The mayor and two commissioners were sworn in at Mt. Juliet's city commission meeting Monday and the vice-mayor was reappointed.
Mayor Ed Hagerty will be mayor again for another four years, after serving six years already, and District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice was sworn for another term, as well as District 3 Commissioner Art Giles. In their personal comments they all expressed appreciation to serve again. Vice Mayor James Manness was unanimously appointed to serve in this capacity again.
During personal comments, the mayor brought up the recent, settled lawsuit filed against the city regarding the sign ordinance and the number of signs allowed to put in yards for political candidates. Two residents filed the suit and 57th District state house opponent Trisha Farmer, against incumbent Susan Lynn, was very vocal about the sign ordinance and the suit at the time. The commissioners congratulated Lynn for her reelection.
"We consulted with a constitutional attorney," Hagerty said, referring to the accuracy of the sign ordinance and the lawsuit. "One candidate chose to use this as leverage and took us to court. We did find a few flaws and were willing to correct. This person wanted 10 signs per candidate, per yard and some residents took us to court. We settled quickly."
He went on to say "this person didn't gain anything."
"She [Farmer] took a spanking with a 70 percent to 30 percent loss," Hagerty said. "To have to go to court to defend something like that is really sad."
Justice added the suit was solved without a hearing and a heavy cost of $13,000 in attorney's fees.
"The whole thing was nothing other than name recognition, and she suffered a 70 percent to 30 percent loss," he said.
Incumbent Lynn was reelected to her seat at that 70 percent.
In other business, City Manager Kenneth Martin announced a "sweet resident" approached the city to donate 10 acres, worth nearly $1 million, to the city for a park. It's on Clemmons Road. This person, who wishes to remain anonymous, is also going to donate $25,000 seed money to get the park started.
"Right now it's Clemmons Road Park," Martin said.
He said it is in honor of young Ethan Daniel Page who was tragically killed in an accident.
Commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution to rename the streets associated with the completion of the Eastern Connector road project to avoid future confusion.
The $25 million road project will connect Interstate 40 to Lebanon Road and is expected to be completed by July 2017. It will be a four-lane divided highway.
City Public Works Director Jessica Gore explained the item was a housekeeping item to make things clearer when the road is open. She indicated the road will be called Golden Bear Parkway and the section from the Interstate to East Gate Blvd. has a proposed name of Volunteer Way.
In final business, the mayor said planning commissioner James Tuschner stepped down and Laurie Thompson will take his place.
Writer Laurie Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.