Brentwood named top business-friendly city in state
By Donna O'Neil, Managing Editor
Photo by Donna O'Neil
From left, Brentwood City Manager Mike Walker, Mayor Paul Webb, County Mayor Rogers Anderson, Sen. Jack Johnson and Brentwood Asst. City Manager Kirk Bednar.
After consistently finishing in the top three cities in Tennessee to be named business-friendly, The Beacon Center of Tennessee gave the title to Brentwood this year. Franklin followed at the No. 2 spot and Spring Hill rounded out the top 5.
Beacon Center President and CEO Justin Owen made the announcement at the Municipal Center last week. He said, “As in year’s past, cities have been ranked in three major categories: Economic Vitality, Business Tax Burden, and Community Allure. Cities receive a score for each category, itself comprised of a number of subcategories such as violent crime rate, tax rate, population growth, median household income, cost of living index, and high school graduation rate, among others.”
Mayor Paul Webb was grateful for the recognition. “We are friend to residents and businesses,” he said. “We have worked hard to provide a safe and well-governed city that is primarily residential. I credit the police department, the fine city staff, the fire department and other departments that have done without a tax increase in the past 20 years.”
He referenced the citizens of Brentwood and the educated workforce that have come to reside in the city. “It is the quality of life aspects that make Brentwood a great place to live. We have business leaders, who have expanded and located here because of a number of things, including the educational system,” he said.
County Mayor Rogers Anderson, congratulated city officials and boasted that Brentwood overtook the title from his hometown of Farragut, Tenn. and that two other county cities made the top 5.
He lauded the city’s retiring City Manager Mike Walker for his vision and rule with a steady hand along praise city commissioners for the policies they have put into place over the relatively short period of time that Brentwood has been a city – incorporated just 43 years ago.
Owen further explained how the city scored to take the top spot. “In determining a score for each category, the Beacon Center culled data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Department of Revenue, Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. Subcategory scores were determined by each city’s performance relative to its 49 peers included in the report. Subcategories are often weighted and combined with other subcategory scores to determine the city’s score for each of the three categories. Category scores are then themselves weighted and compiled to determine the overall ranking.
Of the categories ranked, Community Allure carries the least weight, according to The Beacon Center report. However, cost of living, public education achievement, crime rates and individual tax burdens “all play key roles in any city’s business climate.”
Business Tax Burden is comprised of two key components – the city property tax rate and gross receipt sales tax. Though Brentwood did not appear in the top five cities in this category – Farragut, Mt. Juliet, Sevierville, Lebanon and Franklin, in order – scores in the other categories were enough to raise the city to top honors.
Economic vitality is also a key factor. “Achieving the highest marks for Economic Vitality are Brentwood, Germantown, Collierville, Arlington and Franklin. This bodes well for existing and potential business in Williamson and Shelby counties,” the report stated.
The Beacon Center’s report concluded that “Middle Tennessee remains the standard bearer for business-friendly cities, holding on to seven of the top 10 spots in this year’s rankings.”
Posted on: 12/5/2012