Delivers State of the City address
While the cat was already out of the bag, Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty officially announced Wednesday his intent to run for reelection on the November ballot.
This announcement came during his annual State of the City address to a standing-room only crowd during the Mt. Juliet Chamber's luncheon.
Aside from his announcement that came at the close of his speech, the mayor's theme while recapping year 2015 was "planned progress." Throughout his speech City Manager Kenneth Martin threw in information and helped give away a number of gift certificates to those present. Martin also "went off script" to salute Hagerty's wife, Katrina, with a large bouquet of roses.
Hagerty said the city has been "international about the type of growth and intentional about the quality of growth we are interested in accepting."
He noted a growth rate of only 2 percent a year means the population in the city would double in 36 years.
"Nashville and the 10-county region in the mid-state have exceeded this rate of growth," he said.
Martin said there will be significant challenges for the existing residents and the newcomers.
The mayor informed the 2035 estimated population in Wilson County is 186,000, and today there are 28,212 people in Mt. Juliet.
"Demand for Mt. Juliet and Wilson County is high," he said. "We have the best schools in the state, are situated between two beautiful lakes and are 10 miles to an international airport.... life is good."
Growth has caused stress
In 2006 Providence residential was not built, and Providence retail was in its early stages, Hagerty noted while showing slides.
"I won't sugarcoat it, its not easy staying current with infrastructure," Hagerty said.
He detailed various road projects, including the eastern connector in progress and the widening of the Interstate 40 bridge near Providence. Martin mentioned the improved intersection at Mt. Juliet Road and Providence Parkway, the new turn lane planned on Belinda Parkway, adaptive signal projects and long-term solutions planned, which include a new Central Pike interchange at I-40.
Hagerty segued to note there were 296 residential housing permits issued in 2015. He said the number has gone down, but said Del Webb Lake Providence is built out, and that neighborhood is 1,100 homes and "they sold faster, far faster than anyone anticipated."
"Homes sell quickly, property values are increasing and rents are climbing," he said.
Residential, commercial growth expected to continue
There are major subdivisions developed south of Providence, which are not inside the city limits, Hagerty said. "But certainly contribute to our local economy."
He added there are "several major neighborhoods" in the early phases of construction in Mt. Juliet.
Martin noted there were 192 new business permits issued last year.
"Mt. Juliet saw increased sales tax revenue each and every month compared to the past five years," Martin said. "Business demand is high... they are succeeding."
The mayor said 63 percent of the funds to operate the city come from sales taxes, and the city's debt service was less than 10 percent of total expenses.
Public safety strong in MJ
In an overview of the city, Martin said the city is rated fourth safest city in the state. He said the city recently added high tech radios for the police department, at a cost of $1.6 million, and the Fire Department of Mt. Juliet has been in operation for its first full year. The city will collect $1.67 million of taxes this year dedicated to the fire department.
Hagerty praised Fire Chief Jamie Luffman and explained there are two city-staffed stations, as well as a volunteer station. There were 2,586 calls for service, 70 for fires.
Hagerty talked about the parks department and the city's sixth-year rated Kaboom's "playful city" designation. He mentioned some beautification projects and went on to talk about the new businesses which opened in 2015. They include Under Armour and FedEx, as well as Speedway and others.
Hagerty concluded his speech by saying he would be honored to serve as mayor another four years.
Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.