While admitting that Gallatin is growing too rapidly, Mayor Paige Brown said during her annual State of the City address Monday that the city remains in an “extremely good” position following a year filled with “some of the most significant changes ever in our small city.”
Brown spent a majority of the approximately hour-long presentation providing a recap of what took place across the city during the previous year while also providing updates on several city projects.
“I assure you that I and most others agree that we are growing too rapidly at the moment,” Brown said. “Most cities in middle Tennessee in close proximity to Nashville are, but it is going to slow down.”
While growth has been the “buzzword of the last year,” Brown said that strategy has “taken the spotlight for the city.”
She also noted Gallatin’s recently adopted strategic plans along with ongoing work to update its long-range comprehensive plan are ways city officials are working to “keep our government from being solely reactionary” when it comes to dealing with growth.
“However you may be impacted, I hope you recognize that the city is working very hard and is committed to keeping the burden on you as low as we possibly can,” Brown said.
Here are some additional highlights from Brown’s fifth state of the city address:
*The city’s building codes department issued more than 9,000 total permits during the last year representing nearly $221 million worth of investments. Of those, 961 permits were for new residential homes and 66 permits were for new commercial buildings.
*More than 550 new jobs have come to Gallatin in 2019 as the city’s industrial park nears capacity and its overall manufacturing base continues to grow.
*A new traffic signal synchronization project aimed at reducing traffic congestion by coordinating 25 signals along Highway 31E and in the downtown district is expected to be completed in 2020.
*Work continues towards adding sidewalks along South Westland Avenue, Browns Lane and in the area of Volunteer State Community College as well as near Rucker Stewart Middle School and around Vena Stuart Elementary School.
*With the large demand of people looking to move to Middle Tennessee, Brown said that Gallatin uses approximately 50 percent of its utilities’ capacities and that the city is “one of the few places where utility infrastructure is not a challenge because our departments have planned and invested well for decades.”
*Gallatin Public Utilities has installed nearly 16,000 automated water meters and 13,000 automated gas meters as part of a $6.9 million project.
*The Gallatin Electric Department added 1,374 new customers during the last year – an increase of 6.95 percent. No rate increase is planned this year.
*The city hired 15 new firefighters and opened a new $2.6 million fire station at the corner of Clear Lake Meadows Boulevard and Nichols Lane in June. During the last fiscal year, the Gallatin Fire Department also responded to 6,048 total calls – a 7.3 percent increase when compared to the previous year.
*Gallatin police reported 2,398 overall crimes in 2018. The number of crimes represents a decrease of 10.8 percent when compared to 2008.
*Gallatin’s budget for current 2019-20 fiscal year is $39 million – a decrease of 3 percent when compared to the previous year. The city also maintains a $7.1 million rainy day fund along with a separate $8.7 million in reserves. Gallatin also has $20.9 million in debt and an AA+ bond rating.