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.

 

 

Green minds laud Franklin’s effort

June 13th, 2010

Posted by marykate in News,Photos,Press on June 13th, 2010

City earns high praise for eco-friendly initiatives at environmental conference at The Factory

By Kevin Walters • THE TENNESSEAN • June 10, 2010

nFRANKLIN — Franklin’s recent strides to become more eco-friendly have helped put it among leading Tennessee cities for sustainability initiatives, despite challenges still ahead.

At an environmental leadership conference in Franklin earlier this week, the city drew praise from state environmental leaders about recent plans here, including launching a citywide sustainability plan and curbside recycling.

“In Middle Tennessee, Franklin is the leader in sustainability,” said Warren Nevad, executive director of the Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council.

More than 60 attendees spent Tuesday at The Factory at Franklin discussing environmental policies and practices.

While city officials say there are still many unknowns that will test whether their green plans can take root, they’re convinced Franklin can be among the most sustainability-minded cities in the nation one day.

“Two years ago, nobody cared what Franklin was doing,” said Alderman Ken Moore, who has helped spearhead local environmental programs. “Now people are asking: ‘What is Franklin doing?’ . . . I think they’re looking to see how we’re thinking and how we’re addressing being green, being sustainable.”

Their efforts have already garnered attention from statewide government groups.

Franklin will get two awards next week, during the 2010 Tennessee Municipal League conference in Gatlinburg. Franklin will get the TML’s 2010 Achievement Award for Excellence in Green Leadership because of “its devotion to sustainable practices, not only in municipal departments but throughout the entire community” according to a news release.

Separately, Franklin’s Live Green Business Partnership Program, which recognizes local businesses that adopt sustainable practices, will get the Tennessee City Management Association award for excellence in municipal government.

About 150 Franklin businesses are involved in the Live Green program.

City faces challenges

Franklin’s recent changes mean it’s finally joining the ranks of other Tennessee cities, such as Crossville, which have already started environmental programs.

In Crossville, officials have a biodiesel program where they collect vegetable oil from restaurants and convert it for use in city vehicles.

Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III said he believes cities must face the environmental and economic realities of the day.

“It is in cities where we must reduce energy consumption, save energy dollars and be less dependent on foreign oil,” Graham said. “We’ve had it pretty easy over the last 100 years with inexpensive energy costs and a forgiving environment.”

Yet despite the optimism, Franklin faces challenges to prove its changes are permanent.

Franklin’s curbside recycling program is untried and relies on homeowners to buy blue bags, fill them with recyclables and tote them to the curb. Franklin spent $240,000 this year to lease three “mini-packer” trucks to make weekly recycling pickups starting in July.

Based on early interest, Moore said he believes that residents will respond and use the curbside recycling program to help Franklin save money on garbage hauling fees and reduce the waste sent to the landfill.

The next step for Franklin will be approval of an ordinance that would require all government-owned buildings either be built or renovated to meet the “silver” level of environmental guidelines developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Aldermen are slated to have their first public discussion on the ordinance at their June 22.

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Williamson AM: For locals, green remains the color of money

March 20th, 2010

Posted by kenmoore in News,Press on March 20th, 2010

Thrift trumps eco-awareness as ‘sustainability’ spreads

By Kevin Walters • THE TENNESSEAN • March 19, 2010

FRANKLIN — Richard Perko says he’s no poster boy for the green movement. 

So, how is it then that the president of Franklin-based Lee Co. came to find himself supporting Franklin’s Live Green Partners initiative kickoff this week?

Simple: Any ideological debate over the environment was left at the door of Puckett’s Grocery Wednesday morning. But the financial impact of using two-sided paper, recycling or turning down thermostats won the day.

“I don’t think we have to have the climate discussion first, which is the polarizing issue behind the green movement,” Perko said. “To me, this movement, from a business perspective, is just about being a good business person.”

The Lee Co., which is a home services/facilities solutions company, was among the 126 companies to inaugurate Franklin’s Live Green Partnership during a kickoff news conference this week. It’s a simple program that promotes companies using any of a number of steps to reduce things such as paper and electricity use. As a reward, companies are rewarded with a certificate and a window sticker to build awareness of what they do.

Though it’s a small step, the Live Green Partnership is the latest in a growing number of green-related efforts Franklin has launched. This summer might be the biggest, as Franklin’s first blue-bag curbside recycling program gets a tryout.

At a time when national debate about the environment is more sharply divided than ever, Franklin officials are stressing the economic worth of taking on sustainability-related steps, not the environment itself.

“Right now, no one knows if we’re having global warming or not,” said Mayor John Schroer. “You can’t argue (that in) a 100 years from now, our landfills will be better . . . though I think there’s truth to that. But you can really say ‘do this today and it will make a difference to your bottom line.’ It may not be great, but it will make a difference.”

