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January Update

January 1, 2020

EVENTS

New Decade!

I want to wish everyone a happy new year and new decade.

Christmas Tree-Cycling

Recycling Christmas trees into mulch, rather than putting them in the trash, keeps them out of landfills and helps save Metro the cost of disposal fees. In partnership with Metro Parks and Living Earth, the Christmas Tree Recycling Drop-off program will run from December 26, 2019 to February 17, 2020 at twelve Metro Parks and both of the Living Earth facilities. Trees can be taken to the following locations: • Cane Ridge Park • Una Recreation Center • Whitfield Park • Cedar Hill Park • Two Rivers Park • Joelton Community Center • Sevier Park • Richland Park • Elmington Park • Edwin Warner Park • Lakewood City Hall • Frederick Douglas Park • Both of Living Earth’s locations at 1511 Elm Hill Pike and 6401 Centennial Blvd. Living Earth’s of Tennessee’s operating hours are Monday thru Friday 7:30 am to 4:30 pm; Saturday 7:30 am to noon.

Trees must be cleaned of all ornaments, lights, wire, string and other decor before bringing them to be tree-cycled. No artificial or flocked trees can be accepted. Please do not dump any other items at these drop-off locations.

Property Tax Relief & Tax Freeze Programs

The Metro Trustee’s office staff will be available for an on-site sign-up for the property tax relief and tax freeze programs and drop-off for renewal vouchers on Saturday, January 11th, 2020, from 11:00am – 2:00pm at the Bordeaux Branch Library, 4000 Clarksville Pike, Nashville TN 37218.

If you are 65 and over with limited income or disabled, you may qualify for one or both of the: • Tax Relief Program – 2018 Annual Income limit $29,860 • Tax Freeze Program – 2018 Annual Income limit $42,620

If you have any questions, please call the Office of the Trustee at 615-862-6330 for more information. Hosted by the Bordeaux Hills Residential Association, Ruby D. Baker, President.

Traffic Calming

Metro Public Works is accepting applications from neighborhood groups for Traffic Calming from January 6 through January 24. Applicants from last January and July will be re-entered in the process. If there are any changes from previous applications, neighborhoods can contact the traffic calming program manager, Derek Hagerty, directly at derek.hagerty@nashville.gov. Projects will be evaluated based on traffic count, speed, and incident data so that the most dangerous areas can be addressed first. Neighborhoods that qualify will be considered for lowered speed limits, speed humps, chicanes, traffic calming circles, and other traffic calming infrastructure. To learn more about the traffic calming program visit the Public Works website. Stop sign and sidewalk requests are separate and not included in the traffic calming program. Neighbors can request those through the hubNashville website, by calling 311, and working with Council Members.

Neighborhood Leadership Series

Neighbor 2 Neighbor is holding the third session of its Neighborhood Leadership Series on Saturday, January 11 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The topic this month will be Tips, Tricks, and Tools of Engagement. Registration is required at support.n2n.solutions/engagement. The cost is $50 or whatever is affordable. The final session will take place February 8.

Nashville Reads

The Nashville Public Library is once again sponsoring a city-wide book club through Nashville Reads. This year for the first time, the book is a picture book - “Dreamers,” by Yuyi Morales. An adult story, this the author’s story of coming to this country with her one-year old son, not knowing the language, not having resources and how things changed as soon as she found the public library! Morales is also the illustrator. Book discussions will be scheduled in the coming months.

Chinese New Year

Neighbors are invited to celebrate the Chinese New Year on February 1 from 12 pm to 3 pm in Hillsboro Village at the corner of Blakemore and 21st Avenue South. The festival includes Chinese dragon dancing and drumming, delicious food, arts, crafts, and other aspects of Chinese culture. This is the Year of the Mouse, and visitors are invited to don mouse costumes and participate in the contest for best costume. This family event is organized by Jen-Jen Lin, Director of the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville. Visit their website to learn more and learn how to support this fabulous annual event!

