(MURFREESBORO) The Murfreesboro City Council attended a two-plus hour workshop session starting at 11:30 Wednesday (3/11/2020) morning in the Community Room of the new Murfreesboro Police headquarters on North Highland Avenue.
The first order of business was the second and final reading to rezone 14.55 acres of land that is located west of the New Salem Highway and Warrior Drive. It passed unanimously.
City Ambulance Service
Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Chief Mark Foulks said talks had stalled on co-locating dispatch for the county ambulance service into the new Murfreesboro Police headquarters. That would reduce time between when the call comes in and when the ambulance arrives.
Foulks said . . .
He noted that it sometimes takes a couple of minutes to get the information and then connect the emergency call to a second dispatch center across town. The chief said it had been proven that large amounts of time are saved when the calling party stays with the same telecommunicator from beginning to end.
Chief Foulks continued . . .
That was unanimously approved. The next move will be for the City of Murfreesboro to request competitive sealed proposals for ambulance service.
Councilman Bill Shacklett encouraged the city not to terminate dialogue with county leaders.
The Rest of the Story
Rutherford County's first Public Safety Director Kevin Lauer was fired just two days prior to the Murfreesboro City Council approving the decision to seek a city ambulance service. Talks reportedly had broken down with the county to co-locate ambulance dispatch at the new Murfreesboro Police Department. This was an effort to reduce the time it takes from when the 911 call is received and when the ambulance arrives.
Lauer had been on-the-job for 9-months in this $109,673 per year position.
Economic Development Plans
Economic Development Consultant Jim Colson gave updates including expenses on several roadway projects:
- Cherry Lane Interchange: high amenity, view shed, substantial water and sewer capacity, planned future interchange, provides north gateway to city, optimal mixed-use, manufacturing and QOL, good location for signature project.
- Veterans Parkway 840: powerful first impression, mixed use, strong roadway system, several major players have development plans.
- Fountains at Gateway: area is city owned, excellent mixed use, land ready for development, supports high wage jobs.
- Hoover Property: Greenfield and Redevelopment site, industrial, has rail service.
- Joe B. Jackson Parkway: established industrial center, existing growth capacity, supply chain and logistics capacity, surrounding supports continued growth, good sub-market for marketing is available.
Chamber of Commerce Senior VP of Education & Workforce Development Beth Duffield gave a presentation for the Chamber's Rutherford Work's about "Developing Tomorrow's Workforce Today". She noted that it's important to bring industry and education together to engage students with learning skills that are necessary to compete.
Duffield underscored that job opportunities are changing. Earlier, a high school education could lead to a living wage position. However, since 1990, an estimated 36 per cent of Tennessee's manufacturing jobs have disappeared. That's 180,800 positions. Plus, 1.4-million workers in the Volunteer State are in danger of losing their jobs to high technology. That's 50 per cent of the workforce.
She noted that by 2025, 55 per cent of the jobs in Tennessee will require some form of post-secondary education.
Congestion Mitigation Projects
Murfreesboro's Public Infrastructure Executive Director Chris Griffith showed maps and renderings on proposed road improvements to better handle traffic flow.
Grass Collection Study
Assistant City Manager Darren Gore showed how most communities offer grass clipping pickup, however Murfreesboro is one of only a few that takes unbagged grass. He is working on ideas to get biodegradable bags to residents in which they can place their clippings. He admitted that it's difficult to take something away, but that it might be workable to offer "free pickup" for those who bag the clippings, and charge those who place cuttings unbagged beside the roadway.
Dealing with tree limbs and brush, the city has been allowing cuttings made by the residents to be picked-up. However, if a tree company does pruning or cutting down trees, they are required to haul off the debris. Officials are looking at new ways to better control this issue.
Mayor Shane McFarland said, "The example of tree limbs picked-up from one home (left photo) would have cost the person approximately $1,700 to hire someone to do the job, and that's probably equal to his property taxes. There's nothing left to cover such expenses as fire and police protection, etc."
The Murfreesboro City Council plans several workshop sessions throughout the year, where they can roll-up their sleeves and do brainstorming.