Alderman Broeker Calls For Reason

In a bold move, Alderman Tom Broeker calls for the local business leaders who are pushing a petition that would effectively do away with our city as we know it, to stop:

In no way can the surrender of the city’s charter be beneficial to the residents or businesses of La Vergne. I strongly urge Stan Glasgow, Mike Webb, and Angie Mayes among others to do what is right and immediately end this call for the demise of our great city.

Hit this link for the full post. I had to stand up and cheer after I read this post. I could not agree more with everything he said. Go read it for yourself.

37 comments for “Alderman Broeker Calls For Reason

  1. July 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

    “I extend the opportunity to resolve this matter favorably for all residents of La Vergne”
    These words right here are very important. If the current administration wants to “resolve this matter favorably” then why not have a recall on the tax increase and go over the budget once more cutting out the unnecessaries from the budget. I’m not saying cut out the law enforcement or fire, I truly believe the more of those kind of services in LaVergne will help tremendously, I mean the Computerized Ball Lights in Veteran’s Park, the raises to the City Administrator and City Recorder, the Storm Siren System that would cost roughly $595,000. For that kind of money, the city could use $100,000 to buy every household a weather radio. It’s these issue in the budget I had the most trouble with, the wants instead of needs that LaVergne is trying to add in a very down economy.
    Just my $.02 and I welcome constructive banter, how else would we be able to learn from each other. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I claim to, just some food for thought from a layman who read over the town’s budget and 5yr and 10yr plan and saw some alarming numbers for efforts that could better be served further down the line, or in a more economical fashion as to slowly raise the tax rate. I look forward to your comments. Thanks.

    • July 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      Jeremy – would you include cutting out money spent on senior citizens fund? That is not a necessity to be spent by the city. Also just because you buy a weather radio doesn’t mean you use it. The sirens would be used period. This could possibly save lives if a tornado similar to Nashville 98 or the most recent ones in Murfreesboro hit our city. If we focus on just the needs then simply put the city needs to only maintain the police, fire, roads, codes and permits. All other services such as charitable giving, the library, city fund raising, public parks and encouraging commerical companies to come to the city would be scrapped.
      I am pretty sure that if the senior services were taken away many of our senior population would label that wrong and an attack on them.
      I whole heartly support that government is there to do what the private sector can’t, won’t or shouldn’t do, but I don’t see the city doing many things outside what they should be. The city went through more than two months of discussion on the city budget. How much time does it take to make everyone happy? The public outcry only came at the end of the timeframe and many said they need longer because they haven’t done their own homework themselves. The city does not need to recall the budget. It very simply can ammend the budget. Show me specficially the cuts that can me made that would equal the ammount needed for the improvement proposed by the board for just fire, police and roads. If theirs fat trim it yes, but many are just going off hearsay and not actually reviewing the budget.

      • July 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm

        Here ya go:

        To start, $70,000 in repairs to a library that is 8-9 years old? Really?

        $70,000 wage increase for the City Administrator, not insurance rates going up, but wage increase….
        also $60,000 wage increase for the City Recorder, once again not an insurance rate hike, but wage increase…

        $595,000 for the weather sirens….surely there is a cheaper method for such a system.

        Jumping from roughly $9,000 for police vehicles leases to a whopping $3.7M next year and $5.9M the year after that, then settling for $4.6-4.7M for the next 5 years after that….I’m not saying cut fully into the police budget, but that amount of money for police vehicles and motorcycles seems absurd. Do these cars cost $250,000 a piece, cause that’s the only way I can see justifying that kind of money.

        $6,000 for computerized ball lights for Veteran’s Memorial Park…what happened to the park workers just turning on the lights and turning them out at night, isn’t that what they get paid to do?

        I have others, but I don’t have the budget pulled up right now, since I’m supposed to be working in order to pay for this tax increase.

