County defers dilapidated structures action

By Matt Masters

The Wilson County Planning and Zoning Committee discussed and ultimately deferred a solution for dilapidated structures at its Thursday meeting.

But the deferment wasn’t made without any progress on the issue. Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto spoke to the committee about his efforts, done as a private citizen, to help alleviate the situation for specific lots that have been of concern to several vocal citizens.

Hutto told the committee he was in talks with several property owners about what they need to help get their lots to a safe and presentable state. Hutto also said he talked with a contractor who agreed to take down some structures for one of the property owners at the contractor’s cost. The property owner was then contacted about a possible buyer for the land, so the three people are working on a solution. The contractor reportedly came to an agreement that if they take the structures down at their cost and the property owner then sold the property within five years, the contractor would be reimbursed for the cost.

Some of the properties in question are on Trousdale Ferry Pike, where Hutto attempted to reach out to the property owner of three dilapidated structures that sit a row, but he wasn’t able to reach the owner directly. However, one of the property owners who Hutto spoke with spoke with the other owner and voiced interest to meet with Hutto.

Hutto reminded the committee his actions were one of an individual trying to help residents come to an agreement, one that does not involve county government. Hutto said it is up to the committee to decide to draft a resolution on the issue if they feel it’s needed and could secure enough votes from the Wilson County Commission for it to be approved.

“That’s kind of what we’ve been doing over the last several months,” Hutto said. “I’ve met with that group on two or three different occasions, just keeping them up to date, and I’ve kind of kept it away from us and the commissioners just because I don’t want you to get confused with what I’m doing and what you guys are doing. So if you guys need a resolution or want a resolution, hey, that’s up to you guys.”

The committee discussed the challenges to enforce action such as knowledge of the scale of the task ahead and how much it would cost. Commissioner Annette Stafford, who championed action on the issue, asked Tom Brashear, director of development services, about the ability of the county government to currently address the complaints. Brashear said current zoning ordinances do not apply to dilapidated structures.

“Can I ask – Tom, do you think that we’ve got with the ordinance that we have now, do you think that that’s enough teeth to give you something?” Stafford said.

Brashear said, “Not with dilapidated structures, no ma’am. In fact, the state is very specific about how a county must go about that in the code annotated, and this resolution that I’ve put before you is pretty specific to what the state code requires, which it gives a protocol for the notice and what has to be in the notice. There has to be a cost estimate for what we think it’s going to cost to either make repairs or demolish, and then we have to give the person the opportunity to respond to us to how they’re going to repair. And if they don’t then we kind of treat it similar to how we have our zoning violations where we send them another notice, send them another notice, and then we take it to the court system.”

Commissioner Kenny Reich said he supported tackling the issue but not in favor of action that is going to use up a lot of county money or resources, something echoed throughout the meeting as no one knows how many properties and structures would meet requirements for county action or how much that could potentially cost to act on them.

“I’m fully in favor of doing something on dilapidated structures, giving [Brashear] the tools you need to make people correct their properties, but I’m not in favor of the county establishing a fund and us going out and tearing them down,” Reich said.

Brashear said ultimately the state was clear the end goal would be to go in and tear the properties in question down if the committee chose to go that route, something the committee could not come to an agreement.

The committee ultimately deferred the issue for 30 days at the recommendation of committee chair Commissioner Jerry McFarland to see if some of the specific structures outlined by Hutto are settled as is planned by some of the parties.

The questions of how big the problem is and how much will it cost remained as the meeting closed with not enough support on any official widespread action on dilapidated structures.

The committee also addressed the need to discuss on noise complaints during its first meeting in 2019.

Weekly student newscast goes live on local cable

Staff Reports

The weekly newscast produced by students at Mt. Juliet High School went on the air Monday in Lebanon on AT&T’s channel 99. 

Wilson County Television, the county’s public, educational and governmental channel, scheduled school-produced and school-related videos weekdays at 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

Wilson County Television manager Tressa Bush said she’s worked toward the launch since last spring, when she first met with students and teachers.

“I knew immediately I wanted to showcase it on our channel,” Bush said. “I know that over time, we will become great media partners.”

Newscasts from the school have been available to Comcast and TDS subscribers in Mt. Juliet for more than a decade.   

James Peach, the audio-visual production teacher at Mt. Juliet High School, said the expansion comes as great news.

“We were already on YouTube, plus two of the three major cable providers in the county, but two-thirds isn’t enough to reach all of the people who could benefit from what our students have to offer,” Peach said. “Even better, some of the new people we might reach on the Wilson County PEG channel could potentially provide [audio-visual] jobs for my students after high school. We probably haven’t even imagined all of the benefits of this new outlet.”

Each semester, more than 30 students work to produce weekly segments, while an additional 25 students continue to train and audition with the hope to land a spot on the broadcast team.

To watch the students on YouTube, search WBNN to see a list of all newscasts and student projects.

Community Calendar and The People’s Agenda

POLICY: Items for the Community Calendar may be submitted via email at, in person at The Democrat’s office at 402 N. Cumberland St., by mail at The Lebanon Democrat, 402 N. Cumberland St., Lebanon, TN 37087 or via fax at 615-444-0899. Items must be received by 4 p.m. for the next day’s edition. The calendar is a free listing of nonprofit events, community club and government meetings. The Democrat reserves the right to reject or edit material. Notices run on an as space is available basis and cannot be taken over the phone. Include a name and phone number in case of questions.

Dec. 11

Lebanon Retirees meeting

9 a.m.

The city of Lebanon Retirees group will meet Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 9 a.m. at Shoney’s Restaurant at 814 S. Cumberland St. in Lebanon. The group is comprised of and limited to people who have retired from the city of Lebanon municipal government. The group meets each second Tuesday of the month from September through May.

Tyler Cates American Legion Post 281 meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Tyler Cates American Legion Post 281 will meet Tuesday, Dec. 11 and the second Tuesday of each month at Rutland Place at 435 N.W. Rutland Road in Mt. Juliet. Social time begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. All veterans are invited to attend. An American Legion Auxiliary Unit is also part of the post. New members are welcome to join. Former members or transfers from other posts are also invited to join. For more information, contact Pat Unger, commander, at 615-210-6156.

