Follow by Email

Monday, July 31, 2006

Part II: Proposals for Your Consideration

Please respond to patshull75@aol.com

 

 


From: Patshull75@aol.com [mailto:Patshull75@aol.com]

Jeff,  Request that you send this out to your e-mail network also.  thanks.  Pat

 

ADAPTING TO THE 21ST CENTURY: IMPROVEMENTS IN KINGSPORT’S MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT

 

BY PAT SHULL, ALDERMAN, CITY OF KINGSPORT

 

 

Part II – Facing the Issues

 

 

            Last month the Board of Mayor and Alderman (BMA) passed the next fiscal year budget without raising taxes.  This was a great accomplishment and much credit goes to the Interim City Manager and staff.  But I believe that the toughest issues during this BMA term lay ahead, issues that can affect the course of the city for many years to come.

Not only must the current BMA grapple with these issues, in seven months we will be in the middle of another municipal election season and BMA candidates must take a stand also.  Simply put, what the City needs is a viable long-range plan that considers the below listed issues together, sets priorities, develops courses of action, and finds ways to resource their accomplishment.  The issues are listed in priority order (my opinion).

 

1.  Fix the Sewer System for the Long-Term

2.  Build a new Fire Station

3.  Build a New School

4.  Identify and Fund Various Annexations

5.  Establish a Higher Education Center

6.  Resolve Regional Sales Tax (1/4 Cent) Issue

7. Meadowview Maintenance

8. Kingsport On the Holston Project

 

The common thread among the listed issues is that all are potentially very costly, and all have the potential to significantly affect the future of our community.  We must, therefore, consider them together (not in isolation), and ask ourselves – What is the impact of each issue on the city budget, public debt, and our tax rate?  A brief description of the issues follows.

 

The Sewer System.  The State of Tennessee has cited the City for various violations and mandated that certain fixes be implemented by the end of year 2011.  Kingsport’s Director of Public Works estimates that repairs and accommodations for city growth could cost upwards of $20 million.  Ideally these costs could be fully borne through customer rate payments.  But I suspect that close analysis may lead us to the conclusion that the rates would have to be raised to an unreasonably high level if we continue with a user pay-as-we-go approach only.  At any rate, developing a system that will last well into this century is a fundamental city mission.

 

Build a New Fire Station.  Providing essential and timely fire suppression is another basic city responsibility.  Unfortunately the Crown Colony section of Kingsport is located just beyond the acceptable range of timely emergency response, which adversely affects those residents’ insurance rates.  Building a new station is listed in the Capital Improvement plan for completion within two years.  This action rates high on my list because we are obligated to provide the same level of service to all citizens, and this fix won’t be cheap.

 

Build a New Elementary School.  Kingsport school population growth has been relatively flat for ten years.  However, our Superintendent of Schools anticipates a significant increase in the elementary school population over the next few years due to natural growth and annexations.   He is scheduled to present his analysis to the BMA in approximately 2 months.  Assuming his analysis provides adequate justification for this action, it is an issue that cannot be ignored.  Some of the BMA believe that building a new school in the south end of Kingsport can be justified as an economic development measure.  Finally, the BMA and Board of Education need to reach an agreement regarding the funding approach for school system capital spending.  Failure to do so will continue to complicate budget planning and could jeopardize the funding of other essential projects.

 

Various Annexations.  Developments during the last few weeks have led the BMA towards tentative acceptance of a comprehensive Annexation Plan which includes areas on Rock Springs Road and possibly Sullivan Gardens, basically the south end of our urban growth boundary.  My concern is that the annexation proposals have been presented to the BMA in piecemeal fashion.  We need to know the projected costs for several out years.

 

Establish a Higher Education Center.   BMA acceptance of this as a priority project worthy of considerable public funding ($20 million estimate) is truly a “values” issues.  It differs from many of the other issues in that deciding to build this is discretionary, unlike the mandatory fixing of the sewer system.   Depending on the collective board point of view we may well decide that this is essential to Kingsport’s long term growth and vitality.  But the bottom line is that this is also a “competitor” for funding.

 

Regional Sales Tax.  I received several citizen inquiries about this issue after a recent article in our local newspaper.  Folks were genuinely surprised that this tax didn’t “sunset” (expire) when the Meadowview Convention Center debt is paid.   The fact is that it will stay in effect unless the BMA takes action to end it.  My view is that the board needs to act definitively (a vote) to keep or drop it.  There are good reasons on both sides of the issue, but these need to be debated after receiving citizen input. 

 

Meadowview Convention Center Maintenance.  Related to the issue above, the question is how do we maintain the Convention Center in the future?  If we drop the regional sales tax we still have to find a way to fund the maintenance and the eventual refurbishment of this facility.  Letting the center become second rate through under-funded maintenance serves no good purpose.   But supporting it through the general fund would be difficult.

 

Kingsport on The Holston.  This is definitely a discretionary project.  But every city that achieves excellence has been willing to create a positive vision of the future and act upon it.  Fifty years from now our successors might look back and say that this should have been our number one priority.  But is pursuing this more important than fixing the sewer system, or building a new school?