        BTW, reading the budget to the community and actually fielding questions about it are 2 different things…when there was an outcry, the counsel should have been able to address these and many other grievances instead of just letting people talk and “taking it under consideration” which inherently means that they have already made up their mind to vote it in no matter what anyone else said. That is what is hurting our city and has us split right now is the fact that both the counsel could have fielded questions when the turnout to the meetings was overwhelming where people needed questions answered, and also the fault of the citizens who should have been more thorough, myself included, in doing more research and being at more of the town meetings. Problem is, when I go to the town meetings, it seems to be more and more of the same ole, same ole. When I confronted the town counsel about the lack of effort, planning, and execution of the project on Waldron Rd., they said they would “take it under consideration.” Well, not much has been done to alleviate any of the mess that is the entrance to LaVergne from I-24. Besides, if the City of LaVergne had any foresight, it would have started this project back in 2000 or 2002 when we could have become the next Sam Ridley, but instead have come second fiddle once again to the thriving commercial landscape that is our southeast neighbor, Smyrna.

        • Tom Broeker
          July 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm

          Jeremy, I truly do respect your comments and would certainly welcome the opportunity to answer your questions regarding the budget and 5 year plan. If you are interested I may be reached at 207-8030 or 394-2821. Thank you and look forward to talking with you.

          Tom Broeker

          • July 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm

            Awesome, am also looking forward to speaking with you, say tomorrow morning or at your earliest convenience.

            • Tom Broeker
              July 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm

              Tomorrow morning is fine or I am available now, tonight. Whatever works for you. The first number is my personal cell which I can be reached at anytime.

        • Angie
          July 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

          “…what happened to the park workers just turning on the lights and turning them out at night, isn’t that what they get paid to do”

          The LBSA workers/board members are the ones who turn the lights on and off. And no we don’t get paid to do it. We volunteer our time.

          What I’m wondering though is what’s different about the new lights? Will they be more cost effective as far as bulbs, electricity etc?

        • Jeremy S.
          July 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

          So….looked back at my numbers. I was wayyy off but still holds true to an extent…

          $70,000 total wage increase for the City Recorder ad Admnistrator…

          $9,000 police car budget to a more reasonable, but still fairly high.. $370,000 up to $595,000 the next year. That’s all for now looking forward to meeting with Alderman Broeker tomorrow morning.

          • blah blah
            July 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

            Jeremy, It’s obvious you did not watch the budget workshops on channel 3.

            Not sure where you are getting your numbers, but you are still way off on the “raises” for city admin and recorder. Previous admin made $82K per year, current one makes around $78K. The other $40K in the admin budget is where the city moved the PR person back to admin. That position was in parks department last year before the previous PR person got fired. Last year the recorder made $51K, but got a promotion to assistant city administrator, so that’s why his salary is now $63K. The additional $29K listed under wages is where they moved a position from water billing office and put it in the court office. That was all discussed at the budget workshops. I don’t think any employees got a salary or wage increase on July 1st.

            • Charlotte Burton
              July 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm

              I haven’t watched the workshop or seen the budget, but the way I see it, if the city has a money problem, then it seems no one should be getting a raise! My husband works for the State and that is the way they work!

              Also, I received my first waterbill since the new hike. They said we used more last month than the month before. Well, I wish I knew how that was because we was out of town for 7 days last month!!! I think the problem is they don’t actually read the meter. They guess at it!!

              • Raises
                July 9, 2011 at 12:37 am

                There were other raises also. One went to an Assistant Fire Chief who happens to also work for the city as a full time salaried employee also. Weird huh.

                • Charlotte
                  July 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm

                  Verrryyy!!! That’s one way to work it. Get your raise and slip some in the back door.

          • michaelinLV
            July 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm

            Jeremy, I understand why Tom Broeker cannot directly answer your questions on this site (open meeting laws, sunshine laws, whatever), but I would love to hear your thoughts on the conversation.

            • DJ
              July 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm

              How can answering citizen’s questions on a public forum be in violation of a Sunshine Law? This is not a meeting of the alderman, nor is it making any decisions or setting policy etc? I have seen Alderman Broeker make this claim before. I may not fully understand the law but I really don’t get this?

              • Tom Broeker
                July 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm

                DJ, in regards to this post I did not make this claim. I believe I’ve been forthcoming with information and answers on this site as well as others including my own. However, if there are two elected officials contributing or answering a question on a matter that is up for vote it could be construed as a private conversation.

  2. Kitti
    July 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Put an end to the city charter? That’s just throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The county or state would have to step in to prevent lawlessness. I’d rather have a local city to rely on, thanks.

