Moore About Franklin – March 2013

March 20th, 2013

Posted by marykate in News on March 20th, 2013
Old, Old Jail-The property at 112 Bridge Street (along with several other properties) was obtained through a swap with the county for the Springs Property about five years ago. The City has previously requested proposals on this property. Only one response came forward and it was not acceptable. The property lies in the flood plane and also in serious disrepair. BOMA recently indicated an interest in exploring a proposal by the Heritage Foundation to renovate the property and located their offices there. There is no formal agreement at this time but it appears to be a promising opportunity to save an older building.
Temporary Signs-What is your opinion on temporary signs (alive and paper) and how long they should be displayed or would you favor not permitting any temporary signs? Give me your opinions.
Main Street Festival-Mark your calendar for this annual festival for April 27-28.
Sale of Goods in the Public Right-of-Way-At a recent board meeting, the sale of newspapers was approved by BOMA in a 4-3 vote. The new ordinance will allow sales only from the sidewalk to the passenger side in selected intersections. Franklin Police immediately began enforcement of the new ordinance.
Franklin Police Department Receives 5th Accreditation-The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies just awarded the department its fifth accreditation after an extensive review in November 2012 by the agency. Congratulations to the FPD.
Request for Zoning Change (Rachel Springs)-The Planning Commission denied the application for Rachel Springs with an 8-0 vote at a recent meeting. For residents of Forrest Crossing and Maplewood, the applicant has withdrawn his request and will have to bring forward a completely new request unless he chooses to continue with the previously approved plan for commercial space.
Sales Tax-Sales tax collections for March were up $284,471 dollars or 17.1% compared to 2012. Year to date the City has received $15.3 million dollars compared to $14.2 million dollars in the prior year. For budget comparisons, the City anticipated collections of $14.8 million through the first seven months of the fiscal year.
Through January, the City is $524,673 above budgeted collections.  As a further comparison, the January collection of $1.94 million compares to $1.66 million in 2007, $1.50 million in 2008, $1.40 million in 2009 and $1.55 million in 2010
Active shooter exercise-On March 14th, the Franklin and Brentwood Police along with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department conducted an active shooter exercise at the Columbia State Community College facility in Franklin.
Love your neighborhood event – April 6th.  The City of Franklin in partnership with the Housing Commission is hosting a “Love Your Neighborhood” Day on April 6, 2013 in the Hill Estates Neighborhood off of Liberty Pike. The intent of the event is to offer an opportunity for the neighborhood to participate in a cleanup effort assisted by volunteer groups. If you have an interest, call Laura Tracy with Community Housing Partnership at 615.790.5556. I hope you will join me at 8:00 in the neighborhood if you have an interest.
Integrated Growth Plan- This plan has been developed by City staff to discuss future options for Carothers Parkway in light of the intense development anticipated along this corridor. It is a plan that gives direction to developers, utilities, and staff in the future on required right of way along this parkway. Any future action would still require board action. This is a continuation of developing long range plans to meet infrastructure needs in the future.
I-65 and Goose Creek Interchange Project- TDOT just announced that the I-65 and Goose Creek Interchange Project schedule has been moved to a July 12, 2013 construction Letting due to a number of pending issues associated with Right-of-Way acquisitions and Permit issues.
Mack Hatcher Extension Project (NW Loop) The City received notice from TDOT formally requesting the City to  modify the construction drawings for State Route 397 (Mack Hatcher Bypass) to include signalized intersections at SR96 and Del Rio Pike.  BOMA will be considering approving this design change and authorizing redesign in April. The cost will be reimbursed by TDOT.

 

Moore About Franklin – Happy New Year!

January 7th, 2013

Posted by marykate in News on January 7th, 2013

Happy New Year!

