy (Lebanon’s Fire Budget).

  385. MJ resident

    Anybody see the chronicle. The city wants to spend 2 million on another park instead of fire for its citizens.

  386. Southsider

    Mt. Juliet residents currently pay plenty of county taxes. Enough taxes to pay for adequate fire protection through the existing WEMA system.

    I cannot get over how some people are very willing to be double-taxed for the same service.

  387. watching the westside

    Southsider I wouldn’t say very willing. It calling looking at reality of the situation.

    Thanks MJ resident for posting that. Looks the Sellars is up to his norm, saying “I’m for fixing the fire protection issue” then says he wants to spend millions for property to build some walking trails. I think he needs to be “walked out” with Bradshaw in November. Needs some politicians aka “commissioners” who are going to accomplish something, not wait for others to do the work then show up for pictures!!

  388. Butch Huber

    I am not for government owned parks. I just think the government needs to stay out of our lives and let us take care of ourselves and each other. That having been said, the Baltz property may make an awful lot of sense. The city needs to have a right-of-way, the city has a deal on the table from the Church that wants to purchase the park over in the Providence area for $2 million with the promise of use for the city for ten years, I mean, if they are going to be in the park business, how do you go wrong with this deal? I would have to know all of the particulars, but it seems like a great deal to me. The city should let the YMCA take care of itself, and the city should take the deal on the Baltz property and Mundy (Sp?) park. Of course, they could also use that money to build a fire station or two, but only, in my opinion, if they take the county to task over spending in this county at the same time.

  389. Kevin Pendergraft

    If our city officials follow through with another park purchase/enhancement before enhancing our fire protection – we need to remember who they are and vote them out of office!

    The city needs to revisit the offer to sell Mundy Park to Hermitage Baptist Church and follow through on this opportunity and use the proceeds of this sale to fund a new fire station on the land which was donated and set aside by CPS Land Development.

    KP

  390. Southsider

    I agree the city should sell Munday Park.

    But Mt. Juliet taxpayers should not be double-taxed for fire service.

    The county will have the city building schools next.

  391. watching the westside

    What I keep reading about the possibility of selling “our” park land in order to buy another piece of park land is troubling to me. I would like to know from those who are all for selling Mundy for funds, do you even play softball or go to the park?

    Now selling it and getting the funds to build a station is the logically thing to do, but I don’t see that as likely not with the current City Commission.

    I do agree with Mr. Pendergraft that whoever votes to sell the park land and then bypasses working to solve this issue of EMS and Fire Protection to buy more trees, should be voted out!!

  392. Butch Huber

    The city isn’t in the fire fighting business. The county is in the fire fighting business. The state needs to remove the provision in the law that allows the county to pay for fire protection through already shared revenues. I do not believe the county really can fund the fire department through already shared revenues, but they continue to act like that is how it is funded. If they state removes that provision the county has to, by law, fund the fire department through fire tax districts, which means we pay for what we get through property taxes, and the money is spent from where it is collected. That would give us the kind of fire protection you and I would like to see. The city could then spend the money it takes in from the sale of its park and spend it on developing a better park, perhaps including softball and baseball fields. Additionally, we don’t lose the use of the ball fields at Mundy Park for 10 years.

    We need to come to terms with what we are really facing here.

  393. Kevin Pendergraft

    The only reservation I have about selling Mundy Mememorial Park is that it is in memory of Ofc. Mundy. Having said that, selling the park to the church would save all of us tax dollars that those savings if managed properly can be used to enhance fire/ems services. The park will hopefully will still be a tribute to Ofc. Mundy. I am all for baseball, city parks, etc., but with a City that has inadequate Fire Services – this is where the focus needs to be. I agree with Mr. Huber that the city is not in the Fire Fighting that is evident with the current services. Having said that, the City needs to be in the Fire Business because that is an obligation they have to us when it was decided to incorporate. KP

  394. Southsider

    Well put, Mr. Huber.

    Special interest groups can persuade governments to do strange things – even to double- tax constituents for existing services.

    Like it or not, Wilson County residents are taxed to pay for a countywide fire protection service. The chance of forcing Mt. Juliet to duplicate this service through political pressure has given the county every incentive to do nothing more here.

    I hear the argument that this issue is too important not to fix by the City of Mt. Juliet. That is true. But charging Mt. Juliet citizens twice for fire service will not fix this problem. It would make it much worse.

    Lets reverse this political pressure by educating our citizens. There are incumbent county commissioners from west Wilson County who continuously vote against providing a higher level of fire protection service here.

    They should all be unelected in August.

  395. Watching the Westside

    I’ll take that opinion Butch since the city contracts these services to the County by contract regardless of what state law is.

