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MJ finalizes property sale to Lebanon car dealer

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Monday night (Nov. 10) city commissioners put into motion a measure that brings another new car dealership to Mt. Juliet.

In a 3-0 vote (Mayor Ed Hagerty and outgoing District 4 Commissioner Jim Bradshaw absent), Mt. Juliet city commissioners approved a resolution to finalize the sale of eight city-owned acres on Pleasant Grove Road in the Paddocks area to Premier Dodge Chrysler Jeep LLC of Lebanon.

The dealership previously put $50,000 of earnest money on the property. They plan to relocate their new vehicle business to Mt. Juliet, and but they plan to keep their used car business in Lebanon. City officials planned to meet with dealership officials to seal the deal on Tuesday.

According to Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenneth Martin, the property sold for $1 million, but the city gave the dealership $500,000 in incentives to locate in Mt. Juliet because the property "had so much work to be done on it, site work."

Martin said the deal is a win-win situation. "Think of the tax dollars this will bring to the city," he said.

Commissioners discussed the other part of the "win" Monday night, but they decided not to take action until the next meeting.

District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice suggested the money gained from the sale of the property be used to nearly pay off Joy Church. The city bought the former Joy Church building to locate a new police precinct that is now operational. The city has a five-year contract to pay off Joy Church for the purchase. Justice suggested using the money garnered from the sale of the Paddocks property to pay all but one payment off for the Joy Church property and the rest go to toward beefing-up fire protection.

At previous meetings, commissioners grappled with how to transform the former Lamb Brothers building on Nonaville Road into a north-of-town fire station, as well as turn WEMA Station 3 in back of City Hall into a third Mt. Juliet fire department, with some renovations.

Recent discussions also involved discussions about a "swap" with the owner of the Lamb Brothers building for city-owned former Sellers Funeral Home. Even with the swap, there are some extensive expenses involved with renovating the Lamb Brothers building to a fire station.

"I know it's all very complicated with a lot of moving parts," said Martin. "But in the end, if things work out, we will have three fire stations and a new police precinct - free and clear."

"It could be zero money for the city," said Justice. He noted Joy Church gave the city five years with no interest to pay off the debt owed.

"This way we could pay it off early," he said. "We would be doing a service to them and help take care of them."

Both Vice Mayor James Maness and District 3 Commissioner Art Giles said they needed a bit more time to think things through, but both agreed to allow the official sale of the Paddocks property to the Lebanon car dealership.

"Things like this hit the table quickly and I want to look at the best interests of the church and the city," said Maness.

Giles said he wasn't for a final decision on the next step that night.

The issue of what do with the money received from Premier Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Lebanon will be discussed again at the Nov. 24 City Commission meeting.

Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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business, car dealership, Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, property, sale
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