SEARCH THE HERALD:

> sign up for Herald e-news

Herald profiles Ward I contenders, Voters offered positions on issues

Bev Burger

Office being sought:
Re-Election for Ward 1 Alderman, City of Franklin

Address: 1373 Liberty Pike, Franklin, TN 37067

Age: 64

Occupation: Marketing Consultant, owner of The Burger Group, LLC

Family: spouse: Dr. Ken Burger; sons and daughters-in-law: Matt and Laura Burger, Zach and Courtney Burger, Chris Burger; grandsons:  Hayes and Grayson Burger

Community activities, Church, Civic, Etc.  Members of New Hope Community Church, Advisory Board for The Davis House Child Advocacy Center, Williamson County Chamber of Commerce, Williamson County Republican Party, Williamson County Republican Women, Williamson County Republican Party Chairman Circle, Co-Founder of Biscuits and Bullets (women’s shooting club), former Board of Directors member of Bridges Women’s Shelter.

Please describe what you believe to be the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s number one challenge during the next four years.  Briefly, describe how you would approach this challenge. 

As Vice-Chair of Franklin’s Budget and Finance Committee, I would have to say prioritizing and funding the “needed” projects that must be done in the years ahead will be the Number One challenge facing our board. Some of these projects include: sewer treatment and drinking water plant upgrades, increasing and upgrading our water basins, addressing aging infrastructure, pension obligations, fire and police, etc. It will require us working very closely with the Director of Finance and our financial consultants to help our city remain fiscally healthy. With that challenge comes constantly scrutinizing all areas of expenditures and responsibilities and reevaluating them with each budget cycle. We will need to be diligent in looking for waste, guarding against spending on wants verses needs, and not accepting grants that obligate the city in future years and end up being a drain our taxpayer dollars. 

The city of Franklin, like many U.S. cities, faces unfunded pension obligations. To address this issue, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted last month to issue pension obligation bonds, a financial instrument that has not been used in the past. What is your position on the use of the pension obligation bond as a vehicle for closing a future financial gap? 

In the past, I have not been in favor of using bonds to address pension obligations.  Previously, our financial advisors have advised against this approach, but circumstances in the financial markets may now make it advantageous to move in that direction.  These circumstances include: low interest rates for municipal debt, rising interest rates for bonds and other investments, and the fact that Governmental Accounting Standard’s Board (GASB) reporting rules now require that unfunded pension liabilities be included on the balance sheet of our financial statements. Also, Moody’s rating service will be using stricter standards for calculating unfunded liabilities than the GASB. If we can obtain a 10-year bond with a maturity rate around 3% and we can earn between 5 – 8% on our pension investment, the City would benefit financially and we would be able to reduce our unfunded liability more quickly.  So my position? If it makes financial sense - use the bonds. 

Fifteen years ago, the state of Tennessee passed legislation, commonly referred to as Public Chapter 1101, also known as Urban Growth Boundary legislation. Recent and future growth and development made possible by this plan has dramatically changed the city’s economic and residential landscape. Has Franklin benefited from this law? 

Absolutely we have benefited!

An Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is a helpful zoning tool for orderly development and allows boundaries to extend outward in response to growth needs.

Our UGB helps Franklin channel and maintain a strong transition and balance of housing and commercial development inside the boundary to a more rural density outside the boundary and even provides additional protection for land of special significance. 

UGB’s allow development to take place, while helping to maintain the beauty and integrity of a strong gateway inward to the city and outward to rural areas. Inside the UGB, our city supports urban services such as roads, water and sewer systems, parks, schools and fire and police protection that create thriving places to live, work and play. At the same time the UGB protects farms and forests from urban encroachment on our rural areas. 

Franklin uses its UGB to protect community characteristics valued by the people who live here. Statistics show that cities and towns with UGB’s are more prosperous and stable. Many annexations occur on raw land, but if not then I do not support annexation of the UGB when the majority of those being annexed are in opposition unless there are septic failures that render homes uninhabitable. 

What are the significant concerns you believe your constituents have about our community.  

