It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Actually it has been a pretty decent year here in LaVergne – from the LHS Marching Band winning the regional championship for the second year in a row to the economy showing steady improvement, we aren’t complaining. After reading the Top 10 News Stories of the Year in the Murfreesboro Post and seeing how the planting of a ginseng seed was bigger news than ANYTHING that happened in LaVergne, the editors of This is LaVergne decided to create our own Top 10 New Stories just for LaVergne. Without further ado, counting down from #10 are the
Top 10 News Stories of 2013
#10. Â City gets new K9 officer, Mike.
After going nearly two years without a K9 officer following the retirement of Kash, the city invested in Mike, an important crime-fighting tool for law enforcement. Welcome, Mike!
#9. City begins airing Board workshops and meetings live on Channel 3, streaming online.
This administration has been accused of being “closed,” but in fact the opposite seems true. Â It feels pretty open to the editors here at This is LaVergne when not only are meetings now uploaded to Youtube, but the Board of Mayor and Aldermen workshops and regular meetings now air live (live-streaming for those without Comcast Cable Channel 3 or AT&T Uverse Channel 99). Open government. That’s a good thing.
#8. Â City Ball League.Â
When LBSA was unable to produce proper documentation showing they were indeed a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization as they had said they were, the city had to find another way to run the city’s little leagues. First RBI Nashville came in, but the results were apparently not satisfactory, so the city is now running its own baseball and softball league. That’s a pretty big job and one we hope will work out for everyone involved.
#7. Â Police Work.
Police should be commended for two major arrests this year: Â 1) Matthew Ford (age 19) was charged with a homicide for the tragic death of Murad Abulola (age 22); and 2) LPD worked with Homeland Security last January in arresting a resident for suspicion in a 1994 murder in Houston. Â In addition, there were two major arrests made for “grow-houses,” arrests for the shooting of a pizza delivery man, arrests in a prostitution ring, multiple sting operations for underage alcohol sales, and regular sobriety check points to keep impaired drivers off the road. Good job, LPD.
#6. LaVergne gains national recognition for affordability and for job seekers.
A national real estate blog called Movoto.com ranked LaVergne the nation’s 21st most affordable suburb of a metropolitan area – and number one in the state of Tennessee. Say what you will about high water bills and taxes, but when you step back and look at the big picture of where we are nationwide, we’re looking pretty good coming in atÂ fourth in the nation for low utilities,Â 17thÂ for low property tax rates, andÂ 15thÂ for home affordability. Not only that, but Nerdwallet.com also picked LaVergne to be fourth best in the state for job seekers, coming in ahead of both Murfreesboro and Smyrna.
#5. Feed the Children comes to LaVergne.
The international relief organization moved one of its distribution centers from Nashville to LaVergne and has partnered with the city to provide food for those LaVergne families in need (particularly for children and seniors) during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. In addition, they have opened one of two teacher stores in the nation offering teachers at Rutherford County Title I schools the opportunity to shop for free school supplies at least once a month. Feed the Children is an incredible asset for our community and we welcome them with open arms.
#4. Waldron Road widening project completed.
With very little fanfare, the Waldron Road expansion project was finally completed after a decade of planning and years of building. We sincerely hope they get that turn lane fixed by KFC (we don’t care if you have a jig-jaggedy lane to go straight across Murfreesboro Rd.!!) and we know if anyone can get it done, it’s this administration!! (See, that’s how you ask for things to get done… ask nice, don’t yell!).
#3. New directors, new administrator.
The city formally named Bruce Richardson as the city administrator – a great decision following his nearly 20 years of experience as the city recorder and serving as interim administrator on and off for months at a time. Other great additions were Donna Bebout returning as the director of the Library, Rick McCormick being named the city’s first-ever Fire Chief, and A.C. Davis taking the helm at Parks & Rec. They join other eminently qualified professionals in Codes, Engineering, Police, Planning, Public Works, Administration, Tax, Court, IT and Finance departments. The team assembled looks to be strong and no-nonsense.