Dec. 13

Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber Lunch and Learn

11:30 a.m.

The Lebanon-Wilson Count Chamber of Commerce will hold a lunch and learn Thursday, Dec. 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Five Oaks Golf and Country Club at 621 Five Oaks Blvd. in Lebanon. The guest speaker will be Angela Hubbard, director of economic and community development for the Greater Nashville Regional Council. Tickets are $20 per person. To RSVP, call 615-444-5503 or email

Wilson County Schools Teacher Meet and Greet

3:30 p.m.

Wilson County Schools will hold a teacher meet and greet for December teacher graduates and newly licensed Tennessee teachers Thursday, Dec. 13 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the central office at 415 Harding Drive in Lebanon. Participants are encouraged to come professionally dressed and bring copies of their resume. To RSVP, visit

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Stroke Support Group meeting

6 p.m.

The Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Stroke Support Group will meet Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Tennova Rehab Center at McFarland at 500 Park Ave. in Lebanon in the McFarland conference room on the ground floor. The group promotes optimism, resilience, determination and independence. Members share experiences, exchange resources, socialize, gain knowledge, problem solve, give mutual support and empower. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a spot, visit and look under the events tab.

Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show

7 p.m.

The 31st-annual Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show will be Thursday, Dec. 13, Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in Baird Chapel at Cumberland University. Tickets are $40 per person. For more information, visit

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, meets each Thursday from 7-9:30 p.m. at Fairview Church at 1660 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. For more information, call ministry leader Tony Jones at 615-972-6151.

Dec. 14

Beer and Carols

6 p.m.

Beer and Carols will be Friday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon. For tickets, visit

Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show

7 p.m.

The 31st-annual Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show will be Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in Baird Chapel at Cumberland University. Tickets are $40 per person. For more information, visit

Journey to Bethlehem

7 p.m.

Journey to Bethlehem, a drive-through live nativity scene, will be Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 from 7-9 p.m. at Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian Church at the corner of Leeville Pike and Castle Heights Ave. For more information, call 615-444-7453.

Encore Theatre Co. presents “A Nice Family Christmas”

7:30 p.m.

Encore Theatre Co. will present the comedy, “A Nice Family Christmas,” on Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m. at the theater at 6978 Lebanon Road, just west of State Route 109, in Holmes Crossing. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors 60 and older and are available at, or call 615-598-8950 for reservations.

Dec. 15

Carroll-Oakland Eagles Nest Booster Club Pancake Breakfast with Santa

7 a.m.

The Carroll-Oakland Booster Club will hold a pancake-and-sausage breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 7-11 a.m. in the school cafeteria. It’s a fundraiser for Carroll-Oakland School sports. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children at the door. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and may be purchased by emailing

Watertown Christmas parade

2 p.m.

The Watertown Christmas parade will be Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. on Main Street in Watertown. The parade will begin at Round Lick Baptist Church and continue to the end of East Main Street.

Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show

7 p.m.

The 31st-annual Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show will be Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in Baird Chapel at Cumberland University. Tickets are $40 per person. For more information, visit


The People’s Agenda

POLICY: Items for the Government Calendar may be submitted via email at, in person at The Democrat’s office at 402 N. Cumberland St., by mail at The Lebanon Democrat, 402 N. Cumberland St., Lebanon, TN 37087 or via fax at 615-444-0899. Items must be received by 4 p.m. for the next day’s edition. The calendar is a free listing of government meetings and government-related events. The Democrat reserves the right to reject or edit material. Notices run on an as space is available basis and cannot be taken over the phone. Include a name and phone number in case of questions.

Dec. 17

Wilson County Law Enforcement Committee and Public Works Committee joint meeting

5:45 p.m.

The Wilson County Law Enforcement Committee and Public Works Committee will meet jointly Monday, Dec. 17 at 5:45 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Commission meeting

7 p.m.

The Wilson County Commission will meet Monday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Dec. 20

Mt. Juliet Planning Commission meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Planning Commission will meet Thursday, Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall at 2425 N. Mt. Juliet Road.

Jan. 10

Lebanon City Council work session

6 p.m.

The Lebanon City Council will meet in a work session Thursday, Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

– Staff Reports

Budget Committee considers jail expansion architect fees

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News

With the need for an expanded jail at the top of their minds, the Wilson County Budget Committee passed a measure to pay $750,000 to Kaatz, Binkley, Jones and Morris architects in Mt. Juliet to design the expansion.

The $750,000 will be paid in seven months and will give the architects the chance to begin design of the expanded jail. The $750,000 will probably not cover the entire design costs, but will allow the design team to get started, according to Sheriff Robert Bryan.

The county won’t know the exact cost of the facility and design fees until it’s bid. That will take place in early 2019. The $750,000 will come out of the county’s capital projects fund and can be replaced when the county takes out the loan to build the jail, according to county finance director Aaron Maynard.

Currently, the capital project fund has about $4 million in it, he said.

The project will take about two years and will likely be a two-story design with pods on top of each other, Bryan said.

Included in the pods will be a kitchen, booking room and medical area. It will also house 400 beds, designed to help with the overflow of the current facility. Currently, there are 520 inmates and 460 beds. The County Technical Advisory Service recommended more than 360 beds for the addition, Bryan said.

Maintenance of staff in the new section will also be programmed into future budget costs. The number of additional staff members needed will be determined by the design of the new pods, Bryan said.

“Stacking the pods would be the most efficient way to minimize manpower,” Bryan said. “Manpower is a reoccurring cost that has to be dealt with.”

The county doesn’t take prisoners from or send them to another county but must house those convicted of a felony, which would otherwise be housed in state facilities. If there is no room in a state facility, the inmates remain at the Wilson County Jail.

There are about 100 state inmates in the jail at any one time, Bryan said.

