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December Update

December 1, 2019

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Here is the news for December.

EVENTS

Flu Shots

Flu season is just getting started, and it is important to get the flu shot before you are exposed. The CDC recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone over the age of six months. Flu vaccines for people of all ages are widely available in Nashville. Many drug stores and pharmacies offer walk in service, and at least two chains offer free shots. The flu vaccine is especially important for people at high risk for serious illness or death from influenza such as the elderly, pregnant women and young children, as well as healthcare workers and family and friends of anyone at high risk. Expectant mothers should be vaccinated during pregnancy to protect themselves and pass protection on to their unborn babies. For those few cases who get the flu after being vaccinated, having gotten the flu shot will decrease the severity of the illness. For more information about flu shots offered by the Metro Public Health Department call 615-340-5616 or visit their website.

Holiday Events

Start the holiday season off with some fun city and neighborhood events. a. The Metro Tree Lighting ceremony will be Friday, December 6 at 6 pm at the Metro Courthouse. Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, music by school choirs and local musicians and the official lighting of the Metro Christmas tree. This event is free and open to the public b. Celebrate the Holiday in Hillsboro Village on Saturday, December 7, from 4 to 7 PM (and beyond). Neighbors can get all their holiday shopping done in a festive atmosphere complete with carolers, holiday face painting, pictures with Santa at Fido, hot cider, ornament making, raffles, store discounts, and lots more. There are several new businesses in the Village, and this presents a great opportunity to support new and old local businesses. c. The Hillsboro West End Holiday Lights Carriage and Trolley tours are Saturday and Sunday December 7 and 8. Drive through a festively lit historic neighborhood in a horse-drawn carriage or on a trolley. This annual fund raiser supports Dragon Music Sunday concerts, the Annual Meeting, Neighborhood Beautification efforts, Fannie Mae Dees Park amenities, and many other projects that build and maintain the unique residential and historic character of the neighborhood. Purchase tickets ahead of time at HWEN.org. d. The Menorah Lighting Ceremony that will take place on Thursday, December 19 at 5:30 p.m on the second floor of the Historic Metro Courthouse. This has typically included traditional food and songs led by a children’s choir. This event is free and open to the public.

Job Fair

Same-Day Hire Job Fair - MissionSide, a telecommunications company with a call center in Nashville, has been contracted to hire 800 employees between now and January 2020. These full-time jobs offer livable wages, starting at $16 per hour. Employees will receive payment for their time training to conduct calls, and will begin work on a rolling basis through mid-January. The project will run through July 2020. MissionSide is making its biggest push to hire Nashvillians at its job fair on Thursday, December 5 from 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM at 2 Dell Parkway. Those who apply in person may be hired on site.

Census Bureau Job Openings

The Census Bureau is hiring for a variety of temporary jobs, including census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisors. Veterans get preferential priority. Most jobs last for several weeks. To apply, visit The Census Bureau website.

Openings For Metro Commissions

Metro has over 75 volunteer boards and commissions that guide and regulate much of the city’s work. Board members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council. The full slate of commissions can be found at the Metro.gov website. Citizens who are interested in serving should send resumes to highlight their qualifications and interest to their council member. There are currently openings coming up for the Greenways Commission, which is charged with the planning and development of greenways and acquiring Open Space for future development of parks and greenways throughout Davidson County.

Brush Pick-up

Brush Pick-up is scheduled for southeast Nashville in December starting in the Percy Priest area and moving west during the month. Remember that brush has to be pulled away from fences and utility poles so the grapple arm can get to it.

Metro Tax Relief Program

As Metro continues to examine ways to preserve housing affordability in Nashville, the Tax Relief Program has already emerged as an important component of the plan. This consists of tax relief and tax freeze. To qualify for tax relief, a person must be 65 years of age or older (or declared permanently and totally disabled by Social Security), must own and live on the property and the income of all owners of record and/or spouses of the property must not exceed $29,860 (based on 2018 income) per year. Disabled Veterans can also qualify. Under the Tax Freeze Program, qualifying homeowners age 65 and older can “freeze” the tax due on their property at the amount for the year they qualify, even if tax rates increase. Income must be below the 2018 limit of $42,620 (based on 2018 income) for Davidson County. Applicants may contact the Metro Trustee office at 862-6330 regarding these programs or come to the Trustee’s Office at 700 Second Avenue, South, Suite 220 to file an application or go to the website at here.

I-440 Repaving Project

TDOT has published a general schedule for the I-440 repaving project on their website. Important events in December include the closing of the ramp from I-440 westbound to I-65 southbound the weekend of December 6 and the first concrete deck pours for the I-440 bridge over I-64 the second week of December.

