Moore About Franklin – March 2011

March 26th, 2011

Posted by marykate in News on March 26th, 2011

State of the City Address-The annual state of the City address will be presented on April 27, 2011 at Liberty Hall at the Factory. Doors will open at 7 am and City departments will have visuals of their activities and a light breakfast will be served. The Actual presentation will start at 7:45 and will be a multimedia presentation and a live question and answer session. I hope to see you all there for this free event. The title of this year’s presentation is “The Spirit of Franklin.”

Financials-

  • The growth of sales tax revenues continue. The remittance from the State for March was $1,552,324 dollars and reflected a 10.8% increase over the same period last year.
  • As budget presentations continue in Budget and Finance Committee, revenue projections for the coming budget should be forth coming soon.
  • Worker’s Compensations savings since bring the program in house were recently reported and reflect a $350,000 dollar saving compared to last year’s expenditures.
  • Debt Policy Status-One of our financial benchmarks is our debt policy. It compares us to other AAA rated cities in areas such as general fund balance as a % of operating revenues, debt service as a % of operating expenditures, net debt per capita, per capita debt/per capita income, and net direct debt as a % of market value. The status of all categories except debt service as a % of operating expenditures are excellent. 
  • City and State pensions have been in the news with stories about underfunded pensions and plans that are not sustainable for their entities. The City of Franklin has been proactive in creating a plan going forward that is sustainable and also competitive for employees. We recently received good news from our actuary that with our $2 million dollar contribution and the uptick in the market, our unfunded portion is much improved and is in the 92% range if we were to freeze the plan today.

Census Data-The long awaited census data was recently released  and reflects the population changes in Franklin since 2000. The growth was greater than expected and reflects a 49.3% growth in the ten year period and places the current population of the City at 62,487 people. Imagine that in ten years; nearly every other person we meet is new! With growth come some positive things such as an increase in shared revenue from the State but the increased revenue will not meet all of the demands on our City. Traffic and roads will be a challenge going as well as increase demands on services such as fire and police. Fortunately, we continue to develop long range financial road maps for our community.

Road Projects

  • Mack Hatcher Widening-The City recently approved a professional services agreement to relocate water lines on the northeast section of Mack Hatcher Parkway. The significance of this is that this fall the widening project will be placed out to bid for construction and will be for the segment of the parkway from Franklin Road to Highway 96.
  • Mack Hatcher NW-Right of way acquisition continues for this project and eleven homes have been acquired in Rebel Meadows and will soon be demolished for the ROW. Funding still has not been awarded thru TDOT.
  • Eastern Flank Battlefield Access Road-The estimate for building this road exceeds the amount of money that has been allocated for its construction. A federal grant administered by the State is pending and could make this project a reality if it is awarded.
  • McEwen Phase III- Expect completion in about one year
  • Nichol Mill-completion expected this fall.

Harlinsdale Barn-Harlinsdale Park borders one of our main gateways and is the former home of a famous walking horse breeding operation and grave of the famous sire, Midnight Sun. Since acquiring the property, the City has continued to improve access and also uses. The horse barn is on the National Historic Register and is need of repairs. The vision is to bring it up to current standards and make it a more usable venue. Over the coming months, options will be explored for its restoration needs and funding options.

Public Service Announcement-A group of Leadership Franklin composed of Shanna Jackson of Columbia State Williamson Campus, Dr. Ray White of Pro-Health, Courtenay Rogers of Primarily Rye, and Milissa Reierson of City of Franklin developed a public service announcement for Blue Bag Recycling. The video created by Steve Hayslip is intended to educate the public about what can be recycled. Go to www.youtube.com/cityoffranklin.

Moore About Franklin – February 2011

March 25th, 2011

Posted by marykate in News,Newsletter,Photos on March 25th, 2011

Police Chief Jackie Moore speaks at his retirement reception.  "Your shoes are going to be difficult to fill and your legacy in this city will live on forever." Mayor Ken Moore

Police Chief Jackie Moore speaks at his retirement reception. "Your shoes are going to be difficult to fill and your legacy in this city will live on forever." Mayor Ken Moore