“We’ve been in overcrowding positions before, and it’s not good,” Bryan said. “And, [the increasing number of inmates] is not going away. We want to do this now, so we don’t have to come back and ask for more.”

Bryan said although the design is not made, “it will not affect other parking lot where Goodyear and the houses are right now.“

The measure will have to go before the law enforcement and public works committees Dec. 17 before the Wilson County County Commission meeting. It will then need to be approved by the full commission the same night.

In addition to the architect fees, the Budget Committee also approved a contract to buy the Highland Heights Church of Christ for $3.35 million to be paid in three installments. The property is 6.16 acres.

If the land is not used by the jail expansion, the courts could be aligned in one facility on the land at a later date, Maynard said.

The money would be taken from the county’s capital project fund, and the fund would be reimbursed when the county takes the loan out for the jail.

Cook’s Cantata expects to be traditionally nontraditional

Staff Reports

Just because a Christmas cantata is traditional doesn’t mean there isn’t room outside the gift box for a little creativity. 

Cook’s United Methodist Church choir members plan to color outside the lines Sunday and put a little extra bit of themselves into the 9:30 a.m. Christmas chorale service.

This will be a world premiere, as the lyrics for five of the six songs in the cantata are written entirely by Cook’s choir members with music added by choir director Rick DeJonge. The Cook’s choir will expand for the event, swelling to 28 voices, which will be backed by a 15-piece orchestra.

“I love writing music, but I’m not as strong lyrically,” said DeJong, who has had songs recorded by Willie Nelson and Liza Minelli, which demonstrates quite a range of his own. “This was a chance to get others in the choir involved. We were able to tap into some hidden talent.”

A phenomenon was witnessed by some of the amateur songwriters, as some songs seemed to write themselves without the need for a cocktail napkin on which so many songs were written in Music City.

“I’d never tried to write a song before despite having a long background in music,” said Ed Watson, a former Top Gun fighter pilot and retired CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society. 

Watson’s writing topic was Joseph, and he wasn’t sure what to say at first. 

“I woke up at about 5 a.m. one morning and wrote my piece in about 30 minutes,” said Watson.

Sally Swaney and Sandy Wright also admitted they had the writing process go much faster than anticipated when first given their assignment.   

Wright also has a strong barbershop harmony background but found a home in the Cooks choir after moving from Pennsylvania.

“My topic was the shepherds, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about them,” Wright said. “It turned out to be much easier once I imagined their point of view, how scared they must have been by the star. It then went pretty quickly.”

Swaney also woke up one morning and wrote most of her assignment about the star, but then reached out for a little help.

“I called my sister, Susan, in Michigan, and she helped me polish some parts,” Swaney said. “She probably should get some writing credit.”

Maybe divine inspiration doesn’t require a napkin but sometimes needs a sister.

Erin Cervenansky has the most experience writing songs, as she loves mixing lyrics and music. She had a more measured approach to writing her topic, which was “waiting for a savior.”

“The chorus came to me pretty quickly,” Cervenansky said. “For the story portion of the lyric, I looked in the Bible for the prophesies for inspiration.”

Joyce Gaines had a centerpiece topic with Mary in “The Handmaid of the Lord.”

“Writing the lyrics challenged me to think about Mary’s story from the perspective of a young teenage girl,” said Gaines. “She thought she knew what her future would look like, then her world got rocked by the angel. The story in the song is the same, but perhaps it’s told in a different tone.”

The Cook’s choir includes DeJonge’s talent and originality. He writes the music for Disney World’s Thanksgiving parades each year. He was conductor of the Wilson County Honor Band last year and the Rutherford County Honor Band this year. 

The Cook’s Cantata is open to all Wilson County residents and will be held in the friendship hall at the church at 7919 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet.

There are also provisions underway to simulcast the event on the web and in Cook’s newly renovated sanctuary in the event of an overflow crowd. 

Fire destroys Windtree clubhouse

Staff Reports

Fire destroyed the clubhouse at the Windtree Golf Course Saturday morning on Nonaville Road in Mt. Juliet.

The clubhouse was closed Nov. 27, 2017 to the public. The property was set to be the site of a proposed new housing development.

Mt. Juliet dispatchers and Wilson County 911 call takers received calls about smoke off Nonaville Road at Windtree Golf Course. Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. officials also received an automated notification the electric service meter for the clubhouse at the former golf course had stopped.

Police officers and firefighters were dispatched to the location, and smoke could be seen from miles away. Mt. Juliet fire Assistant Chief Shawn Donovan told dispatchers to implement a working fire protocol, which gave notifications to the Wilson Emergency Management Agency to dispatch an ambulance and Rehab-23 to the scene, as well as provide mutual-aid fire coverage for the city, and Middle Tennessee Electric and Piedmont Gas Co. to send emergency response units to secure utilities, as well as some other dispatch procedures.

A Mt. Juliet police officer and Donovan were the first to arrive. Both reported the golf course’s clubhouse was fully involved with fire and had collapsed.

Mt. Juliet Squad-103, under the command of acting Lt. Andy Hassler, was first fire unit to arrive. The nearest hydrant to the structure was in the parking lot but apparently inoperable. The next nearest hydrant was across the street from the entrance to the golf course at the end of a long driveway.

Engine-104, Ladder-111, Tower-114, Chief-101 and Chief-102 arrived at the scene. Firefighters were about to set up flow master streams with the ladder and tower trucks, but due to the lack of a viable water supply, the plan was put on hold.

Mt. Juliet firefighters requested a WEMA tanker to assist in water supply efforts. Tanker-91 arrived and made multiple water shuttles that brought in 1,500 gallons at a time to the clubhouse.

Engine-104 was able to supply Ladder-111 with its onboard tank and then the shuttled water, which allowed for the ladder pipe to be used to hit most of the hot spots and knock down the main body of fire.

Rehab-23 volunteers arrived and provided on-scene support and shelter from the cold.

Firefighters left the clubhouse at about 11:15 a.m. and left the fire to smolder and eventually burn itself out.

The cause of the fire remained unknown and under investigation. There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire.

