Welcome to 2020! I’m sure there are going to be lots of cliches about “2020 Vision”, but sometimes cliches are good. As we come into Winter and Spring, one of the things we examine as a City Commission is Brentwood’s financial health. Brentwood runs on a fiscal year that ends in the summer, and now is the time we review how we are doing, gaze down the road and plan for where we need to go in the future.
Toward the end of this newsletter, I’m going to share some information from our 2019 financial report as well as information on what we are planning towards. Please take time to give it a look, and feel welcome to share your feedback. I would like to hear your perspective.
Water Department Saves Thanksgiving!
- A homeowner made a service call to Brentwood on the day before Thanksgiving for a grinder pump malfunction. The homeowner was hosting a large family gathering for Thanksgiving and the toilets wouldn’t flush.
- Dustin Maler jumped into action and took on the challenging repair some ten feet underground, in the not so fresh and clean environment. The system was pressure washed, monitored for oxygen and repaired!
- Thank you Dustin and team for saving Thanksgiving for this Brentwood family!
- To learn more about grinder pumps and maintenance click here.
“Refill Reduce Brentwood” – a Brentwood Environmental Initiative
- The idea, sparked by our Environmental Advisory Board (EAB), aims to reduce the number of plastic bottles being used in Brentwood.
- Nationally, more than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day – a total of about 22 billion last year. We want to do our part to reduce this.
- The EAB is encouraging all Brentwood residents and businesses to get on board by carrying their favorite refillable container whenever possible and helping to spread the word by placing a “Refill Reduce Brentwood” sticker on their container.
- Several Brentwood businesses have jumped on board, including:
- You can pick up “Refill Reduce Brentwood” stickers at any of the locations above.
- A news story can be found here.
- For more information on this important initiative, use this link to go to the EAB Page.
Maryland Farms Greenway Trail receives additional Oak Trees
- The Meehan Family, long-time Brentwood Residents, orchestrated the donation and installation of 20 oak trees along a section of the Maryland Farms Greenway Trail.
- The trees came from eldest son Paul’s tree farm, Natchez Tree Company. The farm specializes in the production of wholesale landscape trees.
- The oaks are a mix of 1’-caliper Burr, Shumard, Overcup, Nuttall, and Sawtooth Oaks.
- As they grow, they will provide shade, screening, noise control, and beauty.
- Thank you to the Meehan family, Brentwood Parks, and Natchez Tree Company for this generous addition to our park and trail system. These sorts of contributions pay dividends for years to come.
NASA Display at the Brentwood Library through February, 2020
- Exploring Space: Smart Spacecraft, Big Data, And Digital Models is a national traveling exhibition exploring the evolving role of computing in space science and astronomy.
- Exploring Space covers topics such as NASA’s spacecraft exploring new worlds, big data and its use in planetary exploration and exoplanet discovery, and how scientists use digital models to explore phenomena beyond our reach.
- The exhibit will be on display at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library from through February 2020.
- You can find more about the exhibit on the City News Page here.
- There is also a good article about the exhibit in the Williamson Herald.
January 17-19 – Friends of the Brentwood Library Used Book Sale
January 30 – City Commission Annual Budget Kickoff Meeting
February 1 2020 – The Yule Ball
- Art Tournament:
- Students submit original artwork that follows the inspirational quote – “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” – Albus Dumbledore
- Submission window is January 20-31 2019.
- Art must be suitable for all audiences and be no larger than 20 x 24 inches (2D) or 12 x 12 x 12 inches (3D.) The contestant must live in the City of Brentwood, and must transport the art to the Library Circulation Desk.
- The winner will receive a grand prize of $100.
- Tri-Band Tournament
- Group bands and solo acts permitted!
- Compete for the chance to play at the City of Brentwood’s Summer Concert Series. One band member must live within the City of Brentwood, and all must be between the ages of 11 – 19.
- Submission Deadline is January 7th, 2020.
- The band must use their own equipment and songs should be family friendly. Tip jars and merch sales are not permitted. Previous winners are not eligible.
- To submit a band application, visit the John P. Holt Brentwood Library website and click on Library Programs, then the Harry Potter Alliance link (or use the link below).
- Click here to find more information on the Harry Potter Alliance.
February 27 – Brentwood Historic Society History Bowl
- Top students from local high schools compete for fabulous prizes.
- The BrentwoodTN.gov page has more information about the Historic Commission and the History Bowl.
This Month’s Focus: Brentwood’s Financial Health
On December 23rd, 2019 Brentwood Published its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. You can find a full copy of the report with this link to the City Website.
What do we spend money on as City of Brentwood?
(expenses – page 28, labeled page 8):
- General Government — $7,076,000
- Public Safety (police, fire & rescue) — $16,719,000
- Roads and Streets — $12,756,000
- Public Health — $78,000
- Parks and recreation — $3,715,000
- Public Library –$3,030,000
- Community Support — $368,000
- Drug education — $59,000
- Interest on long-term debt — $597,000
- Water and sewer — $18,146,000
- Rental facilities — $677,000
- Emergency communications — $1,419,000
Where does our money come from (revenue)? (page 30, labeled 10)
- Williamson County was fourteenth in the nation for year-over-year job growth rate, and unemployment is at 2.5% (compared to 3.5% nationally for the same period – Page 10 of the report).
- Brentwood’s official population has steadily increased from 4,099 in 1970 to 9,433 in 1980, to 16,392 in 1990, to 23,445 in 2000, to 37,060 in 2010 and 43,889 in the 2018 special census. This is considered to be a strong but manageable growth rate of 5.1% annually (also page 10 of the report).
