LaVergne Budget 2010-11

I fussed a little with myself about whether to post this link to the city budget for 2010-11, but figure it’s public information, there are no social security numbers or other personal information listed, and residents have a right to know what’s being spent and how so here it is… in a minute.

Before you get the link, here’s some of my (very) limited budget knowledge.  You’ll see items like “depreciation” – all physical property depreciates.  Your car does it, your lawn mower does it, your tv does it.  There is a life expectancy on everything (including yourself!) so don’t get all wound up over those items… it has to show up somewhere.

The line items are budgeted expenditures, however some of the first pages do include revenue and revenue sources.  Remember that the salaries, wages, etc. will include benefits like retirement, health insurance, dental etc. so don’t immediately think that “THEY MAKE WHAAAAT?” because believe me, they don’t.  Sadly, this budget looks pretty bare bones to me with the exception of some bonuses, but I support those.  That’s a great way to boost morale and if it’s in the budget already, go for it.

You’ll see some items listed in parenthesis. I was curious about those and believe they may be unfilled positions.  The money is there for the positions, but if there is a temporary vacancy (let’s say a meter reader or maintenance or police officer quits, it takes time to hire someone else), it will show up but as “unspent” ergo (10,000) (or whatever).  I *think* that’s what those may be.

Here’s my question… does the city have a Budget Committee or a Budget Oversight Committee or do department heads put together their own budgets?

Now to my big big issue of this whole budget and recent conversation when I was out of town… if Smyrna has 108 fire fighters and we have 19, what’s wrong with this picture?  What do our police numbers looks like compared to neighboring comparably sized cities?  How many cars do we have? We need to take a VERY CLOSE look at our budget to see how we can better protect our citizens with more officers and fire fighters.  Those side-by-side numbers are… well… look… firefighters: 108 v. 19.  It’s like a punch in the stomach to see that.  Talk about a wake-up call / reality check.

If residents of LaVergne aren’t absolutely appalled at that number and make their voices known at the polls this fall, then NOTHING will wake them up.  If I were running for office, this would be one of my MAJOR issues.  How can it be fixed?  How can we be protected as residents of the community in the event of a major disaster?  Isn’t the fundamental purpose of government to provide safety and protect property? That’s why in its most basic form we have government in the first place.  I think it does good to remember this basic tenet.

108 to 19.

Here’s the Budget2010-11.

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14 Responses

  1. As long as the FD is via private contract and the city is paying this little for it, this will be the result.
    The FD has been asking for increases for years and not getting but minimal increases to their budget.
    19 Firefighters is an embarassment. They do the best they can but deserve more.

  2. And our police dept. surely deserves more officers & much more pay — they put their lives on the line for us every day. They have been working long hours & I have heard that the dept. is in “unrest” with some things that have happened within the dept. recently. We have lost many officers to other cities offering more pay & better working conditions & will continue to do so if we don’t up our support of them. What good are all the parks we budget so well for if they are not safe for our people!

  3. I’ve only lived in La Vergne since January. Is the number of firefighters we have an actual problem? Like, can someone point to a specific incident where having 90 more firefighters would have made a measurable difference? Or how about average response time differences between the two cities? Because really if you can’t point to something like that then the only argument for more firefighters is keeping up with the Joneses.

    My brain went down a completely different path with those numbers. I’d be really upset if I was a Smyrna resident, and La Vergne was able to get by with 20% of the manpower being able to cover the same square mileage.

  4. Wizard it is not considered keeping up with the Joneses. Your ISO rating is set compared to firemen, waterlines etc. 19 firemen is the total on the FD only 16 are allowed to fight fires. So here is the problem that means there are 8 yes 8 firemen on duty today. If both of our house catch on fire who’s do we let burn to the ground?? They can’t very well fight 2 fully involved house fires at one time with 8 firemen. Luckily most of our off duty FD guys will come back to work and help and Smyrna will come help if called. I don’t believe we need 108 here in La Vergne right now but come on 19 is a little absurd and its true they have been trying to get more added for years but certain ones on the council say NO!

    Public safety is the backbone of the city. We also need more officers and dispatchers. I think we need another ambulance in town but that is controlled by the county, but our county commissioners could be fighting for that. As far as the city running the FD I don’t feel like the city is ready for that. You would have to buy what they already have if they would sell or buy new. Then if you add what a fireman makes plus what the city pays for benefits times the 36 which is the number of firemen we should have that would equal more than the FD budget is now. We have a good city that just needs to be headed in a new direction and a little more detail oriented council who would ask why and do research and not just vote YES all the time could do that. So everyone get out and please vote! If you don’t want to vote for me please vote for someone your vote counts and its time for everyone to voice their opinion!