Sheriff’s office seeks winter donations for homeless

By Matt Masters

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office plans to collect warm clothing items and blankets for the homeless in Wilson County for the second year in a row with Project Warm Wilson.

Patrol deputies will have blankets and warm-clothing items in their patrol cars to hand out during their shifts as needed, and sheriff’s officials will deliver collected items to known locations populated by the county’s homeless population throughout the winter months.

“We hope yet again for the community’s support in donating any of the following items to ensure we keep the homeless of Wilson County warm this winter. We will have a location in our lobby for donated items, available to be dropped off at any time,” said Wilson County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore.

Items needed include blankets, jackets, hats, Hot Hands warming packs, gloves and thick socks.

Any person or businesses may drop off donations at the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office at 105 E. High St. in Lebanon 24 hours a day, and anyone who needs to make pick-up arrangements may contact Madeline Jennings at 615-444-1412, ext. 249 or

Mt. Juliet hires planner to help with workload

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Mt. Juliet recently hired Jon Baughman to fill current planning director Jennifer Hamblen’s old deputy planner position.

“I kept the duties of the zoning administrator; therefore we needed to fill the deputy planner position,” Hamblen said.

Because of growth, there is enough work for two people, she said.

“We are growing so quickly, and get new plans in nearly every day. It is an extremely tough job to do alone. Right now, we are splitting plan reviews and taking the team approach on everything else. I am sure that will change in time when we both become more acclimated to our new roles.”

Baughman said, “I decided to apply because I like the vision the elected officials and staff have for the city. I think my skills and experience can help the city realize its goals.”

Baughman started work Oct. 8. He said his duties are “primarily, to review planning commission applications [such as site plans, subdivisions, rezoning and annexations], attend meetings as staff support to the planning commission and board of commissioners, research and write resolutions and ordinances and whatever else may arise.”

He said he enjoys the job.

“The first two months have been great, very comfortable,” Baughman said. “The most positive experiences so far have included interaction with the people who work for the city. Everybody has been great, and I like the good attitude and team mentality at the city.”

Baughman attended Cleveland State University in Cleveland, where he graduated with a master’s degree in planning in 2011. Previously, he worked for the Trumbull County Planning Commission in northeast Ohio and with the city of Spring Hill.

Hamblen said she is pleased Baughman joined the staff.

“Jon is a tremendous asset to have here at the city,” she said. “It has been a blessing to have him here, and he has taken the jump-right-in approach. He is doing such a good job, and I couldn’t be more proud to have him be part of our team.”

New emergency room opens its doors in Mt. Juliet

By Matt Masters

TriStar Mt. Juliet emergency room held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday for the city’s newest medical facility, an eight-bed, stand-alone emergency room to administer care within the community.

Brian Marger, chief executive of TriStar Summit Medical Center, said the facility will help save lives and maintain a healthy community from within.

“We are standing here at the TriStar Mt. Juliet free-standing emergency room. It is a full-service emergency room serving Mt. Juliet and the surrounding communities across Wilson County. It is an eight-bed emergency room that will be staffed 24-7 by board-certified emergency room physicians, emergency room nurses, and will offer advanced imaging services and lab services as well,” Marger said. “I believe this will have a major impact for Mt. Juliet and the surrounding communities. When people need access to emergency services, minutes matter, and to provide these high-end emergency services in a growing community like Mt. Juliet is something we’re very proud to be able to offer.”

Marge Jillett, emergency department director for the emergency center, said while the facility can handle all forms of emergency care, the facility will take patients who may need long-term care at TriStar Summit Medical Center in Hermitage for free.

“We’re a full-service emergency department. We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, holidays and weekends, and we provide any type of service you need that would be equivalent to emergency care at any of our local emergency departments. We’re also a certified primary stroke, certified by the Joint Commission. We’re actually an extension of TriStar Summit Medical Center, so we can provide all of the services that TriStar Summit Medical Center does. Should you need admission to the hospital, then we will transport you to TriStar Summit Medical Center free of charge to the patients, and I know that’s been a concern for folks. We still make it a very seamless process for your admission, and we’ll get your workup done here. We’ll get you treated here, and then if you need to be admitted, then we’ll get you over to the medical center,” Jillett said.

The new emergency room is on Beckwith Rood near Interstate 40 at exit 229.

Fourth-annual Christmas Lights Walk upcoming

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet residents decorate for Christmas as well as any city around, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will play host to the fourth-annual Christmas Lights Walk on Dec. 17 to view the lights.

The walking tour will cover the Brookstone and Willoughby Station subdivisions and will start at 6 p.m. at City Hall at 2425 N. Mt. Juliet Road. Coffee, hot chocolate and cookies will be served at City Hall before the walk.

“So much work goes into creating these beautiful displays,” said Mt. Juliet Commissioner Art Giles, who is also BPAC chair. “We have all seen Christmas lights from our cars, but this is an unique opportunity to see the lights from a different perspective, up close and personal. I can’t think of anything that will get you in the holiday spirit more than looking at Christmas lights and mixing that with a little exercise and Christmas cheer.”

Participants will carpool from City Hall to Brookstone and park at the neighborhood clubhouse. Willoughby Station will be the second stop on the tour, and participants will be asked to park at the clubhouse. The walk will take about one to two hours, and participants are encouraged to bring a flashlight for extra visibility.

Mt. Juliet general store, museum officially opens

By Matt Masters

The Corley & Sons General Store and Mt. Juliet Museum officially opened Thursday with a ribbon cutting celebration.

The 24-hour museum is not easily missed as it features a bright red Texaco gas pump and telephone booth in front, next to City Hall on North Mt. Juliet Road. Inside, it features dozens of collectible items and memorabilia from days of yesteryear.

The items, which include vintage cameras, an antique Pepsi machine, Texaco signs and varieties of coffees, tobaccos and other products, are kept behind large display windows cases on either side. The outside is modeled after an old general store.

The museum is the work of longtime Mt. Juliet resident Fred Corley and Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin.