    Answer me this, why should I as a resident want to push the City Commission to sell Mundy and then by another park when what we receive in services for “buying Mt. Juliet” is almost nothing at the current. In addition, why do I want to push to spend funds on parks that we could use to increase our level of services when we have two lakes and a state park within a 20 min drive.

    Butch I see your point that the county is in the fire and EMS business, but isn’t that the same as police protection. Explain to me, both Butch and Southsider, that I never hear the call from you to disband the MJPD and just go with straight Sheriffs Dept coverage? Don’t I get double dipped for that as well? If you don’t want to stand up for the city to work to get better fire protection/ems because of this double dipping theory it should work for the men in “blue” as well don’t you think. Am I asking for the MJPD to disband NO, but the one’s tasked at fire protection and ems should be given the same priority don’t you think?

  396. Southsider

    Mt. Juliet does have county police services – the jail, court system, and Sheriff’s Department.

    The Police Department in Mt. Juliet enhances police protection in the 20 square mile area inside the city limits. The retail created in Mt. Juliet requires more police and the retail sale tax money pays for it.

    The retail sale tax dollars generated to the county are exactly the same yet the county cannot enhance even one service? Please don’t say that all the county retail money must go to schools because those department stores do not generate any students.

    If the county gives back the property tax dollars spent on fire protection in Mt. Juliet, then I might be inclined to consider using it to fund the service at the City level. Do you think that is likely? The county wants:

    “Your money for nothing and your chicks for free” – apologies to Mark Knoffler

  397. watching the westside

    Southsider.. the same can be said for fire protection and ems coverage and we have a lot more target hazards and needs then PD in the southside.

    Its the same topic, just the City wants to fund PD to enhance there coverage (which is understaffed too). Your going to tell me one ambulance for the total population of MJ and the county area that the one station covers is adequate, with the Planning Commission adding more senior housing and more multi-family over the years.

    The overall emphasis on emergency services is sad with all entities. The county just doesn’t care for their emergency workers very much.

  398. Butch Huber

    Watching the Westside,

    I am not certain, and I don’t have the time right now to look it up to be absolutely certain, but I do believe that the city is required by law to provide police protection, however, the only area that I can find that the city is required to do anything in regard to fire protection is to provide a plan of services, including fire protection (other than the county), for the areas of the county that the city annexes under the 20 year growth act.

    Now, the provision in the law requiring the city to provide a plan of services, including fire protection (other than the county) sets up what is in my opinion, a violation of the equal protection clause.

    But it does something else as well. A reasonable person would have to conclude, reading the laws associated with the 20 year growth act, that if the city is required to provide a plan of services, including fire protection (other than the county) then the county must have an obligation to provide fire protection. How can the plan of services be (other than the county) if the county were not required to be in the fire protection business in the first place.

    The reason I am telling you this is because there are some who have been claiming that the county is not required to have a fire department at all. It would seem that the people who take that position are right, except for the language of the 20 year growth act and except for the requirement in the law that the county establish an emergency management agency. There doesn’t seem to be specific language that spells out exactly what an emergency management agency must include, but a reasonable person theory, based on all of the associated laws and regulations, and based on grant requirements at the state and federal level, and based on homeland security requirements and mandates, would suggest that the county does in fact have an obligation to provide fire protection within its emergency management framework. However, the cities of the State of Tennessee are specifically excluded from such requirements (although it is recommended that they too establish emergency management agencies as well).

    You shouldn’t, in my opinion, push the city to sell Mundy Park to purchase another park. You should push the city to establish non-profit foundations or corporations to manage and control the parks for the benefit of the people of Mt. Juliet and then turn the parks over to the non-profits and get out of the parks and recreation business altogether. You should also push the county and the state to disestablish all public schools and turn them over to private industry (sell the land and buildings to private industry) and get out of the indoctrination..er, um, “Education” business. Then push for the government to get out of every other area of our lives they don’t absolutely need to be involved with as well. But if you won’t push for those things, then push for what simply makes sense.

    Asking the city to sell the parks in order to build fire stations and buy equipment is kind of non-sequitur. The city would then be selling an asset in order to fund something we are already paying for through a different source, but are not receiving. That would be like selling your car to buy electricity that you are already paying for, but that the electric company is not providing to you.

    If you live in Mt. Juliet, you are paying for adequate fire protection already. I will say that again for emphasis. If you live in Mt. Juliet, you are already paying for adequate fire protection already. The problem isn’t that you aren’t paying enough money for adequate fire protection, the problem is that the city leaders are allowing the county to get away with spending our money that it takes in from us to pay for things that we don’t receive. I believe we are being grossly shortchanged in Mt. Juliet, and I think it is high-time the city did something about it. Even Lebanon, as misguided as they are sometimes, is jumping on the county’s back right now. I think they are doing what they are doing as a jab at Mt. Juliet because we refuse to get caught in the same trap that Lebanon is in, but at least they are digging in for the truth.

