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Committee OKs Veterans Park plan

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Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto explained that Phoenix Commercial Builders had been awarded the bid for a construction manager on the project in the amount of $26,000, which would be paid for out of the roughly $126,000 raised through private donations.


He also told the committee that the Public Works Committee had approved setting aside the $600,000 for the park, but that they had requested to see detailed plans and cost estimates before approving the expenditure of funds.


A letter dated Sept. 5 from Phoenix Commercial Builders broke down the estimated costs into three options. They are:


Option #1: Basically the plaza concrete, fountain, monument and paving work, as well as covered tent area with seating for 250 people, with the area for the future buildings left as a lawn area $515,160.


Option #2: All of the work included in Option #1 plus the construction of the 2,440 square foot Veterans Affairs Office that would include a reception area, two offices, bathrooms available to the public, a conference room and storage room $903,360.


Option #3: The completed project including the Veterans Affairs Office and the 4,100 square foot museum - $1,417,760.


The Public Works Committee was scheduled to meet last night at 6:15 p.m. to review the plans and estimated cost estimates from Phoenix Commercial Builders.


While forward movement for the Veterans Park was taken, the Budget Committee learned that the offer to sell the building currently used as Wilson County Emergency Management Agencys Station 3 behind Mt. Juliet City Hall had been rescinded.


At its Aug. 6 meeting, the Budget Committee had approved the purchase of the building for $400,000, payable over four years at $100,000 per year, after hearing a presentation from Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin.


Martin told the committee at the time that Mt. Juliet was looking to purchase a building on Lebanon Road to convert into a fire station for the north end of the city and would no longer need the building, which the city has rented to WEMA for a $1 per year for more than 20 years.


However, on Aug. 29, the Mt. Juliet City Commission called a special meeting and voted to rescind the offer to sale and remodel it instead, citing cost savings as the reason.


The city commissioners also asked Martin to work on securing an interlocal agreement with WEMA regarding the station within 90 days. The plan is to ask WEMA to stay in the building, but remodel it for use by Mt. Juliets newly created fire department.


In other action, Wilson County Director of Finance Aaron Maynard presented a request for approval to pay $1,134.53 in travel expenses for Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce Director Sue Vanatta for a recent trip to recruit the National Junior High School Rodeo Association national finals.


The committee had previously approved reimbursing travel expenses for District 14 Commissioner Jeff Joines and Ag Center Director Larry Tomlinson up to $2,000. Joines, who was not present, had said he did not wish to be reimbursed, but was asking the county to reimburse Vanatta for her expenses.


District 9 Commissioner Sara Patton made a motion to reimburse Vanatta, but it died for lack of a second. Hutto said Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead had previously told them the city would cover Vanattas expenses and he would check with him about it.


The Budget Committee also agreed to refinance a General Debt Service bond and a Rural Debt Service Bond. The net projected savings, after all costs are subtracted for both bonds, would be $796,772.29 over a six-year period.


Correspondent Amelia Morrison Hipps may be contacted at amhipps@downhomepolitics.com.

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