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May Update

May 1, 2022

Election Day is May 3. Voters on election day will need to go to their assigned polling location, which may have changed due to state redistricting. Use the Polling Place Finder at www.nashville.gov/vote to check. All local judges, District Attorney, Public Defender are up for election, the even numbered school board candidates are running, and various elected county officials, including Sheriff, Trustee, Register of Deeds, and County Clerk are on the ballot. This is actually the primary election, and almost all candidates are running in the Democratic primary. The general election will take place in August, but there will be only three contested races at that point. The other 40 will be decided in the May election in the Democratic primary.

Once the campaign is over signs can be recycled for candidates who aren’t planning to use them again. The metal H frames can be taken to the Metro Convenience centers at 943 Dr Richards Adams Rd, 3254 Ezell Pike ,and 1019 Omohundro Place. The recycling drop-off centers cannot accept them. The plastic part of the sign can be taken to Turnip Green Creative Re-Use at 407 Houston St.

The Metro Budget will be filed with the Metro Council on April 29. The mayor’s proposed operating budget presented to the council, and the budget ordinance will be on the council agenda for the May 17 council meeting. As chair of the budget committee, I have been meeting with the mayor and finance representatives to emphasize the items that were brought up at the pre-budget public comment period in March and that the council hears from the public on a regular basis. Those items include better funding for Metro Schools, particularly support staff; housing affordability initiatives; moving the cold weather shelter threshold from 28 degrees to 32 degrees; and directing public safety money away from incarceration and toward mental health support. The council will hold our own budget hearings beginning with key departments on May 18 and ending with the public hearing at our June 7 council meeting. Budget Committee Vice-Chair Zulfat Suara will also be hosting a series of budget town halls on Facebook on Saturday mornings. The Council will then hold several workshops to work through council members’ wish list items to incorporate into a Substitute Budget to be voted on June 21 (or June 28 if we need more time). Information on the whole budget process is available on the Metro Finance website and on the Metro YouTube channel.

Brush Pick-up begins in:

  • Area 1 (West Madison, Capital View, Douglas Park, Cleveland Park, McFerrin Park, Highland Heights) on May 9
  • Area 2 (East Madison, Inglewood, Neely’s Bend, Peeler Park, Maplewood Heights, Iverson, Maxwell Heights, Edgefield, Eastwood, Shelby Bottoms, Shelby Hills, and Lockland Springs) on May 13
  • Area 3 (Old Hickory, Lakewood, Hermitage, Stones River, Two Rivers, River Trace) on May 24
  • Area 4 (Donelson, Airport, Percy Priest, Northeast Antioch) on June 1

A map and schedule are available here.

Walk Bike Nashville’s 18th Annual Tour de Nash is May 21st. This is Nashville’s largest urban bike ride, with 3 riding distances to choose from. The City Tour (9-mile), Local Tour (25-mile), and Grand Tour (45-mile) rides highlight some of Nashville’s best bicycle infrastructure, our scenic greenways, and local neighborhoods. It is a great way to discover new places to ride your bike. Register here.

Now that spring is here, and trees are turning greener by the day, people may notice that some ash trees are being impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). This is a big deal because Nashville has a lot of ash trees, and most of them are expected to eventually succumb to this invasive pest. Ash trees are great shade trees, and they are what most wooden base ball bats and ax handles are made of because the wood is so hard. Unfortunately, the wood fiber under the bark is a favorite food of an imported Japanese beetle that is spreading across the country and is now well established in Nashville. Many trees in Metro parks have been marked with a big blue dot to indicate that they are ash trees, and that they are being watched for signs of weakening from the insect invasion. The trees can snap off suddenly at the base if they are not removed once significant damage occurs. The effects will be indicated by dead branches higher up in the crown of the tree, pencil-sized D-shaped holes in the bark, and bare patches of bark where woodpeckers have peeled the bark off looking for the beetles. Residents should check the trees in their yards for signs of infestation. Some trees can be treated, but it is expensive and must be started before the beetles have made too much headway. Hazard trees in public spaces can be reported at Hub.Nashville.gov. For more information visit the Nashville Tree Foundation’s website.

