Controversial ‘bathroom bill’ returns to legislature

The controversial transgender bathroom bill, which was pulled by its sponsor last year, has returned to the Tennessee Legislature with a pair of new sponsors.

Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, and Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, sponsored the measure in their respective chambers after fellow Wilson County legislator Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, sponsored similar legislation last year.

Lynn’s bill would have required students in state public schools to use restrooms that align with their gender at birth. Also, local school systems would have been allowed to make any additional accommodations for students.

Under the new bill, students in “public institutions of higher education” would be required to use restrooms and locker room facilities that align with the sex indicated on the student’s original birth certificate.

Lynn pulled her bill last year on a day when several parties swarmed to Capitol Hill to show support on both sides of the bill. More than two-dozen pastors from the Tennessee Pastors Network joined members of the Family Action Council of Tennessee to show support for the bill.

At the same time, transgender high school students Henry Seaton and Jennifer Guenst, who testified against the bill earlier last year, delivered petitions with more than 67,000 signatures from people opposed to the bill. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, nearly 6,000 of the signers self-identified as clergy or people of faith when signing.

The House Education Administration and Planning Committee voted 8-4 to pass the legislation last year after some discussion on issues surrounding the bill. 

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Gov. Bill Haslam expressed concerns about the bill on separate occasions last year. Haslam voiced concerns the bill could endanger federal funding and wanted to leave the issue up to individual school districts.

“Right now we’re handing that on a local basis, and I think they’re dealing it with on an incident-by-incident situation,” Haslam said last year. “I actually trust our teachers and local school boards to figure out how to make those accommodations in those situations.”

Barry, last year, said the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. heard from convention planners who threatened to cancel their Nashville events if the bill became law.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Governor discusses IMPROVE Act

Jake Old • Mt. Juliet News
Gov. Bill Haslam spoke at a town hall meeting Thursday night. He and state Rep. Susan Lynn, who organized the meeting, discussed the proposed IMPROVE Act, which would introduce significant tax cuts and increase the state’s gas tax.

Gov. Bill Haslam was in Wilson County on Thursday for a town hall meeting organized by state Rep. Susan Lynn regarding the proposed IMPROVE Act, which would result in tax cuts and a gas tax increase, and is designed to address issues with transportation funding.

Specifically, the IMPROVE Act would increase the road user fee or gas tax by 7 cents for a gallon of gas and 12 cents for a gallon of diesel, and increases car registration fees by $5 for the average passenger vehicle, which is expected to bring in $278 million in new money for backlogged transportation projects.

Along with the increases are proposed significant tax cuts on food and manufacturing.

According to Lynn, it could possibly include introducing an open container law into the state, which would take away a significant penalty that has to be paid by the state for not having such a law, thus opening up more funds to be distributed in different ways. 

The act also calls for expediting the elimination of the Hall income tax, which is already statutorily required to be eliminated by 2022.

The state’s gas tax was last increased in 1989. Since then, the cost to repair and maintain roads has doubled, and the tax, which is an excise tax — meaning it stays consistent no matter the price of the product — is equivalent to roughly half of what it was almost 30 years ago due to inflation.

“We’re trying to keep up with our roads, and it costs twice as much and we have half as much money now,” Haslam said.

Dozens of community members turned out to hear Haslam and Lynn explain the act. A question-and-answer session was held at the end of the event.

Several people questioned why money from a surplus could not be used rather than increasing the gas tax. Haslam said he did not want to commit surplus money to the road projects because they are too important and the surplus is not guaranteed every year.

“I can go ahead and tell you now, we’re probably not going to have a surplus this next year,” Haslam said. “I’ve spent hours and hours and hours looking at that budget.”

Haslam said he feels now is the best time to act on addressing the backlog of road projects.

“This is something that would be impossible for a new governor,” he said. “I would love to be remembered as the governor who cut all of these taxes and started Tennessee Promise, and leave it at that, but this is too important, and I can’t leave that for a new, first-term governor to try to handle.”

Under the IMPROVE Act, a total of 962 projects throughout the state would start within the next eight years, including 10 Wilson County road projects.

Among the Wilson County projects are two highly debated roadways in State Route 109 and South Mt. Juliet Road. The State Route 109 project is designated for the roadway from Highway 70 and north to the county line at Dry Fork Creek. The 7.5 miles of work is estimated to cost $18.5 million. The South Mt. Juliet Road project is estimated to cost $25.4 million to address the area between Central Pike and Providence Way.

Two Interstate 40 projects could address issues from Interstate 840 to Highway 70 and from State Route 109 to 840. The project’s estimated total is $94 million.

Other projects include Central Pike from Old Hickory Boulevard to Mt. Juliet Road, Highway 70 from Park Glen Drive to Bender’s Ferry Road, Hartsville Pike from south of Spring Creek to north of Lover’s Lane and Hartsville Pike from north of Lovers Lane to Highway 70.

A new interchange at I-40 and Central Pike is also listed under the interstate program and estimated at $14.2 million.

Another project would feature I-40 and stretches across Davidson, Dickson, Cheatham, Williamson and Wilson counties, estimated to cost $4 million.

Haslam said he is open to hearing other ideas from the Tennessee General Assembly, but he fundamentally opposes any idea in which Tennesseans are paying the brunt of a bill driven up by outsiders; by raising the gas tax, those who drive on the roads will help pay for the roads when buying gas, including commercial truck drivers who drive through the state. Truck drivers are required to buy fuel in a state proportionate to the amount of miles they drive in that state, Haslam said.

“I believe there will be other plans, and they will be talked about,” Haslam said. “I’m a governor, not a king. Just because I propose something, that doesn’t mean that’s the only way it can happen.”

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Town hall meeting heats up

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News
Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, attempts to answer questions from constituents Thursday at a Mt. Juliet town hall meeting.

A Mt. Juliet town hall meeting concerning Gov. Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act featuring state legislators became heated once the floor opened up to the audience, which featured several constituents upset about sponsored bills.

