1. This won’t be a “blog” per se. It isn’t meant to be a place to post all commentary or opinions. Everyone is invited to send in a note, but don’t be offended if it isn’t posted. There’s other sites that are perfectly content to drag through what they believe to be wrong with every issue at every turn. This is about what was done, why and where do we go from here. We won’t talk about two and three year old issues. If the desire is to engage in those discussions then look somewhere else.

2. This isn’t the Board of Commissioner forum. MJ has a City Manager form of government. The Board makes policy; the staff implements. I’ll be happy to pass your comments along to the Board, either good or bad, but the intent of this medium is to address how we could better enact policy and improve city services.

3. The narratives will be directly from me, your city manager. I won’t hide under some pseudonym or other persona. My name is Randy Robertson. My phone number is 754-2552. I am your City Manager. If your issue or concerns involves another department of the city (Public Works, Police, Animal Control, etc.) I will invite the appropriate team member to provide some comments, but it will still be done under the auspices of the City Manager.

4. I will try and be as timely as possible, but this is another one of the “additional duties” for which civil service is renown.

5. The City Staff is here for you. The desired outcome is for us to have a positive relationship with the citizens we serve, but we all know that always won’t happen. Everyone has an opinion. It is the staff’s responsibility to work through the opinions and emotion, meet the requirements of the laws and rules under which we operate, and hopefully serve the greatest number in that process. It is not an exact science. The more we have a relationship with you, the better we can meet your expectations.

6. Finally, this is about telling our story. Hopefully you will be able to sort the myth from reality or see the issue through a different set of lens. I hope you will find this of value and participate.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Update: December 16, 2011

Good Afternoon MJ:

Greetings from City Hall. I thought I posted my last update before departing, but there’s a lot of things going this week you should know:

1. Do you want to help those who aren’t as fortunate as you? Here’s a chance through the MJPD’s “Shop with a Cop.” Members of the MJPD are sponsoring less fortunate children with a shopping trip this, their 7th season. Most of the funds have been secured, but here’s a great opportunity to make up some the difference, or plant some dollars for next year. It takes about $150 to sponsor a child, but any donations would be appreciated. For more info call Sgt. Tyler Chandler at (615) 773-6260.

2. Another gift to consider at this time of year (with tax season looming around the corner) is the MJ Animal Shelter and the non-profit Mount Juliet Animal Shelter Volunteer Organization. Donations must postmarked NO LATER THAN DEC. 31st to be tax deductible. Here’s a few reasons why you might want to give and what your contributions are used for:

- Every cent you give goes directly to and for the animals.
- In three years, through donations, the MJ Animal Shelter has not had to spend any tax payer funds for animal food.
- The Benefit Fund pays for medical procedures and provides extended medical care when needed and transportation to a Rescue.
- The Pet Therapy Program reaches into Mt. Juliet Nursing Care, The Providence Gardens, Rutland Senior Community.
- In 3 short years the Shelter has taken 1,563 animals off our city streets. That’s an average of 44 a month.
- Maybe most important: The MJ Animal Shelter, through the help of volunteers and the 501 3c non-profit fund, has placed close to 95% of the animals who enter the facility. That is unheard of in public animal control programs.
Send your check to MJASVO: 115 Industrial Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN. 37122 or drop your gift off any day of the week EXCEPT WEDNESDAY, from 10 AM to 6 PM.

3. On behalf of your Team Mt. Juliet staff, we wish to express our thanks to Mr. Jason Loggins and the kind folks at Wilson Bank and Trust for the great Christmas luncheon they provided city employees today. It was fabulous, and their generosity are truly appreciated. Also, the Team wants to thank Mr. Rob Porter and his partners, Kevin, Jim, and Ryan at Civil Site Design Group for their extraordinary kindness in the donation for gift certificates. For several years the staff at Civil Site have recognized the hard work of Team MJ through a cash donation equally shared by all employees. Many thanks fellows. Finally, a Christmas cheer for the staff at Houston’s Market for once again catering a fantastic meal, and for providing a lot of extra’s on the gift certificate side for the price we paid. You guys are great. Need further evidence of what a wonderful community we live in?

4. Remember: All City offices will be closed on Friday, 23 December and Monday, 26 December. Full service resumes at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, 27 December. City offices will be closed on Monday, 2 January for New Year’s Day.

5. As we depart MJ, I want to thank to the Mayor and Board of Commissioners for their support and kind remarks at my last BOC meeting. Also, special thanks to Team MJ for their continued support and accomplishments the last four years. You have done some remarkable things and it has been an honor to lead you. Finally, remember the farewell reception for Darlene and I, tomorrow (Saturday, 17 Dec), at the Charlie Daniels Recreation Center, starting at 7 p.m. (that’s 1900 for everyone else). We’ve already bought the refreshments, so come on out and say goodbye. Hope to see you there.

