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Hutto delivers State of the County address

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto gave his annual State of the County address on July 15. Mayor Hutto started the meeting with encouraging the wearing of face masks, but on Friday the encouragement changed to a mask mandate for Wilson County.

He shared that Wilson County had passed a $443 million budget for this year on June 30, the earliest a budget has been passed by the County Commission in the history of the county. There are three revenue areas from which the budget money is received: $167 million (38%) comes from local sales tax and wheel tax; $159 million (36%) comes from fees collected; and $116 million (26%) comes from gasoline tax and federal funding.

There is a $1.4 million surplus in the General Fund which will help to cover the loss of sales tax and hotel tax this year following the March 3 tornado and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One hundred seventy properties were destroyed during the tornado from which the county will receive no property tax this year. There also has been sales tax loss in March, April and May. The State of Tennessee gave Wilson County $1,994,000 to help cover the shortfall of sales tax.

Hutto also addressed this year’s impact on Wilson County Schools. Stoner Creek Elementary and West Wilson Middle Schools were insured 100%. North Greenhill High School is on target to open in August.

Tornado recovery efforts are still underway in the county. Recover Wilson is busy helping with individual needs of the families who suffered loss. The County Mayor’s Office received $500,000 in funds to help people rebuild. Persons in need can receive up to $40,000. Contact Jim Tidwell at the Wilson County Mayor’s Office.

The two new Wilson County Emergency Management Agency (WEMA) locations and the collecting station located in the Lakeview area are on hold until the economy is more stable.

The Adequate Facilities Tax is exceeding expectations with $8.4 million collected. Lebanon had issued 2,065 building permits and Mt. Juliet had issued 543 building permits for the past fiscal year.

The Wilson County Expo Center is being renamed the Farm Bureau Tennessee Exposition Center for which they will pay $45,000 for five years. The Ag Center may become the home of the State FFA. Hutto said  that livestock shows are taking place this year at the Fairgrounds and may become the home of the Tennessee State Fair.

New offices are still being relocated at the Greenhill Women’s Club in Mt. Juliet, and the Wilson County Election Commission will be making its home in the building behind the Courthouse where Fred’s Discount Center was located. The Speedway will reopen, and there will be a new national grocery store located off State Route 109.

Hutto reiterated that COVID-19 testing is being done at the Ag Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wilson County’s total number of positive cases, as of July 21, is 1,664.

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