    I believe it is time for the city to push for fire tax districts, and reasonable fire tax districts at that. Fire tax districts, properly designed, would provide everyone with essentially the level of services for which they pay.

    If you want to fix this problem, push for our state legislators to amend the current laws to remove the provision of the counties to fund fire department with already shared revenues and so that the law requires in very clear language that counties are required to provide fire protection services to unincorporated areas of the county and that incorporated areas of the county are required to either provide for fire protection and other emergency services either directly or through inter-local agreements. Then, have rating organizations rate the level of services being provided throughout the state. All governments at this point, as much as I hate to say it, must provide adequate emergency services, including fire protection, due to the threat of natural disaster or through man-made disaster or terrorist attacks. We need a support system that is capable of providing protection and aid to all threats (within reason).

    I think the game has changed, and the state of tennessee must change with it. Life will never be the same in this country after 9/11, and we need to respond to the treats against us rationally, but also with seriousness.

    Katrina showed us that nature can be unforgiving and devastating. We deal with tornados in this area every year. There is the treat of flood from broken or failed dams. There are a lot of things that we simply are not prepared for in this county. Our schools and child care centers are soft targets for terrorists, yet we are woefully under prepared to deal with attacks.

    I applaud your desire to enhance services. I believe you are on the right track, but that you have boarded the wrong train.

  399. Nathan Clariday

    Katrina showed us if you rely on government to solve your problems; it will be mismanaged, overspent and never complete.

  400. Paul Deyo

    I use Mundy Park since they installed the disc golf course. Aside from the sounds of nature provided by semis whizzing by on I-40, the park is very quiet. On the three warm, nice weekend days when I was there, I saw a total of six people. And four of them, using the soccer field, were from out of county. I found that out when I asked where the disc golf course was.

    Selling Mundy is a no-brainer. I think buying the Baltz farm is too. While Butch and I may disagree on the specifics of whether parks are a function of government, we came to the same conclusion here.

    As was stated here, fire protection is a county responsibility. We can do what Lebanon did and pay twice for coverage and have high property taxes, or we can vote out the deadwood on the County Commission. I prefer to follow the latter route.

    Fire tax districts do make sense but the county would have to approve that to make it happen.

  401. Shawn Donovan

    What exactly needs to happen to get fire districts in place? I’m sure you would need the approval of the County Commission to get a committee together to work on the specifics, but what exactly in the process that is required

  402. Paul Deyo

    I don’t have any specifics or a plan but I would imagine that a Mt. Juliet area County Commissioner would be responsible for presenting a viable plan for doing so to the Commission as a whole. This plan could be formulated with input from virtually anyone or any group, in or out of county government. I think it would have to go through the committee of westsiders who vote against their constituents so changing the makeup of that group might have to be a first step.

  403. Butch Huber

    Enacting fire tax districts is as simple and easy as proving that the county cannot possibly fund WEMA, or the county fire department if it is somehow separate from WEMA, using already shared revenues. If they are using property taxes to fund fire protection the county commission has no choice but to establish fire tax districts. They don’t need to vote on it, the city commission doesn’t have to put a plan together to present to the county, the county must by law enact fire tax districts.

    I seriously doubt the county can pay for the cost of fire protection in Wilson County without using property taxes, and if I am correct, it then requires that a citizen or public official or group of people or officials to demand that the county properly fund fire tax districts. If they then refuse they can be taken to court and forced to make the shift. I do believe that the plaintiff/s would have a right to be reimbursed their expenses for bringing the case.

  404. Nathan Clariday

    You are correct on the fire tax district in that the county is required to make them. However it doesn’t specify how many you make or what it does besides the fact that the area included in the tax district support the fire station. …..The county made one district, the entire county. This is what I have been trying to tell you. It only covers area not populations, because there is one fire tax district….the whole county.

  405. Nathan Clariday

    I don’t dispute whether you believe it is right or wrong; just that is what has been done.

  406. Shawn Donovan

    That’s one way to be in compliance of the law. Just one big district, broken into 8 sub-districts (8 stations)

  407. Paul Deyo

    Mr. Clariday, I see that you posted this same fact some time ago. I can see the wisdom of even spacing of facilities in terms of response time but the staffing levels should certainly be different. Is that already the case? If not, that needs to be addressed.

  408. Butch Huber

    Nathan,

    Have you actually read the laws regarding fire departments? Read them, then tell me what you think.

  409. MJ resident

    Paul,
    To your question, I think the even distribution of services among stations allows them to stay in compliance. If they provide some stations with more staff then that would alter the service. Thus a true fire tax district would have to be formed because that station gets more service than any other, so their taxes would have to be more for that area. Right now if some people wanted to complain in southern wilson county; they probably have a legitimate claim. However; these individuals tend to be more individualist.