 

            I challenge our citizens to review this list and comment.  Maybe I left something off, or your priorities are much different.  One thing is clear – we are all in this together.

 

Alderman Shull was elected to the BMA in 2005.  He is a native of Kingsport, a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army, and a small business owner in Kingsport.  He is a graduate of The Citadel (BA), The University of Tennessee (MPA), the Army War College, the Army Command & General Staff College, and various other professional institutions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

FW: Sullivan County Mayoral Candidates Q&A Replay on Charter 16

-----Original Message-----
From: Ross Kingdon [mailto:rkingdon@earthlink.net]
Subject: Mayoral Candidates Q&A Replay - City's Cable Channel 16

Jeff

To help Voters decide on Candidate best qualified to serve us . as next
Mayor of Sullivan County, would you please share following PSA with your
e-mailing list.

Ross Kingdon for
Civic & Business Affairs Committee
Kiwanis Club of Kingsport

+++

Sullivan County Mayoral Candidates

* Larry Hall (Democrat) versus

* Steve Godsey (Republican)

Learn candidates' positions on KEY ISSUES as recorded "Live from
Kiwanis" on Fri, July 14

Replays (over Charter Cable Channel 16)

Thurs July 27 at 7 PM

Mon, July 31 at 7 PM

Tues, Aug 1 (right after BMA meeting)

Q&A Forum arranged by Kiwanis Club of Kingsport

(Recorded for Kiwanis & Citizens by LillyPad Productions)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Special Thanks from Kenya to Kingsport

-----Original Message-----
From: Hank Brown [mailto:hankelope@hotmail.com]
 

This from our race winner, Julius Kiptoo, Kenya.

 

Jeff, notice his special mention of the spectators.

 

Hank

 

 

 

>From: julius kiptoo

>To: hankelope@hotmail.com

>

>Hi mr Brown,

>   I would like to thanks you so much for your invitation and warm wellcome

>to your race.

>   Also sir may i extend my thanks to the sponsors and the spectators on

>that night of the race.i was so impressed.

>  >   Otherwise i wish you good time,hope to see you again next year.

>   Yours sincerely athlete

>   Julius kiptoo

 

 

 

Friday, July 21, 2006

Enrich and nurture our community by offering your resources and experience (ENCORE)

Hi folks, I will be co-chairing the Economic Development Day & Alderman Pat Shull will be chairing Government & Politics Day.  Why don’t you join us? – Jeff

 

 

A New Leadership Program for Retirees, Near-Retirees, Grandparents and "Seasoned" Citizens Who Want to Contribute to the Betterment of our Community

 

This new program, called ENCORE (Enrich and Nurture the Community ~ Offer your Resources and Experience), is designed for residents in our area who are 50 years or older.  More and more young retirees as well as older citizens are choosing to stay here in beautiful East Tennessee and many are choosing to relocate here after retirement.  What better way to become engaged in our community or to remain involved than with a leadership program especially for YOU. 

 

ENCORE is the only program of its kind in Tennessee.  Key objectives are to bring together some caring and talented people, to learn more about where we call home...and to do this in an enjoyable group setting.  Focus includes regional history, government and politics, arts and education, community awareness, quality of life, economic development, services and volunteer opportunities. 

 

Last year's inaugural class included participants from Kingsport, Johnson City and Sullivan County.  Hopefully, this year's class  will have even wider regional participation and include newcomers as well as long-time residents.  We are excited about ENCORE 2006 and hope you will fill out an application for this year's class.  The program begins September 12 and runs every Tuesday for eight weeks.  Each session starts with a continental breakfast, with the program beginning at 8:30 am and ending at 3:00 pm.  Each weekly session is held at a different location in the greater Kingsport area; lunch is included and there a number of breaks throughout the day.  There is a cost of $75 for the eight-week program, which helps defray the expense of the lunches and several local bus trips.  Please join us by filling out an application and returning it by July 3, 2006.  I believe that you will find it a most worthwhile and enjoyable experience!  

 

For more in formation and an online application, please go to www.kingsportchamber.org, then click on (1) Kingsport Chamber, (2) Programs, (3) Leadership Kingsport...and finally, (4) ENCORE.  ENCORE and the community needs more people like YOU!  Please submit your application today.

 

 

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Max Max employee "Caught in the Act"

Kingsport, Tenn. - The Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau (KCVB) honored Kristen Jeffery, of Max Max Coffee Shop, on Thursday morning for outstanding service and kindness with the “Caught in the Act of Hospitality” Award.  A customer of Max Max Coffee Shop located on Ft. Henry Drive nominated Kristen because of the exceptional customer service she provides.

 

“I am almost a daily customer of Max Max and Kristen is one of the ‘brightest’ spots in Kingsport” the nominator said.  “She has always been extremely courteous and helpful, even reminding customers of the Tuesday and Wednesday specials.”

 

“Going above and beyond her duties Kristen goes out of her way to make sure her customers get the most “bang for their buck” said the nominator.  “I have never had a visit to Max Max where she isn’t smiling and happy. You leave the drive through with a ‘feel good’ attitude because she is so hospitable.”

