The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners discussed their progress on addressing the city’s growth during a work session on Wednesday.
Mt. Juliet has been planning on developing more projects with more resources. The city’s plans include a shift from grant-funded projects to city-funded projects, an objective shift from efficiency to speed, and increasing its staff to meet demands.
Projects such as the rewidening of Mt. Juliet Road between 2004 and 2012 and the rewidening of Golden Bear Gateway in 2017 were largely dependent on grant-funding availability.
Public works director Andy Barlow said that the city has a history on doing those types of projects with efficiency.
The city has incorporated a lot of transportation professionals into its staff to help the city develop transportation projects for more than 14 years.
“We corresponded a lot with our budget surpluses to help us move into a direction where we have the resources to develop our transportation projects,” said Barlow. “We give a lot of credit to the board of commissioners for helping us address our transportation needs.”
Mt. Juliet now has more than 20 transportation projects and seven sewer capital projects in its current budget.
The city also increasingly focused its work on various projects since 2016.
Barlow said that the city has also worked on installing more traffic signals in recent years. However, the city of Mt. Juliet did not have a full-time technician and has relied on contractors for those installations.
The city now has two full-time technicians to install new traffic signals and is relying on its in-house staff to handle most traffic-related emergencies.
The city has also combined its supervision for street maintenance and sewer maintenance.
“It worked well when we were a city of over 20,000 people, but it has not worked well once our population continued to increase and our infrastructure continued to grow,” said Barlow.
Barlow said that the city was reactive to those concerns over street and sewer maintenance by providing more equipment to address both types of maintenances.
He added that Mt. Juliet has expanded its sewage equipment for capabilities with vacuum trucks and more, and it has started doing in-house inspection for sewer maintenance. Barlow also said that the city has moved to proactive maintenance for its streets by providing full-time street sweeping.
The city of Mt. Juliet has also made several initiatives to address its increasing number and urgency of city projects, including an ADA Transition Plan in 2019, a Comprehensive Transportation Plan in 2020, and a capital projects dashboard this year.
Mt. Juliet’s Sewer Master Plan and Pocket, which was also initiated by the city last year, identifies major projects such as the Stoner Creek Interceptor and the Cedar Creek Interceptor.
Barlow said that they are in a transition into a data-driven, proactive direction for city projects in different ways, particularly with stormwater utility and the capital improvement plan.
Barlow detailed that the capital improvement plan helps to identify funding needs and sources, as well as to set and revise project priorities.