Best wishes for a safe, blessed and Merry Christmas and successful 2012.
R. Robertson

Monday, December 12, 2011

Update: December 12, 2011

Good Afternoon MJ:

Here’s some items of interest and FYI’s for our community:

A few weeks ago we posted a note about a benefit concert for Mr. Frank Scarcello, who was injured in aiding a citizen at the scene of an accident. The concert, originally scheduled for next Sunday, 18 December, has been postponed until February, to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Given the business of the holiday season, this is a practical move. We hope you’ll come out to support Frank in a couple months. Watch the city’s web page and Channel 3 for details.

Sales tax receipts for November were strong, with over $470.5k taken in compared to last year’s $455k, a $15.5k increase or about 3% more than last year. Year to date (Jan to Nov) we’ve seen close to $240k more in sales tax receipts compared to the same time period in 2010. Sales tax revenue represents nearly 60% of the city’s funding posture; and since they are unpredictable and can be unreliable, their continued growth is crucial to providing sustained quality services. Remember, particularly now during the holidays, to “Shop MJ First.”

Here’s some other data points for 2011 worth noting:

- Close to 300 new housing permits have been issued between January through November. At nearly one every business day that is a phenomenal number.

- In early November we were selected as the fourth “Most Business Friendly City in Tennessee” by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. We’ve captured one of the top five spots for the last 4 years.

- Thus far in FY 2011 (July to Nov), we’ve issued nearly 100 new business permits; again nearly one every business day.

- Over 200 electrical permits were issued through November. Until this year, this function, and the revenue with it, was a purview of the state. Our Codes Team has received numerous compliments for the responsive, courteous “can do” attitude they bring to this initiative.

- Close to 150 fire inspections were made by city personnel this year; again, a completely new mission for this team. This work is being done without hiring any additional personnel, but through aggressive cross training and continued professional development.

- Despite several recent rounds of inclement weather, TDOT advises they are still looking to have all lanes of North Mt. Juliet Road under some asphalt within the month.

- East Division Street was repaved and there is some great development taking place on the Old Elementary School Property, the long vacant heart of our city.

- We anticipate starting the right of way acquisition process for the Eastern Connector in the next few months.

- Phase 2 of the Town Center Trail (formerly West Division Greenway) should be moving dirt early this Spring. The city has secured over $500k in federal funds to underwrite this project which will run the trail from 4th Avenue to Brookstone.

- The Board of Commissioners approved “seed” money to initiate the required legal work to establish a 501 3C non-profit organization for the MJ Parks Department. This is a tremendous move to provide citizens with a direct, private means to help fund park and recreation activities. Watch for more on this next year.

- The MJPD continues to have one of the best case solvability rates in the state. We currently stand at over 55%, while the average is close to 30%.
- Stats continue to be absolutely fantastic from the MJ Animal Shelter. With an unheard adoption rate exceeding 90%; volunteer hours in 2011 approaching 7k; and our 3rd straight year of feeding the animals at no cost to the city; the MJ Animal Shelter continues to be the best in the state.

On a final note, I’d like to extend an open invitation to drop by the Charlie Daniels Rec Center, this Saturday, for a farewell reception. It starts at 7 p.m. and goes to when we leave. With that in mind, this will likely be my last city update/blog as your City Manager. I hope you have found this forum useful and informative. I’ll end with two notes: first to Team MJ, thanks for your support and your selfless public service. In the last few years our city has undergone a positive transformation of tremendous proportions. You have been the spearhead for that change. Well done! Second, to the citizens of MJ, it has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve our community and Darlene and I will miss you. Thanks for your support.

Take care and God Bless.


Randy Robertson

Friday, December 2, 2011

Update: December 2, 2011

Good Evening MJ:

On this absolutely beautiful late Fall day, here’s a few items of interest from around your city:

CHRISTMAS PARADE!!! Tomorrow (Saturday, 3 December). If you are marching or riding on a float, make sure you are at the starting area, behind the West Wilson Middle School. The parks and Rec Team will start forming up as early as 0700, with a cut off at 0930. At last report we had nearly 80 floats. By the time we add marching groups, there will be well over 100 elements in the parade, a new record. Remember, Wilson County’s own Country Music Star Gretchen Wilson will be our 2012 Grand Marshal. The weather is gonna be great, and Santa has an MJ date, so see you there.