 

Kristen was surprised at the shop on Thursday morning.  She received a certificate, balloons and gift mug during the ceremony to honor her.

 

“Caught in the Act of Hospitality” award was created to recognize individuals who provide outstanding customer service and hospitality in Kingsport businesses.  Ten Awards are presented during National Tourism Week each year to emphasize the economic benefits that tourism brings to the community and up to three a month will be given out during the remainder of 2006.

 

To nominate someone simply pick up a form at the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce (151 East Main Street - downtown Kingsport), call Barbara Kite at 423-392-8830 or visit www.kcvb.org

 

The KCVB is a partnership between the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce and the city of Kingsport. Its mission is “to market the city and provide services to meeting and convention planners, tour operators, and business and leisure travelers by serving as a tourist’s development program of the Kingsport Chamber in partnership with the city of Kingsport.” For more KCVB news, visit www.kcvb.org.

 

 

Monday, July 17, 2006

Census Bureau reports Scott County VA leads Tri-Cities in Increase in Payroll Per Job

The Census Bureau recently released the latest edition of its economic series titled, “County Business Patterns 2004”.

 

Scott County, VA (in the Kingsport-Bristol Metro) leads the Tri-Cities region in “Change in Payroll per Job” at 13.8%*

 

Hawkins County, TN (also in the Kingsport-Bristol Metro) outpaced Knoxville-Knox County, Asheville-Buncombe County, Roanoke City, Johnson City-Washington County, and Greeneville-Greene County in “Change in Payroll per Job”.

 

Previously, we established that Kingsport-Bristol-Sullivan County TN continued to lead the Tri-Cities region in “payroll per job” and outpaced larger metros like Greenville SC, Roanoke VA, Knoxville TN and Asheville NC.

 

Not only did Kingsport-Bristol-Sullivan County have the highest “Payroll Per Job” in the Tri-Cities region, it also experienced one of the highest increases in “Change in Payroll per Job” on a year-to-year basis.

 

*however, it should be noted that “payroll per job” in Kingsport-Bristol-Sullivan County still averages nearly $10,000 higher per job per year than in Scott County.

 

 

County

Primary Cities

Payroll per Job 2004

Change in payroll per job

Roanoke County, VA

 

$32,719

18.7%

Scott County, VA

Gate City

$24,798

13.8%

Unicoi County, TN

Erwin

$32,675

12.9%

Washington County, VA

Abingdon

$26,885

7.0%

Carter County, TN

Elizabethton

$22,068

6.6%

Johnson County, TN

Mountain City

$24,692

6.3%

Sullivan County, TN

Kingsport, Bristol

$34,072

6.0%

Spartanburg County, SC

Spartanburg

$34,135

4.7%

Russell County, VA

Lebanon

$27,556

4.6%

Wise County, VA

Wise, Big Stone Gap, Coeburn

$26,966

4.4%

Smyth County, VA

Marion

$27,286

4.3%

Greenville County, SC

Greenville

$33,687

4.2%

Anderson County, TN

Oak Ridge

$42,756

4.2%

Jefferson County, TN

Jefferson City

$25,244

3.8%

Hawkins County, TN

Rogersville, Church Hill

$27,337

3.8%

Knox County, TN

Knoxville

$31,477

3.7%

Washington County, TN

Johnson City

$27,170

3.4%

Greene County, TN

Greeneville

$26,902

3.2%

Roanoke City, VA

 

$31,646

3.0%

Buncombe County, NC

Asheville

$28,195

2.7%

Hamblen County, TN

Morristown

$29,732

1.0%

Norton City, VA

 

$32,256

0.7%

Sevier County, TN

Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg

$22,299

-0.4%

Blount County, TN

Maryville

$32,195

-1.0%

Lee County, VA

Jonesville

$23,383

-3.0%

Bristol City, VA

 

$26,644

-7.9%

 

 

Kingsport is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the Eastern U.S. This city of 50,000 in a metro of 308,000, was planned by renowned American planner John Nolen in his office at Harvard Square. Located in the lush green foothills of the Tennessee Valley, it is surrounded by the Southern Highlands and mountain lakes. Kingsport is home to Marriott’s www.MeadowViewResort.com and thousands of acres of unique, natural amenities at Bays Mountain and Warriors Path Parks. The natural geography provides a temperate, well-balanced climate with four seasons and a natural shelter from extreme weather. Population growth has also been well-balanced, ensuring you will not outgrow your decision to relocate. With no personal property taxes, special assessments, or state income taxes on salaries/wages, you’ll find that Kingsport has a very low cost of living coupled with an exceptionally high quality of life (see for yourself at www.BestPlaces.net). The regional airport (TRI) has direct flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and St. Pete/Clearwater with easy access, parking, and virtually no security lines. The public education system was planned by Columbia University and Newsweek has repeatedly recognized the local high school as one of the best in America. Year in and year out our graduates go on to the top colleges and universities (and without costly private school tuition fees). Harvard also recognized Kingsport in 2009 with the Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiative. What are you waiting for? It’s time to leave the high costs, traffic jams, and stress behind and discover this hidden gem.