Nashville Reads

The Metro Public Library is once again sponsoring a city wide book club through Nashville Reads. This year’s book is “Dreamers” by Yuyi Morales, a story of immigrating from Mexico to the US with a young child. This is a great present for the holidays so children can be ready for book discussions in the spring.

Rebuilding Together Nashville Housing Initiative

Rebuilding Together Nashville has officially launched their two-year housing initiative in Greater Bordeaux that includes both home improvements and neighborhood revitalization efforts to help preserve affordable home ownership. They are repairing homes based on applications to demonstrate need. A Community Advisory Committee from the area will help guide the process. To apply for home repair or for nomination to the Advisory Committee click here and also here.

ISSUES

Recycling

Recycling – Metro Public Works is responding to changes in the recycling markets by educating residents on what can still be recycled. There is new information on the Public Works website regarding acceptable recycling materials and the “Oops Tag” auditing program is providing on site inspection of recycling bins to identify contamination that can lead to rejection of whole loads by the processors. For more information see the Nashville.gov website. Public Works continues to offer free weekly workshops:

  • The Dirt on Composting - Attendees of the one- hour workshop receive a free backyard composter. More information is can be found here.
  • Visit the Recycle Center - Visitors attending the one-hour workshop will see how recyclables are sorted and processed and will receive a free small recycle bin. Details can be found here.

Metro Budget

Metro Budget – The Council is continuing to evaluate options for balancing the city’s budget in light of decisions that have eliminated previously anticipated revenues from a parking management deal and the sale of the downtown energy system. We will hear from the Finance Director on December 11 to get his suggestions for reducing costs and identifying savings. There may be discussion of additional sources of revenue as well. Many people have asked how we got to this situation. There are several key factors:

  • After the 2017 reappraisal, the property tax rate was adjusted downward as required by state law to make the process revenue neutral. The adjustment was made based on historical percentages of successful appeals to appraisals, but the actual number of appeals granted was much higher than previous reappraisals. The result was an actual decrease in revenue.
  • The state reduced funding to schools requiring more money from Metro just to maintain the existing level of funding.
  • Decisions made in 2009 during the recession to restructure debt pushed debt payments forward to a time when economic conditions were expected to be better. It helped the city weather the recession, but we have not taken those increases into account as we’ve made new spending commitments. We will continue to see increases in debt service through 2024 as a result of that strategy. Debt service is like a mortgage payment on capital spending for items like sidewalks, road projects, new libraries, schools, police precincts, and fire stations.
  • New construction has added to the tax base at a rate of about $100 million per year. That has been enough to cover the increases in debt service payments but hasn’t left much for operating or salary increases.
  • Departments have adjusted to requests for savings with hiring freezes and other departmental savings. These measures have helped keep spending down but are beginning to take a toll on the level of services.

Water Rate Increase

In similar fashion, Metro Water Services is working to provide information on why a water rate increase is necessary at this time. The last increase in rates was in 2013. We pay the lowest rate in the region, and even after the proposed increase will still be below average. For most residential customers, the change will add about $6 to $9 per month. The new rates are based on what it actually costs to deliver clean water to each house and company and to provide on-going upkeep of the distribution system. More detail is available at newwaterratesnashville.gov.

Project Warm

Nashville General Hospital is asking for help to provide warm clothing to patients as they leave the hospital through their Project Warm. Nashville General Hospital has many patients leaving their doors without warm clothing. They need NEW* socks, gloves, hats, blankets, ponchos, sleeping bags, jackets, sweatshirts and lip balm for adults and adolescent children. Donors can drop off at articles at the Information Desk in the Hospital Lobby at 1818 Albion St or call 615-341-4235. Instead of items you can make cash donations online at their website, or mail to NGH Foundation at 1818 Albion Street, Nashville TN 37208.

NES Contact Information

NES wants to hear from citizens about power outages, streetlights that aren’t working, or concerns about tree trimming.

  • Customer Service – 615-736-6900
  • Outage Reporting – 615-234-0000 or Text “OUT” to 637797 (NESPWR) if your cell phone is registered with NES
  • Tree Trimming Hot Line – 615-695-7400
  • Streetlight outage – Click here (look for the pole number on the yellow tag) or HUBNashville.

In Conclusion

I wish everyone safe and happy holidays. Please let me know of your suggestions and concerns at burkley.allen@nashville.gov or 615-383-6604

Regards,
Burkley Allen
Metro Council At-Large

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