Corley has collected antiques and memorabilia for years, and in preparation for a move to Clarksville, he and his family decided their collection of history would best be used to welcome new Mt. Juliet residents and educate them on the history of the city with a look at the goods and wares that made up many small Southern towns.

Martin said the welcome center will tie generations of Mt. Juliet residents and visitors together through the history of the town.

“To know where you’re going, you’ve got to know where you came from,” Martin said. “We’ve got to hang onto our history and our past instead of just forgetting about it, and Mt. Juliet and Wilson County in general is quickly growing. So this is just a way of bringing back [things] for those of us old enough to remember this like this and even the younger folks to learn how far technology has come.”

Corley said the new attraction gives his beloved collectables a new secure and climate-controlled home that will serve as a place to welcome new residents into a community that has both a history to remember and a future to forge with each new member.

“What I wanted to do was to keep the remainder of my collection in tact, so I contacted Kenny Martin, and I said, ‘If you will build a welcome and information center for the city somewhere, I will let you take my collection and use it for decoration,’” Corley said.

“What I want this museum to do is just to be an attraction for new people coming to Mt. Juliet, to be able to come to one place and find out, how do I get my car registered, who’s my city commissioner, what’s the current events, get a history of the city and the county and to see basically how they can be involved in Mt. Juliet. So this is just an attraction to invite newcomers, guests and people who are curious about Mt Juliet [and have] an avenue to stop by and find out and learn a little bit about our city and our county.”

New businesses headed to Mt. Juliet

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Mt. Juliet’s growth is evident with new businesses scheduled to open in the near future.

Construction on the International House of Pancakes is about to end, and the restaurant is expected to open soon, according to planning director Jennifer Hamblen. The retail store, At Home, is also under construction and should open in the near future, she said.

“TriStar emergency room is slated to open [this] week, and Wash and Roll [a drive-through car wash] on Lebanon Road opened [Nov. 21],” she said. “Christian Brothers Auto Repair has submitted a site plan for December, and we have some exciting things lining up for submittal very soon.”

City Manager Kenny Martin said Mt. Juliet is excited about the new businesses, which will help fill holes in the city’s commercial areas.

“We proactively reach out to retailers across the country that our residents and visitors tell us they would like to see in Mt. Juliet,” Martin said. “We also encourage the importance of shopping locally daily.”

In addition to making connections with businesses in Tennessee in person and by email, Martin attends the annual International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas each May. He attends with Wilson County, Lebanon and Watertown as a joint Wilson County recruitment trip, he said.

He said, “Because of our low tax base, Mt. Juliet operates mainly off of sales tax revenue. Making Mt. Juliet an even more business-friendly environment not only encourages citizens and visitors to shop in Mt. Juliet, but also encourages businesses to come to Mt. Juliet.

Martin said shopping local “is most important to our mom-and-pop businesses and our corporate business, as well. Sales taxes help pay for our police, fire, parks, schools, public works, roads and so on. Revenue generated from sales taxes also helps us keep our property taxes low.

“Mt. Juliet has a property tax rate of $.016.5 cents. By comparison, Smyrna has a property tax rate of $.7007 per $100 of assessed value. LaVergne’s property tax rate is currently $0.71 per $100 of assessed value, and Hendersonville is $0.758 property tax per $100 of assessed value. Mt. Juliet, by far, has one of the lowest property tax rates in the state and with continued good sales tax revenue and being great stewards of the citizens’ resources, it is our plan to keep it that way.”

Businesses in Mt. Juliet help attract other businesses to come to the city, he said.

“Our businesses are our economic engines, and they are most helpful in helping our great city provide the wonderful services we provide,” Martin said. “This is most important in all communities, but with Mt. Juliet’s low property tax rate, the need for sales tax revenue is paramount. That is why shopping local is so vital for Mt. Juliet. Shopping local helps your community more than you know. When you shop in other communities, it supports that community and not your own, so please shop local by supporting Mt. Juliet and Wilson County businesses first.”

I-40 exit planned for Central Pike

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Mt. Juliet is on the list for a new interchange to be built by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The interchange will be built at Central Pike and will help divert traffic off the closest interchange, which is at Mt. Juliet Road.

To get the interchange, city leaders had to petition with the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, a group of leaders from counties in and around Davidson County. After consideration of the facts, the NAMPO sent a project recommendation to TDOT to build the interchange.

At its meeting Nov. 26, the Mt. Juliet City Commission voted on a resolution between the city and TDOT to support construction of the new interchange. The state conducts a study to see if the interchange is justified for construction, according to city engineer Andy Barlow.

“Currently the city is helping the project move along by committing funds for engineering and environmental work on the project,” Barlow said. “Projects that have some level of funding currently committed are one of the considerations for project selection by TDOT. There is no way of telling what the total amount will be right now. We have $2 million currently budgeted, but that number is just a guess on the city’s needs for contributions at this point.”

The city currently has 17 total city transportation projects in some stage of development currently, according to Barlow. Five are slated to begin construction in 2019. Six are pure roadway widening and improvement projects.

Among those are the Central Pike interchange and widening, an interchange connector roadway to Central Pike from Providence, Interstate 40 bridge widening, the widening of Highway 70 from Park Glen to Golden Bear Gateway, Golden Bear Gateway widening from Cedar Creek to Lebanon Road and Old Lebanon Dirt Road widening and realignment.

All together, the total cost will be about $150 million, Barlow said. The road projects are funded a variety of ways, including taking money from the city’s general fund, state grants, loans and bonds or a mixture of the funding measures, said City manager Kenny Martin.

It will take an average of five years for the interchange to be built, but it could take longer, Martin said. To be considered for an interchange, Martin said the state and federal government have to approve the project.

Martin said the city is keeping up with the growth, “but like all quickly growing cities, we’d like to do even better.”

Barlow said three of the primary roads that are used in the city are state-maintained highways, Mt. Juliet Road, Lebanon Road and Central Pike. 

