By Skip Anderson, Managing Editor
Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore enlisted the help of the city’s aldermen, the city administrator, a choir from the Bravo Community Arts Center and adorable – and outspoken – children on video tape to deliver the message that the city’s economy is strong, it’s books are in order and the future looks bright for the foreseeable future.
“It’s been a fun year,” Moore said to the audience gathered May 22 at The Factory at Franklin to hear his State of the City address. “I’m having a great time being mayor of Franklin.”
Moore said the city, which continues to have a strong and growing tax base and a perfect AAA credit rating from Moody’s and Standard & Poors, will focus on four strategic goals for the next year:
Goal 1 – An effective and fiscally sound city government providing high-quality service
“We have just released next year's budget and I am proud to say that it is balanced without any draw from the reserve fund and includes a raise for our employees,” Moore said. “Building and Neighborhood Services have seen a 43 percent increase in construction inspections compared to 2011 as well as an increasing number of plan reviews and business licenses.”
He also cited the need to keep the city’s infrastructure ahead of new development.
“We see more development activity as the economy continues to recover. Conversion to electronic formats and automation will lead to a smoother and more business friendly level of service to our community,” Moore said. “A growing city must keep infrastructure ahead of development. We now have approved preliminary plans for future drainage basins and the ability to provide sewer services to areas of our City based on future growth and the use of our land use plan.”
Goal 2 – A safe, clean and livable city
The mayor also said that crime in Franklin decreased by 6.8 percent over the past year, and that “major crime is below 55 percent of the statewide average.”
Moore spoke about a forthcoming hazardous-waste facility that will, in part, be paid for by grant money.
“This facility will make it more convenient to dispose of hazardous materials and [offer] a greater degree of safety for our families,” he said.
He also briefly mentioned the success of the Blue Bag recycling program, and the anticipation that participation will increase over the next year.
Goal 3 – Quality of life experiences
Moore touted as progress ongoing road projects such as the McEwen Drive temporary connector near Cool Springs, and the Third Avenue extension and Hillsboro Road widening project near downtown.
“The Franklin flower is not orange cones,” he said, drawing a laugh from the crowd.
The mayor’s presentation included short video segments of him interviewing children from New Hope Academy and Liberty Elementary School about grown-up issues facing the city. The children answered convincingly his question about the importance of quality of life in a town, until one child charmingly confessed, “I don’t know what ‘quality’ means,” again drawing additional laughter from the crowd.
Before moving on to the fourth and final goal, Moore touched on an apparent need for a new City Hall building – a once-hot subject that largely died down after the city built a new police station on Columbia Avenue in 2010.
“A new City Hall continues to be a pressing need,” he said. “We will be revisiting this project in the near future and addressing the when and how.”
Goal 4 – Sustainable growth and economic prosperity
The key to sustaining the economic momentum the city, and county for that matter, has enjoyed over the past couple of decades, he said, is fostering strong relationships with businesses through the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce.
“Regular visits are being made to existing businesses creating relationships, learning what they do, and learning their challenges,” Moore said. “All seem to be thriving and growing jobs as evidenced by our low unemployment rate. It is exciting to see the diversity of talent and businesses in our city.”
To start the meeting, the city’s aldermen and vice mayor role-played school administrators making announcements over an intercom in a short video recapping many of the city’s highlights from 2012. The presentation concluded with a short, professionally produced video with scenes from around the city backed by an uplifting soundtrack with text overlays that finish the sentence, “Franklin is …” with words such as “historic,” “progressive,” “fun” and “entertaining.”
“Our citizens helped create that video,” said Milissa Reierson, communications manager for the city of Franklin. “We asked our Facebook followers to describe Franklin in one word, which we used for the video. We had a lot of great input.”
The video can be viewed on the city’s YouTube page at http://youtu.be/qQ6J47d4nJI.
The State of the City address will air in its entirety intermittently on Franklin TV, Comcast Channel 10, and AT&T U-Verse, Channel 99 in the weeks following. The video will also be posted on the city’s website at www.franklintn.gov and its YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/cityoffranklin.
Posted on: 5/22/2013