Moore About Franklin – June 2012

July 1st, 2012

Posted by marykate in Events,Newsletter,Photos on July 1st, 2012

Transit-I recently rode the two fixed routes of the Franklin Transit on “Dump the Pump” day. The idea of the day was to do something other than use our cars to decrease our dependence on petroleum based products. What I came away with was more knowledge about the people who use transit who ranged from local workers, shoppers, job seekers, physician patients, hospital visitors, and the elderly. I am proud to announce that the drivers are courteous; the bus is clean and cool, and on time. If you have not ridden the FTA, please give it a try as an additional option. A surprise was a serenade by one of the passengers, E. H.!

Financial

  • Fuel Hedging-year to date savings are $210,579
  • Sales Tax*
2012 2011 difference % increase Budget
$19.98 M $18.78 M $1,192,492 6.3% +$730.570

*Through April 2012

Sales tax continues to be positive and collections are ahead of the projected

Budget.

  • Economic news-Unemployment is currently at 5.3%, the lowest rate since 2008 and the lowest in the State. Job creation is double the State average
  • Economic Development-The governor’s “Jobs for Tennessee” was recently discussed at the quarterly Economic Development Council meeting. This program addresses jobs in automotive, healthcare, transportation, chemicals, advanced manufacturing, and business services which all are considered to be our state’s strong points. The governor seeks to streamline business regulations and improve workers compensation and unemployment programs to make Tennessee businesses more competitive. Strong points for Tennessee are its location, no income tax, higher education institutions, right to work, and business friendliness.

Congratulations-Congratulations to Mrs. Caroline J. Cross upon her retirement from being the director and founder of Leadership Franklin. Over 280 Franklin residents have benefited from training and most importantly given back to the community.

History

  • Abram Maury-In 1799 Abram Maury founded the City of Franklin. His contributions to Franklin were recently commemorated by placing a marker on his grave which is located in the Founders Point subdivision in Franklin. Local historical groups and descendants attended the ceremony. The marker was placed by the Huguenot Society of the Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia.
  • War of 1812-Franklin was an important part of this war. It served as one of the last stopping off points from the Natchez Trace. Andrew Jackson led supply trains to the gulf through this area as well as his troops. Recently a marker was placed on the Natchez Trace to commemorate the event and its relationship to our area.

Project updates

  • Hillsboro Road (SR96W to Independence Square-Right of way acquisition is underway on 43 properties. Estimated start date is October 2012.
  • Hillsboro Road (Independence Square to Mack Hatcher Parkway-Right of Way acquisition estimated to be September 2012 with construction start October 2013.
  • Third Avenue Extension-Estimated start date is September 2012.
  • South Carothers Parkway Extension-Currently is being designed as a two lane road with grading for a four lane road. The bidding is anticipated to start in November 2012. It has not been funded pending bids and financial modeling.
  • Carlisle Lane/ Boyd Mill at SR96 West Signalization-Construction start estimated to be November 2012.
  • Century Court/ Beasley Drive Connector-Estimated construction start is January 2013.
  • Mack Hatcher, NW Extension-Right of way acquisition is complete and the City has completed its contributions to the project. TDOT is revising some elements of the project and we are awaiting funding.

Chamber Unification-The Williamson County/Franklin Chamber, Brentwood/Cool Springs Chamber, and the Cool Springs Chamber continue to work toward unification to create a single chamber and a single voice for Williamson County. The new chamber will not be a blending of the old chambers but an opportunity to create something new.

 

Moore About Franklin – March 2012

March 29th, 2012

Posted by marykate in Events,News,Newsletter,Photos on March 29th, 2012

State of the City Address-The annual “State of the City” address will be at Liberty Hall in the Factory on April 25, 2012. This is a free event open to all citizens of Franklin and will begin at 7:30 and include a free breakfast. Please join me for this update on the City. My topic will center on “what we want Franklin to look like in twenty-five years.” I look forward to greeting you that morning and would like to hear your ideas on what you want Franklin to look like.

