I attended the Board of Mayor and Aldermen workshop last Thursday. It’s true that the issue of a warning system was discussed in great detail. It’s true that a $2 p/month figure was thrown out. What is not true is that the city is considering adding $2 p/month to the water bill to pay for a siren system. Not telling the full context of a statement can be labeled an untruth. Yes, you can watch on Channel 3 the replay of the meeting and see for yourself. But for those who want to know NOW, here’s what happened.
Rick McCormick, member and vice chair of the Local Emergency Planning Committee, was speaking on behalf of the LEPC that recommends the warning system. McCormick stressed that it is not just about “lightning” or for weather alerts, but for other potential emergencies that the city could face.
Mayor Mosley asked about potential grant funding through Homeland Security that could pay half the cost because of these exact concerns that could be catastrophic. These include:
- Railway system that cuts directly through town (the Waverly, Tenn train derailment was cited as an example of why this is a concern)
- Major manufacturers in LaVergne use highly complex chemicals and products that could endanger huge sections of the town should they ignite or explode. In fact, the mayor said at one point a few years ago an evacuation was considered for a large section of the town because of a plume of some chemical that had been released. The wind cooperated, so there was time to fully determine that no evacuation was needed.
- The state’s largest subdivision is located directly at the end of a runway and the city is exactly between the two largest airports in Middle Tennessee. My sources tell me this airport part is a major concern. While the mayor didn’t actually point that out specifically this has been discussed at length by city emergency planning officials.
- Large interstate system that cuts through town.
- And yes, there are weather concerns. Flooding from May of 2010, tornadoes in LaVergne this spring, tornadoes throughout middle Tennessee (M’boro, downtown Nashville, Hendersonville).
So during this discussion about why it is important that LaVergne have a warning system, McCormick said some towns simply charge a $2 fee as part of their water bill to pay for it. Mayor Mosley said they do that in Martin, Tennessee, validating his point but not advocating for doing this. It was a discussion – not a motion, not a plan, not a proposal. They were simply pointing out that other cities have deemed it VERY IMPORTANT to have a warning system.
Deliberate misrepresentation of the facts causes harm. Misleading people and hysterical overreaction hurts credibility. So we suggest – without name calling and without finger-pointing – that people verify facts before spreading lies.
And one more thing… when the finance director said the potential Tax Anticipation Note that the city may borrow has been reduced to $1 million, she ALSO said that the city hopes it won’t have to borrow anything at all due to massive belt-tightening and conservative spending. Again, all the facts were not disclosed.
And that’s a fact.