As the Ward 1 Alderman, my Constituents are in daily contact with me through email, phone calls, HOA and Town Hall meetings, or while I am out at the grocery store.  Their top concerns are:

1st- Will our infrastructure keep up with our growth? 

2nd - With all the growth taking place, will we lose our sense of place, our sense of community and who we are?

3rd - Can we keep our city financially healthy and out of too much debt?

4th - How can we get the City and the County to do a better job of communicating and working together on key issues such as taxes, schools, roads, water, sewer, and housing. 

I intend to keep listening and working on every one of these issues. With the experience and knowledge I have gained during the last two terms as Alderman, I will continue to work diligently during these challenging times to represent the best interest of my constituents. I count it a true honor to serve them.


Jeff Walker

Office being sought:
  Ward 1 Alderman

Address: 1503 Marymount Dr., Franklin Tenn. 37067

Age: 32

Occupation: Partner/ VP of Business Development for TLC Medical

Family: I am blessed to have been married to Ashley Walker for eight years. We have a son, Cash, who is two-years-old and another child due in a month. 

Community activities, Church, Civic, Etc.: My family attends 4th Ave. Church of Christ in downtown Franklin. I am active in several ministries: Franktown Open Hearts, Franktown Hunt and Fish Club and Banebow. 

Please describe what you believe to be the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s number one challenge during the next four years.  Briefly, describe how you would approach this challenge. 

I believe the biggest problem that the city of Franklin will have in the next four years is infrastructure. As we are growing, the need for larger roads, more stop lights and new access points is proving itself to be needed now more than ever. Many developments are coming in the future, and we cannot continue to let this happen without addressing the traffic problems that hinder our citizens. As I’ve met the citizens of Ward 1, many have concerns about not even being able to get out of their neighborhood because of traffic. As Ward 1 Alderman, I would communicate with the public and hear the ideas and concerns in order to address the issue with BOMA. 

The city of Franklin, like many U.S. cities, faces unfunded pension obligations. To address this issue, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted last month to issue pension obligation bonds, a financial instrument that has not been used in the past. What is your position on the use of the pension obligation bond as a vehicle for closing a future financial gap? 

 My position on Pension Obligation Bonds is that they are gamble. Governments use these bonds instead of raising taxes. The problem about pension obligation bonds is that you really have to wait for all the bonds to mature (25 or 30 years) before you can decide whether the bond issue was a success or a failure. The City of Franklin’s pension was funded at 90% and with the bonds it would be 100% funded. With that in mind, being able to close the financial gap is all in the hands of the market. With our Moody’s AAA rating we should have received a low interest rate. We can only hope that we can sell for a higher percentage.

 

Fifteen years ago, the state of Tennessee passed legislation, commonly referred to as Public Chapter 1101, also known as Urban Growth Boundary legislation. Recent and future growth and development made possible by this plan has dramatically changed the city’s economic and residential landscape. Has Franklin benefited from this law? 

I think that Franklin has benefited from the legislation. Franklin has attracted many revenue streams due to the attractive nature of our city. There are many companies that have moved here and established homes in our town. Franklin has embraced the growth in the Cool Springs area. What we need is planned progression as we move forward to ensure that the growth is helpful to our home values and in keeping our heritage that makes Franklin an attractive place to live.

What are the significant concerns you believe your constituents have about our community.  

The concerns that I hear from the constituents of Ward 1 are roads, growth, and communication. Traffic on McEwen Road and Liberty Pike have made it troubling to get to and from destinations. Growth has caused the traffic and the constituents want to be communicated with on how it will be remedied.

Posted on: 10/10/2013

 
 

WILLIAMSON HERALD :: 1117 Columbia Avenue :: P.O. Box 681359 :: Franklin, TN 37068
615.790.6465, phone :: 615.790.7551, fax ::
contact@WILLIAMSONHERALD.com

Copyright 2006, WILLIAMSONHERALD.com. All rights reserved. ::
Privacy Policy ::
Advertise ::
Feedback