Growth and Consequences Franklin’s Infrastructure needs to keep pace with growth

February 26th, 2012

Posted by marykate in News,Press on February 26th, 2012

Published in Williamson Herald 2/24/12

By Ken Moore

Growth and Consequences Franklin’s Infrastructure needs to keep pace with growth

Truth or Consequences was a popular NBC game show in the 1950s hosted by Ralph Edwards that mixed a trivia question with wacky stunts. Contestants had only a few seconds to answer before “Beulah the Buzzer” sounded. Usually the questions were two pronged and if the contestant didn’t get the “truth” question correct, then there were “consequences.” Most often the consequences were an embarrassing moment or an occasional heart-rending surprise.

There may be a few analogies that can be made to this game show when we look at the results of growth in Franklin and the consequences thereof. The questions that we ask ourselves about what to do next often don’t have an answer and the consequences of not knowing the answer may be surprises down the road. This was the case just a few years ago when we wrestled with expansion of our water treatment plant and construction of a new wastewater plant. There were many opinions on solutions but the technical evidence to support these expensive projects was lacking or inconclusive.

Much has been said about the phenomenal growth that occurred in Franklin from 2000 to 2010; the recent census data reports an increase of 49 percent in population. With this growth have come positive changes such as the creation of over 2000 jobs in 2011, the lowest unemployment rate in the state, corporate relocations, and quality of life improvements. Negatives include an increase demand on city services and infrastructure. All areas of the city’s infrastructure have experienced growth pressure including roads and streets, water supply and treatment, wastewater treatment and disposal, and solid waste disposal. Additional compounding factors include an aging infrastructure in a 200-year-old city and new regulatory demands.

Other communities across the country also have experienced similar growth and are facing challenges in making costly upgrades and repairs to their aging infrastructure, which includes drinking water and wastewater conveyance and treatment facilities. This has created the need for new investment in infrastructure. Some communities have been proactive; those that have not have run into compliance issues. Major cities across America have been hit with consent orders and mandated expenditures because of failure to be proactive. The expenditures are in the billions of dollars to bring systems up to standards and there have been associated penalties in the millions of dollars.

Franklin has chosen to be proactive rather than reactive as evidenced by a number of long range plans being created by the city and by affiliated organizations that study our future needs. One such study is the Integrated Water Resource Plan (IWRP) that began almost two years ago and will be completed later this month. This project takes a holistic approach to managing water resources including drinking water, wastewater, reclaimed water and storm water, along with their interaction and interrelation with the Harpeth River. Franklin is the first community in the state to take on this sort of wide-ranging, long-term approach and the one the first communities in the nation to use such a planning tool related to a river resource.

The end result is that the city, through a stakeholder participation process, will have developed a roadmap for making investments to improve water, wastewater, reclaimed water, and storm water. A list of preferred alternatives for these areas will have been developed from detailed technical analysis and conceptual designs as to site selection, sizing, and current and future performance needs. It also will include detailed cost analysis and a financial preparation for implementation of the plan.

The final approval of projects will eventually depend on the Board of Mayor and Alderman and funding will be from the development community and users of these facilities. There will be difficult decisions to be made for our future but the recommendations will be based on the best evidence available. As the final recommendations come to light, we should keep in mind being proactive rather than reactive. The city of Franklin should set an example for other communities as we travel this roadmap to our future needs.

 

 

Moore About Franklin – February 2012

February 26th, 2012

Posted by marykate in News on February 26th, 2012

Economic Development Report. According to the Williamson County Economic Development Office, 2,074 jobs were added in 2011 with 76% of the total being in Franklin. Half of the jobs came from existing businesses.

Voluntary Curbside Recycling-During the Christmas Holidays, participation in recycling hit a new high of 61% participation with 22% diversion. Participation and diversion continue to increase and are ahead of last year’s numbers overall.

Solar Project-The solar project construction at the waste water plant continues and will be completed in approximately April.

Crime-The City experienced a 7.8% decrease in total offenses compared to 2011. Compared to the State average, Franklin has a crime rate 55.3% lower than the rest of the state.

Able Youth- This local organization exists to teach children in wheelchairs the importance of living healthy, happy, successful, and independent lives from their wheelchairs.  Over the weekend of February 24-25 they continued with their annual sponsorship of a wheelchair basketball tournament at A-Games Sports in Franklin. Over thirteen states were represented and 239 coaches and players participated in the tournament which includes the number one ranked team in the country, the Minnesota Rolling Timberwolves. The Music City Thunder represents the Nashville area.

Financials-Local sales tax remittance from the State of Tennessee for February was 8.7% higher than the prior year showing an increase of $232,184. The actual remittance was $2,902,675. Year to date, sales tax revenue is 6.3% ahead of last year and is $447,213 ahead of budget. The table below depicts the sales tax revenue for comparison purposes for the same period since 2007.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
$2.8 million $2.73 million $2.49 million $2.48 million $2.73 million

Budget- At this point in the current budget, revenues are 6% ahead of last year and expenditures have increased only 1.3%. Budget hearings have now started in the Finance and Budget committee. The first three presentations were by Police, Fire, and Parks. These three combined would represent the greatest number of City employees. Fire and Police departments are heavily focused on training. Each department will be presenting three year budget projections so that financial planning can be more effective. Parks Director, Lisa Clayton, reported that the average amount of park land per citizen is 6 acres/1000 people and Franklin exceeds this with 11.28 acres/1000 people.

Properties in the Flood Fringe Overlay (FFO)- The City has over 150 properties that fall into this category. On February 27, 29, and March 5, there will be informational meetings to discuss the implications for these properties under the current zoning ordinance and the upcoming November deadline for their opportunity to return to their original use. These meetings are very important for the property owners and will be held at 6:00 pm at City Hall Board room.

Property Tax Exemption-Under State law, historic theaters with a tax-exempt status may apply for property tax exemption. One of the requirements is that the County governing body give approval. The County Commission requested that all parties involved also weigh in on their support for this effort. This issue was passed by BOMA on February 14, 2012 meeting.

Franklin Tomorrow’s vision fair results are listed below. They are listed in order of greatest number of votes by the participants in the visioning events. Over one thousand people participated.

Recreation: Implement the Greenway and Open Space Master Plan and Streetscape
Environment: Encourage continued development of connected greenways for walking and bicycling
Business: promoting a business-friendly environment
Transportation: Promote improved traffic signal timing, ridesharing, telecommuting, flexible work arrangements, and other transportation demand management programs
Housing: Support efforts to eliminate barriers to the development of affordable, workforce, senior, and special-needs housing
Growth & Development: Contextual design that embraces Franklin’s historic and natural characteristics
Education: Facilitate support for the further development of the Williamson County Center for Higher Education on the Columbia State Community College’s Franklin Campus
Community character: Enhance and pre-serve the physical character of existing neighborhoods  

Government: Improve coordination between and among government entities, schools, private utilities and their respective staffs to discuss how to better facilitate the delivery of essential services and infrastructure

 

 

 

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

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