Haslam’s IMPROVE Act cuts the sales tax on groceries another half percent ($55 million) to 4.5 percent, while it increases the road user fee or gas tax by 7 cents for a gallon of gas and 12 cents for a gallon of diesel and increases car registration fees by $5 for the average passenger vehicle, which is expected to bring in $278 million in new dollars for Tennessee Department of Transportation projects.

Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, said most leaders agree there’s a need to help fund Tennessee Department of Transportation projects but disagree on the method.

“We’re in agreement that we have to get more money to the transportation fund. We agree it’s underfunded and we want to put more money in there,” said Pody, who said other options have been presented since Haslam’s proposal.

One plan would redirect a quarter of one percent of sales tax directly to the transportation fund, which should create about $291 million of reoccurring money every single year.

Rep. Terri Lynn Wilson, R-Lancaster, said by March 1, all plans will have been heard and committees would begin to make decisions on the appropriate action.

Rep. Mae Beavers said she believes new money would not be needed due to the state’s surplus.

“We need to live within our existing revenues that we’re bringing in right now,” she said.

The meeting became heated once Pody opened the floor up for questions when some protestors believed the group would take questions regarding several bills sponsored by Pody and Beavers.

Pody, however, said the group would only respond to questions relative to the IMPROVE Act and would answer questions regarding bills, including the controversial “bathroom bill” next week.

The meeting came less than 24 hours after Pody and Beavers introduced a bill that states students in “public institutions of higher education” would be required to use restrooms and locker room facilities that align with the sex indicated on the student’s original birth certificate.

The two also sponsor a bill that would define marriage in Tennessee as between a man and woman.

At one point, Mt. Juliet Police officers attempted to calm a demonstrator upset about the legislators’ stance on certain issues. Several marriage equality and civil rights signs and flags flocked the crowd.

Some protesters indicated since the group did not answer questions regarding sponsored bills, the group would contain more protestors in the future. Pody said all constituents would be welcome to the press conference, which he said would take place Tuesday or Wednesday next week in Nashville.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Sales tax revenues increase to end year

Sales tax revenues in Wilson County ended the year on a high note and continued a more than four-year trend of increases compared to the same time a year ago.

Figures released recently from the Tennessee Department of Revenue showed December’s collections finished around $3.9 million, an increase from November’s $3.72 million.

The figure was a decrease from October’s $4.04 million, but an increase from September’s $3.77 million and August’s $3.85 million.

December’s rate was up about $130,000 compared to the same month a year ago, which marked the 52nd-straight monthly increase in year-to-year comparisons. The last time revenues fell compared to the year prior was August 2012.

Lebanon again led the way with the highest amount of sales tax collections among Wilson County cities with $1.9 million collected in December, an increase of about of about $120,000 compared to November and about the same as a year ago.

Collections in Mt. Juliet in December totaled about $1.62 million, an increase of about $120,000 more than November. The figures also marked an increase of more than $20,000 from a year ago.

Watertown’s collections were around $28,000 in December, which is about $2,000 less than November and an increase of about $1,500 from the same month last year.

Collections in unincorporated areas of Wilson County, at around $300,000, was on par with November and the same month a year ago.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Beavers re-attempts to tackle porn

State Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, re-introduced a bill she filed last year that would declare pornography a public health hazard in Tennessee.

If legislators approve the resolution, the state would acknowledge pornography as a public health hazard that leads to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms. 

“Rather, efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction, to educate individuals and families concerning its harms and to develop recovery programs must be addressed systemically,” the resolution said.

Beavers’ resolution proclaims pornography is contributing to the “hyper-sexualization” of teens.

“Due to the advances in technology and the universal availability of the internet, young children are exposed to what used to be referred to as hardcore pornography at an alarming rate, with 27 percent of older millennials reporting that they first viewed pornography before puberty,” the resolution said.

Also, according to the bill, Beavers claims for teenagers pornography can lead to low self-esteem and eating disorders; increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages; and an increased desire to engage in “risky” sexual behavior.

Beavers also claims children and youth exposed to pornography often use it as their sex education, which shapes their sexual templates. She also claims since pornography treats women as objects, it teaches girls to be used and boys to be users.

The bill also states pornography normalizes violence and abuse of women and children; treats women and children as objects and often depicts rape and abuse as harmless; equates violence toward women and children with sex and pain with please, which leads to increase demands in sexual trafficking, prostitution and child pornography.

Beavers also said pornography has detrimental effects on watchers, such as emotional, mental and medical illnesses; deviant sexual arousal; difficulty forming or maintaining intimate relationships; brain development and functioning; problematic or harmful sexual behavior and addiction and more.

Beavers discussed the resolution last year during multiple Senate meetings. Beavers said due to the internet, mobile devices and social media, people are exposed to more sexual images, which can be hard to monitor, sometimes.

“What’s going on is alarming, especially for our children and the future of our society, and we wanted to bring this resolution to call attention to it,” Beavers said in a Senate Health Subcommittee meeting last year.

Beavers presented results of various studies and information provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation during a full Senate session last year, as well.

“In a study that was done, they found that there was a 17-percent increase in access to pornography versus PlayStation, 7-percent increase in access versus a Nintendo Wii and 18.9-percent increase in access versus a Nintendo 3DS. This should alarm all of us,” she said.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Hutto highlights county successes

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto delivers his 2017 State of the County on Wednesday at the Lebanon Golf and Country Club. Hutto touched on several aspects of Wilson County and highlighted future initiatives and goals in his hour-long speech.

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto delivers his 2017 State of the County on Wednesday at the Lebanon Golf and Country Club. Hutto touched on several aspects of Wilson County and highlighted future initiatives and goals in his hour-long speech.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto praised the work of county officials and employees, highlighted county successes and discussed future goals during his 2017 State of the County on Wednesday at the Lebanon Golf and County Club.

Hutto discussed some of the county’s accomplishments and bright spots, which included the Wilson County and Lebanon Special school districts, the financial work of the Wilson County Commission and the county’s improved bond rating of AA-positive, up from the AA-positive outlook.

Wilson County is one of six counties in the state with the

AA-positive rating, joining Knox, Shelby, Montgomery, Rutherford and Sumner counties. Only two counties – Williamson and Hamilton – have a AAA bond rating, which allows more flexibility in bond procedures and debt settlement.