  410. Nathan Clariday

    I am not trying to say that what they have done is right. I am just saying that is how it has been established. It provides an equal level across the county not favoring one specific area. Now in Mount Juliet, we view this is inadequate while people in rural parts of the county see it as adequate.

  411. Nathan Clariday

    Butch,
    I have read through the laws. I am no lawyer. It states there are 2 ways to pay for fire protection.

    1) by (1) or more firetax districts or…..
    2) general revenue that only includes nonincorporated areas and doesn’t provide to incorporated areas unless an interlocal agreement is in place

    The laws do not set a minimum staff or stations per person or area. I have not seen where it defines “adequate fire protection”; your definition and my definition are going to be different. This has been left to each municipality to figure out for themselves. So until MJ and the county get together to figure it out, this problem will not be solved.

  412. Butch Huber

    Nathan,

    There is simply no way that the County could possibly be in compliance with the law regarding fire protection.

    How could the county be providing the same level of protection to all citizens living inside the unincorporated areas of the county when many people are not even covered by fire protection at all?

    I agree that the county and Mt. Juliet need to get together and work this all out together, but Lebanon and Watertown need to included in that conference. That is why I suggested a county congress.

    No matter which way you cut it, someone is being taxed and is not receiving the benefits and services for which they are being taxed.

    I am okay with paying a higher property tax if the county would establish reasonable and proper fire tax districts and provide fire protection at adequate levels in this area, as long as my money isn’t being spent somewhere else in the county. Heck, I am not even that tight. I might even buy-off on a plan that might even use some of my taxes to provide fire protection to other areas of the county if the end result was greater efficiency and effectiveness for all. But to take my money, or money from this city, and not maintain acceptable levels of coverage is a complete sham.

    There may or may not be laws regarding what constitutes “adequate protection”, but there certainly are standards of service that can be used. In fact, there is an organization that the city could hire that would investigate and research the city and provide them with a report of what would constitute adequate protection.

    There is a whole lot more to this issue than first meets the eye. If you really delve into it, you could see that there is a tremendous amount of resources that can be put into play on this issue that nobody has mentioned in any article or any statement that I have seen as of yet.

    The solution to the mess we are in may require the state legislature to take it over and fix it for us. They have the power to make the necessary changes to law and enact laws and policy that would solve everything. My guess is that it will actually take state legislation to fix it because there are too many special interests and political agendas in Wilson County.

  413. Nathan Clariday

    Not to be cynical; Butch. But I haven’t seen the state fix anything.

    What do you consider “adequate”? A station on every corner or iso rating of 3 or 4?

    If you are okay with tax increases then I am sure alot of Lebanon people will be willing to raise your taxes for you.

  414. Southsider

    My guess is that there are many examples of financial abuse in Wilson County.

    The Finance Director is probably no better with money than he is with personnel.

    He admitted that he is violating county rules by employing his own granddaughter –DURING A COUNTY COMMISSION MEETING!

    There is no telling how many millions will be squandered settling personnel related lawsuits in his department alone.

    Wilson County needs a lot of new people in government.

  415. wathchin the westside

    Nathan and MJ resident,

    If you think that all the stations have the same level of coverage you may want to take a “sunday drive” around to each WEMA station because that is not accurate. If you start out at Station 1 you’ll see they have 2 ambulance, 1 rescue truck, 1 engine, and tanker truck and continue to count heads as you go. Nobody has more fireman on duty then Station 1 even with Lebanon having its own fire dept. If you go to the Stations in MJ, Lakeview, and Gladeville you will count four heads (still half of the staff at Sta 1). The number goes to 2 at the remaining stations and Station 7 is all volunteer.

    So to play this “everyone” has equal protection isn’t even close to correct. They may have a building with two doors but the number of firefighters should be the focus

  416. Using the latest estimates to be found, Wilson County population is @ 112,000 citizens. Lebanon has @24,000 of those living within its city limits, leaving @ 88,000 thru out the county in MJ, Gladeville, Watertown, Statesville, Laguardo, Lakeview, etc. On the average, daily, WEMA deploys 26 employees thru out the county. This group is made up of paid staff full time firefighter/emt’s providing fire protection for all of the county except Lebanon and emergency medical services for all of the county including Lebanon. That’s 26 dedicated professionals providing fire coverage for @88,000 citizens and ems coverage for @112,000 citizens. When you consider the idea of equal protection, please also consider the idea of adequate protection.

  417. Butch Huber

    Nathan,

    are you actually offering any solutions? Do you live inside the city limits of Mt. Juliet, or do you live in the unincorporated areas of the county?

    Adequate protection is something that should be decided by a nationally recognized fire safety organization, not by me or by you. I may look it up for you, but there is just such an organization that the city could, and should, hire to conduct this analysis.

