Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty gave his annual State of the City address Wednesday, March 21, at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at Rutland Place.
Hagerty began his address by introducing and recognizing the district commissioners and different department directors for the city.
Hagerty also honored one of Mt. Juliet’s founders and the city’s first female mayor, Jennie Bess Hibbett, during his address by issuing a proclamation announcing March 21, 2018 will be known as Jennie Hibbett day.
Hibbett was also the first female commissioner for the city and attended her first meeting March 21, 1977, where she was also sworn in as Vice Mayor. She attended her first commission meeting as Mayor March 4, 1979.
She also helped start the first kindergarten in Mt. Juliet, and has read to at least five generations at the Mt. Juliet-Wilson County Public Library.
District 4 Commissioner Brian Abston gave a short speech about the improvements already accomplished and those yet to be completed around his district, which is the Providence area of South Mt. Juliet.
In terms of growth, the Public Works department has issued a record 460 residential permits issued for the Storm Water Division. In the Street Division, 6.2 miles of road has been resurfaced, according to Abston.
Abston also praised the new corridor of Mt. Juliet, Golden Bear Gateway, and its ability to take pressure off of Mt. Juliet Road.
He also addressed the adaptive signal systems in place at multiple traffic lights around South Mt. Juliet. The smart system can measure and detect the traffic and adjust the signal in turn.
Other traffic signals that can improve the flow of traffic in Mt. Juliet include the newly completed signal at Belinda Parkway and the signal at Lebanon Road and Park Glen, which Abston said will be done this Spring.
Abston also talked about the projects that are under design, including the Mt. Juliet Road/Interstate 40 widening, new right turn in at Central Pike and Mt. Juliet Road, and a traffic signal at Golden Bear Gateway and Volunteer Boulevard.
“This team of the Commission, City staff, have diligently been working to get projects that are going to improve the quality of life for everybody in Mt. Juliet,” said Abston. “We’re constantly moving new projects onto that list that will make a positive impact.”
After Abston’s speech, Hagerty thanked Abston for the work in his district announced that for the first time, he did not receive a single complaint on Providence traffic during the holidays.
Hagerty began his address by talking about the high demand for housing in Mt. Juliet and how prices reflect that demand. In 2017, 504 housing permits were issued. This number is up from 413 in 2016 and 296 in 2015. These figures do not count the permits issued just outside of city limits, which are still contributing factors to life in the city.
“Demand for Mt. Juliet and Wilson County is high,” he said. “We have the best schools in the state, we’re situated between two beautiful lakes, we’re 10 miles to an international airport, we have a quality of life second to none, and we have a very low crime rate. Life is good in Mt. Juliet.”
He also commented the new businesses that have come into the city. According to Hagerty, 349 business licenses were issued last year, up from 246 in 2016.
“Mt. Juliet saw increased sales tax revenue each and every month compared to the past five years,” said Hagerty. “January 2017, revenue exceed $1.2 million, the first time in our history. 2017 was Mt. Juliet best year ever, and by every measure Mt. Juliet is booming.”
According to Hagerty, 68 percent of the funds to operate the city come from local sales tax, which is why he and other city officials stress the importance of shopping locally in Mt. Juliet. Another 15 percent comes from state shared revenue, which is based on population. Over the last few months, the City of Mt. Juliet conducted a census, leading to the new population county as 31,376.
Hagerty also praised the Police Department and Chief James Hambrick, saying Mt. Juliet was voted the fourth safest city in Mt. Juliet, and that the goal is to be Number 1.
Hagerty concluded his address by stating how proud he is of everyone who works to make Mt. Juliet one of the greatest cities to live in.
“I wish you well,” said Hagerty. “Thank you, God bless, and have a great 2018.”