Financials- The local sales tax remittance from the State of Tennessee for April was $1,722,901 compared to $1,628,745 for the same month in 2011, an increase of $94,156 or 5.8%. Year-to-date, the City has received $15.88 million compared to $14.94 million in the previous year, a difference of $942,505 or 6.3%.   Through February, the City is $575,119 ahead of budgeted collections.

Integrated Water Resource Plan-Much has been said and written about this much-touted plan for water, wastewater, and storm water for the next 25-30 years. The bottom line is very expensive. We are looking how to divide these projects off in five-year increments. Many of the options are urgent needs and cannot be put off because of regulatory issues. Stay tuned for more information on how this plan will roll out.

South Carothers Parkway-Much of the cities future growth will occur east of I-65 and south of Highway 96. Among our current capital projects list is the South Carothers Parkway. Financial constraints at this time dictate that we should consider phasing this road. The options would include building from Ladd Park in a south to north direction which will cross the Harpeth River or build from north to south. There is supporting evidence for both options. Your opinions are appreciated in this matter.

Transit Options-In a recent Regional Transportation Authority meeting in Nashville, it was announced that regional ridership on the rapid express bus service for the region is on schedule to have 10 million riders for the year. Ridership on all routes continues to have double digit increases as gas prices escalate. This trend suggests that we need to consider other transit options for the future. Those options will be important for continued economic growth in the area and avoidance of gridlock.

Solid Waste Hauling and Disposal-Five years ago, $5 million dollars was used from the general fund to pay for the deficit not met by fees for solid waste collection. Thru a combination of budget cutting efforts and fee increases, the contribution from the general fund is now $1 million dollars. Recently, the board has been considering a bid from Bi-County Solid Waste of Steward and Montgomery County.  This bid would lock in rates for up to fourteen years at a predictable rate tied to the core CPI. If this is enacted, it will almost completely eliminate our general fund contribution to solid waste series. Currently, the City is awaiting bids from other vendors to see if there might be better opportunities in the market.

Streets Department and Sustainability- In mid-January of this year, the City received its long-awaited infrared patch truck.  This new truck provides a much improved, more cost-effective method of providing street repairs.  The repairs are achieved by super heating the asphalt to 300 F and adding a rejuvenator emulsion and a small amount of additional asphalt then compacting the asphalt with a roller.  The old conventional process was saw cut, dig out, haul off/ haul in new mix, place and compact.  In its first full month of operation, the Infrared Truck Patching System cost of repair was approximately $20.00 per sq. yd.  This compares to a cost of approximately $50.00 per sq. yd. using the conventional process.  As a result, our first month’s savings was approximately $9,000.

Awards of Recognitions:

  • Congratulations to the Engineering Department and RPM Transportation Consultants.  Kevin Comstock served as project manager for the City on the Cool Springs Area Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Expansion that won a Grand Award (the top award in its category) in the 2012 Engineering excellence Awards statewide competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee.
  • Congratulations to the Franklin Fire Department who were recently recognized in ceremonies at City Hall.  Here are a few of the highlights of the recognitions for our department:
    • Rookie of the year Firefighter, Dustin Anderson
    • Engineer of the year, Anthony Sedlack
    • Firefighter of the year, Richey Schatz,
    • Officer of the year, Lt. Sean Smith

1st ticket reservation at Harris Teeter for the St. Jude Dream Home! Pictured: Matt Magallanes from Westhaven Golf Club, Steve Bryan of Habiframe, Inc., Cooper Erby, Harry the Dragon, Mary Lee Bennett of Southern Land Company & Westhaven Community & Tina and Butch from Harris Teeter.

Moore About Franklin – July 2011

July 27th, 2011

Posted by marykate in Events,News,Newsletter,Photos on July 27th, 2011

Eastern Flank Battlefield Announcement-On July 20, Governor Haslam made the announcement of $500,000 enhancement grant to help build the loop road to the Eastern Flank Battlefield. With the $369,000 already pledged by the City and the potential of donation of much of the signage, it appears that the road will be a reality during the coming year and in time for the sesquicentennial celebration of the Battle of Franklin.

