The Metro Budget is now available on the Metro Finance website. The mayor’s proposed operating budget was described by the mayor in general terms to the public at the Mayor’s State of Metro Address on April 27 and presented to the council by the Finance Director May 1. Both of those presentations were taped and can be viewed on the Metro YouTube channel. The budget ordinance will be on the council agenda for the May 16 council meeting for first reading. In a nut shell, the $3.2 billion budget will provide more for schools; the new Southeast Police precinct will be fully staffed; we are adding more firefighters and emergency services staff; transit gets increased funding; we are opening an Office of Homeless Services; the Barnes Housing Trust Fund is getting $30 million; and all Metro Parks Community Centers will be open on Saturdays. The council will begin budget hearings on May 17 and end with a public hearing at our June 6 council meeting. The Council will then hold several workshops to work through community requests via council members’ wish list items to incorporate into a Substitute Budget. The final vote on the Substitute Budget will be on June 20 (or June 27 if we need more time). Information on the whole budget process is available on the Metro Finance website under the Citizens’ Guide to the Budget and on the Metro YouTube channel.
Brush Pick-up begins in Area 3 Old Hickory, Lakewood, Hermitage, Stones River, Two Rivers, River Trace) on May 10 Area 4 (Donelson, Airport, Percy Priest, Northeast Antioch) on May 18 Area 5 ( Antioch, Cane Ridge, Paragon Mills ) on June 2 A map and schedule are available at the NDOT website.
The annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive campaign takes place Saturday, May 13. Neighbors can participate by placing a bag of unopened, nonperishable food next to their mailbox before the letter carrier delivers their mail on Saturday, May 13, and the letter carrier will do the rest. Food goes to help families in need of this assistance.
Walk Bike Nashville’s 19th Annual Tour de Nash is May 20th. 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.
Business opportunities are available at the Small & Diverse Business Expo (SDBX) Nashville on May 23 from 8 to 12 at the Maxwell House Hotel. The morning of information, resources, and networking can help small businesses take advantage of the opportunities ahead in Nashville’s East Bank, and across the Metro Region. Four of Nashville’s top builders have formed CBMP to grow their network of small and diverse businesses in construction, engineering, and professional services fields, to help build upcoming projects that will further enhance Music City. The Expo will help businesses:
- Learn about upcoming construction opportunities in Nashville’s East Bank and beyond
- Connect with members of the CBMP leadership team and learn about their commitment to growing and empowering small and diverse firms
- Build relationships with experts in banking, legal, bonding, and other fields that will help your business thrive
- Learn how to become certified with state and local agencies
- Network with other industry professionals, including some of Nashville’s leading trade contractors
- Learn about CBMP’s Small Business Advisory Network and Strategic Partnership Program, and how your firm can participate. More information is available here.
Governor Lee has set August 21 for a special session of the state legislature to consider gun violence reduction legislation. A website has been set up to receive public input in advance of the session. It is important for legislators to hear that most people support better protections. Nashvillians can express concerns on the state website.
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 and along Metro streets 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 see the Nashville Tree Foundation 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 Community Oversight Board, Employee Benefit Board, Historic Zoning Commission, and Tourism Board. Anyone who is interested in being considered can go to the Boards and Commissions website at Nashville.gov/boards and apply through the link at the bottom of the page.
The Broadway Bridge has been reduced to four lanes as utilities are relocated and the substructure demolition begins. The bridge will be closed entirely in July and August when the main replacement work is performed. Traffic will be rerouted to Demonbreun and Church between 8th Avenue and 14th Avenue during those months. More information is available on the TDOT website.
Election season is in full swing in Nashville beginning with a special primary for State Senate District 52 (Airport, Antioch, Percy Priest Lake area) on June 15 and general election in August 3. The primary is for the senate seat that the council unanimously re-instated Senator Justin Jones to as interim. The election is required by state law to make that permanent. The deadline to vote in this primary is May 16. Early voting for the D52 primary begins May 26. The general election in August will include mayor, vice-mayor, and council members. The court upheld Metro’s request for an injunction against having to reduce the size of the council. So this election will be for 35 district council members and 5 at-large as Nashville has had for the last 60 years. There are multiple forums planned to enable voters to learn about the candidates. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is July 6. Early voting begins 14.
The deadline to get a Real ID, which will be required to travel by airplane, has been rescheduled again, this time from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025. 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.
Trash and recycling pick-up will be delayed by one day during the week following Memorial Day. Residents can check the schedule at the Waste Services website.
The Mayor’s Office is once again inviting neighbors to join in a Participatory Budgeting process to allow community input and decision-making power on certain Metro capital projects. This process is now in the idea collection phase. These will be used to create a ballot later in the year. The ballot that residents will get to vote for in October and November can only be made of ideas submitted by the community. Neighbors are encouraged to make sure each council district is represented in the process by submitting ideas on what they want to see fixed or improved. Residents may submit an unlimited number of ideas. The suggested items should be for a specific location and should be physical improvements as opposed to requests for personnel. By working together, we can create a stronger, more vibrant community for everyone. The deadline to submit ideas is June 1st. Submit ideas at the Mayor’s web page.
The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) is looking for new recruits to fill the new Southeast Nashville precinct and to increase diversity throughout the force. The department has a new recruiting website. MNPS is looking for good women and men to join the police department so it reflects the diversity of our many neighborhoods.
Metro Parks has great summer programs that families can sign up for now. Centennial Park has theater and a swim team. Registration for the swim team is now open to 8th graders and younger. Joining before May 15 saves $30.00 on registration. Throughout June, thee swim team offers two to three swim practices per week, three swim meet opportunities, and a fun team day. To join the team, swimmers must be able to swim at least 10-15 yards on their stomachs or backs unassisted. The team will be led by Head Coach Ella Platek, a rising senior on the Vanderbilt women’s swim team. The team aims to provide a fun, team swimming opportunity for Nashville families to build community, confidence, and character through swimming. See details here. There are lots of other classes and sports opportunities at the other great Metro Parks community centers. Check out the Parks website.
Last year the council passed a bill to allow neighborhoods that wanted to allow more housing choices to adopt a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) Overlay. A number of areas have taken advantage of this option that will allow DADUs (mother-in-law cottages) to be added behind the main house. Properties with out-buildings in an RS zone may have been required to sign a restrictive covenant prohibiting occupation under the earlier zoning. In areas that have adopted the DADU overlay, this covenant can be reversed by submitting a termination of Covenant document to Metro Codes.
Metro Water Services (MWS) has issued its annual Consumer Confidence Report showing how the quality of your drinking water compares to required health standards. There is a wealth of information on where your drinking water comes from, how it is treated before it comes to you, and what is measured to ensure that it is always safe and healthy. This year’s report has added information on PFAS, a class of plastics that has become a new concern because of its prevalence. This is not yet a regulated compound, but MWS is being pro-active about measuring it. Read the report on the MWS website.
Metro is working improve mobility and address traffic congestion in the downtown core through Connect Downtown, a joint project of the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT), WeGo Public Transit, the Nashville Downtown Partnership, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). This effort will identify projects, programs, and policies to better manage Downtown’s increasing congestion and make it easier for people to get around by all modes of transportation. NDOT is looking at traffic and curbside management strategies; transit improvements; walking, rolling, and biking projects; and Vision Zero safety strategies. The goal is to support both current and future Nashvillians, planning for growth and ensuring that Nashville remains a great destination. The process has included a lot of community input and is now moving into the implementation phase. Check it out at the NDOT webpage.
Happy Spring and Happy Mother’s Day! Let me know what is on your mind by contacting me at email@example.com or 615-383-6604.
Metro Council At-Large