Are you in the pet business? Vet care? Boarding? Animal food? If the answer is yes, then consider an opportunity to hang your business sign on the fence of the MJ Bark Park. The Bark Park has been a phenomenal success, with an active group of clientele using the area year round. What a great way to advertise your business or product to hundreds, for a full year, at just a fraction of the cost of a few newspaper ads. For more info, call Tina at City Hall, 754-2552. Get your orders in now to have your sign up early next year.

Speaking of those in the pet industry, there’s a relatively new “in home” pet care service, ”Small Joys”, to commend to our Nixle subscribers. The MJ-based proprietor, Michelle, provides “creature comforts” to your dog or cat, right from your home, at a very reasonable rate. She comes highly recommended and will work with you to provide your furry friend with the best possible care. Need a professional to watch Fido or Fluffy during the holidays? Call 969-8108 or email smalljoys@comcast.net. While on the subject of new businesses, here’s a few that just opened or are on the drawing board for the next few months. Accurate Auto Body is up and running from their Industrial Road location. I met with the GM, Jason, and they are off to a solid start, and come highly recommended. The Murphy Oil station at Paddocks is progressing well. Prospects look like they’ll be open by mid February. Notice the progress of the medical complex at the Old Elementary School property site; they are on track for a late summer opening. McDonald’s on the south end of town is looking to break ground in February. The Shoppes at Faulkner Landing are open or will be in the next few weeks; Academy Sports is on the Planning Commission agenda for 15 December; White Castle is close to making an announcement regarding their Paddocks site; Longhorn Steak House is scheduled for the January Planning Committee; and ground for an Ascend Credit Union, in the Paddock’s, should be moving early next year; and one of MJ’s most anticipated “fine dining” establishments, ”Jonathan’s Grille” is close to moving earth any day now. As an FYI, from July to November of Fiscal Year 2012, 116 business licenses were issues; a phenomenal number for a city our size. Remember: Shop MJ First!

Want to market your church/social group initiative? Let us know and we can discuss, a blog / Nixle note. For info, call Tina or Travis at 754-2552.

Remember, Darlene and I will be hosting a farewell reception at the Charlie Daniels Rec Center on Saturday, 17 December, starting at 7 p.m. The community is invited and light refreshments will be served. If you plan to attend please RSVP to City Hall (754-2552) so we’ll have plenty of food. I hope to see you there.

Nearly 40 animals are quartered in the MJ Animal Shelter today . . . think how a new pet would be such a wonderful and lasting Christmas gift. Stop by and see what’s available, or just look at the description and pixs on the Shelter’s section of the city’s homepage (http://www.cityofmtjuliet.org/). I’d also like to pay special thanks the volunteers we recognized this week who have each donated 200 hours or more to our Shelter. Our own Trish Morgan logged in over 400 hours in serving the Shelter, while Tanya Beadles was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year. We could not do what needs to be done without the tremendous support and efforts of a dedicated cadre of this small group of volunteers. Interested in making a difference in your city and for an animal? Email Jon Gray, our Volunteer Coordinator, at Pastorjongray@aol.com What a great resolution to make for 2012!

Calling all MJ school leaders: Free Breakfast, Wednesday, 7 December, starting at 0700, in the basement of City Hall. Principals, VP’s, guidance counselors, and interested “others” are all invited. Come hear the latest update from City Hall that pertains to our schools. We’ll have you headed back to the classroom by 0800. If you haven’t already RSVP’d, call Sharon at 754-2552, ext 204.

We’ll be unveiling a small monument to our Animal Shelter and its volunteers on Monday, at the MJ Animal Shelter, at 3:00 p.m. The monument was made possible through the kind donation of area residents Mr. and Mrs. Joe Robertson. All are invited.

A final note. Here’s a memory jogger for those seasoned Nashvillian’s out there. Remember the synchronized piano music at the dancing water fountains at the Opryland Hotel? Remember the fabulous piano skills of Liberace? Well, Vince Cardell, an area resident, was the man who played with Liberace and did the Opryland concerts. In October, Vince was involved in a serious auto accident. The good news is Vince came thought nearly unscratched, but Frank Scarcello, an MJ resident, who, as we understand, stopped to help Vince on that dark, rainy night, was severely injured in the rescue attempt. Vince, who has played shows across globe and regularly performs in Las Vegas, has graciously agreed to sponsor a benefit concert for Frank and the PD/first responders who came to his aid. Mark your calendar for a “Christmas Concert in the Round with Vince Cardell”, on Sunday, 18 December, at 2 p.m., at the Charlie Daniels Rec Center. For an hour, this famous pianist will tickle the ivories with seasonal and personal favorites, with all proceeds from the door ($5 per ticket) and sales of his albums going to the Frank Scarcello Medical Fund and our own first responders. Seating will be limited to the first 250. Thanks Vince for your wonderful gesture to a Good Samaritan and a truly unique Christmas gift to our community. For more info call the MJ Parks Department at 758-6522. Please share this with your friends and family.