#2. Crime rate lowest in at least a decade.
The crime rate is the lowest it has been in 10 years, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. After three years of loud complaints from certain corners of the community about equipping the police, hiring more police, weeding out problem officers, reliable transportation, etc., the proof is in the pudding. Â Yes we see a news story every now and again about a crime in the city, but you see that in every single community. We have possibly the BEST police officer in the state serving as our police chief. Â And our crime rate has dropped. To it’s lowest level in at least a decade!! That’s pretty big news, there!
#1. Â City buys fire department.
This is a truly historic time in the city. Â Following careful review of the contract signed in September 2010 by an “earlier administration,” it was determined that funding that contract was not feasible. The contract was set to increase by at least $400,000 every year for the next seven years (starting in 2014). Here’s how that would work:
Base Amount 2013 Â $3,000,000
Amount of Increase from Initial $3,000,000 Base Amount
2014 Â Â $400,000
2015 Â Â $800,000
2016 Â Â $1,200,000
2017 Â Â $1,600,000
2018 Â Â $2,000,000
2019 Â Â $2,400,000
2020 Â Â $2,800,000
TOTAL Â = $11,200,000
If the city is buying the contract out at $4,000,000, this administration will save conservatively $7,200,000 over the next seven years. Â In addition, LaVergne is one of two municipalities left in the state that do not operate their own fire department. THIS is the top news story for LaVergne in 2013! Â Congratulations to Mayor Mosley and Vice-Mayor Farmer for taking the lead on this. Also our thanks to Alderman Broeker, Alderman Green, and Alderman Waldron for their “yes” vote. It’s about time!
Let’s take on the Top
Lies Rumors of the Year.
1. The new fire chief will be the mayor’s husband. FALSE.
2. The city will start charging a wheel tax to pay for the fire department. FALSE.
3. The city is spending like “drunken sailors.” FALSE. Spending to lower the crime rate, yes. Spending to save money ($7 million), yes. Like drunken sailors? FALSE.
4. The nepotism policy change means the good ol’ boys system is back. FALSE. This policy has no impact on elected officials. If you are an elected official, your relative can not work for the city. And the new policy is modeled after the state policy which is designed to keep the city out of litigation for unfair employment practices (based on familial status).
5. People have to pay for their own grinder pumps. FALSE. (and a little TRUE). If your grinder pump fails because of regular wear and tear, you will NOT have to pay for it. If you have been warned at least three times by the city to stop putting products like coke bottles (for example) down your toilet and it tears up your grinder pump, you will have to pay for it.
6. The city is closing the county convenience center by starting its own garbage pick up. FALSE. The city did look at possibly providing city trash pick-up service, but it was not feasible. And the convenience center is operated by the county, so the city could not close it down.
7. The mayor is giving herself a raise. FALSE. Â Whoever is spreading that one should just stop talking.
8. Police cars were paid for out of water/sewer fund. FALSE. The water/sewer fund cannot commingle funds with the general fund per state law. So no. Your water bill is not paying for more police. Your water/sewer bill is paying for Nashville to take our sewage, for bigger water lines (coming in 2014), for water treatment (we certainly don’t want to drink raw lake water), for all kinds of things related to having pure, edible water flow directly into your home. Â Hey how about those doubled NES bills everyone got this month?! Let’s talk about that horror!!
Outlook for 2014
Let’s end on a positive note! As we stated in #8 regarding water/sewer lines, they are coming beginning next year. There are 2-inch water lines in mostly old neighborhoods in the city. Replacing these with bigger lines will help our city-wide ISO rating so lower insurance rates should be coming within the next few years. Having new firefighters (the city is expecting to hire 13 more for the same price they are paying now for the current for-profit fire contract) will also help that ISO rating. Â We hear there is progress on the playground for Lake Forest Park. Â We hear the city is in-line for a MASSIVE grant to build a new safe room/ senior center. AND we hear there will be some major announcements regarding economic development.
We are moving in a GREAT direction, LaVergne! Â Hold on because 2014 will be a fun ride!