I will be holding District 18 Office Hours Saturday morning, July 21 from 9 am until 10:30 at Three Brothers Coffee at 2813 West End Avenue. I’ll have information on HUB Nashville, Metro’s on-line customer service hotline, the new sidewalk construction tracker, and the Open Government website. Come by for a demonstration or to tell me what is on your mind about making Metro a better city.
Several neighbors have raised concerns about trash carts sitting with their lids open after trash pick-up day. This becomes a health hazard this time of year if rain gets in the cart allowing mosquitos to breed. This can be solved by placing the cart correctly on the curb. If the cart is placed with the handle toward the curb, then gravity will make the lid close as it is placed back down on the ground. This also prevents waste from spilling out before the cart actually tips over the truck. The top of each cart is imprinted with instructions and an arrow showing which direction the cart needs to face to ensure the lid closes as it is being set back down. Some alleys are serviced with manual pick-up, and certain contractors may need reminders to set the carts down correctly. Please let me know if your alley pick-up is leaving your cans lying open.
Street Sweeping helps with water quality and keeping storm sewers from clogging. Street sweeping, which is required by Clean Water Act, costs Metro $0.08/pound to clean debris off street, but it saves money at our water treatment facilities. Street sweepers pick up 600 pound/mile and last year cleared 11 million pounds of debris off the street. There is a misting system to keep down dust. All streets with curbs are swept monthly, and it is much more effective if cars can be moved from the curb ahead of time. The schedule is published on the Metro Open government website. Filtering by district brings up the streets in District 18.
Metro Water Services’ Adopt a Storm Drain program is on-going and is just as important during the summer season with all the intense thunderstorms that drop a lot of rain in one area in a short amount of time. Neighbors can commit to keeping a storm drain free of debris and yard waste to reduce pollution and local flooding. Information is available here.
Registration is now open for the Metropolitan Police Department’s FREE Driver Awareness Class for high school aged teens, scheduled for Saturday, July 21st, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. This popular course will be held in the community room of the MNPD’s South Precinct, 5101 Harding Place. It is open to all high school aged teens, regardless of county of residency. The class, taught by Nashville police officers, will not offer behind the wheel training, but rather will focus on impaired driving, distracted driving and overall traffic safety. Persons interested in signing up for this program may do so on-line at this link.
Metro Public Works has held a number of community meetings to educate citizens about the Zero Waste Solid Waste Master Plan, which is nearing completion. The goal is to significantly reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill. The process included a Waste Characterization Study that determined that the biggest single component of our residential waste is food, and that at least 25% of what we throw away is compostable. The plan includes a multi-step process that would begin with a Save As You Throw policy. This would increase recycling to twice monthly and eventually every week and phase in a charge for having more than one trash cart. Eventually we could go to a multi-bin system that would pick up recyclables, compostables, glass, and trash. Since the landfill where most of Metro’s 860,000 tons of trash goes to each year is within 5 to 12 years of closing, this is a good time to settle on a plan and begin implementation. I am co-sponsor on a bill that would authorize Metro’s first anaerobic composting facility. This would help scale up our composting capacity so we can start pulling that component out of the waste in the near future.
After much thought and deliberation, the Metro Council has passed the city’s 2019 Operating Budget. Because of an unhistorically high number of successful property assessment appeals and a decrease in the state’s funding for schools, this was a no-growth budget. The Council had to make a tough choice between keeping property taxes at their current rate or giving promised raises to Metro employees and replenishing the city’s reserve funds. In a tie vote broken by the Vice-Mayor, the decision was to keep the tax rate at its historic low. My vote was cast in favor of the proposed 50 cent increase for several reasons. I believe that the city should honor its commitments, and that our employees, particularly police, firefighters, and teachers, have foregone raises during the recession and are still behind on what their level of pay should be. I hear from most constituents that they want more sidewalks, bikeways, traffic calming, and affordable housing, and all of those improvements require funding. I have watched every department go through the exercise of cutting the fat from their spending during our recession years, and I believe that they are still operating on frugal budgets. In response to concerns about the city wasting money on economic incentives, I have compiled information about what we actually do offer to companies and determined that in our $2,200,000,000 annual budget, we offer $1,600,000 (0.07% of the total budget) in grants to companies for creating new jobs. We abate $6,000,000 (0.2%) in PILOT arrangements (payments in lieu of taxes) to companies who bring new businesses here. In addition we forego $23,000,000 (1%) in property taxes for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) development projects in formerly blighted areas that would not be generating property taxes without that investment in the first place. The PILOT and TIF arrangements all have end dates within the next 2 to 15 years after which the city will receive the full value of the property taxes. Given the no-growth budget that we have chosen, I am committed to continuing to look for savings in city spending and to ensuring that we continue to provide great service and infrastructure improvements to the citizens.
The next infrastructure improvement scheduled for District 18 is a new crosswalk in Hillsboro Village, which should be installed in the fall. After several meetings between Metro Public Works and Hillsboro Village merchants and customers, the location was chosen going from the northwest corner of Belcourt and 21st Avenue (in front of Pangaea) to the southeast corner (in front of Jackson’s). The crosswalk will have a pedestrian activated signal that will be timed with the traffic signals if possible. I appreciate all the input that has led us to this location and design. It will provide a much needed and safe path across 21st Avenue in the middle of the Village.
Please let me know your thoughts on any of these important topics or anything else that is on your mind. Contact me at 615-383-6604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Metro Council 18th District