Williamson County mayors want to maintain quality of life amid development


Williamson County mayors want to maintain quality of life amid development

ABOVE: Mayors from all the cities in Williamson County reiterated their commitment to promoting economic development while preserving a high quality of life at the Breakfast with the Mayors forum on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, at Rolling Hills Community Church.// Photo by Kelly Gilfillan

By MATT BLOIS

Mayors from all the cities in Williamson County reiterated their commitment to promoting economic development while preserving a high quality of life at an event that brought all the officials together to talk about the future of the county.

Mayors from Spring Hill, Thompson’s Station, Fairview, Nolensville and the county mayor all spoke at The Breakfast with the Mayors event on Tuesday. Franklin’s mayor appeared by video.

County Mayor Rogers Anderson started off the event at Rolling Hills Community Church by encouraging people in Williamson County to support the sales tax increase that would fund public schools  in Williamson County. Today is the last day for early voting in that referendum. The regular vote is scheduled for Feb. 6. 

“Over the next several years we need about 428 million dollars in additional money for the growth,” he said. 

He also praised gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd, who was in the audience, for promising to update the formula that determines how much state funding public schools get. 

Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham talked about the hundreds of millions of dollars the city — along with plenty of financial help from the state of Tennessee — plans to invest in roads and transportation projects. He earned some laughs and applause when he mentioned handing out stress balls at last week’s State of the City presentation to reduce frustration while sitting in traffic. Franklin Mayor Ken Moore appeared in a video where he also presented several traffic and parking projects the city is working on. 

Thompson’s Station Mayor Cory Napier said the city’s recent purchase of land to expand its sewage treatment system would allow the city to grow. He said then, the city could build more shops and businesses to take advantage of the people coming through town on Highway 840.   

“We have a love-hate thing with 840, frankly, in Thompson’s Station. A lot of us didn’t want it. It came, so how do we make the most of it?” he said. “If we can generate sales tax revenue at these interchanges, we can build on our historic downtown.”

Brentwood Mayor Jill Burgin said she was pleased with the city’s trajectory, and planned on maintaining moderate levels of development rather than growth for growth’s sake. She applauded the Williamson County chamber of commerce’s decision to change its slogan from “where growth is the point” to “where strategic growth is the point.”

Nolensville Mayor Jimmy Alexander and Fairview Mayor Patti Carroll both said the small size of their towns make them excellent places to live. Responding to audience member’s question about balancing economic growth with quality of life, Alexander said Nolensville can accomplish both goals at once.

“We have people in Nolensville that have lived there all their lives … and they liked it the way it was. And we have so many newcomers that are coming,” he said. “They want the same thing that everybody else does. They want quality of life, small town feel. And we work towards giving both groups what they want.”

The nonprofit Franklin Tomorrow, which seeks to make Franklin a city with a vibrant economy and a distinct character, organized the event. It will host another Breakfast With the Mayors on April 24 at Rolling Hills Community Church. The topic will be announced in March.

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