Tuition Discussion Tabled

During the work session on January 15, 2019, the Germantown Board of Education reviewed a presentation from the Superintendent Jason Manuel regarding the impact of requiring tuition in the school year 2019-20. The board discussed the many questions that have arisen and concluded that more study was needed. Therefore, the policy change was tabled.

Graphic of Current Transfer Students by School

It was revealed during discussion that the policy change was not brought by the superintendent but by Chairman Rebecca Luter at the request of Board Member Amy Eoff.

Concerns about the timing and pending open enrollment as well as the recruitment for students in the academies lead to the agreement to delay until September when they can review new enrollment numbers based on population at the new school, Forest Hill Elementary and new transfer policy. The analysis presented at this meeting by Jason Manuel was by his own admission incomplete and lacked a full understanding of programmatic impacts.

Lines 11 through 16 as seen in the graphic below were removed from the proposed changes and it was noted that returns the policy to the original wording.

BMA in Brief – January 14, 2019

To help you stay informed we will do our best to provide high level summaries for the bi-monthly Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) meetings. These summaries will be fact based with a focus on key items covered in the meetings and summaries of the votes taken. Where needed we will cover important discussions individually.

Mayor Mike Palazzolo welcomed new City Attorney Mac McCarroll and new Alderman Scott Sanders to the board.
agenda1-14.JPG

During the Executive Session, changes were made to the agenda. Beer Board item 9.a. was pulled by request of the applicant. On Consent Agenda, two items were pulled from Consent. 10.d will become item 11 and 10.e will become item 19.

9. Beer Board – Poplar Food Mart #1 approved for off-premise use and Rock N Roll Sushi approved for on-premise use.

10. Consent Agenda -approved as amended.

11. Professional Services Agreement Supplement No.2 – Final Closeout Right-of-Way Appraisals – Wolf River Boulevard/Germantown Rd. Intersection Improvements Project – Approved 4-1

12. Change Order No. 2 – Forest Hill-Irene Road Improvements – Requested increase of $37,631.33 (total project is $6.15M) for increased cost estimates for fiber optic lines needed for traffic signal connectivity and coordination and culvert replacement under the road near the school site. Original plan was to add on to the existing culvert however there were cracks and open joints that necessitated the full replacement of the culvert. – Approved 5-0

13. Election of Vice Mayor – Mary Anne Gibson selected 5-0

14. Grant – Leadership Germantown – Request for approval of budgeted grant of $13,600 for Leadership Germantown – Approved 4-1

15. Purchase – Fire Engine – Request for $859,539 to purchase a new custom fire engine.  The purchase will allow F139 (Engine 93) to be placed in reserve.  F139 is 28 years old and typical life span for this type of equipment is 15 years front line and 5 years reserve. Approved 5-0

16. Resolution 19R03 – Banking and Signature Cards. Approved 5-0

17. Ordinance 2019-5 – Amendment to Zoning Ordinance Chapter 23 – SmartCode: Site Standards 1st Reading – The proposed change clarifies language in the code about the width of curb cuts.  This change is needed to insure fire equipment can safely access properties. Approved 5-0

18. Ordinance 2019-6 – Amendment to Zoning Ordinance Chapter 23 – Wireless Transmission Facility 1st Reading – Change in wording to allow for stream lined approval of equipment upgrades on existing facilities and establishment of policies and procedures for placement of small cell wireless facilities in public right-of-ways as a result of changes to state law. This item generated discussion on how state law may allow many small cell towers all over the City of Germantown. Approved 4-1

19. Professional Services Agreement Supplement No. 4 – Wolf River Boulevard/Germantown Rd. Intersection Improvements Project. Approved 4-1

 

Want to Get Fit? Germantown has Choices!

It’s a running joke on social media that Germantown has too many pizza places. So it’s a good thing we have almost, if not more fitness choices.

Let’s take a look at the variety of fitness studio options in Germantown to meet any fitness level or price range.

