November is the perfect month for planting trees, and there are lots of opportunities available. The 34th annual Hillsboro West End Neighborhood tree day is November 17. Trees can be ordered by November 9 from the HWEN website or from forms in the newsletter. Trees will be delivered for pick up the morning of the 17th at Blair Blvd. Trees are 5 to 6 feet tall and balled and burlap. This size is easy for volunteers to load and plant, and they have a good record of survival. Prices are in the $50 to $75 range. For those who would like larger trees, Metro Beautification is hosting its first ever tree sale with 1.5 inch caliper trees in the $100 to $125 range. There are also options to pay extra to have the tree planted by professionals and watered for the next year. Order from Metro Beautification here. A third possibilty is the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps, who has an on-going tree order form on their website. Trees are 1.5” caliper and cost from $110 to $200. NTCC trees can be planted by professionals for $75. All programs are supporting Metro’s tree canopy replacement goal “Root Nashville” of planting half a million new trees by 2020. New trees can be registered here. And while we’re focusing on trees, everyone should know that Metro’s current Tree Ordinance requires each new home to have at least 1 tree in front. Projects that are completed without trees can be reported at Hub Nashville and a gentle reminder to the contractor will bring one more tree to the neighborhood, putting us one tree closer to the Root Nashville goal and protecting the planet.
Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
The Parks Department is looking for the perfect Christmas tree for the city’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, which is scheduled for 6 p.m., Friday, December 6 at Public Square Park.
Metro Parks’ Horticulturalist Randall Lantz says they are looking for a specific tree in a specific circumstance. Parks wants a tree that has outgrown its location or is a hazard to a power line, so that it is destined for removal anyway. The Parks Department is looking for a 30 to 40 foot Norway Spruce that looks good from all angles. The tree must be located in Davidson or a bordering county that has service from Nashville Electric Service, Metro’s partners in installing the tree. To donate a tree, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Public Works Street Sweeping Schedule is online. This time of year, it is especially important to keep leaves and debris out of the street so that it doesn’t get washed into storm drains and exacerbate storm water problems. Neighbors can help by moving cars from the street on sweeping day, never blowing leaves into the street, putting leaves in compostable bags for brush pick-up, and adopting a storm drain by clicking here.
Street Sweeping Schedule
The Street Sweeping Schedule is published monthly on Metro’s Open Data website. Moving cars off the street on sweeping day will help Metro Water Services get debris and leaves off the street before they end up in the storm sewer system and clog it up. And since leaves have already started to fall, please remember not to blow your leaves into the street. Metro will pick them up if they are bagged in compostable bags, which can be bought at most hardware stores. This is also a great time of year to Adopt-A-Storm-Drain at their website here. Pick a storm drain near you and commit to keeping it free of sticks, leaves, and trash to keep our water ways clean and help prevent flooding on your street during heavy rains.
Holiday Trash Pick-Up
Holiday trash pick-up takes place on the Saturday following Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I-440 Ramp Closures
TDOT will have additional exit and entrance ramp closures every weekend through the beginning of December. Specific information is available at the TDOT website.
Historic Guideline Consolidation
The Metro Historic Zoning Commission will consider changes to the criteria used to evaluate proposed projects in Neighborhood Conservation Zoning districts on Wednesday, November 20 at 2 pm. The proposed Historic Guideline Consolidation would combine all the neighborhood conservation design guidelines into one basic set of design guidelines, with individual chapters for each district. All of the neighborhood conservation design guidelines are already very similar, and the consolidation will provide an opportunity to better organize and add clarifying language. The second component is to create new design guidelines and a plan book for outbuildings, that provide more flexibility in terms of size and design and clearer guidance. More information is available at the Nashville.gov website.
Property Tax Relief
2018 property tax statements have been sent out. Neighbors over the age of 65 with incomes below $29,860 can apply for Metro’s tax relief programs at the Metro Trustee’s office at 700 2nd Avenue South. Those with incomes below $42,680 can apply to freeze their taxes at the current level. More information is available at here.
Many neighbors have communicated their frustration with or support for scooter mobility in Nashville. The council put a lot of effort into creating guidelines for the original pilot, and now the Transportation and Licensing Commission (TLC) is writing a Request for Proposals for a limited number of companies to operate with new rules that put more responsibility for enforcement on the companies. While scooters have served some natives and visitors well, there is still much work to be done to reduce inappropriate use, like riding on the sidewalk and parking in appropriate places. The new framework should provide more resources and accountability.
Nashville General Hospital’s Project Warm is asking for help providing warm clothing for patients leaving the hospital in need. The NGH Foundation is requesting donations of new socks, gloves, hats, jackets, sweat shirts, ponchos, sleeping bags, and lip balm for adults and adolescents. Donations can be dropped off at the front desk of the hospital at 1818 Albion St, or financial donations can be made at Nashville General Hospital’s website.