Hutto also highlighted goals the county reached last year. The county received a level 4 Insurance Services Office rating for fire protection, passed a pay plan for county employees to help with retention, finished a teacher pay plan for educators and increased the size of the Wilson County school board, which paved the way for the first African-American member in Johnie Payton.

Hutto also praised the Wilson County Road Commission, which had a record year in 2016, which allowed the county to have all roads paved and eliminated gravel or tar and chip roads.

The mayor also discussed economic development projects taking place throughout the county, the Nashville Superspeedway, transportation and increased emergency service protection in the county, as well as cities.

Hutto also discussed several goals for the county for the future, which included a better job of communicating to all citizens about government; finding a way to reduce the tax rate; continuing to work with Tennessee Department of Transportation on several road projects; and a local government summit for all county and city governing bodies.

“It just to bring our council and our local government together,” Hutto said. “We just want to talk and make sure we’re all headed in the same direction and we’re all planning. Maybe it would be good to come up with a motto or vision for our county.”

Hutto said he believed county and city officials are on the same page currently, but the summit would allow them to only strengthen that relationship.

Hutto presented attendees with several different facts and figures about Wilson County in the hour, but ended his presentation on a more personal note. Hutto dedicated the last portion of his speech to two women who he said were special to him and just celebrated their 90th birthday – Fay Timbs and Martha Vaden.

Timbs is a former longtime Lebanon High School administrative assistant and attendance monitor. Hutto said Vaden helped him while in college at Middle Tennessee State University by allowing him to substitute teach to make money.

“What I noticed about them is all the people who came to see them on their birthday. I thought about all of this stuff we’ve talked about today, it’s important – we have to live here – but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Hutto said. These ladies, although I don’t know how much money they had, they were rich because of the people who came to see them.”

Hutto challenged the attendees to reach out to people around them – coworkers, people at the gym and neighbors.

“Check your people out beside you. Check on them physically. Check on them emotionally and check on them spiritually, because this is not the end of the story, and I hope you know that,” Hutto said.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Lynn reappointed House subcommittee chairman

The Tennessee House of Representatives officially convened last week in Nashville, marking the beginning of the 110th General Assembly, and as part of the opening day ceremonies, Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, took the oath of office and was officially sworn in for another term.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, appointed Lynn as chairman of the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee. The Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee reviews legislation dealing with consumer protection laws and all human resource and labor law regulations statewide.

Along with serving as chairman, Lynn will also continue her service as a member of the full Consumer and Human Resources Committee and the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.  

“The people have placed their trust in us because of dedicated public servants like Rep. Lynn whom they know will lead based upon the commonsense, conservative values of our state. I look forward to working with her to accomplish a great deal on behalf of all Tennesseans this year,” Harwell said.

Members generally serve on only two committees, but Harwell also saw fit to appoint Lynn to a third committee, the House Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee hears all ethics complaints against sitting legislators.

“Speaker Harwell is most generous, and I am always very proud and eager to serve this body anywhere she determines that my skills and knowledge will best contribute to the end result,” Lynn said.

Finally, Lynn was officially re-elected by her peers to the Fiscal Review Committee. Fiscal review is a committee that has oversight over all state contracts and other matters of a financial impact such as budget estimates.  

In addition to her duties, Lynn also serves on the Workforce Development Board under the state Department of Labor – a position to which she was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam last year – and she serves as an executive board member of the Greater Nashville Regional Council – a position to which she was elected to by her peers in 2016.  

This year, legislators are looking to build upon the success of the previous session that saw wasteful government spending cut from the budget, taxes lowered for all Tennesseans, measures passed to better fund and improve education and encourage job growth, as well as numerous other government reforms, Lynn said.

“Our community sent me here to help them – one of the many ways I do that is by supporting policies that will uphold our Constitution, strengthen our economy and produce more job opportunities, ensure our budget remains balanced and fight government waste. Today, my resolve is even stronger to continue doing just that,” said Lynn. “Let me add how truly honored I am to continue my service as chairman of the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee.”

Staff Reports

The Hermitage celebrates 202nd anniversary of Battle of New Orleans

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage celebrated the 202nd anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8. Pictured (from left) are Howard Kittell, president and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation, Congressman Dr. Phil Roe and Susan and Bob McDonald, who serves as vice-regent of the Andrew Jackson Foundation.

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage celebrated the 202nd anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8. Pictured (from left) are Howard Kittell, president and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation, Congressman Dr. Phil Roe and Susan and Bob McDonald, who serves as vice-regent of the Andrew Jackson Foundation.

HERMITAGE – Congressman Dr. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, was the keynote speaker Jan. 8 as Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage celebrated the 202nd anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.

The Andrew Jackson Foundation played host to the annual gathering as part of a daylong remembrance of the Battle of New Orleans, the last major engagement of the War of 1812.

American troops, under the direction of then-Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, kept the British army from seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the Louisiana Purchase.

Roe, co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus and a member of the Health Caucus, holds the “Andrew Jackson Seat” in Congress – Tennessee’s First District. He made reference to Jackson’s victory changing the worldview of the United States.

Linda Tripp, Tennessee president of the Daughters of 1812, also addressed the gathering.

Formal activities ended with a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of President Jackson and his wife, Rachel.

“The bravery of Gen. Jackson and his troops resulted in a monumental victory for the United States,” said foundation vice-regent Bob McDonald. “At that time, the United States was still considered to be an experiment in self-government. The Battle of New Orleans solidified Jackson as a national hero and established our young nation as a power to be reckoned with.”

“Commemorating the Battle of New Orleans and Andrew Jackson’s astounding victory over the mighty British army provides a tremendous opportunity to illustrate how against all odds determination, courage and common sense can win the day. These are lessons Americans need in the 21st Century,” said Howard Kittell, president and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation.

The mission of the Andrew Jackson Foundation is to preserve the home of Andrew Jackson, create educational opportunities and inspire citizenship through learning about his life and unique impact on American history. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. from Oct. 16 through March 14 and 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. from March 15 through Oct. 15. For more information, visit thehermitage.com.