Moore About Franklin – July 2012

July 6th, 2012

Posted by marykate in News on July 6th, 2012
Low Head Dam Removal-The City of Franklin and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation began removal of the low head dam on the Harpeth River. Removal of the dam is one of the requirements to continue to use the Harpeth River as a source of drinking water.  The result of the removal will be a continuous flowing stream with better river health, increase recreational opportunities, and stream bank restoration. The project received national recognition this year from Secretary of the Interior Salazar as a model of America’s Great Outdoors River Initiatives. Total project costs are $870 thousand dollars with $350 thousand dollars of that amount being grant money.
Hayes House at Harlinsdale- Restoration work has begun on the Historic Hayes House. The project costs is $167 thousand dollars and is partially funded by $60 thousand dollars of grant money from the Tennessee Historical Commission. The project will “dry the structure in “ to prevent further deterioration and prepare for future renovation.
United States Postage Stamp-The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and Franklin’s Charge are joining together to seek issuance of a stamp recognizing the 1864 Battle of Franklin. This effort will compete with many other groups desiring similar recognition for their cause. Petitions will be circulating throughout the community so please sign up in support or you can find one at the reception desk at City Hall.
Battlefield Preservation Commission-This is an eighteen member advisory group formed in 2010 whose purpose is to identify, preserve, and interpret Civil War properties. They have been active in reclaiming much battlefield land in Franklin thru private donation and grants.
Sales Tax update. The local sales tax remittance from the State of Tennessee for July was $1,989,477 compared to $1,884,275 for the same month in 2011, an increase of $105,202 or 5.6%.  Year-to-date, the City has received $21.97 million compared to $20.67 million in the previous year, a difference of $1,297,694 or 6.3%.   Through May, the City is $789,447 ahead of budgeted collections.  As a further comparison, the May collection of $1.98 million compares to $1.91 million in 2007, $1.82 million in 2008, $1.64 in 2009 and $1.69 in 2010.
State of the County-Mayor Rogers Anderson presented his annual State of the County address on July 24. He highlighted that the county is prepared for the next journey down the road. Highlights included:
  • Median age is 39 years
  • Lowest unemployment in the State
  • Fourteen ‘Fortune Five Hundred Companies”
  • Third in the nation for job growth in 2012
  • Maintains a AAA Moody’s Bond rating
Future Bridge Project-One of the major projects that is on the major thoroughfare plan is a bridge across I-65 at Long Lane near the Ag Center. Engineering for this project has been approved and will make it easier to construct because of the installation of a peer to be used at a future date thus avoiding interstate closure and traffic re-routing in the future which is very costly. Also, it will provide increase connectivity, faster emergency response, and faster commutes to businesses and schools on the west side of I-65 when constructed.
Tennis Courts-Good news for the courts at Jim Warren Park since they were approved for resurfacing in the near future.
Historic Parks Cell Phone Tour-The City Parks and the Battlefield Preservation Commission recently announced a self-guided cell phone audio tour of historic Franklin Park sites impacted by the Battle of Franklin during the Civil War. A total of eleven sites have been identified with more to come in the future. Information is available at www.franklintn.gov/parks or call the tour line at 615-216-1597.
Water Plant Sanitary Score-Below are listed the sanitary scores for the Water Treatment Plant. These surveys are conducted unannounced by the State on a yearly basis. As you can see, there has been consistent progress since the 2005 low point.
Year  – Score
2005 – 28
2006 – 84
2007 – 88
2009 – 96
2010 – 98
2011 – 98
2012 – 97

Moore About Franklin – May 2012

May 30th, 2012

Posted by marykate in News on May 30th, 2012

Memorial Day Service In Franklin

Memorial Day - The first Memorial Day celebration for in 1868 and was an event to honor the soldiers that died during the Civil War. It was later expanded to include all of our fighting men from all wars. This year was a difficult year since we recognized one of our own Franklin residents, SPC Jason Edens who died from wounds suffered in Afghanistan. Franklin is a very patriotic community as was demonstrated on May 28, 2012.

Mayor Rogers Anderson & Mayor Ken Moore at Memorial Day Service

 

Budget - The 2012-2013 budget has passed the first reading and will be up for public hearing on the June 12, 2012 Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting. This years’ budget is balanced with no draw from the reserve fund and reflects a modest three percent increase over the prior budget. Mid-year there will be a 2.5% pay increase for employees and there are a few vacancies that will be filled this year to meet critical needs in the Fire and Police Department. Solid waste fees are proposed to remain unchanged.

