Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham, in his state of the city speech before the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce on Thursday afternoon, said the city’s success is like a puzzle.
Once you get the four corners set, from there things start falling into place.
“This is the fourth state of the city since I’ve given since I was elected to a four-year term as your mayor,” Graham said. “Four is an important number. Four sides to a square. Four directions . Four symbolizes a strong foundation. Four has a special meaning for Spring Hill. Four years ago we established four main goals. These were four things we had to address in order to get our city back on track.”
The four corners for Spring Hill, Graham said, “are finances, assembling and growing a good city team, addressing infrastructure and planning for the future.
“Over the past four state of city addresses, Victor and I have reported to you on these four things to show you our progress,” Graham said.
“Here we go.”
Lay took over, standing on the stage with a PowerPoint presentation up on the screen behind him.
Lay pointed out that during the past four years, each year Christmas sales have created more tax revenue than the last.
Last year, there was a high of nearly $650,000 collected.
“This year, based on national averages, it may be we find out next month that we broke three-quarters of a million dollars in tax revenue,” Lay said.
In the past 12 months, on the Maury side of Spring Hill, the city brought in $3.5 million sales tax revenue and on the Williamson side $2.3 million.
“That represents only a third of our general fund revenue,” Lay said.
He pointed out that the general fund budget and revenue, which is balanced, is about $20 million, a very healthy number.
“Our reserves are up and we have money to do the projects we need to do, and things are going pretty good,” Lay said.
“In four years we have hired 46 new, not replacement, positions. So be prepared to listen fast,” Graham said.
He then listed all positions, beginning with infrastructure developer, planning coordination, economic development coordinator, and so on to fleet mechanic.
“We have intensified our efforts to catch up on our infrastructure,” Graham said. “In north Spring Hill we are playing catch up, and in south Spring Hill we are playing get ready.”
Last year there were 267 business licences issued in the city.
He said that more is coming, especially in south Spring Hill.
From 2004 to 2006 there were 1,400 building permits issued per year.
“And that was too much,” Graham said. “It was way more growth than we can handle and way more than we want to handle.”
He then pointed out the last four years, after a huge dip during the economic recession of 2009 to 2011, permits have increased again but are at a more manageable level in terms of what roads and sewer and water the city can build to handle it.
“This is smart growth, this is growth we can handle, this is manageable growth, this is balanced growth — and it fits with our resources,” Graham said.
There were 699 permits issued in 2016. More than Lay said the city expected, but still within a good range for the rate of growth that the city can keep up with.
“That growth rate translates into increased population,” Lay said.
In 2016, population was certified at 36,500.
“That growth means that we need plans, we need infrastructure in place,” Lay said.
Graham took it from there, and pointed out a list of 44 projects the city has completed in the past four years.
“Two new city roads were built, crucial water and sewage projects, Port Royal Park, new traffic lights at Duplex and Port Royal, new sidewalks, all over town,” he said. “Our paving budget which used to be $100,000 a year and now is over a million.”
The talk then turned to the future.
Currently Spring Hill is the 18th largest city in Tennessee.
If it grows at a moderate pace, Lay said, an estimated 500 new building permits a year, by 2030 the city’s population could reach at least 55,000, surpassing Brentwood and reaching about the same size as Hendersonville, just shy of Jackson.
“Planning, planning, planning, is how we deal with that,” Graham said. He then set out, you guessed it, four goals for the future.
Those goals are:
“Making Spring Hill a premier place to do business,’ Lay said. “Being a city that welcomes and encourages and implements innovation, a city that provides the quality of life our citizens deserve, and to get the word out about Spring Hill.”
In the coming year, the city will be putting in high-speed Internet fiber to attract high-tech and health care businesses.
“It will create a greater diversity in our job base,” Lay said.
Graham pointed out four “big, important” projects for 2017.
- The city will be moving dirt on the Duplex Road widening project.
- Also it will move dirt on Beechcroft Road widening.
- The city will be part of the new 242-acre Maury County school campus build out, taking over as many as 80 acres of it.
- The city will begin planning for an expanded city hall, library and police station.