Staff Reports

Unemployment rate continues to shrink in Wilson County

Wilson County’s unemployment rate decreased slightly from October to November and remained lower than the unemployment rate from the same time a year ago.

According to figures released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, November’s jobless rate was 3.7 percent, a 0.2 percent decrease from October and a 0.7 percent decrease from the same time last year.

Rates decreased in 81 counties, increased in 10 and remained the same in four counties in November. Wilson County climbed to the fourth lowest in the state behind Williamson, Davidson and Rutherford counties, respectively.

Lake County had the highest jobless rate with 8.3 percent.

Wilson County’s rate in November represented 2,480 unemployed workers compared to a 67,120-person workforce and does not include those who did not file with the labor department or no longer receive benefits.

Lebanon’s rate for November decreased 0.3 percent from October to 4.5 percent. The city’s rate represented 640 unemployed workers, compared to a 14,070-person labor force.

Mt. Juliet’s rate for November also decreased 0.2 percent from October to 3.5 percent. The rate represented 560 unemployed workers compared to a 16,010-person labor force.

The Nashville-Murfreesboro metropolitan area, which includes Wilson County, rate decreased 0.2 percent to 3.7 from October. The rate represented 38,030 unemployed workers compared to a 1.03-million-person labor force. 

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for November came in at 4.8 percent, a 0.1 percent decrease from October. The statewide rate represented 151,900 jobless workers compared to a 3.18-million-person workforce.

The national unemployment rate for November decreased 0.1 percent to at 4.6 percent. The rate represented 7.4 million unemployed workers compared to a workforce of nearly 160 million people.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Sales tax revenues continue rise from year prior

Sales tax revenues in Wilson County fell in November compared to October, but extended the more than four-year trend of increases from the same time a year ago.

Figures released this week from the Tennessee Department of Revenue showed November’s collections finished around $3.72 million, a decrease from October’s $4.04 million.

The figure was also a decrease September’s $3.77 million, August’s $3.85 million and July’s $4.18 million.

November’s rate was up about $150,000 compared to the same month a year ago, which marked the 51st-straight monthly increase in year-to-year comparisons. The last time revenues fell compared to the year prior was August 2012.

Lebanon again led the way with the highest amount of sales tax collections among Wilson County cities with $1.86 million collected in November, a decrease of about $140,000 compared to October and about the same as a year ago.

Collections in Mt. Juliet in November totaled about $1.50 million, about $80,000 less than October. The figures, however, marked an increase of more than $100,000 from a year ago.

Watertown’s collections were around $30,000 in November, which was on par with October and an increase of about $5,000 from the same month last year.

Collections in unincorporated areas of Wilson County, at around $330,000, marked a decrease of about $70,000 compared to October and an increase of about $30,000 from a year ago.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

City OKs manpower to push infrastructure projects

The Mt. Juliet City Commission on Monday unanimously approved adding one person to the staff of the Public Works Department to help with infrastructure projects the staff said are fast increasing.

The request would amend the current budget mid-year by roughly an additional $80,000.

Andy Barlow, the city’s deputy public works director and engineer, said during the 11 years he has lived and/or worked in Mt Juliet, he had made a list of infrastructure projects that would take Mt. Juliet “to the next level.”

“There are just a lot of irons in the fire that I have to deal with, and I am not able to really focus and get all projects done as expediently as possible,” said Barlow.

Barlow said one of the issues that would be helped with additional staff would be to coordinate the signaling on two major streets in the city.

“I want to coordinate every single signal on Mt. Juliet Road. It’s not that way today, outside of the Providence area, and we also want to coordinate our signals on Lebanon Road … I see so much that is going undone. It’s taken some time to really establish the needs.”

Commissioner Ray Justice said at the educational level required for a “near engineer” position, the cost would be “close to $100,000” a year with benefits, an amount not factored in the city’s current budget.

Barlow said the position required expertise in engineering and grant writing.

“In the field that we are in with transportation and government projects and everything, especially with grant-funded projects and all of the red tape that we have to jump through, it takes somebody on staff to do that,” Barlow said, adding he wanted someone who could “bird dog” projects to get them done in closer to six months rather than a year with some of the current projects.

“We are trying to really develop and grow as a city … This is a need that’s going to grow, not a need that is going to die away,” Barlow said.

Public Works director Jessica Gore answered Justice’s question as to why the position wasn’t factored into the current budget.

“It wasn’t an epiphany,” said Gore. “We thought we were on the fence about whether to add somebody, but we chose at that time [during budget talks] to be more conservative and attempt to use a consulting service to basically see if we could justify the cost of adding a person in the next coming year’s budget.”

Since then, Gore said the city had gotten several large projects, and when reviewing Barlow’s job performance, it became “very apparent” that he had too much on his plate.

District 4 Commissioner Brian Abston agreed with Barlow and Gore’s assessment of city growth in need of manpower sooner than later.

“We are not decreasing by any means,” Abston said. “I am looking at money that we have budgeted for these projects, and I am constantly on them.”

Justice said he appreciated the work done so far by the department but added he wanted the outcome to be in projects completed.

“I am going to vote for this, but I expect to see results from this,” Justice said.

The city also unanimously agreed to waive all permitting costs to smooth the way for a St. Jude Dream Home to be built in Mt. Juliet in the Jackson Hills development.

“I think it’s the first time in 13 or 14 years that it’s ever been held here,” said City Manager Kenny Martin.

Tickets sold toward the house will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. So far, 30 Dream Homes were given away across the country. This is the first time a home was selected in Mt. Juliet during the time the Dream Home program was in operation in the Nashville market.

By Colleen Creamer

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Where do my county tax dollars go?

There is a large push locally and throughout the state to shop local this Christmas. Aside from supporting local business owners, did you know when you shop locally here in Wilson County you are supporting a variety of other services that are available to every Wilson County resident throughout the year as well?

By simply living in Wilson County and contributing to our economy, you play a significant role in every service Wilson County government is able to provide individuals from all backgrounds and income levels.

