City Elections for Mayor and Alderman-Early voting will begin on October 5 and extend until October 20, 2011. Election day is October 25, 2011. I encourage everyone to vote in this important election. Local newspapers and radio will be highlighting candidate profiles. Franklin Tomorrow will be having a candidate forum at City Hall on September 29 starting with a meet and greet of the candidates at 5 PM followed by the forum. As these times approach, I ask for your vote for Mayor of the City of Franklin.
Sales Tax report- Sales tax revenue continues to increase. The latest report shows an 8.8% increase compared to the same period in 2010. For budget comparisons, the City is ahead of expected revenues by over $112,000 at this point. The collections exceed those in 2007, 2008, and 2009. This represents continued good news for our economy.
Mack Hatcher widening-TDOT recently opened the bids for the widening of Mack Hatcher. When completed, Mack Hatcher from Murfreesboro Road to Franklin Road will be a four lane divided highway. No date as to completion but when completed should be of help in handling more traffic and relieving some of the congestion.
Spine Tingling-There are not many things that make that tingle run down your spine. Saturday was that experience for me as I biked with the Wounded Warriors group. This event travels across America and raises money for wounded soldiers. Their courage and ability to accommodate to some of the most disabling injuries and continue to be active are all inspiring. Franklin continues to walk the walk.
Housing-The City of Franklin’s land use plan states that the City has a diverse population with diverse housing needs. Young couples; established professionals, moderate-income families, single-parent households, single residents, empty nesters, and senior citizens are all segments of the population with unique needs. Housing is a complicated issue and not only is the City studying this issue thru the Housing Commission but also Franklin Tomorrow, The Franklin Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, and Mt Hope/Hard Bargain Redevelopment are just a few studying the issue. According to federal guidelines for our area, homes can be divided into three categories: affordable (value less than $204,000), workforce (homes between $204,000 and $384,000) and above (those priced above these values). If you analyze these further, 19% of our housing stock is affordable but of this category, most are older and only four that sold in the past year are new and they were built by non-profits. This raises the issue of maintenance of an older home.
The Housing Commission was formed in 2007 to encourage the production and maintenance of affordable housing, raise community awareness of potential business opportunities involving partnerships with neighborhood residents and community development organizations, and advise BOMA. Thus far, they have developed an inclusionary housing ordinance to increase affordable units in developments that request more density. A full time staff position has been created. The thirty person commission continue to identify barriers to housing choices, created incentives for non-profits and builders and a round up program that can be used to pay for certain fees. Last, the group has directing the use of Community Development Block Grant funds make emergency repairs on older homes that qualify.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Bus Tour-Recently, TDOT has been conducting regional bus tours with elected officials and other citizens to review road projects in each region. There were several take away from the tour. I-65 widening is on schedule and we can expect that as it is completed, the Goose Creek interchange and I-65 widening to 840 will begin. 840 will open at 12 noon on 12-12-2012.
84 Lumber Property- The City has signed a contract for this property to be used for a consolidated facility for water, fleet, and the streets department. The purchase price is $2.45 million dollars. Over the next several years, the property and its buildings will be conformed to hold all of these departments and increase efficiency and expected economy of scale. Their current locations will be declared as surplus property in the future. A sixty-day window exists for the City to do its due diligence on the property.
Consultants-The City frequently uses consultants for issues ranging from Human Resource to Engineering issues. Their use has actually decreased as the workload decreased during the recession. Much more of the previous consultant work is done in house and the City is managing many more projects. Design continues to be outsourced at this time.