- The strength of the Brentwood economy is reflected in the growth of the tax base, which ranks among the highest of any city in the State of Tennessee, regardless of size and population (also page 10).
- The diversity of National and Regional Corporate Headquarters in Brentwood is a significant strength, since the city is not dependent on any single, large employer. This list includes Tractor Supply Company, Comdata, AT&T, Brookdale Senior Living, GEODIS, naviHealth, Quorum Health, LBMC, and Kirkland’s, among others (page 11).
- Brentwood has one of the largest concentrations of suburban office space in the Nashville Metropolitan area with 6.4 million square feet of rentable office space with a vacancy rate under 10% (page 10).
- Retail Development — Brentwood surrounds Cool Springs Mall on three sides. As Cool Springs has developed into the largest concentration of retail development in the State of Tennessee, significant retail has developed inside the adjacent Brentwood area as well. The resulting growth in local sales tax collections, coupled with additional collections from retail development in the northern commercial area, has allowed the City of Brentwood to maintain a balanced revenue/tax structure and not be heavily dependent on property tax to fund municipal services (page 11 and graph above).
- Schools – both Ravenwood and Brentwood High School are consistently ranked among the top schools in the national and Tennessee. Williamson County continues to invest in this school system, as evidenced in the new STEM building and plans for ongoing improvements to BMS, BHS, and RHS.
- Long-term financial planning – Brentwood has a six-year Capital Improvements Program that is an essential component of the City’s budget process and is annually reviewed, updated, and adopted by the Brentwood City Commission. You can find copies of all Capital Improvement Programs back to 2013-2018 here.
Some Challenges we face include:
- Local Revenue Growth Trends — while Brentwood is financially strong, there are economic concerns on the national level. The Hall tax is going away, including the portion that comes to Brentwood. We expect this to be offset by the influx of new revenue beginning FY 2022 from the local sales tax increase approved by voters in January 2018.
- Local Housing Market – New home starts in fiscal year 2019 totaled 109, compared to 170 in 2018. This decrease is attributable to a number of factors including a reduction in the number of available lots and the increasing price of new homes (page 13).
- Demands on Infrastructure – Brentwood is nearing build-out of undeveloped land and needs to be sure our roads, trails, water, and sewer can meet the needs of our community (page 13 and capital improvement program above and below).
- Competitive Pay and Benefit Programs – we need to continue to make the City of Brentwood a great place to work, but the strength of the Middle Tennessee economy creates pressure on the City’s ability to maintain a competitive employee compensation and benefits program.
Highlights of the 2020-2025 Capital Improvement Program (page 12, labeled vi):
- Continued construction by the State of Tennessee for Franklin Road Widening Improvements from Concord Rd. to Moores Lane.
- Roadway Widening Improvements on Sunset Road between Ragsdale Road and Concord Road.
- Construction of a Police Department Headquarters near Tower Park.
- A cooperative effort with the City of Franklin to extend McEwen Drive from its current terminus at Wilson Pike through the Taramore subdivision in Brentwood.
- Continued rehabilitation of the Brentwood Sewer System.
- Brentwood Water System Capacity Improvements, including automated meter reading system expansion.
- A full copy of our current Capital Improvement Plan is online here.
- You can find past Capital Improvement Plans online as well.
Do we have evidence that our city is healthy?
- The City of Brentwood exceeded its fiscal policy objective of maintaining a minimum unassigned general fund reserve of 40%, ending 2019 with an unassigned fund balance for the general fund of 91% of FY 2019 general fund expenditures and transfers. This fund balance serves cash flow needs and protects the city against unforeseen emergencies (page 14, labeled viii).
- Credit Quality – the City of Brentwood’s financial position remains exceptionally strong with an Aaa bond rating from Moody’s Investors Services and an AAA rating from Standard and Poor’s. Rating were reaffirmed in September 2019.
- Brentwood continues to have one of the lowest tax rates in the State of Tennessee for any full-service municipality with the City property tax bill for the average home valued at $700,000 being $630 annually (page 14, labeled viii).
- Staff Size and Productivity – Brentwood is strongly committed to improving productivity and responsible through new technology and equipment. The result is that the number of full-time employees per 1,000 residents for the fiscal year 2018-2019 was 6.1 versus 8.5 in fiscal year 1990-1991. If the city was operating at the same per capita staffing levels as 1990, we would require an additional 107 full-time employees with additional associated personnel expense of $9.5 million annually (page 15, labeled ix)
- Certificate of Achievement – the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the City of Brentwood for its comprehensive annual financial report for the year ending June 20, 2018. This was the 33rd consecutive year that Brentwood received this award.
- Full City of Brentwood Calendar: https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/residents/calendar
- Interactive City of Brentwood Maps, including zoning, parks, utility district, land records, and Historic Places: https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/departments/planning-codes/planning-section/zoning-map
- City of Brentwood Commission Home page, including contact information, meeting schedule, and videos of past meetings: https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/your-government/board-of-commissioners
- City of Brentwood Planning Commission Home page, including contact information, meeting schedule, and videos of past meetings: https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/your-government/board-of-commissioners https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/your-government/volunteer-boards-commissions/planning-commission
- City of Brentwood Water and Sewer Master Plan and other information: https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/departments/water-services/sewer-system/system-capacity
- Full contact information for your Federal, State, County, and local elected officials: https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/your-government/state-county-local-government-officials
- Complete list and links to download Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports for the City of Brentwood back to 2005: https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/departments/finance/cafr
Thank you again for all your support!