New directors signal growth, positives in city

The city of Lebanon plans to bring back two prior existing positions within its ranks, which shows some real growth both within our local government and throughout the city in terms of revenue.
May 28, 2014

The city of Lebanon plans to bring back two prior existing positions within its ranks, which shows some real growth both within our local government and throughout the city in terms of revenue. 

With Lebanon’s sales tax rate increasing steadily during the past year along with other indicators, such as strong home sales, now is a good time to add both positions. 

City officials are looking to add a human resources director position and an economic development director position with passage of the 2014-15 annual budget.

According to Mayor Philip Craighead, both positions existed in some fashion previously in the city, but they were eliminated during the height of the nation’s financial crisis in 2009.

The city council, at that time, cut roughly 30 positions from varying departments to help cut costs.

But fast-forward five years, and city officials believe the city can now afford to replace some of what was cut during the crisis.

And as city officials envision it, both positions boil down to growth – dealing with current growth in city staff numbers and positioning the city for future economic growth.

Of the two positions, certainly the most intriguing is that of an economic development director. 

“Several council members and the mayor have felt like with the recruitment of businesses being so competitive now, and Lebanon being geographically in a great position, the city needs to have someone [to seek out new businesses],” said Robert Springer, the city’s commissioner of finance and revenues.

Craighead said the Joint Economic and Community Development Board brings in new industry, such as the Starbucks and Amazon distribution centers, but the city needs someone who can focus on attracting retail businesses.

Councilor Kathy Warmath has said she would like to see retail shopping areas on the scale of Mt. Juliet’s Providence come to Lebanon.

Springer said the 2014-15 budget already allocates $62,000 for the human resources director position and $60,000 for the economic development director position, but he also said those figures are simply estimates at this point. The final pay rates would be determined by the specific candidates’ qualifications.

More talk on the positions is expected, but bringing back these two positions appears at this point to be a step in the right direction for Lebanon. 

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