“The city of Mt. Juliet has had a great history of putting skin in the game for projects on state routes by paying for most or all of the preliminary costs on projects,” he said. “While we don’t technically own the roads, they are all integral to the success of the city. We see the cooperation of working with the state as beneficial to both parties due to timing and costs.

The widening of South Mt. Juliet Road over I-40 “will make a tremendous difference,” Martin said. The current plan for bid letting, or making the project available for companies to bid on the project, will take place in March and will depend on right-of-way acquisitions, Barlow said. He said work should start 60 days later.

“[The city] currently has $2.5 million [in the bank], but this may vary depending on bids,” Barlow said.

The city received just more than $2.3 million in grant money.

In addition to the bridge widening, traffic signals will also be coordinated from Central Pike to Division Street to allow improved traffic to flow, Martin said. The project is funded only by a grant, he said.

Community Foundation awards grants to 15 Wilson County nonprofits

Staff Reports

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a charitable organization dedicated to enrich the quality of life in Wilson and 39 other Middle Tennessee counties and beyond, announced this week it awarded more than $2.7 million in grants to 453 local nonprofit organizations as part of its annual grant-making process.

The grants will benefit nonprofits in 33 area counties, including Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Warren, White, Williamson and Wilson counties.

Grants were awarded locally to 15 nonprofits that, according to Wilson County Community Foundation Board Chairman Bob Black, “provide valuable assistance and services for a number of worthy causes all across our county.”

Those named as grant recipients in Wilson County included Cedar Seniors; Cedarcroft Home; Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter Volunteer Organization; Brooks House; Cumberland University; Historic Lebanon Tomorrow; Lebanon Senior Citizens Center; Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center; New Leash on Life; Prospect; Veteran’s PATH; Wilson Books from Birth; Wilson County Civic League; Wilson County Emergency Services Rehab Association; and Wilson County Salvation Army.

The top three awards categories in the overall grant presentations were human services and children with 16 percent of the grants, education with 15 percent and arts and humanities at 14 percent.

“The Community Foundation is honored to connect generosity with need through these annual grants and through other avenues throughout the year, but we couldn’t have the impact we do without the many nonprofits offering solutions to our community’s needs and vital services to our neighbors,” said Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “Thanks to the generous support of our donors, and the work of dedicated and talented nonprofits, we are able to fund solutions which address Middle Tennessee’s emerging needs and opportunities.”

The Community Foundation awards discretionary grants annually from its unrestricted and field-of-interest funds to Middle Tennessee nonprofits. Grants are awarded through an open-application process for organizations to address community needs and benefit the wellbeing of citizens through valuable programs and innovative services. More information on the grant process may be found at

For a complete list of grant recipients, visit

The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and empowers individuals, families, companies, nonprofits and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit

Hagan to replace Gwin as judge

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News

The Wilson County Commission selected attorney Ensley Hagan to be the next Wilson County general sessions court judge Monday night to replace John Gwin, who plans to retire at the end of the year.

The commission chose Hagan on a 13-10 vote over attorney Julie Robinson. Trey Marshall was also in contention. Because no one received 13 votes after the first round of balloting, Marshall dropped out of the running, and Hagan and Robinson were left to vie for the judgeship.

Obviously, I’m extremely pleased with the outcome, Hagan said. “Given the quality of the other two lawyers who were also seeking the position, I am truly honored and humbled by the county commission’s decision Monday night.”

Before the vote, all three candidates, who were nominated by the public and officially nominated by the commission, spoke to commissioners.

In his comments to the commission, Hagan said he had, in the past, filled in for Gwin.

Before he was chosen, Hagan said, “I want to thank Judge John Gwin for setting the bar for what a judge should be and for establishing such a well-run court. I hope to emulate what Judge Gwin has accomplished beginning Jan. 1. It is an honor to be considered for this very important position.”

“This court decides many extremely important matters, child custody and visitation for parents who are both married and not married; dividing marital property; orders of protection, which likely involve domestic abuse and can keep someone from their home or from having a firearm; administration of probate estates, will contests which can be very complicated and determine who gets what in an estate, guardianships for minors and conservatorships for incompetent adults. You have to ensure that the most vulnerable are not taken advantage of and mental health patients. This court has the authority to deprive someone of their liberty. That is a really big deal.”

Hagan said the “most important job this court has is protecting children. I have done all of these things. I have made these kinds of tough decisions. I’ve practiced in all of those areas, and I’ve filled in for Judge Gwin, at his request, numerous times in each of these areas of law. Since Judge Gwin told me of his upcoming retirement nearly two years ago, I have not wavered in my intention to seek this position. I have made my plans known, and I want you all to know that a vote for me tonight will not be wasted. I plan on running for this seat in 2020.

Hagan has also filled in for two other judges, Barry Tatum and James H. Flood, “numerous times. I believe this demonstrates great confidence in my abilities as a judge. Presently, I am in my second three-year term as a member of the Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Committee that hears complaints against Tennessee lawyers. This is a group of lawyers selected by the Tennessee Supreme Court to decide whether lawyers are abiding by the required ethical rules.

“I consider this a high honor. Judges are leaders, and I am a leader in this community. From being president of the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club to being on the board of SCAN to working with Wilson Warriors, to the Lebanon Planning Commission to the Wilson Bank & Trust Community Council, to heading up the Rotary Foundation, I have been and am a leader.

The issues family court deals with require an “open mind, a compassionate heart and a firm hand. One who can control a courtroom but also allow all Wilson Countians who come before it to be heard. I can assure you that I will not develop any robe fever or what’s called robeitus,” Hagan said. “This judgeship belongs to the people of this great county, not the one wearing the robe. But more than my legal experience, I bring my own life experience.”

In addition to requests Hagan fill in for Gwin, Hagan said, “Judge Gwin has often given me some very good advice over the years. Basically, he’s been a mentor to me. One such piece of advice he told me very recently in his office was ‘Son, do not lose your patience. Some people will do and say some really, really stupid things in court, but just do not lose your patience.’ Those who know me will tell you that I have the knowledge, temperament, experience, open-mindedness and humility to hit the ground running on Jan. 1, 2019.”

