To continue to improve schools, Hutto said that the Wilson County Board of Education has approved the additions to West Wilson Middle School, Rutland Elementary and West Elementary, as well as the brand new Watertown High School.
This will be the fourth high school we have built in Wilson County without a tax increase, he said.
Hutto noted Wilson County has not had a tax increase on the general purpose side since 1995.
Lebanon High School held its open house on Sunday, July 15, and Hutto said that 5,000 people came to look at the new building. Some from surrounding counties visited as well, and Hutto believes this shows that Wilson County is a leader in education.
I was just blown away to see that many people come here, the county mayor added.
Hutto also said he believed the old LHS could be put to good use. He thinks that if Cumberland University will invest in it, Wilson County students who want to take their AP and dual enrollment classes can drive there, and some may be able to get as much as a year under the belt in college before attending a higher education institution. He also believes this will free up the other schools which currently hold those classes on campus.
Hutto said the county needs to strive for balanced services for everyone. He said that he wants each community and its citizens to feel represented no matter where they live.
One of those services is the emergency services in Mt. Juliet. Hutto believes that they have made good progress on the issue.
We are a long way down the road, he told the crowd.
Hutto said that Mt. Juliet has a building in the works, as well as a revenue source. He said that it makes sense that the county works with each city because county area surrounds each community so it affects both entities.
Your emergency services are a model for the state of Tennessee, Hutto said. He added that the county strives to have everyone in the county covered, and they are getting closer to that for future planned stations.
We work well together, Hutto said of all the city officials he works with, including Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty, Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead and Watertown Mayor Mike Jennings. He said that unity will help solve issues like the emergency services in Mt. Juliet.
He said the group may disagree on certain issues, but they all work well together and can work toward unifying the county more. Hagerty, who was in the crowd, nodded in approval of Huttos statements.
Hutto told the business owners in the community that he is trying to create more tourism for the county, so the tax numbers go higher and businesses pull in bigger profits.
One of the ways to build interest is the Wilson County Place to Be license plates. Hutto feels that if people see the license plates in surrounding areas, it will spark their interest about what is going on in Wilson County.
In closing, Hutto talked about the importance of maximizing the advantage of having a rail line in the county. He said the county is encouraging more communities along the rail line, especially the elderly who may not be able to drive and get easily downtown or other areas along the track. He also hopes to have a bus loop from Lebanon to Mt. Juliet and they are currently looking into that possibility.
Editors Note: Kenny Howell is the managing editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet. He may be contacted at Editor@thechronicleofmtjuliet.com.