Editorial: Here’s the Thing About La Vergne Politics and Social Media

Have feathers been ruffled lately?  Indeed they have!  We want to thank our “sister-site” for giving us a chance to respond.

We are a site allegedly run by supporters of the current city elected officials, or so they say. Let’s clear the air and say YES.  Yes we do support the current administration.  But do you know why?  It is because we are finally seeing our La Vergne move forward in many positive ways.

pavingThe following outlines some of the progress that has been made in the last 3 ½ years (asked and answered in-person, one-on-one, actually):

  • Roads are being paved for the first time in years and the paving is now on a 10-year cycle.
  • Retail is here (Dollar General Store and Speedway) and a lot more is coming. But no, we can’t hurry Walmart as they follow their own schedule. No we can’t hurry other stores that are on the verge of announcing – they do that on their own schedule because the stores are THEIR stores and they dictate their own timeline.
  • Water lines are finally being replaced with those big enough to extinguish house fires (go to the city web site to see the schedule).
  • A water pump station has been built so that folks living on the south side of the Interstate can be sure their water is fresh and plentiful.
  • Massive cleaning and updating completed at the water treatment plant after it was found to be in a state of disrepair four years ago. I did talk with the chief operator of the plant who had begged for years for repairs to be made. These pleas were ignored.
  •  Sewer lines are being repaired to keep rain run-off from rushing into Nashville for unnecessary treatment.
  •  Upgraded 911 system (where previously calls had been lost in emergency situations)
  •  New police vehicles that actually run (remember the old cars whose bumpers were held up by ropes, fumes filled the inside of cars, and wooden wedges held up windows?).
  • City now owns the fire department so the $120,000 PER MONTH that was previously going to the for-profit owner can be invested back into the city for more personnel and trucks that will run.
  • Those old trucks that are being replaced?  They cost between $250,000 and $350,000 PER YEAR in repairs. So the new ones will be paid for from the former repair budget and REFINANCING OLD DEBT at a lower interest rate. I did talk with the mayor about this – one on one – and she said the refinancing will pay for the new trucks and we will come out AHEAD of where our old debt payment was previously.
  •  How is debt lower when more is being financed?  Our interest rate is lower because the city is now fiscally sound.  After three years of hard work, the city’s credit rating increased this past year from an AA- to an AA. This credit rating was again confirmed LAST WEEK.
  •  The quality of life has improved. You don’t have to talk with someone one-on-one to see that we now have a Nighttime Christmas Parade, a Fourth of July celebration in our own city, pageants for our students, a greenway with more coming, and a NEW PLAYGROUND at Lake Forest Park – a park that was promised more than 20 years ago.

There has been discussion about the city spending $50,000 for a study of what city hall needs.  This study would assess how the city’s facilities can best grow. Currently city personnel are scattered in six different buildings (we didn’t count the fire stations or library for obvious reasons). Do you realize how difficult this is for citizens who walk in to City Hall and ask to talk with someone about a Codes question?  They have to get back in their car and drive to another building if they want to meet one-on-one.  Have you ever been to buildings in other cities? They have security measures in place protecting employees. Our city hall does not. There are panic buttons staged throughout city facilities for employees to use when people become threatening or belligerent. This happens – according to people we have talked with one-on-one – about once every month.

This study is the city doing its homework. They are getting a professional assessment of the needs in order to plan how to accommodate residents, visitors, and employees in five or ten years or 20 years. And nothing is free, my friends.  We learned that the hard way in 2011.  Remember all those unpaid walk-away water bills, unpaid tap fees (favors for friends), and Metro Nashville bills to the tune of hundreds of thousands a month? You and I paid for all of those from a bond issued 10 years ago for capital improvements – funds that were diverted from water and sewer line improvements in order to pay those bills.  You don’t like the water and sewer rates?  You think Dennis Waldron is going to lower them? Guess what, folks. The STATE will have the final say in that – not Mr. Waldron. We remain on state probation from when the city’s water and sewer funds were operating at a loss between 2008 and 2010. Ask the Mayor what it was like standing before a state board in 2011 just months after she was sworn in and hearing them say the proposed rate increases were probably not enough, but they’d let it slide for now.  Speaking of the fees that Metro Nashville charges the city – also remember that the city was part of a lawsuit with other cities fighting the fee we have to pay, but lost that lawsuit as did Brentwood and Millersburg.

This other site – who we will affectionately call their Mr. Hyde to our Dr. Jekyll – asked why no candidate (or current official) will answer the questions on their page. If I recall they have done this in the past but no matter what they say, their words are twisted and distorted, they are vilified, and they are attacked.

“She’s a pig with lipstick.” Remember that one? Or how about calling them a “pinhead”?

And the one alderman whose family owns land in which a brand new stinking city dump has opened (against state regulations, against environmental considerations, and with no regard to nearby houses) is hailed a hero by the site.  This is the very same alderman whose business did not have running water for 18 months because he did not want to follow city codes to do so.

So yes, we do support the current administration. And yes, if someone does make comments about the city we will ask why they feel the way they feel.  We will ask why because is upsetting to read when people talk about a high rate of crime (down to its lowest level in more than a decade – again thanks to this administration) or talk badly about our emergency responders (who have an average 3 minute response time compared to neighboring cities response times of 8 minutes, plus).

What’s the difference between this page and the other page? We are trying to SAVE this city and make it a better place.  Many of the readers on the other site want to see the city die (remember the petition to do-away with our charter?).  And we don’t have a super secret page for our most important readers. What you see is what you get, like it or not.

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