Nashville Tree Conservation Corps Tree Sale

Nashville is actively working to protect and replenish our tree canopy. Trees provide shade and wildlife habitat, reduce stormwater run-off, diminish heat island effect, and raise property values. Neighbors can help replace lost canopy by ordering and planting trees from the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps. The selection includes oaks, maples, dogwoods, cherry trees and other beautiful flowering and shade trees at reduced prices. For those who prefer, tree planting services can be included for an additional fee. Ordering deadlines are January 19 and March 17. For more information, visit the NCTT page here.

Transportation Options

Improving Transportation Options continues to be one of the major issues of livability in Nashville. The Mayor’s Office will host eleven public listening sessions in January and February of 2020. The listening sessions will provide opportunities to residents throughout Davidson County to voice their ideas, priorities, and concerns regarding transit and transportation in Nashville. Each session will be in the evening from 6 to 8 pm at a different location around the county. The dates and locations of the public listening sessions are:

  • Thursday, January 9 - Antioch/ Hickory Hollow: Southeast Community Center
  • Thursday, January 16 - Donelson/ Music City Star: Fifty Forward Donelson State
  • Thursday, January 23 - Bordeaux/ Clarksville Pike: Bordeaux Library
  • Tuesday, January 28 - North Nashville: Lee Chapel AME
  • Thursday, January 30 - Joelton: Joelton First Baptist Church
  • Thursday, February 6 - West Nashville: West Police Precinct Community Room
  • Tuesday, February 11 - Bellevue: Bellevue Public Library
  • Tuesday, February 18 - Downtown: Downtown Public Library
  • Thursday, February 20 - Green Hills/Hillsboro Pike: Church of Christ, Green Hills
  • Monday, February 24 - Nolensville/South Nashville: Plaza Mariachi
  • Thursday, February 27 - East Nashville/ Madison: Studio 615

Fay Dimassimo, the Mayor’s Senior Adviser for Transportation and Infrastructure, says “We will start by focusing on everyday transportation issues such as managing traffic and improving our bus system. Safety and efficiency improvements will allow residents to get around the city faster and more reliably. After identifying our most critical needs, the planning process will turn to larger and more ambitious public transportation and mass transit projects.”

Listening sessions with members of Metro Council began in November of 2019. Meetings with other community leaders and stakeholders will take place from January through March of 2020. The Mayor’s Office will issue initial recommendations in late spring of 2020 and release a full transportation plan by the end of September 2020, in keeping with Mayor Cooper’s pledge to have a new plan by the end of his first year in office.

More information about the Mayor’s Office transportation plan listening sessions can be found here.

ISSUES

Air Travel Identification

A Real ID will be required to travel by airplane starting October 1. ID’s can be obtained at Davidson County’s full service driver service centers on Hart Lane or Hickory Hollow Parkway and downtown at the Express Center. At least four pieces of identification are required - Proof to establish citizenship or legal presence, Proof of your full Social Security Number, Two proofs of Tennessee residency. You should also be prepared to provide documentation of any name changes that may have occurred. Lines are expected to get longer as the deadline approaches so travelers will want to plan ahead. More information is available here.

Water & Sewer Rate Increase Updates

The Metro Council has approved a Water and Sewer rate increase to take effect this month. Metro Water Services (MWS) submitted revised and final recommendations for the 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 on August 20, 2019 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 - our revenue comes from rates and fees charged to our 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. 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 filed 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 the same 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. More information can be found on the MWS website. For residential customers, a rate calculator will be available online to assist residents in determining what their new monthly bill will be. All rate payers have benefited from having very low water rates for many years, and Nashville’s rates are still relatively low. This increase will ensure cost effective, reliable water service in the years to come.

In Conclusion

I hope everyone’s decade is off to a great start. I’m excited about new beginnings, and I’m eager to hear new ideas from everyone on how to make Nashville a great place for everyone. Please contact me at burkley.allen@nashville.gov or 615-383-6604.

Regards,
Burkley Allen
Metro Council At-Large

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