BMA in Brief – August 12, 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.

The supporting documents provided to the Alderman can be found by clicking here.

The full meeting can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

The agenda was amended to move item 16. Apartment Moratorium to item 10.(a). Item 10 was moved to item 10.(b). Item 15. was moved to the preliminary agenda and itme k. On the preliminary agenda was moved to item 16. of the agenda.

6. Citizens to be Heard (11:51) – Six residents came forward to address the board. Three spoke against apartments, two spoke against residential sprinkler requirements and one spoke against the Farmington Park rules.

9. Preliminary Agenda (39:17) – Passed (5-0)

10(a). Resolution 19R08 – Apartment Moratorium (41:18) A summary of the timeline and history of the existing moratorium and the research completed during that time frame. The proposed resolution is based on feedback from the board at the work session. The resolution ask the planning commission to review changes removing stand alone apartments from smart growth areas and establish smart growth guild lines to retain value and minimize impact on city resources. It also places a 6 month moratorium on stand alone apartments. Alderman Sanders proposed extending the moratorium on all apartments, not just stand alone. This motion failed. Alderman Sanders also moved to change the wording to require the vertical integration apartments would requires a mix of uses in the actual building. Alderman Owens wanted the planning commission to consider this as part of their work as well as a percentage of the development. This motion failed. Alderman Sanders also asked for a motion to define “Stand alone” and “single use” terms in the ordinance, that motion passed. Alderman Massey made the motion to substitute the wording of the moratorium with the wording of the original moratorium. That motion failed. Discussion was extensive. The amended resolution was Approved (5-0)

10(b). Ordinance 2019-11 Amendment to Fire Prevention Ordinance – Third and Final Reading (1:22:33) The ordinance to adopt a new fire code based on the 2015 international fire code. The state of TN currently uses the 2012 international fire code.  The proposed code added requirements for sprinklers on dead end streets over 750 feet.  There are also additional items to address safety of food trucks. It includes the ability for the BMA to establish a board of appeals for rulings of the Fire Marshal. Alderman Owens proposed changing the cul-de-sac radius from 96 back to 90 feet. That motion passed. Alderman Owens made a motion to change the length of the dead end street to 750 and up to 1,200 if homes are protected by sprinkler systems and/or alternate access. That amendment passed. The amendment to the ordinance was  Approved (4-1)

11. Ordinance 2019-12 Amendment to Fire Prevention Ordinance (Residential Sprinklers) – Third and Final Reading (1:49:00) A representative of the Home Builders Association spoke against adoption of the code. The second individual spoke in favor of the proposed change. This item supports the adoption of the 2015 fire code.  The code requires sprinklers for new homes over 5,000 square feet vs. the current requirement of 7,500 square feet. It would require sprinkler systems in zero lot line homes with distances of less than 20 feet between homes.  The chief addressed directly addressed questions and some claims made during the last meeting. He listed peer city standards for sprinkler requirements around Shelby county and the state of Tennessee. Alderman Owens moved to amend the coded to change square footage for sprinkler requirements from 5,000 to 5,500 square feet to match Collierville’s code. That amendment was approved. Approved (4-1)

12. Ordinance 2019-13 Amendment to Subdivision Ordinance (Streets) – Second Reading Vote  (2:05:19) The vote on this item was postponed in the last meeting. This amendment brings the design standards up to those required in the fire code. This changed the length of dead ends from 1,200 foot to 750 feet and allowing for a depth of cover of 150 feet vs. 400 and the paved cul-de-sac radius should be 96 feet vs. current standard of 90 feet. This does not remove the ability for exemptions to be requested.  There was no discussion. Approved (5-0)

13. Change Order No. 1 & 2 – Emergency Sewer Repair (2:05:57) Public Works Director Bo Mills presented the anticipated changes discussed in the 7/22 meeting. Alderman Sanders asked questions about the timeline of the approvals. The change order was Approved (5-0)

14. Emergency Purchase – Kimbrough Pumping Station Debris Removal (2:12:02) This work is for the debris that entered the system, estimated at over 30 truck loads of dirt and debris. The work was started by a vendor but cut off due to the City of Memphis stepping in to perform the work. The work is estimated at $193K but will come in lower depending on the efforts by the City of Memphis. Approved (5-0)

16. Purchase – Repair to Well No. 9 at the Johnson Rd. Water Treatment Plant (2:15:10) Requesting authorization for repairs and reinstallation of Johnson Rd. Well No. 9. for $71,869. This contract piggybacks off an agreement with Dyersburg TN. This well generates 1,800 gal/min and is on of the generator backed up wells that provide water in the event of a power outage. Approved (5-0)

17. Beer Board (2:23:39) Stoney River was cited for serving to a minor. This was a first time offense for Stoney River. They admitted Guilt and were fined $750. Swankey’s taco shop was cited for serving to a minor. This was a first time offense and they admitted guilt and were fined $750.

BMA in Brief (Board Retreat) – February 23, 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.

The BMA meet for a retreat session in the Economic and Community Development building on Saturday, February 23. No votes were taken and the meeting was not streamed via the usual methods. The meeting ran the full four hours.

