Why Don't They Fix Our Roads?
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Why are we adding more land to the city and more roads when we can't even properly maintain the roads we already have?
Gallatin is expanding in three directions this week. How are we going to pay for this? To the North, we have the Meadows annexation up for final County approval on Monday the 17th, and there are two annexations on Today's City Council Agenda. One for Bledsoe Springs on the East side of Gallatin, and an addition to Twin Eagles on the West side of Gallatin.
Again, why are we adding more land to the city and more roads when we can't even properly maintain the roads we already have? This is one of the biggest complaints I hear from people. There is too much traffic and the roads are all beat to heck. People want to know why does the city just patch the potholes and not properly repave them? Why is W. Eastland such a mess, full of potholes? All these dump trucks full of rocks and dirt going back and forth all day long on our roads are destroying the roads. Why aren't we charging the developers an impact fee for existing road maintenance, for all the extra wear and tear on the roads? How many people have extra car repairs, suspension and wheel issues because of how beat up the roads are? I hear this - I hear people complaining about this. This is one of the basic services a city should provide. Road maintenance.
Rosemary Bates recently asked me how I plan to help our City Employees? I answered that I will listen to them. Here is something that I have heard lately: Twice in the past two months I heard our City Engineering Department answer Councilman John D. Alexander in regards to a specific road issue needing repair, that it was difficult at this time to get an estimate from contractors because the contractors are all so busy.
But I did not hear any of the council people ask what they can do to help remedy this. Why did the council not try to solve this issue? Yes, all the contractors are very busy because our entire city is under construction. The council has flooded the city with approved development to the point that our City Engineering Department has trouble even getting an estimate for a road repair that a councilman is asking be repaired. How does the council not see this? How are we going to get caught up with road infrastructure and maintenance when we are already behind, we just cut our budget, and we are expanding at all sides with new growth? New growth that will require new fire halls, and more police, and more road maintenance? Why doesn't our City Council address this?
Did you know that we need to build a new Fire Station with all the new development, and new land added to the east side of town? The new proposed Bledsoe Springs development will likely trigger a tax increase for all of us to pay for the new Fire Station and roads. How are we are going to afford these annexations without increasing city taxes? This Fire Hall was brought up with project Wool Hawk (the Facebook Data Center), but our City Council and our Economic Development Director made a big deal out of saying that the Fire Hall was not necessary for project Wool Hawk. There are also several new commercial developments happening in the industrial park that need this Fire Hall. How are we going to pay for it? Will we need to issue another Bond? Is Gallatin becoming over-leveraged like Sumner County is? (They keep raising our taxes to pay for the debt!) How much are these new industrial/commercial developments contributing to this new Fire Hall? We keep giving them tax breaks with PILOT (payment in lieu of tax) agreements, so are they contributing enough to pay for it? We hear that residential development does not pay for itself, and that is why commercial development is important because they are taxed at a higher rate. So in the case of the east side of Gallatin annexing in more land, expanding and growing, and thus requiring a new Fire Hall, how are we going to pay for this since the new industrial developments are getting tax-breaks (PILOTS), and residential development does not pay for itself? Didn't we just cut our budget because of the pandemic? Didn't we just cut our road maintenance budget? This is something I hear citizens complaining about all the time. roads. traffic. We already can't keep up with our current road maintenance and we want to stretch the budget more by building a new Fire Hall? (Price tag: $2,507,000.00 for construction and equipment, $455,047.99 for one fire truck, plus staffing will cost a recurring cost of approx. $800,000.00 to $1Million per year).
Are they expecting all of us to pick up the tab? How much will they raise our taxes to pay for it?
Several councilmen keep telling me that I am negative, and to "be positive". How is saying that we need to take care of the roads we already have, and let our infrastructure catch up "negative"? How is "being positive" going to pay for the new fire station? People can't afford to have their taxes raised again, especially in this pandemic economy.
I am running for City Council because Town Hall needs a reality check, and the citizens of Gallatin need someone to listen to their voices. As your next City Councilman At Large, I will do that.