FRANKLIN –– Considerations of tax increases and how to deal with growth have continued to consume the minds of most city mayors within Williamson County.
At 2019’s first Breakfast with the Mayors, elected officials from Fairview to Brentwood all seven mayors gathered together to discuss the future for their cities and the county.
“We need to stand financially strong to meet the demands of our community,” Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said. “The actions of our cities trickle over to other cities and to the county.”
Most mayors were cautiously optimistic about their cities growing, knowing that figures show a surge in population during the last decade. Corporations moving to Nashville and other areas in the mid-state also have mayors concerned about mobility and mounting infrastructure needs.
“We have $700 million in infrastructure we need,” Franklin Mayor Ken Moore said. “We are in the process of ranking our capital projects for Phase II for the next 10 years. It’s all about long-range planning.
A 40-page book prepared by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce used Williamson County as a selling point to land 5,000 jobs in Nashville.
And it worked.
With Amazon construction on Nashville Yards underway, Williamson County leaders are trying to prepare for future employees who could take up residency outside of Davidson County. Local leaders said the surge in population could be comparable to when Saturn opened in Spring Hill.
Some mayors said that could bring more developments and stress existing infrastructure, which vice-mayor Brian Stover said Thompson’s Station is already working on.
“Right now in Thompson’s Station, our wastewater situation is most pressing,” Stover said. “It’s prevented us from growing. We have little commercial in Thompson’s Station. We have been able to grow the right way. Right now, we are gathering data on our wastewater solutions. We have to look at alternatives. We think that the development community might pay for this. If you want to be here, you have to partner with us.”
Tax rates in question
In Brentwood, the city’s tax rate has remained the same for the last 28 years, Mayor Jill Burgin said.
As it goes into 2019, Burgin said she hoped that could remain the same even as the city continues to grow, including finding a new home to house its police headquarters.
“The home values have increased where we don’t need it to. Luckily, subsequent commissions have held to that. We haven’t put that burden of city government on the backs of residents. The commercial properties contribute two-thirds of our revenue. We can fund our police and fire and roads with those tax revenues. It’s holding steady.”
In Nolensville, Mayor Jimmy Alexander said the town might have to look at its tax rate and re-evaluate this year. With the continued growth, Alexander said that meant more needs throughout the town. Though it was built seven years ago, city hall in Nolensville is already out of space.
“We have the lowest tax rate in Williamson, and we haven’t had a property tax increase in 10 years,” Alexander said. “We have needs that warrant taking a serious look at it.”
About Breakfast with the Mayors
Breakfast with the Mayors is a quarterly series that hosts County Mayor Rogers Anderson and City of Franklin Mayor Ken Moore. Topics differ each time.
Franklin Tomorrow puts on the event inside Rolling Hills Community Church, with hundreds of residents attending the sessions. All events are free to the public.
Reach Emily West at email@example.com or 615-613-1380 and on Twitter at @emwest22.