When you're at a public meeting and the guy with the gavel says, "You're out of order," you're out of order.
La Vergne resident, director of hazmat operations with Premier Protective Services Inc. and former Alderman candidate Matt Church was politely but firmly escorted by two La Vergne Police Officers from the July 6 La Vergne Mayor and Aldermen's meeting.
Church's employer had submitted a bid for the city's Environmental Hazardous Materials Services contract, and of three original bids, was the only compliant bid. When the issue came up on the agenda, Alderman Melisa Brown seconded the motion for consideration of the contract so that she could speak against it. Her position was a city contract ought not be awarded to a single compliant bidder; better to not award the contract and re-bid it, so the city could get the best price possible by comparing bids.
Church, as the single compliant bidder for the contract, took exception to that position, demanding the right to speak to the issue, and came to the podium to speak without being recognized by La Vergne Mayor Dennis Waldron, chairing the meeting.
In his short remarks, though out of regular meeting order, Church contended that not being allowed to speak to the issue was a form of retribution for his previous political campaign.
Church is reportedly no stranger to drama. City officials stated that, at a previous contentious public meeting involving sewerage backflow into residences, Church brought human waste from the backflow and "flung" it at city officials during the meeting, from which officials say he was physically removed.
Alderman Calvin Jones expressed his profound embarrassment for the city due to this incident, remembering the previous human waste incident, and wondered aloud why Church would or could bring business before the city under the circumstances.
Church later contended he did not fling the waste, which he said was contained in "a certified DOT transportation method packaging," and stated that he was neither escorted or removed from that meeting.
Proposed subdivision voted down
La Vergne residents from the Blair and Waldron Roads area of the city came in strength to speak against the first reading of Ordinance #2017-14, to change the zoning from a low density residential area to a medium density Planned Density Residential zoning. The parcel of 214 acres could see as many as 750 housing units.
The public comment session prior to the meeting saw more than half a dozen speakers express concern against the zoning change, citing impact on traffic and schools.
The Aldermen also reported many citizen calls and emails, which were heavily against the plan.
Unlike some previous meetings, the speakers were emphatic but respectful, and the Aldermen expressed appreciation for that. The ordinance was voted down.
Reluctant re-use of the La Vergne Civic Center
It's a relatively small white building on Old Nashville Highway, officially known as the La Vergne Civic Center, suitable for dances, birthday parties and small wedding receptions.
But for the next two years, it will be the temporary home for La Vergne Fire Department administrative offices.
A study by the fire department identified it as one of three low cost ways of making administrative space for the Fire Department.
The Civic Center will now undergo some construction to prepare it for its new use, limited to two years with a six-month option for contingencies, while other office space is developed for the department.
Reserve Pumper Truck demo unit to be acquired
The Mayor and Aldermen voted to acquire a nearly new Reserve Pumper Truck for the Fire Department to replace two aging trucks.
A fire truck supplier has identified one of its brand-new trucks for a demonstration circuit, going from city to city to show off their product and generate new orders.
La Vergne agreed to acquire the truck after its demonstration circuit is complete, after a few miles have been placed on it and it cannot be considered a new vehicle.
Such a vehicle lists for as much at $600,000, but La Vergne will be able to purchase it for approximately $475,000, significant savings for a nearly new truck.
This story has been updated to include statements from Matt Church and his correct title. The paraphrasing of comments made by a board member were clarified to include a quote.