With the push to shop locally many people begin to ask the question “What do I receive for my county tax dollars?” Citizens seem to easily notice the benefits of city taxes, however, many people have a hard time determining where county taxes are applied. Because of this, we thought it would be a good idea to give the citizens of Wilson County a little more information on how county tax dollars are used.

First and foremost, your tax dollars go to support education in Wilson County. Your tax dollars support schools throughout the county through Wilson County Schools, as well as the Lebanon Special School District. Though the Lebanon Special School District collects revenue through an extra tax placed on those that live inside their district, they also receive a portion of funding through county property tax and sales tax revenue. It’s the same taxes that go to support Wilson County Schools. The property tax and sales tax revenue pays for the operation of schools, teacher pay and other expenses but also goes toward the construction of new schools as the county continues to grow. To date, around 93 percent of the total indebtedness of Wilson County goes to schools alone.

Secondly, your tax dollars go to support all aspects of public safety. Wilson Emergency Management Agency is funded by county tax dollars. WEMA provides ambulance services, water rescue, disaster rescue, EMA planning, as well as public assistance and rescue. Fire-related services are handled on the city level and through volunteer fire stations. Fire services for WEMA are funded by state shared revenues. Your tax dollars also go to support the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff’s department works to prevent and investigate crimes on persons and property. The Sheriff’s Department also serves civil and criminal warrants and patrols the county, as well as state roadways. The sheriff’s department also supplies every Wilson County school with a school resource officer to ensure student and teacher safety.  In short, the sheriff’s department works to keep the citizens of Wilson County safe.

Another aspect of public safety that is funded by your tax dollars is our county jail. There are no city jails in Wilson County. We are extremely proud of all of our local law enforcement groups from the city to the county and commend the way they work together as a whole. We are also extremely proud of all of our WEMA personnel, city fire departments, and our volunteers. 

In addition to education and public safety, your tax dollars also go to support the court systems in Wilson County. Our court systems include chancery, circuit, criminal, juvenile and general sessions courts.

Your tax dollars support the judges, clerks and judicial commissioners. The judicial commissioners issue orders of protection, arrests and search warrants. Tax dollars also support the elected circuit court clerk and the appointed clerk and master.

There are many offices throughout the county that provide services funded by your tax dollars. Probate court handles estates that are being probated. The county clerk’s office offers a variety of services such as vehicle registration (tags and titles), passports, marriage licenses, notary publics, and business licenses to name a few. The register of deed’s office records property deeds and the trustee’s office collects taxes from residents all over the county in various areas. The Wilson County Election Commission allows citizens to vote in county, state and federal elections and also assists with city elections as well.

Other county services funded by county taxes include the property assessor’s office, which provides property assessments for our cities as well as the county, Wilson County Archives which keeps and maintains historical and permanent records related to the county; and the Veterans Services officer who works to assist our veterans. The Wilson County Road Commission is also funded through tax dollars. The road commission is responsible for maintaining the roads throughout the county.

The Solid Waste Department allows us the use of the landfill and is operated by tipping fees rather than property taxes, but the convenient centers, placed at various locations across the county, are funded by property tax dollars. Your tax dollars also fund some of the expenses associated with the health department including salaries and maintenance of the facility. Your tax dollars also go to support the medical examiner’s office.

The libraries are funded on a two-thirds basis provided by the county, whereas all three cities split the remaining third of their respective facilities budgets, which would be the operational cost. The county fully funds the construction of the library buildings and any overall raises given to employees. Of course, the libraries do a great job managing their systems and fundraising on their own. In addition to providing all of these services, there are also contributions made to the chambers of commerce, local nonprofits, senior citizens, ball parks, sports organizations and recreational facilities.

At one time, we had used your tax dollars to fund the James E. Ward Agricultural Center, which is really what you might call the county’s park, by way of property tax. We have now made the change to fund that department with a hotel and motel tax, which would conclude that they would be encouraged to have events that would put more “heads in beds” to help them maintain their budgets. A hotel and motel tax is also used to support tourism. We hope in the future to use hotel and motel tax to fund health and welfare, as well as recreational budgets.

This is a list of services and agencies that your tax dollars support and is not inclusive, of course. However, I do hope that it gives you some overall view of how your tax dollars are used. The commissioners have a hard job to determine the best use of our resources, but I do believe the County Commission has always done a great job of getting the most out of each tax dollar brought into Wilson County Government.

Wilson County is in a great position, and we are using the most of every resource available. However, there is a continuous strain on our existing revenue to cover the rapid growth happening throughout the county.

Other counties in similar situations are constantly looking for ways to pay for growth, because unfortunately it rarely pays for itself. We know that the citizens of Wilson County are some of the best in the state of Tennessee and expect the best not only in the way of services, but in the way those services are carried out.

The county commission, myself, along with all of our elected officials and appointed department heads will continue to do our best to serve the citizens of Wilson County.

This Christmas, remember to shop small and support Wilson County as a whole. We hope this information is both helpful and encouraging.

Randall Hutto is mayor of Wilson County.

Schools reject latest lawsuit offer

The Wilson County school board formally rejected the city of Mt. Juliet’s latest liquor lawsuit settlement offer and donated a portion of land used in negotiations to Wilson County.

Board chairman Larry Tomlinson said the Wilson County Urban Types Facility Board voted last week to ask the board to donate three acres of property at the site of a new Mt. Juliet school for use by the county.

The land was previously used in negotiations between the school board and Mt. Juliet for a potential settlement in the ongoing liquor-by-the-drink tax lawsuit.

“With it being county-owned property, if another county agency has an interest in it or a need for it, I think we should allow them to have it,” Tomlinson said.

Board member Wayne McNeese voted against the move after Tomlinson mentioned the county could potentially use the land for a garbage disposal facility, although he said he was not sure of the plans. Board member Linda Armistead joined McNeese in voting against the move.

The board also formally rejected Mt. Juliet’s latest counteroffer regarding the liquor lawsuit as some board members expressed frustration with the situation.

“Something’s got to happen. I think anytime you sue another agency in government, it’s not a good thing, but we’ve been fighting this for two years now,” McNeese said.

