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 – September 2011

September 27th, 2011

Posted by marykate in News,Newsletter,Photos on September 27th, 2011
TDOT Tour of Williamson County Road projects with Commissioner Schroer and TDOT staff

TDOT Tour of Williamson County Road projects with Commissioner Schroer and TDOT staff

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.

Moore About Franklin – August 2011

September 1st, 2011

Posted by marykate in Newsletter,Photos on September 1st, 2011

It’s a Tie!-At the County Fair, there is always a friendly competition between the mayors in the County. This year the contest was a “line dance” competition. The quotation marks are there for a reason! Mayor Rogers Anderson and I made it to the final dance off and ended up tied for the prize, a western buckle.

Election Information-Are you registered to vote in the upcoming election for Mayor and Alderman?  If you are not registered to vote, you may do so by visiting the Elections Commission at the Williamson County Complex or on line at www.williamsoncounty-tn.gov. Election for Mayor and Alderman at Large will start with early voting on October 5-20, 2011 and Election Day will be October 25, 2011. In order to be eligible to vote in Williamson County elections, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a resident of the State of Tennessee
  • Be eighteen (18) years old on or before the next election
  • Have never been convicted of a felony, or have had your rights restored as required by law.

Congratulations-For the twentieth consecutive year, the City Finance Department has received an award recognizing excellence in accounting. Our department is one of only a handful across the State to receive this recognition.

Survey-Thank you to all who responded to the survey, “Mayor Moore Would Like Your Input!” The response has been outstanding and I have a long series of comments that I will respond to over the coming months and during the campaign. I would like to give you a brief summary at this time of the results.

  1. How is the City doing managing growth and development? 77%-very good to good.
  2. How do you feel about economic development and new companies coming to Franklin? 73% just right.
  3. Would you say the City of franklin is on the right track? 92% strongly agreed or agreed.
  4. Would you say the City does a good job in managing its finances? 83% strongly agreed or agreed.
  5. Is the City adequately keeping pace with infrastructure needs such as roads, water, sewer, etc.? 65% were very satisfied or satisfied.
  6. How would you rate the quality of life in Franklin? 98% responded very good or good.
  7. How do you feel about the City’s sustainability efforts including the blue bag-recycling program? 94% strongly approved or approved.
  8. Do you feel safe in your community? 96% responded safe to very safe.
  9. How do you receive most of your information about city government? 64% depend on the newspaper and 21% utilize “Moore About Franklin” and 16% use Internet websites.
  10. Do you feel there is a need for more affordable housing the City of Franklin?

47% felt there was a need for more affordable housing and 34% felt there was not a need.

I look forward to further articles about these subjects and also on the multiple comments made in the comment section. Over 53% of the respondents made a comment on an issue that was important to them.

Financials-The City has saved over $200,000 over the past 12 months on its fuel-hedging program. Sales tax revenue continues to outpace 2010 and was up 4.4% for the month of June. Preliminary budget numbers reveal that our fund balance will be $500,000 higher than anticipated on budget estimates last year. Other positive indicators are that building permits, road impact fee collections, and facilities taxes are ahead of budget projections.

Iraq Dignitaries-The City of Franklin hosted a group of dignitaries from Kurdistan area in Iraq. Their titles included one of the judges from the supreme military court and a Mullah. I was presented with a tri-color hand woven rug, which represents their region. The flag symbolically represents the bloodshed by American soldiers, regeneration, and innovation. They all had positive comments about our troops and about our Country.

Census Data-We now have available the census data by aldermanic ward and it appears that Wards 1 and 2 will need to be rebalanced. This will be an issue that will be addressed this fall by the Board of Mayor and Alderman after the elections.

Clovercroft School Update-It has been a little over a year now since BOMA approved the rezoning of this property and now the school is a reality and is receiving students. Part of the agreement with the County was that they would provide signalization at two intersections: Clovercroft/ Wilson Pike and McEwen/Wilson Pike. These signals are not up yet but hopefully will be up in the next sixty days. In the meantime, police will be directing traffic at these intersections until the signals are functional.

Low Head Dam-Removal of the low head dam on the Harpeth River is a project that has been in the news recently and has received some comments that need to be addressed. This is a project that has been funded thru Federal and State grant money and also funds from the City of Franklin. The project, which is just under a million dollars, is more than just a demolition project but will include access to the river and two hundred feet of stream bank restoration. So, why are we removing the low head dam? Not only is it an ecological improvement to the river but it a TDEC requirement for our water plant to continue to produce water.

Tour-I am constantly amazed about our community. I recently had a tour led by United Way of Williamson County to view some the programs that they support and why these programs are important to our community. The first stop was at the American Red Cross where I heard about their blood drive but more importantly learned how they respond locally to adverse events whether they be the flood or a single incidence such as a house fire where families are displace. The second stop was at the Literacy Council of Williamson County who help adults learn to read and develop math skills, student tutoring for GED, assisting learners of English to develop conversation and reading skills, book clubs for assisted living facilities, and providing reading material to area hospitals. The Community Child Care program is an outstanding program that is helpful to families that are trying to get a leg up and need child care. The program has an outstanding record and is doing a great service for our community. The last visit was to the Boys and Girls Club where I learned of the many programs that they offer to protect our youth and help them to learn healthy living habits and prepare them for the challenges of the world.

 


 

 

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.

 

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

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