    Nathan, I do not believe that government is fatally, eternally, and hopelessly flawed in America, in the State of Tennessee, in Wilson County, or in Mt. Juliet. I do believe that the state can make a positive difference in Wilson County if they have the will to do so. If I did not have that belief then I would support a state revolution that would radically change the political landscape in this state. I do believe the state can fix this, and that they can fix it by rewriting the laws that were so craftily written in the first place. They were craftily written so that, in my opinion, Wilson County and/or Lebanon could take yet one more jab at Mt. Juliet.

    What do you propose to fix this if you are elected?

    I believe the City of Mt. Juliet needs to do several things.

    1) Hire an outside organization to assess the need for fire protection and emergency services inside of Mt. Juliet. The assessment should include three levels of recommendation, minimally adequate, medium, and optimal protection. The assessment should also take into consideration the ISO rating and the effect on home insurance rates. If we can develop our own fire department and reduce our insurance rates sufficiently to pay for the development, then why not just do it?

    2) Hire attorney’s to investigate the county’s handling of funds concerning WEMA. The goal should be to determine if they can legally fund, and are legally funding, WEMA, or I guess more specifically, the County-wide Fire Department, without using unshared revenues. If the county cannot fund the County-wide Fire Department without using unshared revenues, then the city should sue the county in court to force them to establish fire tax districts and a fire tax in Wilson County. This would force the county to actually tax people on a SITUS basis, and the city would be able to have its own fire department without being double taxed for the same service (Service that it really isn’t getting now on an adequate level.)

    3) The city should have a competent lawyer draft an omnibus bill for the state legislature that rewrites the laws concerning fire department funding to eliminate the ability of Wilson County to get away with taxing people in one area to provide fire protection to people in another area, and that forces the county to provide fire protection and emergency services to all of its inhabitants to established standards of adequate protection. Originally I was not a proponent of such measures, but considering that life as we know it has changed due to terrorism, and considering the things that we have seen with natural disasters, I have changed my position and I now believe that the government does have a duty and responsibility in this area and that it should take that responsibility very seriously.

    4) The city of Mt. Juliet should establish a non-profit funding organization that citizens can contribute to in order to raise funds for the establishment of a new fire department in Mt. Juliet. The City should have as its aim not only to provide “Adequate protect”, but rather “exemplary protection” on such a level that it becomes a marketable attribute of our community. The city should place contribution sites all around Mt. Juliet, in every store that will allow it and in every other place that will allow it. It should develop a full-fledged campaign to develop its own fire department. They should do this, but they must ensure that we are not double taxed at the same time. The biggest thing for me, other than the need to have superior service, (I will try to abandon the term “Adequate service”, because that isn’t actually what I want.) is to ensure that I get what I pay for.

    5) The city should work to see if there is federal grant money available under Homeland Security or other federal agencies to help fund the new development in the City. The state receives money from Homeland Security, and it should distribute that money to the Counties and the cities. I don’t believe in the federal government taking money from everyone and then distributing it to some, but they are doing it anyway, and if they are going to do it anyway, I want the money to come to Mt. Juliet.

    In other words, Nathan, I want the city to launch a full frontal assault on this issue and win for those of us who live inside the city limits of Mt. Juliet. A win for Mt. Juliet is a win for everyone, because it sets things right, and when things are set right everyone ultimately wins, because right is right.

  418. Butch Huber

    Nathan,

    I have asked you some questions, but have not heard back with a response.

    What are you offering in the way of solutions? Do you live inside the city limits of Mt. Juliet? What would you do to fix this situation if you are elected?

    Butch

  419. Nathan Clariday

    I actually live in the county, off tanglewood drive.
    I haven’t answered in awhile because I don’t believe you want to hear what I have to say. Because there is what people want to hear, what people want to believe, there is everything else, then the truth.
    I know you want to hear, we can build several fire stations, fire trucks, and ambulances because all the money we send to the county. Let us dissect this.
    Finance office
    Lebanon sales tax 1.4 mill and mount Juliet 1.36 mill
    This info is from prop. Assessor
    Lebanon assess prop. Value= 810million =~19.7 mill property tax
    Mount Juliet assess prop value= 618mill=~15mill prop tax
    county outside these two cities=1396mill=~33.2mil prop tax
    So there is roughly the same amount sales tax, but a bit of difference in property tax. The only way you are going to fairly tax is to tax based on people’s consumption of an actual product. The most logical thing would be to set up fire tax districts that allow the people that live in the certain areas to get the fire protection; they believe they deserve. There is waste that can be gotten rid of and streamlined, but not enough to provide mount Juliet with all the items that have been mentioned on this website before.
    It ultimately boils down on philosophical difference basically agrarian vs. urban mindset. Agrarian want minimal government because for the most part they handle their own problems. Urban want the government to provide every service. So if urban areas want these services; they are going to have to be willing to pay for them.
    Another problem is the constant inflation of money supply in this country. This has accelerated in the last several years. Our country is experiencing the first stages of inflation, which is where prices increase without an equal increase in wages. So everybody feels they pay enough taxes but the tax revenue that is raised is no longer sufficient to meet the service demands at the newer prices. This is also one of the reasons for this countries healthcare woes and is exactly why insurance plans won’t solve anything.