“They owe us the money. For some reason they felt like they didn’t want to pay it and if we, the board of education, has worked with them in good faith, but it’s time come up with an applicable agreement,” said Tomlinson, who said he spoke with school board attorney Mike Jennings over the weekend, who recommended the board balk at the latest offer.

Jennings said last month that the Mt. Juliet Commission’s approved offer differed from the offer the Wilson County school board approved and presented to the body. 

In 2013, it was revealed many municipalities in Tennessee were not paying their portion of their liquor-by-the-drink tax to public schools systems in which those cities operated due to an oversight. Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon Special School District were among the school districts in Tennessee that were owed back money by cities.

“They owe us the money. We don’t like doing this, but they’ve owed us money for over 10 years now,” McNeese said.

The Wilson County Board of Education filed the lawsuit in Wilson County chancery court in 2014 after failing to reach an agreement with the city about paying liquor-by-the-drink back taxes collected until 2013. Mt. Juliet owes an estimated $372,000, according to Mickey Hall, Wilson County deputy director.

Hall said a court date for the lawsuit is set for March 2017.

The board also approved rezoning current Elzie Patton and Stoner Creek elementary school zones to create the new Springdale Elementary school zone.

The rezoning would only affect these schools, and it will not change zoning for middle or high schools. 

Wright said children who are going to be in fifth grade next year, when the zoning would go into effect, would have the option to remain at their current school, but transportation to and from school would need to be provided by the child’s parents. 

Younger siblings of those fifth-grade students, however, will not be allowed to stay at the previously zoned school. 

Children in the special education programs at each school do not go through traditional zoning, but are placed at a school based on individual needs, Wright said, so parents of those children should not be concerned about a child moving to another school. 

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Chamber preps for the future

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce member Scott Maulsby, Experimac of Mt. Juliet owner, gives his group’s answers to a question posed from the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce staff. Last Wednesday’s monthly luncheon focused on gathering information the group could use to help guide future programs, guests and initiatives

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News
Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce member Scott Maulsby, Experimac of Mt. Juliet owner, gives his group’s answers to a question posed from the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce staff. Last Wednesday’s monthly luncheon focused on gathering information the group could use to help guide future programs, guests and initiatives

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce continued its focus on customer service during Wednesday’s monthly luncheon as the group looked for input for the future.

Luncheon attendees participated in a group activity of answering questions designed by Mt. Juliet chamber staff to help understand what is happening in their respective industries and plan for the future.

Facilitators at several tables introduced a question to the group who responded with short answers. Questions topics included the most important daily decisions, how to reach an intended audience, analysis of competitors, goals for 2017 and more.

Mt. Juliet chamber president Mark Hinesley said the information would be used for future programming regarding speakers and activities and by the staff to better serve chamber members.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce staff also has plans for the future as the group is also set to make its move to a new facility.

The group will move from its 12-year home on West Caldwell Street to the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce Building, hopefully by the end of the month, according to Hinesley.

The group will lease 3,400 square feet of the 24,000-square-foot office complex across from the Mt. Juliet train station on East Division Street. The facility will be nearly four times bigger than the West Caldwell Street building.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

City tightens checks for wine sales

The Mt. Juliet City Commission on Monday passed on first reading a resolution that clarified the language that allows wine to be sold in grocery stores per state law, which went into effect July 1.

The commission previously cited specific concerns about the state’s language on convenience stores’ eligibility to sell wine, something with which they said they were not comfortable.

Commissioners agreed both Mapco and Aldi were in agreement with the law that allows merchants to sell wine whose taxable sales on food items, excluding gas, were at least 20 percent of total sales.

At Monday’s meeting, city attorney Gino Marchetti said one of the requirements was a criminal background check, but where that background check was to be applied was nearly too complex to be viable because corporations and limited liability corporations are sometimes under the umbrella of other corporations or LLCs.

“So, you can never drill down to find out who the directors are and how many directors there are, so what this amendment does is to provide that the background check be made on the managing partner, managing member, CEO and the person who is actually on site operating the business,” Marchetti said.

District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice said the complexity of who ran what seemed “like a shell game.”

In other business, commissioners also passed a resolution that would open the city up to receive donations for the Ethan Danial Page Memorial Park. Ethan Page, 5, died in a car accident in June 2013 in Mt. Juliet.

City Manager Kenny Martin said an anonymous donor previously donated the land for the park.

“We have a very sweet resident here in Mt. Juliet who was approached about two years ago about donating a piece of land to add on to our city parks system,” said Martin. “This kind individual donated 10 acres of land over off Clemmons Road.”

The property connects with E. Division Street near Mt. Juliet Road.

Martin said the person donating the land “showed up” at City Hall last week to donate $25,000 in seed money to get the park started.

“It just shows you that there are some very generous philanthropic people in our community, and in this particular case, she wished to remain anonymous,” Martin said. “This is absolutely awesome.”

By Colleen Creamer

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Trump wins state, county student mock election

Wilson County students joined their peers across Tennessee in voting in the first statewide student mock election.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, would be the next president of the United States if Tennessee students were casting real ballots. A total of 165,968 students representing 479 schools from 90 of the state’s 95 counties participated.

Trump won with 88,208 or 53.1 percent of the vote. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was second with 56,935 or 34.3 percent of the vote. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson finished with 5 percent of the vote, followed by “Rocky” Roque De Le Fuente and Jill Stein, each with 2.3 percent. Alyson Kennedy and Mike Smith garnered 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

And Wilson County students basically mirrored the statewide results.

Gladeville Elementary School second, third and fifth graders picked Trump over Clinton 134-45 with no votes going to independent candidates. A total of 179 votes were cast.

Legacy Family Academy home school students chose Trump overwhelmingly over the other candidates with 115 of the 167 votes cast. Johnson was second with 16, followed by Smith with 13, Clinton with nine, De La Fuente with eight, Kennedy with five and Stein with one.

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy also overwhelmingly picked Trump with 382 of the 463 votes cast. Clinton was second with 42.