This budget funding reflects a continued level of high service for the City and its citizens. For the twenty-sixth straight year there will be no increase in property tax. Sales tax continues to be the prime source of funding followed by “shared revenue” from the State. The third place source is our property tax which is second lowest in the State and when combined with the county property tax is the lowest in the State. Congratulations to City staff who have worked very hard on this budget.

Blue Knight Ball and Police Recognitions - Annually, this ball is conducted to raise money for fallen officers and their family. At the same time it is an opportunity for awards to be given to our policemen who have distinguished themselves this past year. Congratulations to the following award winners:

  • Chief’s Award, given to the officer who most exemplifies, in their every-day work, the three words worn on the sleeves of every Franklin Police Officer: Professional, Progressive, Responsive : Officer James Phillips
  • Jackie Moore Award, given to the officer whose every-day work product is reflective of the service and values displayed throughout retired Franklin Police Chief Jackie Moore’s career: Patrick Tippit
  • Officer of the Year: Officer Brigham VanHook
  • Detective of the Year: Detective Chad Pace
  • Dispatcher of the Year: Sarah Ginter
  • Innovation Award, given to the officer whose ‘outside of the box’ vision has made notable differences in the reduction of crime and increased quality of life for Franklin citizens: Sergeant Jack Morgan
  • Impact Award, given to the officer whose technological contributions have helped to keep the Franklin PD cutting edge in their use of computer technology in an electronic era: Sergeant David Prather
  • Sober Streets Award, given to the officer who had the most notable contribution in the Department’s efforts to detect, arrest, and prosecute impaired drivers: Officer Cory Kroeger
  • Medal of Valor: Officers Brad Dorman and Brett Spivy for their selfless pursuit and capture of an armed pharmacy robbery suspect.
  • Medal of Life: Sergeant JP Taylor and Officer Leigh Ann Hester for their heroic actions that saved the lives of two citizens.
  • Outstanding Investigation Medal: Detective Darren Barnes for his investigation of a cell phone theft ring tied to terrorist groups in Somalia that use cell phones to detonate explosive devices. Detective Barnes is also a 2011 recipient of the Department of Justice Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement for his work in identifying and arresting a serial bank robber.

Moore Elementary Walk - This year’s walk marked the twentieth consecutive year that the school has done their walk on the Natchez Trace. Not only is it popular for the current students but alumni return frequently. This is just one small thing that helps us be a healthier community.

Governor’s Task Force on Obesity - On May 29, 2012 a joint summit of the “Governor’s Task Force on Health and Wellness for Tennessee” and the “Tennessee Obesity Taskforce” was held to discuss obesity, physical activity and healthy eating in Tennessee with the objective of engaging the corporate sector in these important initiatives.

Shorter’s Chapel AME Church - Congratulations to this church who is celebrating their 144th year of existence. Through the years they have made significant contributions to our community and our country through their memberships work and careers.

If You Missed It - The NCAA Division I Ladies Championship was played in Franklin at Vanderbilt’s Legend Club. The City and County played major roles in planning this event which was won by Alabama.

Water - We have had a recent episode of “bad tasting water” that occurred in areas primarily receiving water from our water treatment plant. The issue has been aggressively addressed and continues to be addressed. WMD needs anyone with a water/sewer complaint, question or comment to call them directly at 615-794-4554. Calling them directly at 615-794-4554 is the process they use to track complaints, questions or comments into the City system and to dispatch crews competently.

 

Moore About Franklin – April 2012

April 30th, 2012

Posted by marykate in News on April 30th, 2012

State of the City Address

WORDS with Franklin Friends

April 25, 2012

Franklin is a town with a past. We are a historic city where certain events shaped our history. We are a city that respects that history and believes in preserving our heritage. At the same time we are a city that looks to be a modern community that balances preservation of our heritage with a thriving and growing community. Today, we are going to talk about shaping our future.

As a City, we are very active in “strategic planning process” based on community input and recognized needs. This input comes from public meetings, conversations, visioning sessions, community surveys, staff input, and Social Media.