ATC Fitness has locations all over the mid-south. In addition to the two Germantown locations, there are 14 in Tennessee, as far away as Jackson, and four in Mississippi with one as far away as Tupelo. ATC is open 24 hours and has a full complement of equipment both for cardio and weight training.

CycleBar offers a unique, high-energy, cycling experience for riders of all ages and fitness levels.

CrossFit SOPO Germantown offers a core strength & conditioning program that delivers “fitness that is by design, broad, general, and inclusive.”

The Exercise Coach is the latest fitness center to open in Germantown. They bill themselves as the “Smartest 20-Minute Workout In The World™.” The concept uses Exerbotics Connected Fitness technology. This tech-enabled training method uses scientifically customized strength and interval training. The technology adapts to abilities of any individual and is proven to be more effective than long-duration workout techniques.

F45 has not officially opened but will be coming soon. Originating from Australia, the concept combines elements of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Circuit Training, and Functional Training.

Germantown Athletic Center (GAC) is owned by the City of Germantown and provides a wide variety of services to its members. The GAC boasts an 8,500 square feet fitness area with state of the art equipment, certified fitness trainers, a three court gym, three courts for racquetball, indoor walking track, group fitness classes, a cycling room, a 40 meter indoor pool, dry saunas, locker rooms with separate areas for men, women and families, a cafe and an outdoor pool with a splash park. During January, you can join for $20.19 (regularly $99). For more information, (901) 757-7370.

HOTWORX is a virtually instructed exercise program using infrared heat. They offer either a 30-minute isometric workout or 15-min High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session.

Iron Tribe Fitness blends one-on-one coaching with group fitness to deliver results. Iron Tribe’s 45-minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) group classes are paired with one-on-one personal coaching.

Jazzercise has offered dance-based group fitness classes since 1969. The Germantown location is headed by long-time local instructor, Marion Dalton.

The Little Gym Even your kiddos can get fit in Germantown. Bring them to The Little Gym and let them run off some energy with their creative physical activities.

Orangetheory Fitness offers high intensity interval training classes designed to get your heart rate in the “orange” zone for a more effective and lasting workout.

The Owings Life Enrichment Center at Germantown United Methodist Church offers a variety of classes and has a full service gym and walking track. It is open to non-church members for a fee and has limited nursery hours.

Pike Yoga offers group classes and personal training. Their philosophy, “Attitude. Matitude. Gratitude.” comes from their practice of yoga.

Pure Barre classes offer a low-impact, full body workout concentrating on the areas women struggle with the most: hips, thighs, seat, abdominals and arms. Men are welcome too, if you want to improve your “Pure Barre shelf.”

Sumits Yoga classes are designed for all levels, beginner through advanced. Each yoga session aims to strengthen the core, increase flexibility and restore balance—all while you sweat out toxins, increase your blood flow and flush fat.

UFC Gym uses an approach that fuses mixed martial arts with state-of-the-art equipment and traditional fitness. They offer group fitness classes, private coaching, personal and group training, plus youth programs.

If you can’t afford a group class or center, no need to sit on your couch. Germantown has a variety of parks, nature areas and a Greenway ready for your exploration.

BMA in Brief — December 10, 2018

To help you stay informed we will do our best to provide high level summaries for the bi-monthly Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) meetings. These summaries will be fact based with a focus on key items covered in the meetings and summaries of the votes taken. Where needed we will cover important discussions individually.

No items on the consent agenda were moved to the regular agenda during the Executive Meeting prior to the BMA. For those unfamiliar with the consent agenda, it is a mechanism for approving routine business that doesn’t necessarily need to be addressed individually by the entire board.

Below our summary is a link to a video of the entire BMA meeting for your review. We have provided approximate start times for each item.

  1. Citizens to be Heard (begins at approximately 8:15)
  • Four citizens thanked Alderman Barzizza for his years of service.
  • One citizen expressed concerns about the GPAC Grove costs.