  420. Nathan Clariday

    To be honest butch, I don’t see anything in your checklist that isn’t going:

    (1) cost more money; which is fine if that is what you want

    (2) cause more east/west aggression

    (3) cause MJ antimosity

  421. Southsider

    Yeah, but in Wilson County the urban is subsidizing the rural.

    Fire tax districts solve that problem.

  422. Butch Huber

    Nathan,

    Thank you for answering.

    Do I want to hear what you have to say? Yes. Do I have to agree with you in order to want to hear what you have to say? “No”. I don’t have to agree with you to value your input.

    Right now, the only figure that matters is “Sales Taxes”. Again, if you read the laws regarding fire protection funding, you will see that, under our current funding model, the only thing that counts is sales taxes, because if property taxes are being used the county has no legal choice other than establishing a fire tax and basing the fire tax on a situs basis rather than have one county-wide (Unincorporated areas only) fire district, which is what we have now. The only reason the county is involved with fire protection in Mt. Juliet is because the county entered into an inter-local agreement with the city because it was, and is, in the county’s best interests to do so.

    Now, as for the amount of fire protection we have in Mt. Juliet, that is for the citizens of this city to decide, not people who live outside the city. What we want is to have the money that is being taken from Mt Juliet to be spent on Mt. Juliet. There is no way that the county can fund fire protection through already shared revenues, therefore it must, if I am right, establish a fire tax, and it must in turn spend that money in relation to where it is collected from.

    Here is something to ponder, and if you are truly being fair this will impact you. According to your numbers, the city of Mt. Juliet is developing almost exactly the same level of sales taxes as Lebanon, yet Lebanon is three times as large as Mt. Juliet. If the county were to say, “well, we are collecting the same amount of money from Mt. Juliet as we are collecting from Lebanon, so we should spend the same amount of money on Mt. Juliet’s fire protection as we spend in Lebanon, we would have enhanced protection right away. Look at the size of station 1 compared to station 3. Look at the difference in spending on station 1 as compared to station 3. There is no way that anyone can convince me that Mt. Juliet isn’t getting the short end of the stick.

    Now, if we were to have enhanced fire protection in this area, ostensibly our homeowner’s insurance rates would be reduced. We could further enhance services with the money that we save on insurance rates and we could raise the money for the enhancements through raised property tax rates in the city; raised essentially the same amount as the savings on insurance.

    Even if our insurance rates didn’t go down, I would be willing to pay a little more in taxes to fund more enhanced services in the city as long as I am not being double taxed for the same service.

    Perhaps it will cause more east/west aggression, but if it does it does. If the only way for me to be friends with someone is to pay them off, we won’t be friends.

    Perhaps it will cause MJ animosity, but if it does it does. I can’t make decisions for me and my family based on whether someone else will like me. What is right for Mt. Juliet is right for Mt. Juliet, what is right to the county is right for the county, and what is right for lebanon is right for lebanon, but what is right for all is for all to follow the law, and if they don’t like the law they are welcome to try to change it.

    You still aren’t offering solutions, Nathan. I suspected that you didn’t live inside the city limits of Mt Juliet by the position you are taking.

    Can’t you see that those who live in Mt. Juliet are subsidizing fire protection for those who live in the unincorporated areas of the county? Lebanon can see that they are subsidizing fire protection for others, they just blame Mt Juliet instead of the county.

    This city puts way more into the county than the county puts into the city. Don’t you find that to be wrong? If not, isn’t that because you live in the county, and not in the city? Honestly? Really?

    In your post you are saying basically that I, and people who think like I think, believe what we want to believe and think what we want to think, but we are wrong. Prove it. Prove me wrong.

    I would be glad to debate you on this point, either on here or anywhere else. You bring your evidence to share and I will bring mine. If you can prove me wrong, I will admit I am wrong, but if you are wrong you admit it.

    But at the end of the day, you have to remember, what I want is clear, accurate numbers and irrefutable proof that the county is only using already shared revenue to fund fire protection, and
    if they can prove that they are properly funding fire protection I am willing to concede that the county has a right to fund fire protection in the manner it is currently funding it. However, if they aren’t funding it according to the law, then they have to change.

    Again, I will ask the question, “Would you want to pay for the same cart of groceries twice?” If you answer, “No”, then you are on my side. If you answer, “Yes”, then there is no longer any use to us discussing things because you are either being irrationally or obstinate and I can argue with either.

