Saturday News Roundup, Version 2.014

Happy February 2014, LaVergne! A lot of news has been coming out of the city in the last couple of weeks, so it’s time to share some of the excitement, some of the weird, and some key personnel additions.

Let’s begin with the weird. The city released a statement yesterday about a drone flying over houses in neighborhoods.  Channel 5 did a very in-depth story about it and we have to give mad props to local resident Carolyn Hickerson for both reporting it to the police and for very intelligently vocalizing why this is a concern.  From the article,

Hickerson said she hopes the investigation results in new city policies that restrict drones or other similar devices, and protect residents’ privacy. “I think we need to do something about having a law that catches up to the technology.”

Laugh if you will, but when you see a stranger flying a camera over your home taking photos of your property (with the ability to see if you are home alone or if there are kids at the house), then you might also be more than a little concerned. We encourage city officials to take a look at this.

The exciting news is next.  Replacement of the lame 2-inch water lines!  And a playground for Lake Forest finally!!

The Water Lines. According to the new fire chief, they have been asking the city to replace the inadequate water lines for 18 years. Why? Because in the smaller lines, there is not enough water pressure to extinguish a fire using those lines. The city gets dinged by in the insurance rating process every review because of this. And finally something is being done. The cost is $2.5 million and it’s being paid by a bond. This means that the city will be able to pay it off in a steady monthly payment at a very low interest rate. If I’m not mistaken, municipalities must have state approval before getting bonds and the city has the additional oversight and approval of the state’s Water and Sewer Financing Board out of the Comptroller’s Office to move forward with this. And for the “spend spend spend!” critics, this is one of the pillars of what government is about… providing infrastructure to citizens.

PlaygroundThe Playground for Lake Forest.  It’s very exciting to hear the news that the city has been able to purchase equipment for the playground thanks to both budgeting for one in the five-year plan and from a grant from the playground company. The down side is that installation fees will still have to be raised, but the Mayor announced at the workshop that they already have 20% of funds raised for this.  One person on another site was highly critical of the city for “spending $140,000” on a playground.  If you actually read the article, you would see the city is paying $50,000, not $140,000 and busting their butts to raise the rest of the money (The city is paying $50,000 for the equipment and the grant paid $30,000. Then there’s the $16,000 to $60,000 installation fee depending on what kind of surface material is used, which will be based on how much is raised).  If YOU don’t want to give, DON’T. But don’t criticize the city for trying to fulfill a promise made 20 years ago to a neighborhood whose children deserve a place to play. We encourage people to rally around this cause. And once this playground is installed, the city can move to another playground project.

Want to see what the playground will look like?  Click here and go to “Your Playground” in the left hand column. That takes you to a 3D tour of the playground. KUDOS to Mayor Mosley for spearheading this!

We get to welcome some truly distinguished professionals to public safety offices in the city. Hiring Chief Mike Walker a couple of years ago was an incredibly smart decision.  Now four more feathers in the cap of Mayor Mosley, Vice Mayor Farmer, City Administrator Bruce Richardson, and Chief Walker. The new hires are Fire Chief Rick McCormick, Assistant Fire Chief Chris Clark, Assistant Fire Chief Mike Culberson, and Assistant Police Chief Keith Lowery. The decades of experience these men bring to LaVergne makes them quite the catch for the city. WELCOME welcome welcome to LaVergne, gentlemen!

Finally a reminder to everyone. If you have an issue with the city, sign up to speak directly to our elected officials at the Citizens Forum held before every meeting rather than bellyaching all over facebook or sites like this. You sign up 15 minutes before the forum (that’s by 6:30 for the 6:45 forum at regular meetings and by 4:45 for the 5:00 workshops). You also have the option of calling your elected officials.

Have a great weekend, LaVergne!

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