The county was in a crunch to pick a new attorney because the Jan. 3 docket is full, according to Gwin, and the new judge would have to be chosen before then.

Community mourns teen’s death

By Matt Masters

The shooting death of Mt. Juliet High School student Jayshawn Taylor on Nov. 15 left more questions than answers as detectives continue to investigate what led up to 16-year-old teen’s death.

The shooting happened at the house of a 15-year-old former Mt. Juliet High School student who originally told Wilson County sheriff’s deputies he shot an intruder who was breaking into the house.

Investigators quickly established the burglary claim was false, and according to sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore, detectives have not ruled out additional charges against a group of teens who were at the home during the shooting. All of the teens are or were previously enrolled at Mt. Juliet High School.

Students, faculty and fans of both Mt. Juliet and Oakland high schools honored Taylor, who previously played football at both Mt. Juliet and Oakland, on Nov. 16 during the teams’ quarterfinal playoff game.

A moment of silence was recognized, banners were displayed and red ribbons were worn by both teams in honor of Taylor and to show solidarity with the Mt. Juliet High School community.

Mt. Juliet High School principal Leigh Anne Rainey said additional counselors were at the school Friday for students and faculty to begin to heal in the face of the community tragedy.

“It’s been tough for the adults and the students. We’ve had students and teachers who were hit very hard with it. He was very connected to our school, so anytime you are missing someone one morning, it makes it really difficult to work through,” Rainey said. “We’re very, very proud of our students, our faculty, our staff and this community. They have wrapped their arms around this school and these kids, and it just really shows the character and the support that we have in Mt. Juliet. It’s a very special place, and unfortunately we have been through tragedies like this before, but I’ve never seen the response like we’ve gotten through this from everybody.”

Questions about photography ban, ID requirement prompts committee to stop agency’s public records rules

Staff Reports

The Joint Government Operations Committee voted last Wednesday to ask the Department of Financial Institutions to hold a public hearing on its rules related to public records requests after questions about the agency’s proposed ban on photography of records and the requirement of a Tennessee driver’s license or photo ID to inspect or get copies of records.

Several lawmakers on the committee also said their experience of hearing in a series of months all the rules that state agencies were implementing regarding access to public records has prompted them to believe changes to the public records act are due.

The Department of Financial Institutions is one of many state agencies going through the rule-making process related to public records access. All state agencies are required by law to promulgate rules regarding access by Jan. 1. Several state agencies will be before the Joint Operations Committee at its December meeting the week of Dec. 17, said the committee’s chairman State Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville.

Not all agencies have had public hearings in advance of the appearance before the joint committee, and instead proposed their rules through a different process in which the Joint Government Operations Committee hears the rule and allows public comment.

At last Wednesday’s meetings, several lawmakers questioned the Department of Financial Institution’s proposed rule that bans someone from taking photos of public records.

The agency’s rule says “[a] requester will not be allowed to make copies of records with personal equipment, including, but not limited to, cell phones, portable scanners, or portable copy machines.”

Rep. G.A. Hardaway questioned the agency on the ID requirement.

Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, asked what would be the downside of someone taking a picture of the public record.

The department’s legislative liaison Todd Staley said if they had to make a copy to redact a record so it could be viewed by a requester, they would simply give the requester the copied records as they would have no use for it – causing there to be no need to take a picture of the record. But when asked by Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, if giving the requester a free copy was stated in the rule, Staley admitted it was not.

“As we look in the future, chairman, I’m going to be suggesting that these public records be open if someone wants to take a picture and except for the redacted [information], they could,” Pody said.

Lawmakers discussed asking the department to amend the photography ban part of the rule and then turned to the public comments section.

During the public comment section, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government executive director Deborah Fisher shared how the requirement of a driver’s license or photo ID by state agencies was causing delays in access to public records and hindering access. Journalists who work for Tennessee news organizations in Bristol, Chattanooga and Memphis were denied access to public records because they lived across the state line.

Fisher suggested the requirement was overkill, and a better way might be to allow residents to check a box or verbally confirm they are resident. She also suggested journalists who work for Tennessee news organizations be allowed access to public records and not denied if they have an out-of-state residency, such as in one of the border states.

At least three lawmakers expressed concern the rules made it it too hard to access public records and the process should be easier.

Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, complained the committee heard the same barriers to access to records repeatedly as state agencies brought rules before them and suggested legislation be brought in the next session.

“I think we need to address this in the upcoming session, and in a bipartisan way, and make sure citizens of this state or any news organization or press, or anyone who may be concerned about something in this country has access to public records,” Mitchell said. “This seems ludicrous that we’ve went through this exercise every month with every department. I just don’t understand why we are trying to make it so hard for the public to get their records. With that being said, let’s fix this come January so we don’t have to go through this 20 more times.”

Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, said he didn’t think a driver’s license or photo ID should be required for a records request and a checkbox on a form would work just as well.

Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, said while he thinks the voter ID law for elections was very important, he saw no problem with allowing someone to check a box on a public records request form “under penalty of perjury” stating they are a Tennessee resident.

“That makes a lot of sense, and as the representative has said, these are public records,” Crowe said. “We do need to look at the entire public records act to see what can be done.”

Hardaway also questioned the agency on the ID requirements.

Bell, who is also on an ad hoc Open Records Committee, said he agreed with Mitchell that the “larger issue needs to be addressed. And it’s something we need to look at, and something I’ve been looking at.” For now, he suggested that one option was for the committee was to require the Department of Financial Institutions to have a public hearing and that “would stop the rule-making process in its tracks.” This would give the department, at the least, to consider adjusting their rules.

State Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, who is also on the Open Records Committee, made a motion to ask the agency to have a public hearing on the issues.

The one lawmaker who defended the ID requirement was Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, who suggested the ID requirement was an important rule to slow down some of the requesters who harass local entities with large requests.

