Mt. Juliet leaders act to keep tuition reimbursement

Matt Masters • Jul 13, 2018 at 5:50 PM

At the Mt. Juliet City Commission meeting Monday, police Chief James Hambrick spoke of the loss of Sgt. Jerry Mundy and Wilson County sheriff’s Deputy John Musice, which happened 15 years ago.

The officers were killed in the line of duty when a vehicle hit them while officers chased it on Interstate 40. Hambrick talked about the loss of the officers as still resonated in his mind.

“We do honor the life and legacy of Sgt. Jerry Mundy and Deputy John Musice,” said Hambrick, “In one aspect, it seems like a long time; in another aspect, it seems like yesterday.”

Commissioner Ray Justice spoke in defense to keep the city’s tuition reimbursement program, which pays for continuing education for city employees but something the commission recently discussed discontinuing.

“We’re taking away an opportunity for a lot of these employees. They are government employees, and everybody says, ‘Oh yeah, well, they’re paid very well.’ They’re not paid as well as private-sector employees,” Justice said. “We are losing an opportunity here, and I don’t like the idea that we’re going to take anything away from an employee of this city. These guys are asked to do more for little, and they step up every single time they are asked.”

The commission voted unanimously to defer the issue until the next meeting to keep the higher education tuition reimbursement with a contractual agreement so if someone does not complete the requirements of the agreement they would have to reimburse the money and/or face other penalties.

In other business, an ordinance to amend the city’s sign ordinance passed unanimously to allow for temporary real estate signs. An ordinance to amend the city’s sign ordinance design guidelines and standards, to set back temporary signs by 10 feet, also passed unanimously.

The commission also approved an “adequate emergency service fee” based on square footage of new construction of businesses and industries. The 20-cent-per-square-foot flat rate would fund the city’s emergency services.

The commission also voted to annex the proposed new Wilson County Schools’ high school property into the city limits. The annexation of the 1.84 acres on Lebanon Road passed unanimously on first reading. The proposed $110 million high school, currently called Green Hill High School, was added to the Wilson County Board of Education’s budget and was approved Thursday evening at the school board meeting.

The commission also deferred on a vote to rezone and adopt the Mountain Brook Place development plan.

Commissioners also reduced Wilson County Management Agency’s rent by $44,000 for use of its fire station in the upcoming budget.

The commission will meet Aug. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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