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Smyrna impact fees could see hike

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Build a high school, and the houses will surely come.

Passing unanimously on the second reading, an annexation by Smyrna of a 109-acre parcel near Stewarts Creek High School, on Rocky Fork Almaville Road at Morton Lane, will see more than 200 homes when fully built out.

The issue generated public comment on the volume of traffic and the strain on utilities and roads in the area. Smyrna will provide the utilities services for the project. The property owner asked that the acreage be annexed by Smyrna.

In addition to annexing the property, Smyrna will also annex approximately 1,900 feet of Morton Lane and approximately 1,200 feet of Rocky Fork Almaville Road, though there will be some disconnects where Rutherford County will retain responsibility for road maintenance.

Impact fees going up?

Now that Smyrna has generally recovered from the 2008 economic downturn, the town council proposes impact fees for new construction go back up.

The calculated maximum fees for Smyrna had been set as low as 30 percent of the full impact cost for roads, parks and public safety to provide relief for property owners and developers during the downturn; that number will go to 70 percent of the full impact cost across the board, including single family homes, apartments, hotels, commercial property and other uses.

The changes were approved on first reading and are expected to be confirmed with a vote on second reading at the Sept. 12 town council meeting.

For a single family detached home the rate, a one-time charge before construction begins, will change from $1,701 to $2,708 starting January 1, 2018, according figures provided by Smyrna Town Planner Kevin Rigsby.

Zama students sit in

Nineteen students from Smyrna's sister city in Japan, Zama, attended the town council meeting where their American student sponsors presented the pledge of allegiance.

Zama Mayor Mikio Endo also attended the council meeting; he is a long-time friend of Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed. The two met during sister city exchange visits, many years before either of them were mayors. Endo attended a Council of Mayors meeting for the Nashville region as Reed's guest, where the issues discussed mirrored those he faces in Japan: budget shortfalls, growth and traffic.

Lower interest rate for bonds

Town finance director Rex Gaither was highly praised by Mayor Reed and the council for doing a little research that will save the Smyrna budget more than $1.2 million by issuing "General Obligation Refunding Bonds" at a lower interest rate and retiring older General Obligation Bonds, as well as Water & Sewer Revenue & Tax Bonds. The council authorized a contract with law firms Bass, Berry and Sims PLC and Stephens PLC for the work.

In other news, Smyrna Chief of Police Kevin Arnold has been inducted as the new president of Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police for this year. The mayor and council took turns lauding Arnold for his elevation and agreed it was a wise choice for TACP.

Mayor Reed and her husband, Rutherford County Sheriff's Office Captain Britt Reed, attended the TACP convention and were impressed by how much respect Chief Arnold garnered from his peers.

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CAPT. BRITT REED, CHIEF OF POLICE KEVIN ARNOLD, KEVIN RIGSBY, MAYOR MARY ESTHER REED, MAYOR MIKIO ENDO, REX GAITHER, SMYRNA, SMYRNA TOWN COUNCIL, STEWARTS CREEK HIGH SCHOOL
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