Recently, I have been asking the question: “What do you want Franklin to be in twenty-five years?” I have received some interesting comments:

  • I don’t want Franklin to lose its charm.
  • I want Franklin to continue to be a premier location to live and work.
  • I want us to be where we are now in twenty-five years: a place where people want to live and work.
  • I want to be able to walk and bike and connect to more of Franklin without getting in my car.

Through careful planning, this past year has been a success year for Franklin. So, let’s play the game!!!!

I play the word “Done” for a double word.

Accomplishments-

  • Voluntary Curbside Recycling-In the second year of the program, we are consistently seeing participation rates in excess of 50% and are beating our diversion 15% of waste by weight being abled through recycling.
  • Solar Project-In a pubic private partnership, the City of Franklin will soon flip the switch on a solar array adjacent to our wastewater treatment plant.
  • Theater Marquee Lighting-Since we last met for the State of the City, the Franklin Theatre has returned to life, bringing great music, arts, entertainment and movie to our vibrant downtown.
  • Land Acquisition Announcement for CSCC, Williamson County-January 20, 2012-I have not been shy about advocating for a new campus. It has been a long process and thanks to Charles Sergeant, the land became a reality this year. Columbia State Community College is charting an exciting future purchasing property Franklin for their new Williamson County campus.  Amazing!!! I consider this to be one of the missing pieces that we are filling.
  • Employ longevity-The retirement of long time employee; Gary Luffman reminds us that the City is a great place to work.
  • City Elections for Mayor and Alderman-In October, the people of Franklin chose to return three at-large Aldermen, Alderman Barnhill, Bransford, and Petersen to their positions and added Brandy Blanton to our team. Personally, it is a truly humbling experience to be elected to serve this wonderful community as your mayor.
  • 84 Lumber Property purchase-The City acquired the former 84 Lumber site along Columbia Avenue to serve as our new consolidated Public Works facility. This will allow us to consolidate our streets, fleet maintenance and water maintenance operations into this one location that provide ample room for expansion to serve our growing community.
  • Low Head Dam-The low head dam project is moving forward to improve the Harpeth River as a natural resource for recreation, as a fish habitat and making it one of a few free-flowing rivers in the State of Tennessee.
  • Eastern Flank Battlefield Announcement-The City is receiving $500,000 from the State of Tennessee for the construction of the access road to the Eastern Flank Battlefield.
  • Mack Hatcher widening (Franklin Road to Murfreesboro Road)-Widening of the southeast section of Mack Hatcher is now underway and will bring added capacity to this important roadway.
  • Relocate America named Franklin one of the top 100 places to relocate and live.
  • It’s a Tie! Line Dance contest with Rogers Anderson!!

All of these accomplishments have come about because of strategic long range planning except the latter.

Let’s see: How about “Tech” that is a triple play word!

Technology-Franklin has a reputation for being on the cusp of technology. Currently, we are in the final phases of completing a fiber optic loop around Franklin that will serve several purposes.

