September 2019 Newsletter

September 17, 2019by Matt Fitterer0

Increase to Water and Sewer Impact Fees

Last month, I shared with you that BOMA was considering a change to what the City water and sewer base monthly charge covered. You can read again here, on that subject.
This change was only one component to the recommendation made by the City’s consultant Jackson Thornton.
This month, the BOMA also increased the water and sewer development fees (also called reserve fees or impact fees) charged to new development. Effective immediately, the City will begin a two step process to increase the fee charged to all new construction (both commercial and residential). This will ensure funding is available for future improvements and capital projects at both our water and sewer plants.
You can find the full slate of presentations covering Water treatment and distribution & Sewer treatment and distribution in this link.
The City hired Jackson Thornton to perform a rate analysis and ensure that current operation costs are covered by current rates. You can see the full reports here.
Re-Zone of Tennessee Children’s Home
BOMA approved the second and final vote of the proposed (now approved) rezone for the redevelopment of the Tennessee Children’s Home on Main St.
The proposal changed over the past several months, based upon input from BOMA, the Planning Commission, the Historic Commission and the public.
The final version (which you can find in this link) includes nearly a 15% reduction in residential units from the initial proposal. Public open space has increased to nearly 19 acres (plus 8 acre lake).
And most significantly, a 7.5 acre site in the center of the parcel is now a flexible land use, and may be developed as a municipal campus.
This is not the end of this story. Over the next 1-2 years, the BOMA will need to continue to work with the developer to find an equitable partnership to develop the central 7.5 acres. A wide variety of uses from City Hall, Library, Municipal Auditorium and a parking structure all just a few of the endless options to now be considered. BOMA will also need to develop a funding strategy to execute alongside the potential municipal site.
New 100 Foot Aerial Truck for Fire Department
Spring Hill BOMA authorized the purchase of a new 100 ft Aerial Fire Truck, replacing our existing 75 ft Aerial (100 and 75 refer to the length of the Aerial ladder).
It’s a common misconception that the need for the longer ladder is driven by taller buildings. In fact, the need for the 100 ft Aerial exists from single family homes alone.
In this picture, you can see a 100 ft aerial in another community assisting a structure fire at a single family home. When you include the curb, sidewalk, front yard on just a two story single family home – you can see the need for the additional ladder length to safely and effectively provide service.
Spring Hill’s new truck is being built specifically for our fire department, to the specs selected by our fire chief. We can expect delivery in 10 to 11 months. It will be a welcomed addition to the department.
Proposal to Change Election Date Fails
A proposal was offered to change Spring Hill Elections from April in odd years to November in even years. I voted against the proposal for two reasons;
1) I support increasing voter turnout, but this needs to be done through increased engagement with voters, not just through moving dates. Spring Hill should expand voting locations and hours, send notices to citizens and registered voters. We should be actively encouraging people to vote – not just change the date.
Tennessee is 40th out of 50 states in voter registration. In November 2018, Tennessee ranked 43 of 50 in voter turnout (and that was with an open Governor and Senate seat!). Shifting municipal elections to November isn’t increasing voter turnout – it’s just shifting the problem around.
2) Moving municipal elections to November will increase the costs of running campaigns – since candidates will increase their spending to stand out and improve name recognition in the midst of State and Federal elections.
Columbia last elected a Mayor in November 2018 – In total candidates spent nearly $90,000! Do we really want a $90,000 mayoral race in Spring Hill?? Where would the money come from? What donors would candidates seek out?
I would prefer a Mayor’s race that’s based upon a candidates qualifications, ideas for the City, and a demonstrated ability to serve our Citizens. I don’t want a Mayor’s races that’s based upon a candidates ability to raise and spend money.
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