    If you are not registered to vote call me 615-403-0941 I will bring the voter registration to you and drop it off for you.

  5. Wizard makes a good point, as I haven’t thought about it from the Smyrna perspective. As far as sq mileage, Smyrna is bigger, so they would need more firefighters. They also have more residents, and I don’t know if by nature of having the airport and Nissan plant, maybe they need more firemen?

    And I also don’t know of a time where our small number of firefighters has caused a blaze to burn out of control or resulted in loss of life. Not saying it hasn’t happened, just haven’t heard. If Smyrna has to come help us fight a fire, what does it cost?

    As far as the ISO rating, the only impact this has on most of us is that it effects our homeowners insurance premiums. If I have to pay $100 more in city taxes each year just to save $20 on my homeowners insurance, is that a really good deal?

    One of the things I like in this city is that the Fire is independently run, giving them an incentive to be as efficient as possible. Perhaps we should take things a step further and talk to Smyrna about spinning off their fire and we could create “North Rutherford Fire, Inc? This has the potential to save both towns money. Plus, unless another new fire station is built my house will always be closer to the Smyrna station on Rock Springs Road. Food for thought…

  6. I don’t believe we will ever see LFD even think about converging with Smyrna. Everyone wants more retail in La Vergne and we are not going to get it with the current ISO rating we have.
    And yes LFD is the most efficient department in the city because there are NO politics involved in it.

  7. Just a little more food for thought on the FD. Have you ever thought if and I know it hasn’t happened yet but let’s say one of these industries catches on fire how many personnel will that take? What types of hazard materials do they have at some of these businesses? Just the Coop here in town has tons of chemicals that could wipe out a huge area. Then you have the trains coming through town carrying who knows what. Now as far as Nissan Smyrna fire is not allowed on their property they have their own fire brigade. Next as far as the airport they have their own fire apparatus and if they need back up they call for LFD not smyrna unless it involves a structure. Percentage wise more planes crash on approach to an airport. Well the approach to Smyrna Airport is Lake Forest so there is really no comparison in fire departments and what is our safety worth?? Do we save a few dollars and take the chance of having something bad happen and wait till then to fix the problem or be proactive and move forward now? I say start moving now.

  8. OK Chris that’s exactly what I was looking for. I was thinking this morning about how La Vergne doesn’t have the retail centers that other communities have and the ISO rating makes complete sense.

  9. Wizard right now we are a 5 which is the worst rating for businesses it causes their insurance to sky rocket but it is awesome for a homeowner. A drop to a 4 which is just bringing our FD to 34 men would help retail a lot. I don’t mean to come across rude to anyone either but with my background I am all about public safety.

  10. I hear that court for the rock quary went very well today senna might let us know

  11. I hope today’s court decision was at least in the city’s favor by setteling the unpaid utilities and fines.

    In reference to the public safety of this city – my questions are;
    How can we be running 3 fire halls with only 19 fire fighters?
    How many police officers do we have in total?
    Is that number high enough to staff the new sub-station in Lake Forrest?
    If so why does it sit empty most, if not all the time?

    I do not have the experience in this area like Senna and Chris, but I do have the desire for our city to be safer and for larger retail to become interested in our city. We all know the saying “one must spend money to make money” and that seems to be a possible answer to our ISO rating which would begin solve both of these issues.

  12. Kandy I think you asked some very good questions. I will try and see if I can see how many police officers we have. I think now this is just a guess that there are usually 3 to 4 on duty at night. Days I don’t know because u have so many in court and everything else. But I think we need a wide variety of backgrounds on the council. You have a legal background that would be a good thing to have. We just need a council that is willing to listen to the people and try to make educated decisions. Some will be wrong that is just the nature of the beast. You can’t please everyone all the time. Now if we can get the rock quarry completely STOPPED!

  13. Can anyone see in there budget where the city contracts out mowing of cetain areas owned by the city? Ie: the park on Fergus Road? I have been told a figure of between $9000 and $30,000 but have not been able to locate it yet. I may possibly be over looking it, or it may not be true, or quite possibly it is buried under another line item. I know that is a little far fetched that it could be buried in another line item. Lol. Seriously though if anyone sees this let me know because the city sure does own a lot of mowers to be contracting this out!

  14. I got the water report back today. Everything came back good from what I can see. I will try to get it to Kathy and see if she can post it for everyone to see. I will now take time to apologize to the water treatment for doubting them. I am sorry guys! I was wrong.

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