The Metro Budget has officially been proposed for FY2023. There are two parts – the Operating Budget and the Capital Improvements Budget (CIB). BL2022-1248, the operating budget, was filed by the Mayor’s Office after holding hearings with all the Metro Departments about what they needed to provide basic services for the city. The proposed budget is $2.96 billion which includes a fully funded school budget that will give key school support staff long delayed raises to improve retention, and it provides $30 million for affordable housing and $50 for homelessness solutions. The budget also includes cost of living increases to other Metro employees, which should help with recruitment of hard to fill positions. This budget funds new positions in the Affordable Housing Division of the Planning Department as recommended by the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force. The budget also includes funding to staff our Department of Transportation so the city can accelerate construction of infrastructure for all modes of transportation – improving traffic signalization for cars and buses, restoring bus service lost in the pandemic, improving bus stops, building more sidewalks and bikelanes, and ensuring all infrastructure is in good repair. The full operating budget can be reviewed here. The Mayor’s proposed budget is traditionally substituted with a Council version developed by the Budget Chair in collaboration with the Budget and Finance Committee members. This substitute process is currently under way based on our own department hearings and public input from Council’s public hearing.
The Capital Improvements Budget, Bill BL2022-1268 is essentially a “wish list” of all the items that any department or council member has asked to be constructed in the next five years. Items must be included in the CIB to get funded, but this legislation does not actually allocate any money. That happens later in the year through the Capital Spending Plan. Details of the CIB can be found on this web page. A Public Hearing on the budget is scheduled for June 7 at the beginning of the Metro Council meeting. By charter the council must pass some version of a budget by June 30, or the mayor’s budget will stand as proposed. The council is on schedule to pass our substitute budget at our June 21 meeting. Information on the whole budget process is available on the Metro Finance website and on the Metro YouTube channel.
The Property Assessment Appeals process is underway. Property owners who feel that their assessment is incorrect can appeal here. The deadline to appeal to the Metro Board of Equalization is June 17 at 4 pm. This appeal is required in order to appeal at the state level later in the year if that is necessary.
Openings on Metro Boards and Commissions – Metro has over 75 boards and commissions that use engaged citizens on a volunteer basis to make recommendations and rulings on everything from beer permits to zoning requests. The Mayor’s office appoints members of these boards with final approval by the Metro Council. Registered voters in Davidson County who are interested in serving on a board can submit a resume to me or to their district council member to be relayed to the Mayor’s office for consideration. Openings are coming up for the Homelessness Commission, Metro Development and Housing Authority, Tourism and Convention Board, and the Parks Board. For a full list of all boards and commissions, see the Nashville.gov website.
People have called me concerned about Fiber Installation taking place in public rights of way and what mechanisms are in place for tree, utility, and sidewalk protection. Metro Code requires a bond to be posted beforehand, and that all infrastructure and landscaping be restored when the project is completed. Items that are not restored or microtrenches that are left open should be reported at HUB Nashville. Concerns remain about the long term viability of trees after boring or excavating has disturbed major roots of the tree. I am working on requiring photo documentation of the construction areas around the trees as part of the record so that appropriate responsibility can be determined if the tree dies within the three years following construction. This is not in place yet, so I encourage neighbors to take pictures of projects in your area and provide them to Public Works with the address and date of the project. Send to Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org and ask her to log them with the project as evidence of good or damaging construction.
Brush pick-up begins for area 4 (Donelson, Airport, Percy Priest, Northeast Antioch) on June 1; area 5 (Antioch, Cane Ridge, Paragon Mills) on June 13; area 6 (Brentwood, Crieve Hall, Grassmere, Abbay Hall, Sidco, WeHo) on June 22; area 7 (Edgehill, 12th South, Battlemont, Green Hills) on June 29.
Neighbor 2 Neighbor will host a mini-conference on Saturday, September 10, 2022, to help neighborhood groups better prepare for, and respond to, natural and human-made disasters that may impact their neighborhoods. The conference is being supported by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and will include presenters from the American Red Cross, Hands on Nashville, Nashville VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters) and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Neighborhoods that are prepared are more resilient. This means that they have the capacity to move forward and recover much more quickly. The 3.5 hour mini-conference will help participants identify the most-likely disasters and emergencies that may strike their neighborhoods; what happens in the aftermath of a disaster and how neighborhood groups can be most effective; and, how neighborhood groups can help neighbors prepare for disasters and other emergencies. Registration will open July 1. Thanks to the generous support of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee registration will only be $15 per person.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is offering Community Tree Planting grants. The goal of the TAEP (Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program) community tree planting grant is to increase the tree resource base in cities and towns across the state of Tennessee. This is not just about beautification. Urban trees provide a multitude of benefits including but not limited to: cooler temperatures, cleaner air, reduced flooding and erosion, better human health, and food and shelter for wildlife. Neighborhood associations, civic groups, and community volunteer tree groups and elementary, secondary educational and higher learning institutions are encouraged to apply by the June 3 deadline on the TN Department of Agriculture website.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently launched the NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) program. NSF is hosting an NSF Engines Roadshow, regionally focused events to build awareness about the NSF Engines program, share best practices, and facilitate connections between innovators in regions across the country. During each roadshow event, participants will: • Receive a brief overview of the NSF Engines program • Hear from a panel of leading innovation and technology ecosystem builders and experts from across the country • Join interactive breakout rooms to collaborate with fellow innovators from their region and jumpstart conversations about potential collaboration opportunities
Stop 4 of the roadshow will focus on a region that includes Tennessee and is scheduled for June 9 from 2-4:00 PM EDT (1-3 CDT)
I hope everyone’s summer is off to a good start. Let me know what is on your mind at email@example.com or 615-383-6604. Sign up for my newsletter at burkley.org (click “get involved”, then “get email updates”), or by clicking on this sign up link.
Metro Council At-Large