Tennessee Maneuvers Experience makes first goal

The premier fundraising event for the Tennessee Maneuvers project sold out last week as supporters came together to watch a 30-minute preview of the hopeful immersive documentary.

Friends of the Wilson County Veterans Museum, a nonprofit organization, wants to show what happened in Wilson County during World War II with an immersive documentary film called the Tennessee Maneuvers Experience. The experience includes off-screen elements meant to bring the audience closer to the story.

At the preview showing, a stage was set up with rocking chairs and an old radio, a set that accompanied audio of the local Lowe family on the day of Pearl Harbor. The screen grew dark as the stage set lit up and sounds from Mrs. Lowe making Sunday breakfast filled the room. When the family returned from church, Mr. Lowe turned on the radio to hear a news report about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The film captures the history of Wilson County during World War II. From 1941-44, Cumberland University served as the U.S. Army headquarters for training. Over a three-year period about 850,000 soldiers trained for battle in large-scale maneuvers that took place across 21 counties in Middle Tennessee, including Wilson.

Residents were told to completely ignore the soldiers, but many locals remember having dinner with soldiers or allowing them to sleep on the floors of their home. Some of the soldiers died during the maneuvers. Around 20 soldiers attempted to cross the Cumberland River at Averitt’s Ferry crossing, but only two survived.

Bob Masto, now a resident of Mt. Juliet, was drafted into the second World War, trained in Kentucky and sent to train in the Tennessee Maneuvers. Masto was a special guest at the preview event.

The film also shows local veteran B.J. Reich telling a boy, Nathan, about the time of war. Reich shows Nathan pictures and artifacts and they take a trip out to Averitt’s Ferry to see where the soldiers died. 

“Now we are in a position to seek corporate sponsors to assist us in finding a semi-permanent location,” said Tressa Bush, secretary of the Friends of the Wilson County Veterans Museum. “We will continue shooting and editing so that we can finish the film, which will hopefully be about an hour and a half long.”

The film is anticipated to be historically accurate, entertaining and educational.

Wilson County historian Jerry McFarland serves as president of the Friends of the Wilson County Veterans Museum. McFarland is also the District 5 Wilson County commissioner and a retired colonel. Tom Clemmons, whose father served as a fighter pilot in World War II, is the vice president and treasurer of the organization. The group is working with filmmaker Trey Semmes to produce the film.

Jobless rate holds steady in Wilson

Staff Reports

NASHVILLE – The majority of Tennessee’s counties experienced a drop in unemployment, or their rates remained the same, according to the October statistics released Wednesday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Unemployment rates dropped in 26 Tennessee counties and remained the same in 36 counties when compared to September statistics. Thirty-three counties across the state experienced an increase in unemployment during October.

Wilson County ‘s rate of 3.1 percent, which held steady compared to September, remained the seventh lowest in the state behind Williamson, Davidson, Rutherford, Cheatham, Sumner and Sevier counties, respectively.

Wilson County’s rate in October represented 2,220 unemployed workers compared to a 72,090-person workforce and did not include those who did not file with the labor department or no longer receive benefits. Compared to the same time last year, the jobless rate was up 0.6 percent.

Lebanon’s rate for October remained flat at 3.6 percent compared to both September and August and was up 0.6 percent compared to a year ago. The city’s rate represented 540 unemployed workers, compared to a 15,130-person labor force.

Mt. Juliet’s rate for October was 3 percent and also remained flat compared to September’s revised rate and a 0.6 percent increase from a year ago. The rate represented 550 unemployed workers compared to an 18,400-person labor force.

The rate for the Nashville-Murfreesboro metropolitan area, which includes Wilson County, decreased 0.1 percent from September to land at 2.9 percent in October but increased 0.4 percent from a year ago. The rate represented 30,510 unemployed workers compared to a nearly 1.04-million-person labor force.

Williamson County continued to have the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.7 percent.

Wilson County 911 Board closes in on co-location

By Matt Masters

The Wilson County 911 Board approved the technology needed Tuesday as part of the incoming co-location enhancements and addressed ongoing structural maintenance.

The board accepted the new technology, Nelson Systems Eventide, recording software with server hardware and a backup solution, which was picked after several bids were compared for features and price.

The chosen system will cost $45,145, the second-cheapest option, but with a host of features other options didn’t include such as voice analytics and real-time monitoring. The proposal will be contingent on a successful demonstration of the system.

In other business, the board continued to address a hole that formed in the parking lot where an addition to the building will be built during co-location renovations.

GEOServices issued a draft geological report, with a final copy to be presented to the director soon to come to a solution on the best way to repair the hole. Two borings were done where the building extension will go to test the stability of the ground before repairs are done to the hole and surrounding areas.

Costs and safety will be compared to settle on a solution, which was narrowed to fill the hole with rock material and put casings in the ground with an expandable filler. The latter choice was the most popular of the options as it should provide a more long-term solution, but a decision will be made once the board hears price proposals. The excavation needed to do the repairs will be included in the overall construction bid.

A planned 180-foot communications tower will be closer to the main building than originally planned as it will save money to power and maintain the tower. The city of Lebanon does not have any restrictions related to fall zones on commercial properties, which means the tower could be placed anywhere on the property. The tower will have a footprint of 22-by-22-feet wide and 5-feet deep. Wilson County 911 director Karen Moore said the tower will be the strongest structure on the property and should not pose a threat to surrounding structures.

The board recessed Tuesday as opposed to adjourn the meeting, which it will resume at the end of November when final drawings can be reviewed for the co-location center. Construction bids are expected anywhere between late December and late January, at which point the board will decide on the next steps of the project.

The board made co-location a priority in the past year. The plan will move emergency unit dispatchers such as police and fire from across Wilson County in one building with 911 call takers.

The board reported the call center maintained 100 percent of its calls above the national standards, which means calls were answered, and help was sent out as fast as possible.

The board also moved a $105,497 certificate of deposit from First Freedom Bank to Wilson Bank & Trust due to better interest rates with Wilson Bank & Trust.

The 911 call center will hold an employee appreciation dinner Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m.