The community has heard a lot from Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson this week between Franklin Tomorrow’s Breakfast with the Mayors and Williamson, Inc.’s State of the County, but what they didn’t hear was an announcement concerning next year’s mayoral election.
Williamson, Inc. welcomed the mayor to the county stage once more to discuss the local goings on during its monthly Policy Talks event on Friday, and when faced with a point-blank question — are you planning to run again? — he said he’s still undecided, but he is leaning towards yes.
“I really do love this job, and I care so much about this county,” Anderson said. “That decision will be made here in the next few weeks, and if you were really hard-pressed, pushing me, … I’m leaning towards doing that, but I have not made that official announcement because there’s other factors to consider when you’re trying to consider what to do.”
As the community waits on a definitive yes or no, Anderson shared that he is “happy with where the county is at this current state.” Along with the recent approval of the county’s $650.4 million budget, which is about 3.33% over last year’s “status-quo” budget, the county has received a AAA bond rating.
“Just like when you go to borrow money for a car or borrow money to buy a house, … you have a credit score. Your credit score is based on many, many factors, but it’s the ability to pay back that note,” Anderson said, noting that the county’s bond rating is akin to a credit score. “So, when counties have to borrow money, … having a credit score that is the best that you can get, such as Moody’s AAA, … then you can borrow money at the best available rate.”
Within that budget, about 76% is earmarked for education, including the school’s portion of debt. The county is also working on major capital projects, such as a new Williamson County Animal Center facility, which is set to open in November, and the five-year, $281 million triple-J project, which Anderson has said is one of the largest projects the county has undertaken. The triple-J project will include a master plan for renovating and expanding the county’s juvenile, justice and jail facilities to meet current standards and future capacity needs.
Speaking to another potential future project, Anderson said there are no current plans to bring an indoor ice rink to the county, but if he’s guessing, there may be a new development in this conversation within a year or so.
“It’s no secret that the Predators would love to have a training facility in Williamson County … to accommodate youth sports, training sports,” he said. “There’s a huge need for sheets of ice in order to do those types of things, so it’s pairing up someone like the Predators with someone else that, through the [Williamson County] Sports Authority, would work a public-private partnership. And to date, we have not had someone to step up and do that like some of the other counties.”
The county will also soon start a couple laborious growth-related planning projects — adjustments to its growth plan and redistricting. About two decades ago, the county, municipalities and other involved agencies drew up urban growth boundaries, which are areas outside the municipal boundaries tagged for growth. However, today, those boundaries have become outdated, and in the coming months, the process to redraw those boundaries will begin.
Additionally, when the results come in from the 2020 Census, the county will begin the process of redistricting. The county has 12 voting districts, and to ensure each district has equal representation, redistricting occurs every decade after the census. As population has shifted, district boundaries will be redrawn so that they are all within 5% of one another. This will also take place on the state level, and state legislators have suggested that it is probable that Williamson County will increase its number of districts.
For more information about Williamson, Inc. and its upcoming events, visit www.WilliamsonChamber.com.