  423. Nathan Clariday

    I never said you were wrong, there is subjective material that you are brandishing as objective.

    Right now, the only figure that matters is “Sales Taxes”. Again, if you read the laws regarding fire protection funding, you will see that, under our current funding model, the only thing that counts is sales taxes, because if property taxes are being used the county has no legal choice other than establishing a fire tax and basing the fire tax on a situs basis rather than have one county-wide (Unincorporated areas only) fire district, which is what we have now. The only reason the county is involved with fire protection in Mt. Juliet is because the county entered into an inter-local agreement with the city because it was, and is, in the county’s best interests to do so.

    (1) Sales tax has nothing to do with fire protection in the county. Sales tax goes to fund elementary school bonds which, if you look Mount Juliet has more than their fair share. Only property tax goes to fund WEMA. Now whether this will be determined illegal I have no idea. There is one tax district and everybody funds it equally for equal protection across the county as an area not population based. As far as ISO ratings go, I am not sure if population density actually matters in its calculation. My understanding; it deals with distances from fire station, hydrants and a few other things.
    (2) For it to save on your insurance you will have to drop from ISO 5 to 4 in the city. In order to do that you will probably have to build 2 new stations. One with a ladder and pumper and another fire truck. Probably add 2 to 3 ambulances. Which probably means about 3 million for stations, 2 million in used fire trucks and another 600,000 in ambulances; not to mention about 1.5 million to 2 million to man these 2 stations per year.
    (3) You seem to be really against the county. You really don’t pay that much for WEMA services about $100 or so per year. Most your tax money goes to the school system. If you have a problem with coverage in the city…..than it seems like common sense for you to be mad at the city not the county. IF the city would stop the inter-local agreement than the city could do whatever it wanted for fire protection and not be taxed by the county. Whether it was a county fire tax district or a city property tax it would be the same thing. Now it would be cheaper to let the county have it so that it wouldn’t duplicate administrative positions.

    Again, I will ask the question, “Would you want to pay for the same cart of groceries twice?” If you answer, “No”, then you are on my side. If you answer, “Yes”, then there is no longer any use to us discussing things because you are either being irrationally or obstinate and I can argue with either.

    (1)Of course the answer is “no”. However I don’t believe in duplicating services and not paying for services I don’t use. So why does the city of MJ pay for the sheriff budget out of their taxes when the sheriff doesn’t cover the city, road deparment……etc. So if MJ wants to refund me the amount I pay in taxes to send their kids to school then fine I will pay for my fire protection. Just think you send 12 million or more to the city and what do you get for it….not much.
    I own a business in Mount Juliet city limits and I guarantee I pay more property tax on it then you ever will on your house. So don’t tell me I don’t have a dog in a fight.

    Butch, you go to plenty of city meetings but I reccomend you brings these issues to your county commissioner and go to the county meetings

  424. Butch Huber

    Nathan,

    The county is funding the fire department through the option that enables it to fund the fire department through already shared revenues….sales taxes. That is why the only thing that matters is sales taxes. I don’t think you are listening. If the county is funding fire protection through property taxes, it must, has to, is obligated, is legally bound, is mandated, is forced by law, is required, to establish fire tax districts and establish a fire tax. A fire tax would be collected on a situs basis, meaning from narrowly defined areas, and would be spent in the area from which it is collected.

    Establishing fire taxes would mean that there would be significantly more money to spend on fire protection in Mt. Juliet. Think about it. Think about the amount of money per square mile that is collected from Mt. Juliet. Using your figures above, the city of Mt. Juliet has a property value of 618 million. There are only 20 square miles inside the city limits. That means that the property value inside the city of Mt. Juliet is about 30 million dollars per square mile. If the county were to level a fire tax, and taxed everyone at the same percentage of property value, the city of Mt. Juliet would have more money being spent here than anywhere else in the entire county. We could elect to add to that amount to enhance services even further. We could easily have the best fire protection in the entire county, and perhaps anywhere in Tennessee.

    It would actually be an interesting exercise to find out where we stand as a city in regard to property value per square mile as compared to the rest of the state.

    I don’t have it out for the county, I actually like the county. Everyone I have dealt with at the county level has been more than kind. They are simply wrong on this issue and they won’t change it.

    I knew the county was spending nearly all, or all, of the sales taxes on schools, that is the whole point. They cannot operate the way that they are operating and keep it legal. Any citizen of this city could file suit in court over this and they would win hands down. I am for the County managing fire protection, it just doesn’t seem as though they are going to ever do it properly and equitably, so it must ultimately be taken out of their hands.

