News Ticker

BOC passes budget, lowers property tax rate

The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners approved the budget and lowered the property tax rate in the Monday meeting.
The total budget, which exceeds $60 million, was approved unanimously with a few changes.
“You deserve a standing ovation,” said City Manager Kenny Martin to the Board of Commissioners after the budget passed. “It’s very monumental what you’ve done with this budget.”
One of the big changes was to lower the property tax rates from 16.64 cents to 15 cents per $100 of the assessed value. Mt. Juliet’s property tax only goes to emergency services, specifically the Fire Department of Mt. Juliet.
The Board of Commissioners also approved many raises for city employees to get them more in line with cities in the area. Some positions were drastically lower, and they were some of the lowest in the area. Commissioner Scott Hefner asked City Staff to do a pay study, and the commission allocated $650,000 to get employees closer to other municipalities.
“Our City employees are exceptional. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you,” said Hefner.
To offset those costs, city staff was able to trim $757,000 from the sewer and general fund.
“If it wasn’t deserved, no one would have voted for it,” said Commissioner Ray Justice.
The Board of Commissioners approved $250,000 for short term flooding assistance on Old Lebanon Dirt Road near Jackson Hollow and Page Drive. With the eventual widening, there are some long-term solutions that will help with the flooding. In the meantime, Public Works Director Andy Barlow said some property owners have agreed to allow the creation of flood storage to help alleviate the damage done by flooding to the roads and homes.
“It will create a short-term solution until we can get the long-term fix,” said Barlow.
One of the major projects approved in the budget would be a new City Hall. Martin said before the meeting that they are currently at 115 percent capacity in the existing facility.
“Currently there are two possibilities,” said Martin. “One would be to expand the current city hall and the second would be a new free-standing location.”
Martin said that he is currently looking for possible sites and proposals. Once he compiles a list of viable options, he will submit it to the Board of Commissioners, and they will have workshops to study them. Once they pick a proposal, then the process would start. The Board of Commissioners have earmarked $10 million for the project.
The commission also approved a resolution authorizing the execution of a contract between the City of Mt. Juliet and Boger Construction LLC for construction of Fire Station North. The new fire station will be located across from Green Hill High School.
Justice and Commissioner Bill Trivett were concerned that there was no end date on the contract, and there were no penalties for not meeting the deadline.
“We’ve got caught in that before,” said Justice.
After much searching, City Attorney Gino Marchetti found the necessary passages in the contract.
“Sorry, this is near and dear to my heart,” said Justice of the Fire Station North.
“Of course,” said Mayor James Maness. “This is the missing piece completing our coverage in the city.”
The project is set to take 250 days unless weather and supply chain problems slow it down.
The Commissioners also approved a new entertainment venue permit, that would allow for businesses that are entertainment oriented to sell alcoholic beverages without having to meet the 5-to-1 food to alcoholic beverages ratio the city requires for restaurants. This would cover places like Dave & Buster’s, Top Golf, places that have live music multiple times a week and many others. An existing business that was following the 5-to-1 that has live music can apply for this license. Another ordinance to reduce the 5-to-1 was deferred indefinitely after lack of support and need for more research.
Commissioners also approved an ordinance that would stop commercial contractors from doing work inside or outside the home on Sundays. It was previously not allowed to do outside work, but contractors would move indoors. However, they were still using loud tools and generating noise complaints. Commissioner Jennifer Milele clarified that this is only for commercial contractors. Individual homeowners can work on their homes.