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Master Plan Advisory Committee members respond to survey prepared by consultants

By Bill Short
Flag City LogoMembers of the Millington Master Plan Advisory Committee recently responded to a survey that was prepared and conducted by consultants for the plan.
The survey results were presented by Dexter Muller, owner of Pinnacle Planning Advisers in Bartlett, during the committee’s second monthly meeting on Aug. 28 in the Baker Community Center.
Muller said the committee is a “primary engine” for him and Millington planning consultant Charles Goforth to receive ideas.
“We don’t know the town the way you do,” he acknowledged. “We don’t set the priorities for you. So, the purpose of this group is to give us that kind of feedback.”
In the survey, committee members were initially asked what they think are Millington’s “greatest assets.” The top three responses were (1) Naval Support Activity Mid-South, (2) the city’s location in Tennessee and (3) its quality of life.
“The worst thing you can have is when the people who are in your city say, ‘I think it stinks,’” Muller noted. “So, having an appreciation for the quality of life, I think, is a big deal.”
The survey then asked the committee members to rate the current city services and facilities. Because an aspect of the question was designed to reflect any perceived need for additional facilities, Muller said that “does plug into” the facilities part of the Master Plan.
The services and facilities could be rated from 1 to 5, with 5 signifying “excellent.”
While noting that he “pulled the 4’s and 5’s together,” Muller said fire services received the top rating from 12 respondents. The next highest was garbage collection, with 10 responses.
Police services received nine responses and street maintenance got eight.
The committee members were then asked to list their budget priorities for the city from 1 to 5, with 5 signifying the highest.
Muller said new housing development received the top rating, with 11 responses. Although the type of development was not specified, he believes Millington residents would like to see single-family homes for “middle-income and up.”
He noted that economic development/job creation and workforce development/education each received 10 responses, while blight removal/code enforcement and maintain/reduce the tax rate each got nine.
Muller said approximately 40,000 Shelby County residents are currently unemployed, and there are 16,000 vacant jobs. But they are not prepared to go into those jobs.
He also said that, during the next five years, there will probably be about 1,000 manufacturing jobs waiting to be filled.
Although the combined tax rate of Memphis and the county is the highest in the state, Muller said Millington’s city rate is “very good.” So, towns like Piperton and some of the other areas in Fayette County should not have “much of an edge” over Millington.
He said Ingram Micro made the decision to locate in Millington, because then-Gov. Don Sundquist urged the company’s consultant to “look at” the city. Noting that the company was using a lot of FedEx services at the time, Muller said Millington was “close enough drive time” to be able to get to the Memphis International Airport.
“I think that opens up a range of opportunities,” he said. “Logistics ought to be one, and certainly manufacturing as well. So, the whole idea of economic development, job creation and workforce development goes with it.”
Finally, the survey asked the committee members to list Millington’s “greatest challenges.” Reputation and branding received seven responses, education got five and tax base/housing options four.
Muller noted that, when residents call the city’s quality of life one of its primary assets, but they list reputation and branding as its greatest challenge, that means they need to “get the message out” about what is here.
He recalled that, after the conclusion of the committee’s July 24 “kickoff” meeting, members were talking about a possible “slogan” for the city. And the thought was, “Millington is more than,” such things as the Navy base, USA Stadium or the Goat Days International Festival.
“I thought that was kind of an interesting conversation,” Muller concluded, “because it lets you get your assets out. And at the same time, you’re sort of branding it.”

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