That’s about all for now. See you along Mt. Juliet Road tomorrow to welcome Santa. Take care and God Bless.

R. Robertson

Friday, November 18, 2011

Update: November 18, 2011

Good Afternoon MJ:

Here’s a special note as we head into the weekend. I hope you and yours have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving:

“November 20, 2011 Ava Shaye Bright would have turned 4 years old. Please help us celebrate her life by making AVA’S SPLASH PAD become a reality for the City of Mt. Juliet. The final designs have been complete and now we just need funding! We have an opportunity for Pepsi to refresh OUR COMMUNITY! That means we could win $50,000 for water sprayers for Ava’s Splash Pad right here in MT. JULIET!! Please join in the voting efforts to help us win. You may vote once per day BOTH ways (text and online) until November 30, 2011. Please submit your vote EVERY DAY at http://www.refresheverything.com/avassplashpad AND Text 109856 to Pepsi (73774) to vote from your mobile. FORWARD THIS ON AND TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW! For more information and to learn Ava’s story, visit www.avalynshayefoundation.org

R. Robertson

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Update: November 17, 2011

Greetings MJ:

Let me begin by wishing you and your loved ones "Team MJ's" best wishes for a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Now, here are a few updates and FYI:

1. Let's start with some great news, we just got word that MJ again named by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research as one of the Top 5 (#4) “Most Business Friendly Cities” in the state. That’s a powerful message about our community . . . scoring higher than perennial powerhouses like Nashville, Oak Ridge, Clarksville and Murfreesboro. This is the fourth consecutive year MJ placed in the “Big 5.” An accomplishment is woven of elements from across the fabric of our city, economic and business, government, schools, churches and non-profits, and its speaks volumes about our community, its’ vision and values and the tremendous importance each component plays. Congratulations MJ!

2. Sales tax receipts were up again last month. In 2010 the city's share was just around $496k while 2011 was up to $514k. Through October MJ was up 9 of 10 months in sales tax revenue from last year; overall that comes up to about $180k more collected than from the same time period in CY10. Thanks and remember to "Shop Mt Juliet First."

3. The 2011 edition of the MJ Christmas Parade will take place on Saturday, 3 December, starting at 11:00. Led by Grand Marshal Gretchen Wilson, the route runs from the front of West Wilson Middle School to the intersection of Division and North MJ Roads. There's still plenty of time to enter a float or group in this festive seasonal extravaganza. For more info call Taylor Bates or Jay Cameli at 642-1095. Our friends at Crye-Leike Realty will even be offering free hot chocolate at their 1285 NMJR office. We look forward to seeing you there.

4. Congrats to Judy Roark and her crew for their efforts in supporting MJ social services. Through their Sweet Tooth Auction in October, they raised just under $3400 that will be split between the Sr. Citizen's Center and the Mt. Juliet Help Center. Good work Judy!

5. Interested or know someone who might be interested in serving with the Tennessee National Guard? There's a new recruiter in town, Sergeant First Class Austin Phelps is on duty and would love to talk about opportunities to serve your state and nation. He's can be reached at Cell: 615.772.6587 Office: 615.772.6587. Can you say "Hooah?"

6. Want to make a positive impact in your community but don't have a lot of money? This one doesn't take funds, just a little time to take the "Pepsi Challenge." Ava's Splash Park is the vision, and the goal is to vote at www.refresheverything.com/avassplashpad or by texting the code 109856 to 73774. VOTE EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! Help make a difference!

7. Reminder, this Saturday is Family Preparedness Day at the MJ Lowes, from 10:00 till 3:00 pm. The Red Cross, TEMA, Wilson 9-1-1 and WEMA's station 3 will be there helping and they want to extend an invitation for you to join them. For more info call Capt. Stephen Spencer, WEMA, at 444-8799 x123

8. Have you used the city's "311" call system? if so, let me know your thoughts. Drop me a line at rrobertson@cityofmtjuliet.org

9. One final note, we've been informed that the City Manager Blog, the same as these Nixle updates, has been named as one of the top 50 municipal blogs by the Master's in Public Administration of the United States. Thanks for reading and tell your friends to sign up.
That's all for now. Take care, God Bless and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

R. Robertson