Metro has over 75 Boards and Commissions that help implement the goals and policies of the Metro Departments. These are made up of citizens from all over the county who bring their diverse perspectives and expertise to ensure good decision making. Board members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the Metro Council. The Mayor’s Office is always looking for good people to serve. Within the next few months, there will be openings on the Parks Board, Metro Historic Zoning Commission, Continuum of Care for Homelessness, MDHA, and Tourism and Convention Bureau. Anyone who is interested in being considered can send me a resume, and I will forward it to the mayor’s office. More information about Boards and Commissions is at Nashville.gov/boards.

The Nashville Department of Transportation has completed the Vision Zero Action Plan and is in the final stages of producing a five-year implementation plan with a goal of eliminating all traffic-related deaths and severe injuries and increasing safety, equity, and mobility for all users. Building on the Vision Zero Action Plan’s guiding principles and recommended actions the five-year implementation plan will identify specific projects and programs that NDOT and partners will develop and execute. NDOT staff anticipates completing the implementation plan this spring. Implementation will include road, crosswalk, and lighting improvements at high accident intersections and bus stops and safer bike infrastructure. More information can be found here.

On Earth Day, Mayor John Cooper renewed his administration’s promise to support and execute initiatives that advance a carbon-free and environmentally secure future for Nashvillians. During his time in office, Mayor Cooper has overseen a number of sustainability, resilience, and environmental priorities that are moving forward. These include:

  • Sustainability Dashboard. Metro has launched a new, public, sustainability dashboard which highlights and tracks many environmental, sustainability and resilience accomplishments and datasets across Metro entities. The dashboard will support transparency and accountability relating to environmental stewardship and will support education of the public on Metro activities in this space.
  • Metro Facility Benchmarking. Earlier this month, the Mayor’s Office, in partnership with the Department of General Services, launched a facility benchmarking initiative. As part of this effort Metro departments will closely monitor energy consumption and costs associated with all utilities, leading to identification of opportunities to pursue environmental and cost savings in facilities. Benchmarking will lead to greenhouse gas emissions reductions in alignment with the City’s adopted carbon reduction goals and supports stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Update. In February 2022, the Department of General Services kicked off preparation of Metro Government and the City’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions inventories. The updated inventories, to be completed this summer, will allow Metro to understand trends in greenhouse gas emissions since 2014 and opportunities for targeting priority climate actions that will result in the most significant emissions reductions.
  • Korean Veterans & John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridges Upgrade. In 2021, the Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure completed LED lighting upgrades to Korean Veterans and John Seigenthaler pedestrian bridges. The projects replaced 432 existing fixtures with new LED lights, retrofitted 172 existing fixtures to LED, and increased lighting levels for pedestrian foot traffic. These improvements will save $215,600 annually and cut bridge energy bills in half.
  • Climate Action Plan Survey. In February 2020, Mayor John Cooper established a Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) of over 50 community volunteers. In early 2021, the SAC presented its recommendations to address climate change. Mayor Cooper is asking the public for feedback on these climate action recommendations via survey through the end of May.

It looks like we are finally putting the pandemic behind us in a number of ways. Metro Health has announced the closure of the 28th Ave assessment center on the 29th of April. Case numbers have dropped dramatically from their highs of 22,000 in Nashville in January to around 400 at the end of March. Although cases are ticking up in Nashville-Davidson County to around 800 at the end of April, the pace has been slow, and there is reason to think that enough people have immunity that the spread is going to stay slow. Most importantly hospitalizations and deaths are staying low because there are now many treatment options available. However, there is more viral transmission in our community now than a couple of weeks ago, which means people with severe immunocompromising conditions (especially if they’re unvaccinated and not boosted) might want to reduce their individual risk from doing things like eating in indoor public places by wearing high quality protective masks around others.

The deadline to get a Real ID, which will be required to travel by airplane, has been rescheduled again, this time from October 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023. 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. You can go on-line and see where wait times are not long before choosing where to make your appointment. More information is available here.

Happy Spring and Happy Mother’s Day! Let me know what is on your mind by contacting me at burkley.allen@nashville.gov or 615-383-6604.

Regards,
Burkley Allen
Metro Council At-Large

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