Water Tower Discussion – Public Works Director Bo Mills and Assistant Director Andy Sanders gave a presentation about the need for an additional water tower. The discussion centered around the lack of a back up for the current water tower. Several risks associated with the lack of a back up tower included lack of fire support, air in the water mains causing damage to city and residential plumbing, and health risk associated with air bringing bacteria into the system. Sites were discussed including the new school and Forest Hill Irene south of Winchester. Alternatives were also discussed including an underground pumping system. We will write a separate blog post covering the details of this topic.

Sales Tax Issues – Discussion revolved around the state’s allocation of sales tax revenues. Issues were raised about the allocation of taxes collected via internet sales. The Tennessee Municipal League, a group of municipalities that advocate together at the state level, has submitted legislation to address the concerns of cities like Germantown. Germantown actually worked on similar legislation in prior years but lacked broader support across the state to see it approved. This will be a key item in the city’s legislative agenda in Nashville this year.

Legal Update – This was a closed door session for city officials only. The media and community members were required to step out of the room and remove their cameras.

Germantown Country Club – Parks and Recreation Director Pam Beasley gave a summary of the discussion held by the team that pulled together the Parks Master Plan. They met a couple of weeks ago to discuss the desire of the community to purchase the land and potential uses for the land. The group recommended purchase of the land however, potential uses would be decided after the purchase. The city has ordered an appraisal of the land and plans to respond to an RFP (Request for Proposal or Bid process) from the trustee of the land. This process will happen quickly over the next month or two. The city’s capacity to issue debt to purchase this land was also discussed. The Parks and Recreation Commission and Financial Advisory Commission will meet to address concerns in the coming weeks.

CIP & School Projects – The city has requested departments provide their proposed projects for the FY20 budget. There are 42 projects that have been submitted as part of this process and they will be prioritized in coming budget discussion. There is a work session scheduled for CIP (Capital Improvement Program) on March 27. There are several projects on the CIP list that will be dependent on prioritization by the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization). The MPO is the local government organization that prioritizes Federal funds for municipal project.  As we reported earlier the city has made its list of requests for State and Federal funding and should receive the approved list in late May or June. The initial FY20 request for school projects total $7.2M including an expansion to Houston Middle School. The cost for the expansion at HMS were originally estimated to be $5M but need to be updated as construction costs have increased since the project was first put on the 5 year CIP plan. The city is also funding $200K per year for the next 5 years for the Houston High Field House. Other GMSD requests for FY20 include another $500K for security upgrades ($500K was spent in FY19) and $1.5M for boiler upgrades to Riverdale. To facilitate alignment Jason Huisman, the Assistant City Administrator, sits on the facilities committee for GMSD. The city is working with GMSD to build out their 5 year CIP needs and make sure the budget includes their requests.

Rules of Engagement – The only discussion on this topic was the mention of an orientation session with the new Parliamentarian, which will be on Monday before the BMA meeting.

Moratorium Update – This update was brief as it began with about 20 minutes left in the four hour session. No results were presented. Staff discussed that the focus had been on four major areas: Schools, Public Safety, Fire/EMS and Infrastructure/Transportation Systems. The city has gathered a lot of data and is working to process it into impact by district, not just an all up city level. Legal Counsel advised the Aldermen that any actions taken should be in line with or supported by the data. The Attorney cited that courts recently held that Covington’s apartment moratorium violated the Fair Housing Act as it wasn’t supported by the type of analysis currently being done by Germantown. Staff stated that the goal is to present the results from the study in April or May.

Will Apartments Overcrowd GMSD Schools?

Recently, the issue came up as to whether GMSD has adequately planned for growth in the event of a full build-out in the city of Germantown. Specifically, will new apartments overcrowd our schools?

Parents and the community members can rest assured that GMSD officials are continuously reviewing data and monitoring student enrollment. They have identified our district’s needs based on Germantown’s projected growth and expected demographic changes. Armed with this information, GMSD has implemented the necessary capital improvement plans to meet our needs as a growing district.

Take a look below for more specific information.

Q & A with Superintendent Manuel:

What’s the current enrollment at GMSD schools?




What is the difference between programmatic and optimal capacities?



What are the capacity issues for our schools?



What is being done to alleviate K-5 overcrowding?

Check out this link to see GMSD’s newest school being built.

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Will all portables be removed in the near future from GMSD campuses?

“Yes. We will be removing all portables once the new school is built and school numbers will be able to accommodate optimal staffing.”

See the link from GMSD’s website


What space will be available for growth when the new elementary school opens? 

“You can see the total amount of space available once we open [the new elementary school]. Please look at the attached link below. It shows our forecasts for total build out in the city.”

See the link from GMSD



In the event of a total city build-out, could GMSD still accommodate all students?

“Even if the city was completely built out. We would have capacity at k-5. See chart below.”



What about middle school students, what are your plans for them?

“We do not have any capacity at the middle school level and need a wing and additional gym at Houston Middle school.”


These numbers are all based on a demography report, are you sure it is accurate?

“The demographer was very accurate in his forecasts for all schools. In the first year after his study, he projected within 5 students in the k-5 grade band. The second year after his study, we had 57 students less than projected because the district reduced the number of transfer students we accepted.”


Looking for more info? Check out this link from GMSD.