  • First, it will expand our connections to our TOC (traffic operations center) so that traffic can be managed in an intelligent and efficient manner.
  • Second, it provides a Wi-Fi network for the City so all departments can communicate in real time and access information as if they were at their desk in City Hall.
  • Third, it ties us regionally to an 800 MHZ communications system that links us to others emergency operations in our region and also their fire, police and administration.
  • Most importantly, in the event of a disaster, we will be able to respond quickly and efficiently because of this strategic planning.
  • Not only are we high tech with our MIT department, but our communications division is one of the most proactive in the state in social media, we have close to 5,000 followers on Facebook, more than 13,600 video views on YouTube and close to 2,500 followers on twitter and we recently added Pinterest.  We use these tools for more than pushing out information to our citizens, we are harnessing social media to improve public engagement, solicit policy feedback, strengthen emergency response and establish greater transparency.
  • Last year we conducted a virtual town hall meeting on Facebook when we were experiencing water issues region wide. So FOLLOW US and be in the know and help us be better at what we do!
My next play is “Service”.
Business Friendly-Franklin continues to strive to be business friendly to our small businesses and large corporations.
What are we doing to improve that image?
  • Our greatest growth in jobs occurs in existing companies. Last year, over 2000 jobs were added. Since becoming Mayor, I have made it a priority to visit many Franklin businesses. We ask questions like: What are your needs? How can we communicate better? Already we are gaining information to assist in being more business friendly by creating new relationships. It has been inspirational to witness firsthand the ingenuity, innovation and drive of our local businesses. They love to call Franklin “home.”
  • A predictable turn around on plan review with fixed target dates for completion (we are beating those deadlines in most cases) along with the opportunity to submit and review plans electronically. This affects all of us. A recent example that will soon be obsolete is a friend who was adding to his garage and it required him to submit ten copies of his plans. With this new process, he gets a quick turn around and eliminates the paper.
  • Schedule inspections on an electronic basis.
  • Combining the concept plan and regulating plan into one process will save 60 days in the plan approval process.
  • External review of projects larger than 10K square feet will add an additional opportunity for business to control the time line for review of their approval.
  • Staff continues to work on other options to shorten the process
Our long-range success depends on this important strategic planning for being business friendly.
This is a tough one. How about “Connect”.
Transportation-Our streets are either funded locally or thru the state. The process by law must pass thru the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) who is tasked with looking ahead for the next 20+ years and developing strategic plans that include all regionally significant road, transit, walking, and biking trails, regardless of how they are funded.
We recently completed McEwen III and Nichol Mill. We have just approved funding for McEwen Extension, design of McEwen IV, and the intersection at Carlisle. South Carothers is under consideration for funding in the near future. Hillsboro Road, phase I will likely be bid by year-end.
I sit on the board of the MPO along with other mayors in the region. Michael Skipper is the executive director of this group and brings experience and expertise in guiding the organization. When I asked him about the future of transportation, he responded, “A modern, efficient transportation system …is critical for fostering economic expansion and competitiveness….”
There are three important words in Michael’s statement that strike a nerve with me. Economic expansion, modern system and competitiveness are those phrases.
How do we do this?
  • Public education-Transit Alliance and Citizens Transit Leadership Academy
    • Increase the available options-van pools, dedicated lanes on the interstate, regional buses which have shown double digit increases in ridership.
    • Create a vision of what is possible just as other communities have done-our competitors such as Charlotte, Austin, and Denver have done this
    • Develop a funding plan that addresses this important issue
    • I am going to play “Safe”-it should fit nicely right here!
    • Safety-We live in one of the safest communities in Tennessee. It is safe for many reasons: Our firemen and policemen are professionals that train regularly to be prepared in case of emergencies.
    • Examples of activities of the police department are:
      • Training exercise such as the “incident command perspective” that is held at every large festival.
      • A few of the Franklin Police Department’s crime prevention outreach initiatives include citizen engagement through Twitter, and our smartphone app, heavy community program involvement, our anonymous text tip program, and highly visible non-traditional patrols using things like horses, motorcycles, unmarked cars, Segways, and bicycles.
      • Coffee with the clergy-A program was begun last year with an outreach to the clergy of our community. Over thirty-five ministers have been represented and have been able to hear the programs of the police department and develop ideas for programs to encourage a safe community and to build partnerships.
      • Franklin continues to be one of the safest places to live in Tennessee and in America. Our crimes rates continue to diminish thru the efforts of our Police Department and under the leadership of Chief Rahinski. The City experienced a 7% decrease in total offenses compared to 2011 and an overall crime rate that is 56% below the State average.
