Sunday, January 15, 2012

What's to Watch for at the Council Meeting 1-17-2012

End Limo Price Fixing, the Chicken Bill, Fixing Unfinished Roads, and Bribing Lifepoint 

BILL NO. BL2011-49 on second reading, sponsored by Davette Blalock, would remove limousine price fixing from the Metro Code. Read all about it here.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-82 creates a means whereby Metro can accept unfinished infrastructure. When a developer develops a subdivision, he is supposed to complete the streets to an acceptable standard before Metro will accept them. There are several developments around town, where the developer went broke or the developer just abandoned the project and the streets were never completed. The developer is supposed to post a bond or secure a letter of credit which would insure that if the developer does go broke or abandon the project, Metro has the funds to complete the project. That did not always work out as planned. This bill establishes a procedure whereby, under certain circumstances, Metro can accept the incomplete streets and complete the development. This will set the stage for finishing the streets and infrastructure such as sidewalks and drainage systems in several subdivisions where the infrastructure was never completed. This will probably not be controversial and will offer relieve to many who are living in a new but never completed subdivision.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-83 by Councilman Stanley would allow Metro to extend water lines to homes using private wells. Currently, if one wants to extend a water line to ones property, it is at one's own expense. Fiscal watchdogs in the Council may have a problem with this bill. 

This Chicken bill (ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-47) by Council Member Karen Bennett is on third reading. I am for this bill but I probably won't be raising chickens.  Under this bill one can only have six hens, even on a big lot. On a 50' x 150' lot, which is the lot size in a lot of the more urbanized older areas, one could only have four hens and their are other restrictions and set back requirements. I don't think if your neighbor has four hens, you are going to smell them.  I think cats running lose are a much bigger nuisance than penned hens.  I am beginning to think this may not pass. It has a very enthusiastic core group of supporters but a lot of vocal opponents. I suspect it will be a close vote. Read all about it here.

The LifePoint relocation bill (ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-58) would entice Lifepoint to move from Brentwood to Davidson County by excusing them from paying property taxes for the next 15 years. I wish governments were not in the business of bribing companies to relocate. If this practice continues, companies will be playing a game of threatening to relocate unless they are bribed to stay put. And why not? Getting the best deal for moving or staying put will become what a responsible CEO does. Since this has become a standard practice, I guess we have to play the game however. If this makes sense for the city, I guess I would have to vote for it if I were in the Council, but I don't like it. I am not sure however, that in this instance, this deal makes economic sense for the city. I would like to see a healthy debate on this on the council floor, but this council seems to be adverse to debate. This would be an excellent opportunity for a council member to distinguish himself from the herd. 

The council meetings are much more interesting (well, "interesting" may be too strong- they are less boring) if you know what is going on. An agenda and analysis help.

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