Harpeth River and the Low Head Dam-One of the conditions for expansion of the water treatment plant has been removal of the low head dam on the Harpeth River. At a recent BOMA, the process and agreement between Harpeth River Watershed and also TDEC was discussed. The project that will approach nearly $1 Million dollars will include removal of the dam and stream bank restoration for about two hundred yards. Engineering studies have determined that dam removal will not affect the City’s ability to remove water for the raw water reservoir and the production of water by the Franklin Water Department.

 

Our Drinking Water-With the summer temperatures and the surface water temperatures higher than normal, algae grow. The City along with other water utilities in the area is experiencing this growth. These algae give off certain natural substances that cause the water to taste or smell different. Many businesses and residents in Franklin utilize various water utilities and all are experiencing this problem and some worse than others. Franklin’s water department has been flushing lines and utilizing other methods to remove the odor and taste. The City’s Facebook page has been a good site to follow the issue and to also inform staff of the problem locations. The City’s tap water is safe and meets water quality standards. I join the City in apologizing for the inconvenience that this problem is producing.

Financial

  • Budget passed with revenues projected to equal expenditures.
  • Bond Resolution for Refunding-The City of Franklin issues debt instruments of several types. The traditional bonds which have a fixed interest rate and varying maturities. Another bond instrument is called variable rate debt whose interest rate fluctuates weekly and is tied to treasury bills rates. At present, the water and sewer fund has $20 million dollars of variable rate debt, which in the past has been a money saver. Looking into the future, our financial advisors have advised us to reduce our exposure to this type of debt, thus the refunding. The City will work to lock in a long- term interest rate that is beneficial to the City.
  • Sales Tax-Another positive month of sales tax increase with an 11.7% increase compared to the State increase of 6%.
  • More savings-Last year the City moved to a self-insured retention program on their workers compensation and saved over $562,000 dollars in premium cost. Also, the City’s prescription drug rebate program has saved over $82,000. These are examples of City staff continuing to look for ways to deliver top-notch services with significant savings.

 

Citizens Government Academy-Annually, the City offers an eight- week academy where participants learn about planning, finance, public works, and public safety. In addition to the knowledge of the functions in these areas, participants will be able to tour facilities and talk to City officials to obtain a perspective on the inner-workings of local government. Applications are available on the City web site, www.franklintn.gov/index.aspx?page=87.

 

Happy Birthday Buddy Blue Bag-It has been one year since the City introduced the “Blue Bag” recycling program. It appears that there are 40% of the 18,000 households that are recycling and 12% of our trash is being diverted from the landfill. If you include yard waste and brush, our diversion rate increases to 20%. Overall costs of the program have been about $82,000, which is much less than expected.  Blue bags are available at most stores and only glass and Styrofoam are not accepted at this time. An option for glass continues to be investigated.

 

Early voting. Please mark your calendar with the dates of early voting. The dates will be October 5th – 20th with the hours of operation being 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday and 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon on Saturday, The location will be the County complex.  If you have not registered to vote, please do so. You can obtain registration information on the Franklin Tomorrow website or at the County complex.

 

Williamson County Fair- August 5-13 will be the dates for the fair this year. The kickoff will be on stage inside the “ag” center at 5:30 pm with a “friendly” competition of the mayors in a line dance contest. Come and support my effort to outdo the other mayors in this competition.

 

Mercy Children’s Clinic is a non-profit pediatric office based in Franklin, Tennessee and has been providing quality healthcare to children in over 30 counties in Tennessee since 1999. They are committed to ensuring that no child is ever turned away because of their inability to pay. Because 70% of their patients are either uninsured or on TennCare, they must raise $1.5 million a year to help cover the costs to see these children. The Franklin Classic is Mercy Children’s Clinic’s largest fundraiser of the year. It is one of the oldest and most popular races and community events in Middle Tennessee.

The thirty-third Annual Franklin Classic will be on Labor Day, September 5th, 2011 and offers certified 5K and 10K courses for both runners and walkers, a 1K Kids Fun Run and a FREE Kid’s Zone. Find out more info and register at www.franklinclassic.org.

 

Moore About Franklin – May 2011

May 18th, 2011

Posted by marykate in Events,Newsletter on May 18th, 2011

State of the City Address-April 27 was a special day for me since it was my first State of the City Address. The theme of my address was the “Spirit of Franklin” and it recognized what makes Franklin such a wonderful place to live and the City staff that helps make it happen. It also helped commemorate the May 2010 flood event where so many volunteered their time to help others. Each department showcased their current activity and it was well received by a near capacity audience. Thank you to those that attended.

