Chronicle of Mt. Juliet

Mt. Juliet set to approve $94M budget; discussion continues for new city hall

Discussions continue for new city hall

The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners passed its fiscal year budget on first reading with $94 million in expenditures — $33 million of that for capital projects — at its May 22 meeting.

The second reading of the budget is expected to be on the June 12 meeting agenda.

According to Mt. Juliet Finance Director Dana Hire, $16 million of the capital projects budget is allocated to start the new police headquarters planned next to the original precinct located on Charlie Daniels Parkway.

The fire and EMS budget totaled $13 million, with $2.5 million of that for three additional firetrucks and two ambulances. Another fire station is expected to open soon near Green Hill High School.

The Public Works budget included $11 million toward building and land purchases.

The commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to authorize City Manager Kenny Martin to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) toward a joint venture between the city, developer Mark Lineberry and Imagine 1 Company to build a new city hall complex with retail, office and multifamily living spaces near the current City Hall.

The agenda item originally was to sign a development agreement instead of a MOU. However, Commissioner Ray Justice made a motion to change the resolution to have an MOU instead to get the process moving.

City Attorney Gino Marchetti said some, “pieces are messing,” and he felt more comfortable with a less binding agreement at this time.

“We need to get a PUD (planned unit development) and funding (for the design) of City Hall,” Imagine 1 spokesperson Matt Gardner said.

Previous discussions involved the city’s part of the project to be building a new City Hall, with the rest of the project being handled by Lineberry and Imagine 1. However, Gardner said they discussed his group designing City Hall, with the city paying his group $1 million for the design work.

Marchetti also said he wanted an impartial appraisal of city-owned land and buildings Lineberry and Imagine 1 want to buy and raze to put the multifamily and commercial space. The project would cover a whole city block along the street City Hall is now.

“We need to get an appraisal first so we can create a value of the land and buildings before we commit $1 million for the design of a city hall,” Marchetti said.

It was determined there already is an appraisal for the land, so an appraisal for only the buildings is needed. Martin said he would work on that.