9. Consent Agenda as listed on the agenda was approved. (begins at approximately 16:33)

  1. Contract – GPAC (Germantown Performing Arts Center) Grove Outdoor Venue (begins approximately 17:55)

GPAC Executive Director Paul Chandler gave an extensive presentation explaining the design and purpose of the Grove Outdoor venue. The Grove will be a park-like setting with a casual atmosphere. Mr. Chandler described it as a community gathering place for family and friends and an outdoor reflection of the indoor space.

Additionally, there will be a 32-foot-wide high definition video wall at the back of the stage and will allow a simulcast of events inside the venue and events from across the world. GPAC will be the third venue in the United States with such an arrangement. GPAC has raised $2.5M amount toward the $5M project.

Two GPAC Board members spoke in favor of the project. (Begins approximately 29:50)

Discussion began at approximately 36:58 and the contract was approved by a 4-1 vote.

Santa Comes to Germantown

Even bad weather couldn’t dampen the holiday spirits as the Germantown Annual Holiday Tree lighting moved festivities inside city hall last Friday.

The crowd joined the Germantown Chorus in a sing-along of favorite Christmas Carols while the children visited Santa. It was a lovely start to the Season.

If you missed Santa, he will be at the Train Depot Saturday, December 1 at 1 p.m.

Santa had a great time with the Germantown children.
Beautiful tree in City Hall.

 

 

 

Detail of ornament
Girl Scout Troop 13195 lit the Municipal Park tree.

Germantown Volunteers Recognized

On Thursday, November 8, the City of Germantown hosted the annual Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Commissions Appreciation Dinner at The Great Hall and Conference Center. Hosted by Mayor Mike Palazzolo, the event was also attended by Aldermen Rocky Janda, Mary Anne Gibson, and Forrest Owens, who had to leave early for an event for his daughter. Other officials in attendance were Fire Chief John Selberg and Deputy Chief of Police Rodney Bright. Mayor Palazzolo also recognized former Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy for her mentorship of many of the leaders in Germantown. 

The list volunteers for 2018.

 

This dinner is a celebration of the nearly 200 citizens of Germantown who serve on the boards and commissions of our city. After a great meal catered by Garibaldi’s Pizza and Catering, three special awards were announced.

 

 

 

The first award went to the Reserve Firefighter of the Year. Fire Chief John Selberg presented the award to Mike Letterman. “This is the community I grew up in. It has given so much to me, I just wanted to volunteer to give back,” said Mr. Letterman. “It’s just an honor to get this award.”

 

The second award was the prestigious Jo Reed Award. Sponsored by the Leadership Germantown Alumni Association (LGAA), the Jo Reed Award is presented each year to an individual who represents sincere caring and volunteerism for our community, with no concern for applause or thank you. Jo Reed was a prolific volunteer who lost her life in a tragic accident while in service to the city picking up an illegal yard sale sign on the side of the road.

LGAA president, Natalie Williams presented this year’s award to Elaine Cates. A forty year resident of Germantown, Mrs. Cates is a former teacher and cheer sponsor at Germantown High School, her husband served as city attorney for 27 years and her children grew up here. She currently serves as president of the Germantown Woman’s Club.

“I just have a warm fuzzy feeling about Germantown,” said Mrs. Cates. “It just makes my very, very happy that maybe I did something for Germantown.”

Finally, the Reserve Police Officer of the Year was presented by Deputy Chief of Police Rodney Bright to to Barry Baker. A former employee of Pinnacle Airlines that closed in 2013, he considered the late Phil Trenary a mentor. Trenary was formally president of Pinnacle and was serving as President of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce at the time of his senseless death.

It was Trenary’s emphasis on community service that lead Baker to be involved in public safety. “He encouraged all the senior staff to be a part of the Memphis community and give back,” said Baker. Without his encouragement, he would not have formed the relationships with law enforcement that lead to his involvement with the Germantown Police.

Nearly 200 residents serve on Germantown’s commissions which are involved in every aspect of the community. From beautification to budget approval to historic preservation, there is a commission for every interest and all residents of Germantown are invited to apply. Applications close November 30. Three new commissions will begin in 2019. They are the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission, the Public Arts Commission, and the Technology Commission. Apply here.