Campaign Kickoff-My campaign kickoff event will be May 26, 2011 from 6-7:30 pm at the commons area of the Factory. Please come by if you can and enjoy the free event.

Proposed Budget FY 2012-The review process for the 2012 budget has begun. The proposed budget is $52,867,506 dollars, which represents a 3% increase but is still 11% less than the 2008-09 budget. Highlights of the budget include the following:

  • It is balanced with ongoing revenues meeting ongoing expenses.
  • It complies with debt and reserve fund policies established by BOMA.
  • There is no cut in services or layoffs.
  • A 2% raise will be given mid-year for employees.
  • The City property tax rate will not increase.
  • A little over $568, 000 will be used to fund capital equipment that has been delayed for several years.

The largest source of revenue continues to be sales tax, which comprises 44.2% of our revenue stream and is estimated to be $23.35 million dollars. Intergovernmental revenue is the second largest revenue stream and amounts to $13.3 million dollars. Property tax is estimated to be $12.8 million dollars. Licensing and permit revenue make up the rest of the revenue stream.

General Fund expenditures will increase 3% to $52.9 million dollars with 49% going to public safety functions. Across the board, employee wages and benefits make up 67.2% of the City’s general fund budget. The pension has been decisively addressed over the past year with a more sustainable plan, increased funding, and improving earnings results. Last year the pension required a contribution of 12% of the general fund whereas this year it is 6.8% or $3.6 million dollars. This represents a very positive result from proactively addressing this issue.

The other significant reduction in funding has occurred in solid waste where general fund subsidy has been reduced significantly over the past three years.

Overall, the budget continues to reflect a conservative approach to the finances of our City and a continuation of living within our means.

Local Sales Tax report- The local sales tax remittance from the State of Tennessee for May was $1,979,079 compared to $1,819,095 for the same month in 2010, an increase of $159,985 or 8.8%.

Roads-A recent release by TDOT did not include Mack Hatcher Northwest extension and this is not a surprise since they only include projects that are completely cleared in all respects. In our case, we are still in the right of way acquisition phase and anticipate that once we have that completed, we may be able to move forward. It is hoped that it will follow Mack Hatcher widening.

Another project that we hoped would be funded was the Eastern Flank Battlefield Road. We will need to reevaluated this and determine our approach going forward. This will occur in upcoming committee meetings.

LEED Gold-The web site for the United States Green Building Council now list the Franklin Police Headquarters as a gold level LEED certified building. This verifies that it is energy efficient and also environmentally sound. Congratulations to all involved in getting us included in this unique group.

Keeping Franklin Safe-There are many behind the scenes processes that go un-noticed that contribute to the safety of our community. Routinely, the Police Department, Fire Department, and Streets Department regularly monitor weather conditions and make changes to anticipate potential adverse events.

Given the sensitivity that we have after this recent series of storms, it seems appropriate to get an inside look at other operations.

Several such events just recently occurred. Main Street Festival created an opportunity to create an “incident command perspective” of operation during the event. The simulated exercise gave the opportunity to monitor the response and communication of all departments in a situation such as a lost child or other potential disaster situation. It was regarded as a success.

On May 2, the City held a second exercise that was led by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and included disaster relief organizations such as the Red Cross, governmental bodies such as the City and County, Middle Tennessee Electric, Schools, and other groups involved in disaster situations.  The City was able to utilize some of its state of the art equipment and programs to monitor the exercise and coordinate interventions. The exercise helped determine our readiness for a catastrophic event. So the bottom line is we are well prepared.

Ipad Ap-Modern technology has come to Franklin in the form of an ap for ipads that helps tourists. This was just released by the Williamson County Visitors and Convention Bureau. This free ap uses both global position satellites and an interactive map that highlights five routes downtown with tabs that contain information about the sites. For those that don’t have an ipad, they may be rented at Dr McPhail’s office on Main Street for a fee of $10 dollars.

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

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