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Mt. Juliet squires defer second fire station land purchase talks

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A key player in negotiations between the City of Mt. Juliet and the Wilson County School System related to unpaid back liquor taxes the city owes the system said August will most likely be a telling time.

"It's about two governmental agencies trying to put back a relationship that the legal system nearly destroyed," District 1 Mt. Juliet City Commissioner Ray Justice said. "We will have a joint resolution presented to the school board at their August meeting."

The resolution, in part if accepted, will result in the school board dropping their lawsuit against the city to get unpaid liquor taxes and in turn the city would waive about $450,000 in future school system planning and development fees, among other terms. Another prong in the deal is the school system giving the city about 2.5 acres on the future new Mt. Juliet High School site on North Greenhill and Lebanon roads. However, Vice Mayor James Maness sponsored a resolution to instruct City Manager Kenneth Martin to begin negotiations to purchase land at 13345 Lebanon Road for the north side fire station. That resolution was deferred until August by the commission Monday night.

The terms of the deferred resolution were to discuss purchase of the property from Green Hill Baptist Church. The cost of that land is about $250,000, plus the demolition of two structures and some grading in the front of the property at a cost of $31,000 and a $2,100 sewer tap fee.

"As far as I'm concerned the Greenhill Church property and the potential land given to the city are the two major contenders for a second city fire hall," Fire Department of Mt. Juliet Chief Jamie Luffman said.

The timeline for the new school is between four and five years. Luffman said it was up to the negotiation teams to figure out if the city could get the county-given land sooner.

"First, we have to have a piece of land, then go vertical and then figure out how much it will cost to operate the second station," Luffman said.

"Both parcels are in the perfect location," he said. "I have to leave it up to others to negotiate, and I will figure out how much it will cost to run. My goal is pursue a building that will last the next 50 years."

Luffman said it's all about time, versus money, versus need.

"Basically, at this point it's about to governmental agencies working through things and negotiating in spite of the legal system," Justice said.

Writer Laurie Everett can be reached at laurieeverett1@gmail.com

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