Mt. Juliet High School had a closer margin, but it was Trump garnering 261 votes compared to Clinton with 111 of the 425 votes cast.

Rutland Elementary School students also picked Trump as their favorite over Clinton 480-380 among the 1,007 votes cast.

Southside Elementary School students picked Trump over Clinton 607-224, and all 831 of the total votes went to either candidate.

Watertown Middle School students picked Trump with 65 votes, followed by Johnson with 20 and Clinton in third with 13.

In the closest race among schools in Wilson County, Winfree Bryant Middle School students gave Trump the majority vote with 242, but Clinton trailed him by only 39 with 203 votes. Stein was third with 40, followed by Johnson with 31 of the 539 total votes cast.

“I’m thrilled that so many students and teachers from across our great state got behind this project with such passion,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett while announcing the results at Thurman Francis Arts Academy in Smyrna where the winner was decided by just four votes. “Hopefully giving civics such an important role in the classroom translates into engaged citizens who continue exercising their right to vote when they are old enough to vote in real elections.”

Students in preschool through high school from public and private schools, as well as home school associations in Tennessee, participated. Ballots let students choose between Clinton, Trump and all qualified independent presidential candidates, but schools conducted elections locally in different ways.

“We want our students to learn how the real world works. Almost weekly, representative government is a topic of discussion in our history classes,” said Linette McFarlin who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade social studies at Thurman Francis Arts Academy. “Voting is a privilege and an important responsibility of citizens of the United States. We want our students to know it is their civic duty.”

By Jared Felkins

jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com

Farmer sign burned in social media post

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News A picture posted to the Instagram account of the son of Mt. Juliet Commissioner Ray Justice shows a teenager giving a ‘thumbs up’ as a political sign for Trisha Farmer burns. Justice said he disciplined his son after he discovered the post.

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
A picture posted to the Instagram account of the son of Mt. Juliet Commissioner Ray Justice shows a teenager giving a ‘thumbs up’ as a political sign for Trisha Farmer burns. Justice said he disciplined his son after he discovered the post.

The Tennessee House District 57 race has heated up in the last few weeks until Election Day as one Mt. Juliet commissioner’s son was at the center of a political sign burning.

Candidate Trisha Farmer said she was notified about an Instagram post on the account of the son of Commissioner Ray Justice that showed a teenager giving a “thumbs up” symbol as he held a burning Trisha Farmer political yard sign.

The caption to the post read, “How we feel about Trisha Farmer.” Farmer said the incident took place after many of her signs were stolen in the last several weeks.

Justice, who said he does not have an Instagram account, said he confronted his son after the post was brought to his attention.

“I confronted my son about it, and he admitted that he didn’t do it, but he did post it. I had him go up to Trisha and apologize,” said Justice, who said he also made his son give Farmer $10 for the damage to the sign, along with sign up for community service in Mt. Juliet.

“This is not something I condone, and I’m not going to tolerate this from my children,” said Justice. “I was embarrassed but my son is going to do the right thing.”

Justice said his son told him a group found the sign, along with several others, in a Dumpster near one of their workplaces. He said his son knew about Farmer’s lawsuit against the city and her ongoing issues with her opponent, Rep. Susan Lynn, and decided to post the picture with the caption.

Farmer won her lawsuit against the city of Mt. Juliet after she claimed her political signs were removed while signs of Republican-affiliated candidates remained untouched.

She said the removal of her signs was unconstitutional, which prompted city officials to change the ordinance.

Farmer’s camp released a statement regarding the post and said acts against her signs, although not the fire, is typical of Lynn supporters, noting several vandalism incidents against her signs, especially in the last few weeks.

“This is no way reflective of Susan Lynn,” said Justice. “Her and Trisha are in a hard-fighting campaign, and this was not good and will not be tolerated. It doesn’t help because of who I am, but my son will not behave like this.”

Justice said he sympathized with Farmer and noted he’s had political signs destroyed and vandalized in the past.

After the apology, Farmer appeared to change her tone regarding her opponent.

“This is a just a symptom of a deeper issue and we have lost civility right now in our political system and it’s just sad that it’s reaching down into children, now. I’m really focused on making sure that we talk about the things that matter to Wilson County and putting away partisan political issues moving forward,” said Farmer. “I accept the apology. I know kids do stupid things, but I think it does point to a deeper issue that we have a huge problem with civility and lost our way. I think we need to come back to a place where we treat each other with kindness and respect.”

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Planners clarify candidate sign issue

At Thursday’s Mt. Juliet Planning Commission meeting, the commission approved the clarification of its sign ordinance, in particular regarding the number of signs a resident can put in their yard 60 day prior to an election.

The ordinance now states any resident can have 10 political signs in their yard 60 days prior to an election.

“You may have read, heard or seen that there are some issues relating to our current temporary sign ordinance that was primarily based on a misunderstanding by some of our candidates,” said Mt. Juliet city attorney Gino Marchetti.

In September, District 57 challenger Trisha Farmer alleged sometime around Aug. 25, city officials confiscated signs from properties of those endorsing her, citing the signs were displayed earlier than the 60 days prior to the Nov. 8 election.

“Rather than continue litigation, which would have been costly and time consuming to all, we met and agreed to clarify a couple of minor issues in the ordinance was preferable to continue with litigation, and it was amended.”

Marchetti said the confusion was around one phrase.

“In all honesty, there was one phrase in there that was limiting two signs per candidate of the 10 that you could have 60 days prior to an election that should have not have been in there,” he said. “That was the biggest change, and it was removed.

Commissioner Bobby Franklin said the commission looked at the issue in 2002, and he had spent thousand of dollars in legal fees. Attorneys told him at the time the city could not legislate First Amendment rights on private property. Franklin said in 2002, the city did not enforce the ordinance around political signs on private property.

“A lot has happened since 2002,” said Franklin. “Who knows what the state legislature will do while you’re not looking, so there could very well be something that I am not aware of that has happened since ’02. There could very well be something that I am not aware of.”

Franklin made a motion early in the meeting to make political signs exempt from the city’s ordinance regulating temporary signs, in effect lifting any regulation of political signs on private property all together.