Our Fire Department under the leadership of Chief Garzrek has achieved a fire ISO rating of 2. This is the best in the state. They now offer an Advance medical responsive status with over thirty-two paramedics providing advanced life support to our citizens.
I think you will agree that Strategic planning works! You learned of the heroism of our firemen this morning. Through their efforts, over five lives were saved last year. It starts with training and includes strategic planning.
Tennessee City Management Association awarded jointly the excellence in municipal governance award for automatic aid system for fire response to Franklin and Brentwood.
What is a five-letter word that begins with M? “Money”.
Finances-There is continued improvement in our finances. We have weathered the economic storm of the past three years. We have reduced our budget by $7 million dollars since 2008 without impacting services to the community. In fact in many areas we have enhanced services.
  • We are working smarter and more efficiently than ever before.
  • We continue to be a AAA rated credit by two rating agencies.
  • Sales tax revenues continue to grow and are near pre-recession numbers.
  • Refunding of $19.2 million dollars of water and sewer bonds saved the city over $3 million dollars over term of the note.
The Government Finance Officer’s Association recognized Franklin for the 20th consecutive year for their accounting excellence. The employees pension plan was revised to reflect a more sustainable plan while still being competitive with other employers.
Daily we are working on ways to save money. A couple of examples are:
  • Infrared paving repair-you may have seen a peculiar truck around town with what looks like a tanning bed on a boom. This is a unique new way to fix our streets without digging them up and it promises to quickly pay for itself. The first month of use showed a $9000 savings over conventional repair methods.
  • The potential for public/private joint ventures-such as solar fields
This is an easy one: “Plan”.
Water-Integrated Water Resource Plan-(IWRP)-Two years ago the City embarked on a two year plan to study to develop a plan for water, wastewater, and storm water for the next twenty-five years.
Let’s take a look at acommodity that is critical to our survival but at the same time we take for granted. (VIDEO)
But, here is the bottom line. There will be a need for a substantial investment in these projects over the next 30 years that will be in the range of $200 million dollars. The ultimate impact of this will be born by both developers and ratepayers with bills rising over this time period.
This problem is not unique to Franklin but is one that is occurring all across America with aging infrastructure. The decisions to be made are not options but necessities to avoid mandated renovations and penalties if we do not act proactively.
Solid Waste-Another area we have taken for granted is our trash. Five years ago we were contributing $5 million dollars a year to support the solid waste division. I am glad to report that we are now projecting this amount to be well under $1 million dollars per year.
We now have an opportunity to narrow and possibly erase this contribution thru new long-term relationships that will create predictable pricing for both hauling and disposal for up to 14 years.
The other area we have studied is a regional approach to solid waste. Under the initial leadership of the city, discussions with multiple counties and TDEC have been occurring for about one year to develop options for years to come.
There are no results as to date but the subject is being studied and we have the attention of the regulatory agencies on what our challenges are for now and for the future.
Again, strategic planning is the key.
“Destination”
Tourism-Tourism has grown significantly over the past few years and we are one of the top tourist destinations in Tennessee. Also, Franklin has become a top destination for athletic contests at our ball fields, parks and private facilities.
  • Twenty-five percent of our hotel/motel tax goes to fund the WCVCB.
  • We are finding that this investment is giving us a six-fold return.
  • We will be hosting the NCAA ladies golf championship later this year.
  • In just two years, the sesquicentennial of the civil war will occur on the anniversary of the Battle of Franklin and it promises to be a premier event.
Our visitors are kind to us. We give them memories and a good time and they leave their money behind.
I have three letters left. I think that this is a word “aha”.
Personal Moments-If I can take a few moments now to speak to some of the personal moments as your mayor and some of the hidden challenges of the job that are separate from the topics that I have already mentioned.
I regularly get to talk to a lot of young people. One such occasion was a summer mentoring program when I discussed my career path from medicine to politics. I had a lot of good questions from the group, but one stands out from:
  • The ten-year-old boy who asked me: “What do you do when your father has been in jail and paid his time but can’t find a job?” I don’t remember the answer I gave but I will never forget the question.
  • Or the 4th grader from Poplar Grove that asked me if the mayor has a jet plane.
  • Or the letter from Lisa, a 2nd grader at Walnut Grove who wrote: “You are the best Mayor I have ever met. Do you make up the laws (like going to school)? When I grow up, I want to be the mayor….of another city.”
Several years ago, we adopted Delta Company from Ft. Campbell. We have supported them and encouraged them and their families during their deployment. Upon their return from deployment, we celebrated with them but reading the names of fallen soldiers from Delta Company was a challenge that was difficult to do.
Yes, these are moments that are challenging but these are the moments that make the job so important and the moments that make it important to serve.
And now, Franklin! It’s your move!
http://prezi.com/etqjwsldpfak/state-of-the-city/?auth_key=dc957aff5603579d391022febfc432377f6be5f8

 

 

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

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