Funds to build a new Mt. Juliet fire station are now available.
Last week Mt. Juliet officials solidified a renegotiation of a city general obligation bond that lowered the annual percentage rate. That transaction saves about $3 million in interest and will pay for the construction of a third fire hall on the north end of town.
After negotiations with the bond company, the interest rate went from 3.85 percent to 1.27 percent. Vice Mayor James Maness said the total amount refinanced was $6.4 million, with the $3 million savings from the decreased interest rate going to build the city’s third fire hall.
“The savings, plus some more, builds a new fire station on Lebanon Road,” Mt. Juliet mayor Ed Hagerty said.
Two months ago, Hagerty vowed to research ways to gain funds for the needed fire station without raising the current property tax rate of 16 cents per $100 assessed value.
Squires contemplated increasing the property tax rate to 59 cents, with 39 cents toward fire protection and 20 cents toward infrastructure needs. After much heated debate and the mayor’s decision to research further, that motion failed.
After several weeks, Hagerty presented his idea to refinance city bonds and commissioners agreed it would be a viable solution to pay for the fire station without hitting the taxpayers with a property tax increase.
“This presents a significant savings on payout,” Hagerty told the Wilson Post at the time. “Why not refinance and get $3 million and build the fire station.
“I was thrilled because this is a significant savings with the new borrowing amount,” Hagerty said this week.
This is a new seven-year bond, with the fire station monies spent in three years.
Since this is one-time money only for the construction of the fire hall, Hagerty said growth monies would fund staffing and operation.
“I am so pleased we passed the 2019-2020 budget with no tax increase,” he said. “There was a significant tax increase proposed, so this is exciting. It’s good for everyone.”
Hagerty said along with no tax increase, the budget funds a 2.5 percent pay increase to city employees, along with an incentive merit pay raise.
The budget also includes $40 million in road improvements, said Hagerty.