    The problem that exists with some of those who live inside unincorporated Wilson County is that they want for us to pay for fire protection twice. They want us to fund the County Fire protection agency through our property taxes, yet they don’t want to provide us with the level of service we are paying for, and that is the bottom-line of this whole discussion. We are paying for something we aren’t getting, and then others want to take what little we do get away from us while still charging us as if we were getting adequate service. That is insanity!

    As far as schools, Nathan, there is one hundred thousand plus people living in this county, 25,000 of which live inside this city, 75,000 live outside this city, yet there isn’t even one high school inside Mt. Juliet. There are three else where in the county, but not one in Mt Juliet. About half the students that go to what is called Mt. Juliet high school are from Mt. Juliet, some might go to Wilson Central, and the rest are from elsewhere. I am all for shutting down the schools, they could do that tomorrow for all I care.

    Why does everyone who enters into this conversation about fire protection bring schools into the equation? This is a discussion about fire protection and the laws surrounding it. This isn’t about opinions regarding other items. This is a totally separate issue. If you want to discuss schools, let’s discuss schools, if you want to talk about roads, let’s talk about roads, if you want to talk about the sheriff’s department, let’s talk about the sheriff’s department. But this is a discussion about fire protection, and it is separate and distinct from the other issues. This isn’t a matter of opinion, it is a matter of law, and it is a matter of the constitution. The county is taking money from those of us who live in Mt. Juliet, and it is spending it on someone else. That is an illegal taking. It doesn’t get any simpler than that, Nathan. You of all people should agree that it is fundamentally wrong for the government to take money from one person to spend it on another. The county is using its taxing authority illegally and improperly, and this needs to be righted.

    As for your second to the last statement; if you are paying property taxes on a property owned inside Mt. Juliet, then you should be feeling the same way I feel! The conflict you have is that you are on both sides of the fence. Your business is in Mt. Juliet, your home is in the county. You are perhaps double minded on this issue.

    Nathan, read the law regarding establishing and funding fire protection. Just scroll up, it is in this thread. Take the time to read it so that you are properly informed. If you would like to walk through it with me sometime just say so, and we can go through it line by line.

  425. Watchin the Westside

    So anyone want to say were getting equal coverage now!!!

    Hopefully you are not leaving near the station without a paramedic or it being closed all together.

    http://www.wsmv.com/news/22665407/detail.html

  426. Butch Huber

    It is time for the state to define for counties and cities what is considered adequate services. This should be determined by professionals, and then mandated by the state.

    Originally, I didn’t think the government should be involved in fire protection at all. I thought it should be a private organization paid for through donations and or subscriptions and through fundraising operations. Upon further contemplation though, I have changed my mind. This service is too important and to vital to our national, state, and local interests to leave it to chance. Further, the mutual aid issue and the need for cooperation across boundaries necessitates a governmental oversight and control. Because of those reasons, I think it is now important for the government to legislate that all areas of the state have adequate protection against disaster and that aid be available for emergencies.

    In fact, it may be time for the state to take over fire protection completely. Perhaps it is time for a statewide fire protection service much like there are state troopers, except in the case of fire protection the state might need to ensure an adequate level of protection for everyone. Under that scenario, if a local area, county, city, township, wanted additional coverage they could provide it for themselves, but the minimum adequate protection and service would be provided through state organizations.

    There are too many conflicts in the law, too many personal vendettas, too many political agendas, and too much acrimony to leave this in the hands of local politicians.

    For the county to allow WEMA to shut down stations and allow stations to be manned with only two people when they need four or more, is stunningly inept. The county cannot be in compliance with OSHA rules and standards when they do some of the things that they do.

  427. Butch Huber

    Nathan,

    You are running for a seat on the county court, please outline your plan for solving the issue of fire protection inadequacies in Mt. Juliet and the surrounding areas. Please keep in mind, the citizens of Mt. Juliet are also citizens of Wilson County, and they deserve to have their interests represented at the county court.

    I have asked several times now for your plan. Please tell me that you aren’t going to be another person on the county court who just ignores this issue and blames Mt. Juliet. Even if you don’t believe in the county providing Mt. Juliet with fire protection services, you can’t really believe that the surrounding community is being serviced properly, can you?

    If you are not going to fight to get enhanced protection for Mt. Juliet, please tell me how the county is going to provide fire protection to those who live outside Mt. Juliet when Mt. Juliet takes back its fire department. The county can’t seem to afford to fund its fire department now, how will they be able to build another fire station? How will the county be able to afford to defend itself in court?

    Please be sure that you are fully aware of the laws regarding fire protection. This is a very serious issue and you seem not to fully grasp the situation. The county is shutting down fire stations, cutting back on manpower, and we have yet to even come close to adequate protection in this county. Nathan, the reason for this is that the county is pretending to be in compliance with the law regarding funding fire protection. If the county would simply stop trying to take money from those of us who live in this city in order to pay for things for those who live outside this city, they would enact a fire tax, and we would hav