“I guess my pause is not to re-approve it or approve it or amend it and let it go and still be unconstitutional,” Franklin said. “I would like to amend it … and basically just say political signs on private property [are exempt].

Commissioner Ted Floyd seconded the motion, saying he was told the ordinance was unconstitutional.

“I think I got at least three opinions from city attorneys saying that it would never be advisable to enter private property and take a political sign.” Floyd said. “Why is the magic number 10 if I want to put 12 signs in my yard? I would certainly hate anyone entering my property to take signs out of my yard because I had 12 or 11 instead of 10.”

Franklin said he had a problem with “where it dies over the instance of too much free speech.”

“So if somebody wanted to put up a political up on their lawn 62 days [prior to the election], are we saying that they can’t have that much free speech?” Franklin asked.

Marchetti said residents can put up two signs of any kind “year around.”

“Cities can regulate signage, political signs, non-commercial signs, any type of signs,” Marchetti said. “You are allowed to control aesthetics and safety. If you want 200 political signs in every yard, that is unreasonable in my mind. There are reasonable limits.”

Marchetti said the issue was resolved at the Supreme Court last June when the Court litigated the Reed v. Town of Gilbert case, which clarified when municipalities may impose restrictions on signage.

“We met with those attorneys about four, five or six months ago relative to this issue, and you can have reasonable limitations on any type of sign. There are reasonable limitations even of First Amendment speech,” Marchetti said

Marchetti said violations would be handled the way any code violation is handled.

“They would be sent a notice or a fine, and they would have a hearing, the whole nine yards, No one is going to pull any signs out of anyone’s yard,” Marchetti said. “This is just an amendment to be an amendment. This is the exact wording from the agreed order that resolved the litigation.”

Franklin then made a motion to defer to take a look at the Reed case.

“I took an oath of office, and I can tell you, this has been wrong for a long time,” Franklin said. “It has nothing to do with any recently elected official. If we are going to do it, I just want to make sure it’s right.”

Commissioner Art Giles said considering that it was election time, the city needed something that was enforceable.

“I think we have got to keep something in place,” said Giles

By the end of discussion, the commission passed amending the ordinance, in effect, allowing 10 political signs per yard 60 days prior to an election.

By Colleen Creamer

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Trustees named to Cumberland University’s Board of Trust

W. Larry Cash

W. Larry Cash

 William C. Koch

William C. Koch

Lewis W. Rankin

Lewis W. Rankin

The Cumberland University Board of Trust added W. Larry Cash, William C. Koch Jr. and Lewis W. Rankin as its three newest members this week.

Cash is president of financial services and chief financial officer of Community Health Systems in Brentwood. He joined the company in 1997.

For 11 consecutive years, Cash was recognized as one of the top three chief financial officers in the health care sector by Institutional Investor magazine. He was named Business Tennessee’s first ever CFO of the Year in 2008, and also earned that distinction in the public companies category from the Nashville Business Journal in 2009.

Cash is also a member of the Nashville Health Care Council and serves on the board of directors for Cross Country Healthcare Inc.

Cash graduated from the University of Kentucky and is professionally affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Koch, dean of the Nashville School of Law, has served as a justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, as well as a judge for the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

During his 30-year judicial career, Koch was named Tennessee’s Appellate Judge of the Year, and one of the 500 Leading Judges in America.

Prior to his appointment on the appellate bench, Koch served as counsel to former Gov. Lamar Alexander and the state’s commissioner of personnel, as well as deputy attorney general.

Koch is currently vice president of the American Inns of Court. He received his undergraduate degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., his juris doctor degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law and his master of laws degree in judicial process from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Rankin is a retired professional engineer and retired CEO of Crain Construction Inc. He is a graduate of Cumberland and the University of Tennessee.

Rankin is a member of the Rotary Club of Brentwood, where he has held several offices, including president. He also served the Rotary District as assistant governor, on the board of the Brentwood Rotary Club Charitable Foundation and received the Bob Billington Outstanding Rotarian Award, as well as the Rotary International Avenues of Service Citation.

Rankin is also a former member of the Associated Builders and Contractors where he has held several offices, including president, and served on the Middle Tennessee and national board of directors. He received professional engineer in construction awards for Nashville and the state.

Staff Reports

Bradshaw announces candidacy for mayor

Former Mt. Juliet Commissioner Jim Bradshaw recently announced he is a candidate for mayor of Mt. Juliet in the Nov. 8 election.

Bradshaw faces incumbent Mayor Ed Hagerty in the election. Early voting begins Wednesday and runs through Nov. 3.

“I have the leadership abilities, planning skills and credentials to serve as Mt. Juliet mayor,” Bradshaw said. “I served as Mt. Juliet city commissioner in District 4 for 17-plus years, from March 1997 to November 2014. I also served as Wilson County commissioner from September 2010 to September 2014.”

Bradshaw said he has concerns about the continued development of apartment complexes in an already congested area in Mt. Juliet.

“I enjoy working for the citizens of Mt. Juliet and want to see more improvements,” he said. “We need to be more proactive on developments, making sure our traffic and transportation system can handle the increased traffic on our existing road system. As the mayor of Mt. Juliet, I will exercise my option to serve on the Regional Planning Commission, who also appoints the remainder of the commission members.”

Bradshaw said he would also like to see the city be more giving.

“I would like to see more of the funds in the budget allotted to the Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, and I am in support of more grants for charities and nonprofit agencies,” he said.

“I want businesses to have the right to install electronic signs; an option they currently do not have. I want to see more family facilities, parks, walking and biking trails and sidewalks and to improve existing recreational areas.”

Bradshaw said he also wants to be open and available to people in Mt. Juliet.

“I listen to the people. I am available to the citizens of Mt. Juliet and invite them to contact me at 615-545-7784,” he said.

“I am continually planning and participating in community events. I am a public servant, and I have the desire to serve the citizens of Mt. Juliet as their mayor. I will bring that desire, my credentials, leadership and planning skills to the office of the mayor. I appreciate your vote for mayor.”

Staff Reports