One factor that might also be driving more interest now than ever before is that there’s growing interest in the community.

“The movement was already here in Franklin,” said Alderman Ken Moore.

Moore led a task force of more than 30 people last year to craft a citywide sustainability plan that includes a host of measures such as reducing waste sent to landfills and cutting energy use, among other things.

Companies large and small found similar ways to reduce waste.

At Mars Petcare in Cool Springs, employees recycled enough plastic bottles to create 2,700 small-breed dog sweaters, said Angela May, community affairs manager. Teams of employees created a plan to spur greater environmental consciousness, May said.

Meantime, the smaller family-owned Puckett’s Grocery restaurant in downtown Franklin did its part by turning off kitchen equipment at night, lowering thermostats and using more local farmers for some produce and meat

“You don’t have to be some high-end restaurant,” said Claire Marshall, manager. “It’s the little things, too.”

Contact Kevin Walters at 615-771-5472 or kewalters@tennessean.com.

Williamson Herald 3-18-2010

March 20th, 2010

Posted by marykate in News,Press on March 20th, 2010
City Administrator Eric Stuckey, Sustainability Commission Chairperson Ken Scalf, Alderman Ken Moore & Mayor John Schroer

City Administrator Eric Stuckey, Sustainability Commission Chairperson Ken Scalf, Alderman Ken Moore & Mayor John Schroer

Williamson Herald

By Mindy Tate, Editor
mtate@williamsonherald.com

With St. Patrick’s Day as the background, the city of Franklin and its Live Green Business Partners celebrated Wednesday at Puckett’s Gro. and Restaurant, a gold level participant in the program.

By the time the 10:30 a.m. program commenced, 126 businesses had agreed to adopt greener business practices that included recycling, energy efficiency and the use of earth-friendly products. Of that number 65 had attained platinum status, 23 gold status, 28 silver, 9 bronze and one partner.

“The Live Green Partnership is all about putting the community Sustainability Plan into action, into daily acts that we can do every day in our lives and businesses to show how sustainability works, not only to make a better community but to help the bottom line of successful organizations and businesses in our community,” said City Administrator Eric Stuckey.

“Plans are great, but action is better and that is what the partnership focuses on, is the actions that have made it happen,” said Stuckey, who worked on the program as part of a Leadership Franklin study group as well as as city administrator.

He said the most popular ways chosen by businesses to “go green” were to turn off lights, fix leaks, recycle, sign up for the city’s green tips, and to practice double-sided printing, all relatively minor changes in a business.

“The small things add up to make a big difference,” Stuckey said. Other members of his Leadership Franklin class were Rita Dozier, Hugh Harris and Daryl Hill.’

“This was just a great opportunity to do something that actually helps,” said Hill, who works for GAP Community Resources, which attained a bronze status. “We can see the fruits of it.”

Alderman Dr. Ken Moore, who is often credited with bringing the sustainability issue to the forefront with his desire to make Franklin one of the nation’s top 25 green cities, deflected the attention.

“I was asked to tell you how this whole thing started … I don’t deserve any credit because the movement was already here in Franklin to live a greener life, to live a more sustainable life, make it a more sustainable community,” Moore said.

“I am always impressed with how Franklin responds to challenges.”

Seeming to prove Moore’s points are people like Richard Perko, Lee Company president, who said his company’s interest in sustainability started in 2007 because it made business sense in dealing with emerging business issues.

“It really is about good business and good community involvement,” Perko said. “It started with practical business issues. In 2007, we were coming off two years of drought and while they were talking about new water sources, we looked at it internally.”

Lee Company installed efficient plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals in June 2008.  The result: by June 2009 Lee Company saved 243,800 gallons of water. To date, Lee Company has saved 312,700 gallons of water, Perko said.

“We followed that up when fuel prices were $4 a gallon and we have a fleet of 200 vehicles all over town,” Perko said, adding they downsized the fleet, chose some hybrid vehicles, installed GPS and reduced fuel usage.

In 2008, Lee Company began purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles. Today, seven Toyota Prius and one Ford Transit Van are in service with plans to add additional fuel-efficient vehicles. Lee Company has saved 113,385 gallons of gasoline and $288,000 since 2008.

In addition, Lee Company became Tennessee’s first Associated Builders & Contractors Certified Green Contractor and are one of 12 in the country.

“The message I want to get out is a whole group of people go green for a variety of reasons. I want to appeal to business owners – be good stewards of your resources and at the same time, you can decrease your impact on the environment.”