Good Luck Mayor Schroer-Mayor Schroer has now been sworn in as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. On January 25 board meeting, he submitted his resignation and received recognition from staff and BOMA for his service to the City of Franklin. In his parting remarks, he mentioned the importance of keeping the City moving forward and outlined the roadmap that had been created over the past three years.
Appointments-Periodically, there are vacancies for citizens to participate in the functions of City Government as members of committees, boards, and commissions. These positions are typically posted publically but often go unnoticed by many who are interested. If you have an interest in serving, make sure that you either watch for these announcements or submit a note of interest to the City.
Mayoral Duties-I was honored to be sworn in as the 31st Mayor of Franklin and look forward to serving. The amount of meetings will certainly increase and also additional insights that I can put forward in “Moore About Franklin.”
 One of the newest and exciting opportunities is to meet with other Mayors and their representatives from our region. One such opportunity is the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).The RTA’s purpose is to offer Middle Tennesseans transportation solutions and develop choices and alternatives on how they commute to work each day and to coordinate local and regional transportation services. Funding is through a combination of federal, state, and local funds.
The RTA meeting of January 19, 2011 was particularly important because it agreed to restructure itself so that it is able to receive “dedicated funding” from local governments to build and operate mass transit throughout the area. This could include options such as light rail, street cars, improved bussing or other options within and between communities. Over the coming months, communities will decide if they want to be a part of this process or not.
Streamline Sales Tax Issue- Forty-six states currently levy sales taxes and Tennessee is at the top for the amount of sales tax charged. On the average, state and local governments in Tennessee depend on the sales tax for 46.3% of their total revenues. The challenge that has evolved is that internet commerce has eaten away at the available tax base since they have no obligation to collect these taxes. It is estimated that in 2012 Tennessee will lose $748 million dollars due to this issue. Most of us would agree that we have enjoyed the luxury of no sales tax on certain items.
Forty-four states including Tennessee have met and discussed this issue and twenty states have joined the initiative by agreeing to basically uniform product definitions and uniform taxation rules going forward. This is an item that will continue to be explored by states as the issue of revenue becomes more challenging.
Recent news about Amazon building two distributions centers in Tennessee have also brought this issue to the forefront even more as they ask for a waiver.
McEwen, phase III-Bids for this phase of McEwen were opened recently and the low bidder was $7.2 million dollars. Previous estimates were that this would be a $10 million dollar project. This reflects the fact that projects are coming in uniformly at much lower costs at this time. This makes taxpayer funds go further and include more projects. Look for construction to start within a month for the McEwen Phase III now that TDOT concurs. The construction will take about 13 months.
Salt Supplies-The State and also our community continue to experience and unexpected increase in the need for salt this winter. The commodity has experienced an increase demand and has created some challenges keeping up with the demand. The City recently had 330 tons on hand which is enough to handle two significant snows and was preparing to receive an additional 370 tons to bolster reserves.
Nissan TIF Payment-The City recently received a letter from Nissan notifying us of their payment in lieu of taxes for the year. The amount is approximately 30% greater than what was anticipated. These monies ($202,000) go to pay off the TIF bonds issued by the Industrial Development Board.
Congratulations-Alderman Clyde Barnhill was elected to the position of Vice-Mayor at the January 25, 2011 Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting.
Theater Marquee Lighting-People stood elbow to elbow on Main Street from Fifth Avenue to Fourth Avenue for the lighting of the Franklin Theater Marquee on January 29th.  The marquee was constructed by Joslin Signs of Nashville and the $100,000 costs will be paid by the “Next Generation” of the Heritage Foundation. Congratulations! Williamson County resident and Commissioner of Tourism, Susan Whitaker, spoke during the lighting ceremony to a cheering crowd.
Harpeth Valley Utility District- HVUD just announced a change in their rate structure that will affect their users and also the City who buys water from them. The new rate is a flat $2.00 dollars per one thousand gallons. The rate change will affect their district customers directly and for the City of Franklin it will mean a $50 thousand dollar shortfall in our budget.
Leaks Adjustment-There are times when residents of Franklin experience a water leak between their meter and their home.  The City has a policy in place that when your usage exceeds 250% of your normal usage, you will be alerted to a potential leak. This may sound like an unreasonable trigger but it generates almost a thousand responses per month. The future looks bright for a better solution in the next few years as we move to a better billing software and eventually smart metering where customers can set limits that trigger electronic notification of an increased usage.
Preferred Parking Program-A resolution from the Sustainability Commission to create a voluntary preferred parking program failed at the February 8 BOMA meeting. This would have created twenty-three parking spaces within the downtown area for high mileage vehicles. The purpose was to educate the public and increase awareness of the need for higher mileage vehicles and most significantly raise awareness of the need to continue to improve air quality which is a challenge for our region.
Vacant Alderman Seat-The Board of Mayor and Alderman voted to fill the vacant seat created by the resignation of former Mayor John Schroer and the vice-mayor becoming Mayor by the usually scheduled election in October 2011.
Mark your Calendar-Battle of Franklin Anniversary at Harlinsdale farm October 15-16, 2011.

Paid for by Ken Moore for Mayor, Lisa Lu Smith treasurer.

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