Today is Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Squire's meeting holds to rules

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County Attorney Mike Jennings noted due to the fact the commission has a committee form of government, this was how business is to be conducted. All citizens’ concerns are supposed to be addressed in committees or public hearings, he told the commission.

By the time resolutions come to the full commission for action, the commissioners are supposed to discuss it and make a decision, Jennings added.

“Wilson County democracy is a sham,” said Thomas after the meeting. “People don’t even get to speak what’s on their minds.” He also pointed out that refusing to hear people from Mt Juliet “doesn’t set a good precedent in solving the East/West conflicts.”

Sellers said what he had intended to tell the commission was that the city had made an offer of $2 million for the property, last Friday. The terms suggested in a letter at that time included a $210,000 cash payment now, and credit for $950,000 spent to improve the road leading to the new Mt Juliet High School.

The rest of the $630,000 would be funded by a bond the city could issue during the summer of 2009.

Sellers also said the reason the city wants to purchase the property is in part because it is in the center of Mt Juliet.

“It is the town center and we want to control that piece property,” he said. “The Square defines Lebanon and Mt Juliet needs to control what goes on that land.”

He agreed with an earlier statement by District 11 Commissioner Bob Neal that what the city wants to see on the land is a YMCA.

But while Neal said he didn’t think citizens favored the YMCA, Sellers said he was mistaken.

Neal said he had spoken to several people in Mt Juliet about the matter. “Providence and Del Webb residents both oppose it,” he noted.

He pointed out that both developments offer their residents similar services at their club houses. He also told the commission that the senior citizens opposed the YMCA because the children would be in the same area as the seniors.

Sellers, after the meeting, noted that the seniors had voted to join with the YMCA. “They don’t have to join it if they don’t want to. They can keep their clubhouse and stay where they are if they wish.”

Neal said Tuesday however that seniors voted only “to have an open mind and listen to what (YMCA officials) have to offer” at a meeting about a year ago.

The commission did vote unanimously to have the property appraised and put it up for sale.

A little later after considerable discussion, but again no public input, the commission voted to approve the Economic Impact Plan for the proposed Bible Park that would be built in Lebanon.

District 15 Commissioner Mike Justice started that round off saying that he thought since the resolution required no money from they county it would be a good idea to allow BPUSA to continue to seek funding.

District 22 Commissioner Heather Scott said that while people keep saying the county is not paying any money for the park, “We are giving up the property taxes on the property.”

She added that given the location it would no doubt be developed by someone in the next few years and another developer might not present the possibility of legal issues concerning religion

District 1 Commissioner Larry West, said he wondered why if it was such a good deal the developers didn’t just use their own money instead of asking the county and city to help.

District 19 Commissioner L.T. Jenkins was a little more vehement. He said he’d started opposing it due to traffic concerns, but since someone who supported it had recently asked him, “how much it would cost to buy his vote,” he had begun to resent the ethics of the group. “This stinks to high heaven,” he finished.

The commission then approved the Financial Impact Plan, by a vote of 15 to 9, with Commissioners West, Neal, Thomas, Jenkins, Scott and District 2’s Chris Sorey, District 3’s Fred Weston, District 4’s Jim Emberton, District 12’s Billy Rowland, opposed.

The resolution to seek certification as a Tourism Development Zone passed 14 to 10, with all of those opposed to the financial plan plus District 5 Commissioner Carolyn Thompson opposed.

After a 10-minute break, which was also opposed by several of the commissioners, the commission voted to approve levying a 5 percent privilege tax inside the park, by a vote of 17 to 7 with West, Weston, Emberton, Neal, Rowland, Jenkins and Scott opposed.

The same seven opposed the passage of the intergovernmental agreement with Lebanon to support the application for a Tourism Zone.

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@wilsonpost.com.

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