Metro Council Public Comment Period
Metro Council meetings now include a public comment period for topics that are not on the agenda. Citizens can express opinions about issues of importance to them at the beginning of the council meetings on the third Tuesday of each month. Up to ten people can sign up, and each speaker will have two minutes to speak. These time slots will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Constituents may sign-up here to speak at the Public Comment Period once every ninety days.
Attention, Small Businesses
Metro has two types of Small Business Incentives that can reward existing local businesses for providing jobs or improving economically struggling areas of the city. The Fast Growing Business Employment Incentive is for Companies with fewer than 100 employees that add 10 or more jobs in a 12 month period. Qualifying companies are eligible for a one- time $500 per job grant ($750 for Veterans). The job must pay more than $36,624 annually (80% of the mean wage for the Nashville MSA, which is $45,780). $50,000 is the maximum grant per company. The Property Investment Incentive is awarded for constructing or rehabilitating the exterior portions of commercial property located in Tier-1 census tracts with an existing property value less than million dollars ($1,000,000) at the time the grant application is made. The Grant is for 50% of the investment in the improvements up to a $50,000 cap with a minimum $10,000 investment by the owner. To learn more or to apply click here.
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce - Leadership Connect Program
Small business owners are also encouraged to apply to the Chamber Leadership Connect program, which provides them a great opportunity to engage more with the Nashville business community and become leaders. Each year, a small cohort of entrepreneurs is selected to learn from each other and top area leaders on how to become more involved in building the Nashville community. Leadership Connect aims to give small business owners from all walks of life a bigger platform for making the changes they want to see in our region. During this program, 10 small business owners who are chosen through a competitive process will meet with CEOs and community leaders to develop a deeper understanding of what is needed to move our region forward. They’ll also gather as a peer group to share issues and challenges facing their own businesses. To apply visit the Chamber’s website.
Proposed Water Rate Increase
Metro Water Services (MWS) submitted revised and final recommendations for proposed rate increases to the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury based on the comprehensive Water and Sewer Financial Planning and Cost of Service Evaluation (“Cost of Service Study”), which was first submitted to the Mayor’s Office and the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury and the Tennessee Water and Wastewater Financing Board on August 27, 2019. The revisions and recommendations are based on review and comments of the Cost of Service Study and upon request of the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office with the agreement of the Mayor’s Office. In the May 2019 budget hearing, MWS Director, Scott Potter stated that the Cost of Service Study had been commissioned and that he anticipated bringing a rate proposal before the council. Metro Water Services operates as an enterprise fund, which means that their revenue comes from rates and fees charged to their customers. With this money, MWS pays for operating, maintaining, and funding capital improvements for our water and wastewater systems. Nashville’s last water and sewer rate increase was in 2011. Prior to that increase, MWS had not raised water and sewer rates for 13 years. In the past 10 years, operating costs have increased 30% and capital needs for maintenance and upgrades have increased as well. A rate adjustment was recommended in 2016, with a proposed implementation of FY 2017 and when these rates were not implemented, MWS was forced to scale back on capital activities. The results of the Cost of Service Study confirm the need for rate and fee adjustments. With the support of Mayor Cooper, MWS will file new rate structure legislation that incorporates needed water and sewer rate increases for both residential and non-residential customers with the Metro Council on November 5, 2019. The proposed rate structure is cost-of-service based, encourages wise water use and conservation, and provides for affordable drinking water for essential residential use. A continued focus on developing and maintaining a sustainable infrastructure is critical to our city now and in the future. Therefore, the proposed rates include dedicated funds for water and sewer line improvements that will allow us to replace or rehabilitate a percentage of our aging pipes each year. MWS is committed to providing an exceptional quality of service to all Nashville neighborhoods and has $1.4 billion worth of proposed capital projects spread across all districts it serves. In addition to the new rate structure, development related fee increases will be considered. In 2009, development fees were decreased 50% due to the economic crisis. Although cost studies were periodically completed, development and other fees were never re-established to recover costs. We anticipate rate and fee adjustments to be effective January 1, 2020 upon approval by Metro Council. This date is reflected in the study provided to the Comptroller, which will be presented to the Water and Wastewater Financing Board Members in November. As a result of this meeting, it is likely MWS will receive an order from the Board to implement the plan. More information can be found on our website. For our residential customers, a rate calculator will be available online to assist residents in determining what their new monthly bill will be. For commercial customers, MWS will hold Open Houses in November to explain changes in commercial rates.
I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful fall colors in our neighborhoods. Please let me know what is on your mind at email@example.com or 615-383-6604
Metro Council At-Large