 

Cordova Triangle – Politics versus Governance

Monday night’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) meeting was another example of politics versus governance.

The area known as the Cordova Triangle has been a hot topic for nearly a year. This area is basically bordered by Germantown Road to the east and Cordova Road to the west. It is just west of Germantown Road from the corner of Neshoba where Thornwood is being built.

At Monday night’s meeting, the BMA voted on the third and final reading on an ordinance to rezone that land back to residential as it was prior to the adoption of Smart Code. It had been a part of the code that allowed the multi-use planning that allowed Thornwood retail, apartments, hotels and single-family homes.

The change passed with a 3-0 vote with Aldermen Mary Anne Gibson, Dean Massey and John Barzizza voting for it and Alderman Rocky Janda abstaining (Alderman Forest Owens was out of town for fall break).

Before the meeting, the BMA met in closed session with legal counsel who recommended keeping comments limited but specific to why each alderman voted for or against the zoning ordinance due to possible litigation following the vote. Everyone except Alderman Massey seemed to heed this advice, with Alderman Janda even pointing out his comments had been reviewed by legal counsel.

It was disappointing to see Alderman Massey take this as an opportunity to repeatedly call out what he perceived as flaws in the city’s processes and point fingers at “city officials.” He seemed more concerned with scoring political points rather than protecting the citizens of Germantown. He put his personal agenda ahead of residents around the triangle with language that could fuel a lawsuit.

The meeting was so volatile that it even caught the attention of The Daily Memphian’s suburban columnist, Clay Bailey.

Massey calls Smart Growth a Utopian Social Engineering Plot

He seemed more concerned with pointing out a topic he has touted since being elected. He stated he believes the Smart Growth plan for Germantown is a “utopian social engineering plot for the financial benefit of landowners.”

He appears to actually believe that your friends and neighbors, people you see at church, high school ball games and the grocery store are a part of a social engineering plot if they support smart growth principles.

That in and of itself is another blog post for another day. For now, we’ll stick to how his actions Monday night may have put Germantown at risk.

For example, Mayor Palazzolo mentioned Massey called the attorneys for the land owners of the Cordova Triangle who are upset with the zoning change. Making a phone call like that means he, as a representative of the city, is going beyond his authority to directly speak with the opposing party’s lawyer. In litigation, parties should never speak directly with opposing party’s lawyer.

In this move, along with his comments Monday night, Massey put all the citizens of Germantown at risk if a law suit is brought over this change in zoning for the property. Additionally, his speech was not germane to the zoning of the Triangle, despite his assertions otherwise. 

It is in this context that the mayor and his peers attempted to encourage Alderman Massey to stop reading his script. He did not have legal counsel review his comments and he even challenged the Mayor to have him removed from chambers when he didn’t follow the rules governing the meeting.

Massey asks the Mayor to have him removed from the dais.

This behavior is dangerous to our city and puts us all at financial risk. It appears he would have loved nothing more than to have video of him being removed from the chambers to use against the Mayor for a political victory.

As seen in the video below, during the second reading of this change in September, Alderman Massey acknowledges that the residents of Neshoba North asked him to keep his comments short in order to limit potential legal exposure.

Massey admits citizens asked him to limit his remarks.

He then goes on to talk about his duty to protect all citizens of Germantown. Is he doing that when he reads a ten-minute prepared speech on a topic that is the likely subject of legal action? A speech that hasn’t been vetted by legal counsel? Unfortunately, Alderman Massey is not legally liable for his actions, the city is. Who pays any potential fines or settlements that result from his statements? The tax payers do.

Additionally disappointing is that every alderman but John Barzizza asked Alderman Massey to stay on topic. While he did limit his remarks as legal counsel advised, he allowed Massey to continue his political remarks.

Taking the advice of legal counsel is governance. Ignoring that advice to push a political agenda is politics.