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Mayor Maness declares state of city strong

The annual State of the City Address by the Mt. Juliet Mayor looked a little different this year.
What is usually held as a luncheon put on by the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce, moved, like many things this year, to the virtual world. Mayor James Maness gave his yearly update via Zoom with many Chamber members and city leaders watching from their computers.
“The state of our city is strong, not just strong, it’s Mt. Juliet strong,” said Maness.
2020 was a tough year for the city with the tornado and the pandemic, but Maness pointed out it brought out the best in people. After the tornado, many people from the Mt. Juliet community and surrounding communities stepped up to help in any way they could.
“We saw the worst of mother nature that night, but we saw the best of our community,” said Maness.
Maness said that many of the issues that the Board of Commissioners dealt with at that time was what to do with all the volunteers or where to store all the items that people had donated to help. He said there were so many that they ran out of stuff for volunteers to do.
“They’ll never know what that personally meant to me,” said Maness of the response.
Maness then moved into the numbers for the city, the big one being that despite the pandemic, revenue for the city was up over $700,000 for the year. The revenue dipped for April and May in the early days of the pandemic, but after that the numbers skyrocketed, well exceeding the previous year and everyone’s expectations.
“That says a lot after what we’ve been through this year,” said Maness.
Maness said the Commission passed a lean budget because they were uncertain of what lied ahead. After all was said and done, they were able to put $7.9 million back in cash reserves for future projects, of which there are many in the pipeline.
Maness talked about all the park lands that are coming or possibly coming in the future. Tomlinson Park off of Golden Bear Gateway, Grace Park next to Grace United Methodist Church, and Hamilton-Denison Park which will bring extra ball fields to the city. He also mentioned the several sidewalk and greenway projects throughout the city, as well as the widening of the I-40 bridge which is already under way.
Maness also applauded the work of the Mt. Juliet Police Department this year. Their crime rate of 49 ranks fifth best for cities in the area. Their crime clearance rate of 60 percent is really high in comparison to other departments. There was an uptick in crashes and overdoses this year, but that is common throughout the United States.
The MJPD is adding a new addition to their headquarters for their dispatch crew. They are also poised to hire four officers a year for the next 10 years. They are also converting many of their patrol cars to hybrid for fuel efficiency.

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