Claire Marshall, Puckett’s manager and daughter of co-owners Andy and Jan Marshall, said she was inspired by the huge turnout and buy-in in the community.

“When I started bugging my Dad about changing some of our bad habits, I never dreamed a whole community would come together this way,” said Claire Marshall, restaurant manager. “If a business like Puckett’s, a conventional, traditional business, we base everything on value, we can still do this. It is all about the littlest baby steps that get you there as a community.”

She thanked Mayor John Schroer for his support of the project.

“We deserve no credit,” said Franklin Mayor John Schroer. “This is a community effort. The key word in this is partnership. I think you will hear the word partnership in years to come. The city and elected officials understand that to make this place the place we want it to be, we have to do it in partnership with the community.

“It has taken hold, I think, better than anyone expected. It is amazing how many people are interested in this,” Schroer said. “We are rrying to not enforce this or push it down anybody’s throat but that it is completely voluntary and there is an economic and financial reason to do sustainability. If you research it you learn that sustainability is an economic advantage to communities and the more we push it, the better we will be and the better we will be environmentally for years to come.”

To learn more about the Live Green Business Partnership or other aspects of the city’s Sustainability Action Plan, go to www.franklintn.gov. The city’s Sustainability Commission meets the third Tuesday of the month at City Hall and its meetings are open to the public.

Columbia State’s Williamson County Development Committee

December 18th, 2009

Posted by marykate in Press on December 18th, 2009

COLUMBIA STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATION CREATES
WILLIAMSON COUNTY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Committee chaired by Craig Holland – Williamson County President
of First Farmers and Merchants Bank

Columbia State's Williamson County Development Committee (from left to right) - Dr. Starling “Star” Evins, Pearl Bransford, Craig  Holland, Caroline Cross, Richard Herrington, L.K. Browning, Paul Gaddis, Sr. and Dr. Ken Moore. Not pictured: Ronnie Griffeth, Judith Strickland and Paul Pratt, Jr.

Columbia State's Williamson County Development Committee (from left to right) - Dr. Starling “Star” Evins, Pearl Bransford, Craig Holland, Caroline Cross, Richard Herrington, L.K. Browning, Paul Gaddis, Sr. and Dr. Ken Moore. Not pictured: Ronnie Griffeth, Judith Strickland and Paul Pratt, Jr.

(Franklin, Tenn. – December 14, 2009) – - – Columbia State Community College recently announced the creation of the Williamson County Development Committee, a sub-committee of the Columbia State Foundation Development Committee. The purpose of the Williamson County Development Committee is to be a friend raising-fundraising arm of the Columbia State Community College Foundation with emphasis in Williamson County.

The Committee is chaired by Craig Holland, the Williamson County President of First Farmers and Merchants Bank. Dr. Ken Moore, Alderman at Large for the City of Franklin, just began his term as Vice Chair of the Columbia State Foundation and also provides leadership for the Committee. Following his two year term as Vice Chair, Dr. Moore becomes the Chair of the Columbia State Foundation; he will serve in that capacity for two years.

Holland and Moore are joined by other distinguished community leaders committed to Columbia State and the higher education opportunities it brings to Williamson County. Members include: Caroline Cross, Ronnie Griffeth, Ed.D, Paul Gaddis, Richard Herrington (President of Franklin Synergy), Judith Strickland (Williamson County Juvenile Services), Paul Pratt, Jr. (Full Service Insurance), Dr. Starling “Star” Evins (Chief of Staff, Williamson Medical Center, Chairman of the Williamson Medial Foundation Board of Directors and of Franklin Urological Associates),  Pearl Bransford (Claiborne & Hughes Health Center, Inc and Vice Mayor of the City of Franklin) and L.K. Browning (Lee Company). Representing Columbia State on the committee are Dr. Janet F. Smith (president), Elaine Kelsey (executive director of Columbia State’s foundation) and Mary Kate Brown (Williamson County development director).

The Committee will primarily guide and assist Columbia State with making community connections, “friend-raising” and communicating the comprehensive College mission of providing a wide range of quality higher education opportunities to the citizens of Williamson County. Specific activities will include: making visits and calls to promote community awareness in coordination with the Annual Fund and other Williamson County initiatives, identifying prospects for the Williamson County Edge of Excellence Annual Fund and other fundraising efforts, and providing advice and recommendations to the Columbia State president on ways to increase Columbia State Foundation friend-raising, fundraising and marketing success in Williamson County.

The focus of the Williamson County Development Committee will be the Williamson County Edge of Excellence Annual Fund, scholarships for Williamson County residents, facility enhancements, and development of Williamson County based programs, notably Commercial Entertainment, Film Crew Technology, Nursing, EMT, Business Management, and Business Information Technology.

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

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