  3. July 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Ronald Reagan said it best, the ten most dangerous words in the english language. “Im from the govermnent and im here to help you” Government does not produce anything nor do they create jobs. The city of LaVergne is a malignant tumor and the local politicians do not care what they impose on their businesses nor their citizens. From what I can tell, at least 7 out of 10 residents said no to the doubling of our property taxes. I am not for unincorporating LaVergne but, a recall of all the politicians who voted for this assinine tax increase or the City should file bankruptcy. Orange County California did it but LaVergne is a totally different animal.

    • July 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      Kevin,
      It amazes me that many don’t want a tax increase but do want more city services, better road conditions, and notification when dangerous storms approach, but want all of that for free. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I will argue the government does create some jobs. Military, police, etc so while not 100% on not 100% off either. Do you know of a way to provide the increased services the resident want or need without increasing taxes? If so please share.

      • July 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm

        Yes, Jason it is called fiscal responsibility. If you do not have the freakin money, don’t spend it. It is plain and simple. I would like a new car but, I cannot afford it. I make do with what I have. Government is no different. Why in the hell do you think our nation got 15 trillion dollars in debt? Answer: we continue to spend more money than we collect. We have made promises to millions of people we cannot keep. This goes for local gov’t as well. Taxes are a necessary evil but $600 thousand dollars for sirens is pathetic! Repair our streets, clean up our polluted creeks, I can go on and on. Remember why we celebrate the 4th of July. We waged a war with the most powerful nation on earth and it was about you guessed it. Taxes! Noone listened to us and we waged a war. Today, our war is at the voting booth.

        • July 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm

          Kevin,
          Taxes are necessary that we can agree on. When you don’t have enough money you do one of two things you cut your budget, which the city did if you look through it, and you find ways to make more money. That what people do and that’s what the city is doing. Property taxes which haven’t been raised in more than a decade by the city has now been increased and is still not the highest for the county. Kevin I see you support cutting nonessential funding so do you believe the city should or should not have a senior citizens fund?

          • michaelinLV
            July 7, 2011 at 10:41 pm

            “…taxes which haven’t been raised in more than a decade.”

            AHHH!!! The Myth continues! The last property tax increase was July 3rd 2007. People overlook this increase because the rate had previously been $.50. But because of reappraisals taking effect for these tax years (and 2011), the city would have been required by law to reduce the tax rate if they had not passed an ordinance setting the rate t $.50

            I guess a better way to illustrate this is to look at the county, In 2003, the Rutherford County tax was $2.80. Today it is $2.44. If you use the idea that your taxes are only based on the rate, you would think we’ve had a tax cut in the county! But check again, you are paying MORE in county taxes because your property has increased in value (for most people).

            It actually makes me think, Rutherford county was able to reduce our tax rate in the past 10 years, La Vergne never reduced our tax rate and still got us in the mess we are in. Sad…

            • Cricket123
              July 8, 2011 at 12:08 am

              …again, michael, you are looking at the wrong numbers. We’re talking “city” taxes, not “county” taxes. Look it upon the city’s web page – it’s all there in black and white.

              • michaelinLV
                July 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

                No, I just used the county taxes to illustrate my point. Just because the city rate was $.50 for many years does NOT mean we haven’t had property taxincreases in previous years.

            • Rich Long
              July 8, 2011 at 11:11 am

              I agree with you that this mess is sad.. I can’t believe the previous board(s) led us down this road. I guess my take is that we are what 30 mil in debt I believe. Do you think that cuts in the budget are going to make a dent in that? I don’t see enough in the total budget to do that. Taxes would have to be raised no matter what you cut out of the budget. The only real argument here is by how much do you raise them? Doubling them at least puts us on par with the rest of the communities around here and should (better) provide us with the same services. It’s like the concept of a market adjustment if your price is significantly lower than your competitors and you realize you are loosing money you will reprice the product to be more competitive with the market. To me that’s what’s happening here and if it would have put us way over then I would be here squawking but as it is the increase seems reasonable to me.

              All I see is an understaffed city trying to break out of a good ol’ boy network where those with money could buy permission to do what they wanted. Current Board has been in power for 6 months.. it’s gonna take awhile to break out of that. I say give them a chance. They can’t really hurt us anymore than we already are and we just might be surprised at the outcome.

