News Ticker

Martin discusses budget, business

Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin hopped on Zoom with the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce Monday to discuss the budget and other items pertinent to the city.
“Our legislative body is putting public safety first,” said Martin about this year’s budget. It was passed on Monday, June 14 by the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners.
Martin said they are hiring nine new firefighters and five new officers, including a K9 police dog. Martin said they have never hired that many firefighters in one year. The second K9 police dog will be the second for the Mt. Juliet Police Department. Currently Majlo is the MJPD’s lone K9. Martin said having the second will help when the dog gets injured or has to be out of commission for a time. Majlo had an injury last year that required extensive rehabilitation.
Martin also talked more about the new infrastructure in the budget, which includes an addition to MJPD headquarters, a new Fire Hall near Green Hill High School and a new City Hall.
The MJPD headquarters has been in the works for awhile. After the tornado, MJPD realized their dispatch wouldn’t have been safe if it took a direct hit from the tornado. The new addition will be structurally tornado proof up to a certain strength. It will also be a safe shelter for the community in such an event.
The new Fire Hall will be near Green Hill High School, and should lower the ISO rating for local residents while improving response times.
The new City Hall is in the early planning stages. The budget set aside roughly $10 million to either build a new building or add onto the existing structure. The City Hall is currently at 115 percent capacity and people are sharing offices. Martin said right now they are considering a location on the Everett Downs property next to Whitt’s Barbecue, in front of the MJPD Headquarters on Charlie Daniels Parkway, or the lot next to the current City Hall and expansion. The city just learned that they are eligible for $9.9 million in federal money for COVID-19 relief, and a new City Hall would fall under the uses outlined. However, Martin said they are still assessing how it could be used for their specific circumstance. Martin said he has been wanting to get a new City Hall for years, but it has been pushed aside for other priorities over the years. He said Mayor James Maness really championed it this time around.
Martin also mentioned many of the new businesses coming to the community like Whataburger. He said he hasn’t got confirmation that Bargain Hunt in the Valley Center is coming back, but he has a line of people waiting to fill that spot if they do not. He said that even though there are vacant businesses throughout the city, they have more than enough to fill. He said many building owners are picky for what they want in their developments, so they will hold out for a specific type of business.