News Ticker

Traffic relief coming on Lebanon Rd., Golden Bear

The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners approved Monday a project that will help add a turn lane onto Golden Bear Gateway
The property is on the southwest corner of Lebanon Road and Golden Bear Gateway and will be a convenience store. Lebanon Road will eventually be widened, but it may be as many as five years down the road before it is completed. The developer of the project will build a slip lane onto Golden Bear Gateway, and the city will reimburse them based on when they finish the project.
“We wind up with a win-win all the way across the board,” said Vice Mayor Ray Justice.
The intersection often experiences traffic with the eastbound lane on Lebanon Road backing up past Park Glen Drive. The approval says that the City of Mt. Juliet will reimburse the developers when they get the project done. They have until Dec. 15 to get the permits from City of Mt. Juliet and TDOT approved. After that, if they finish the project within 90 days, the City will use funds already paid by other developers for traffic improvements in the amount of $150,000 to reimburse the developer of the project. From 91 to 180 days, the City will reimburse $125,000. From 181 to 270 days, the City will reimburse $100,000. After that the dollar amount is 0.
The commission also approved a resolution establishing rules and guidelines for debate and comments during the meetings. The resolution called for letting each commissioner have three minutes when debating or commenting on an item, and they will not have more time until every commissioner has had a chance to speak, if they choose to do so. This does not apply to the Commissioner Reports, which are five minutes at the beginning of the meeting.
Some of the meeting dealt with the fallout of Justice accusing Commissioner Jennifer Milele of retweeting items that are racist or derogatory in nature. Milele used her Commissioner Reports time to address the issue again. She said the accusation was out of line, and should have never been brought up in the meeting.
“Attack me on my record, attack me on something I bring to the table,” said Milele.
Milele accused Justice of treating her differently because she is a woman, and she demanded equal respect.
“I’m fighting for any future woman on this board,” said Milele.
Some citizens spoke on behalf of Milele’s character in Citizen Comments, and a few spoke out against. Justice did not respond in his Commissioner Reports.
Commissioner Bill Trivett said he was disheartened after the Aug. 9 meeting. He said he stepped out of the meeting that night because he was so frustrated.
“I didn’t sign up to go back and forth and argue, I signed up to make an impact,” said Trivett.
Trivett said we are all here for each other, not to get dragged down in the negative. He said it was unfortunate that Mt. Juliet was getting attention because of it.
“Why are we here? To uplift each other, love each other,” said Trivett.
He hoped to move in a positive direction in the future. City Manager Kenny Martin also used his time to encourage everyone to come together for the City.
Milele sponsored two ordinances and a resolution in response to the Aug. 9 meeting. One ordinance was to amend the city code to let the City Manager make recommendations for any disciplinary action on elected officials accountable for malfeasance and/or abuse of power. It was withdrawn after City Attorney Gino Marchetti said the City Manager already had that power. The other ordinance and resolution were voted down 1-4, with only Milele voting for it. The ordinance stated that “An official or employee may not use or authorize the use of municipal time, facilities, equipment, or supplies for private gain or advantage to himself, including making accusations and allegations without validity with merit as determined by the Ethics Commission Board after the completion of the full investigation.” And the resolution sought to give Commissioners the right to defend themselves against false accusations when it intends to paint them in a negative light. Some commissioners questioned whether the items were too subjective.
Later in the meeting, Mayor James Maness spoke on the events of the previous meeting. He said he knows emotions run high on the board sometimes.
“There is little to be gained from personal attacks,” said Maness.
Citizens can watch the meetings any time by going to the city’s website or by visiting their YouTube channel.