MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – One of the fastest-growing cities in Middle Tennessee, Mt. Juliet passed a new budget, making moves to keep up with growth, while also keeping the financial burden off residents.
“It’s all changed, it used to be all fields and 2-lane roads, and when I got here there was only one red light in town, and it wasn’t even a red light, it was just a flashing light,” long-time resident Jerry Biggerstaff told News 2, “It’s gotten out of control on some of it… I don’t know what they’re gonna do with all the traffic on Mt. Juliet Road. It’s just too many businesses in such a small space.”
“If you went out and polled anybody and asked what’s the very first thing the Mt. Juliet city government needs to do, you would probably get 100 percent response, the roads are inadequate,” said Mayor Ed Hagerty, “And we’re working feverishly to get that done.”
The city’s new budget reflects that with $40 million allocated to fund road improvements. Three major improvements include widening the bridge over i-40 on Mt. Juliet Road, widening South Mt. Juliet road below Providence, and adding a new interchange between Central Pike and i-40.
In addition to roads, the budget includes cost of living raises for city employees to keep up with rising rents, the addition of a new fire department, and four new police positions.
“One is a detective, one is a court liaison officer, a records clerk, and a part-time clerk for the detective division,” said Capt. Tyler Chandler with Mt. Juliet Police, “With the court liaison officer, what that’s gonna do is keep our officers out of court and keep them on the street… Our detectives’ demand grows as the city grows as well, so that’s why we’re adding another detective to help out with investigations.”
Previous budgets proposed property tax increases as high as 59 cents per 100 on assessed value. This budget leaves property taxes at just under 17 cents and pulls from sales tax, building fees, and growing state shares.
The budget also de-funds two part-time assistant fire chief positions to create one full-time position. They plan to build the new fire station with bonds.