              On a lighter note.. wonder how narrow this colum can or will get?

              • Debbie Heughan
                July 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm

                I am with you Rich long, They need a chance to show the turn around in this city… We gave Erwin & Waldron plenty of time to get us in this deep, & you didn’t see Butler, Webb, & Glasgo down there trying to get rid of them.. They loved having them in office because they could get anything they wanted.. They are crying because the good ole boy network has finally been uprooted after many decades.. Thank God..

          • DJ
            July 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

            “Property taxes which haven’t been raised in more than a decade by the city”

            I agree with MichaelinLV, property taxes have increased. Looking at the budget on the City’s site, they collected $3M in 2006-07 fiscal year. The budget for 2010-11 fiscal year was $4M. Thats a 33% increase, which is actually higher than the population increase in that same time.

            As property values are assessed higher and there is more property to tax, the city gets an increase.

  4. tony vanatta
    July 7, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    lalalalalalalalaalalalalalalalaalalaalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalal

  5. David Riley
    July 9, 2011 at 12:00 am

    “We went from 18,000 people to 32,588 people we have to provide services for, and nothing is free,” said Mosley…. The Mayor claims that this increase in population should instead lead to increased tax and use rates. She seems to be saying that the 14,000 new people are freeloaders when she’s failing to restrain spending.
    Um, um, — those 14,000 new are being sent water and sewer bills, yes? Are they paying them? If so, then you have your 81% increase in revenue to match your 81% increase in load. In fact, only SOME of your costs increase proportionately with the provision of service. Some expenses, such as the salaries for your brother-in-law and other waste don’t need to increase 81%, I mean you didn’t suddenly get 81% more useless brothers-in-law to put on the payroll. So you should actually be REDUCING rates slightly. It’s OK, don’t feel bad, we don’t expect honesty or math proficiency from government leaders.

    • Turbo
      July 11, 2011 at 2:43 am

      David – Your “81% increase in revenue to match your 81% increase in load” formula only works if 20-odd years ago someone broke out their crystal ball, figured out there would be a 14,588 population increase, and spent only enough in infrastructure expansion costs to support those 14,588.

      Magic 8-balls notwithstanding, the wiser course of action is to budget infrastructure expansions to a degree of *excess* of calculated need, so that such things as unanticipated growth spurts, partial breakdowns and/or interruptions in service don’t throw the delivery system into an immediate state of crisis every time a water or sewer line breaks. You’re also not taking into account that, unless that crystal ball came in a package set with a magic wand, every bit of that infrastructure increase outlay had to be paid in advance of any of the 14,588 moving in and paying a single dime on a water bill.

      End result: your 81% “increase in load” has to be covered by an infrastructure increase which is probably in the 90-100% range – of which 81% will eventually be covered over a decade or two.

      • DJ
        July 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm

        Turbo said: “You’re also not taking into account that, unless that crystal ball came in a package set with a magic wand, every bit of that infrastructure increase outlay had to be paid in advance of any of the 14,588 moving in and paying a single dime on a water bill.”

        That is not true. Infrastructure is often paid for by borrowing money. So you build it, and pay it off over the next 20 years. That way the people who are getting the benefit of the infrastructure are paying for it.

        To raise taxes to put money in a reserve, pay existing debt and to do upgrades all in the same budget, is double dipping. The current taxpayers are paying for yesterday’s growth and tomorrow’s growth as well as paying for todays operations and upgrades.

        • Turbo
          July 12, 2011 at 3:55 am

          That is true. Infrastructure installation costs have to be paid for at time of construction, regardless of whether they’re paid from incoming tax revenue or from borrowed money. Bulldozers run on diesel, not promissory notes.

          You’re correct in saying borrowed money is a legitimate vehicle to pay for these costs; such development is a common reason for the issuance of municipal bonds. How many bond offerings have we seen from previous administrations over the past couple of decades, though?

  6. July 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I once heard from a metro police officer that more convicted felons live in LaVergne than any city in Tennessee. Kathy, can you substaintiate this? I was just wondering because I went to the TBI website and checked all the pediphiles and LaVeegne had more than Smyrna and Murfreesboro combined. What is the administrarion doung about this? I am moving very soon.

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