Monday, October 14, 2013

What's on the Council Agenda for October 15 with summary and commentary

This should be a relatively short meeting. The only hot issue, the $200 million bond issue, has already been resolved.

To follow along, you can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. And, you download the Council staff analysis at this link: Metro Council Staff Analysis.

Confirmation of Appointment: There is only one and it is to the Community Education Commission.

Bill on public hearing: There is only one and it is a hearing to exempt an establishment that already has a liquor-by-the-drink permit and is seeking a beer permit, from the minimum distance requirements of the beer permit. These type items have been passing with no one showing up to speak in opposition. I think the law should be changed so that if one has a liquor-by-the-drink permit they are automatically exempt from the distance requirements of the beer permit.

Consent Agenda: There are eight resolutions, all of which are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda but it doesn't happen often. Below are resolutions worth noting:

  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-871 and RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-872 are the resolution that would have approved the purchase of $200 Million in Pension Obligation Bonds. The plan was to purchase these bond at 4.1% interest rate and invest the money and hope to turn a profit. As soon as this was announced it ran into opposition and the Mayor's office has already announced they are withdrawing the proposal. 
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-873 imposes an additional 1/4 percent sales tax on most items purchased in the downtown central business district. Money raised from this tax will go into a fund that can be used to subsidize big conventions coming to Nashville. 
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-878 settles the claim of Juana Villegas against the city. Villegas is the illegal Mexican immigrant who had previously been deported, who was arrested and was pregnant and while in the custody of the Sheriff's Department was shackled to a hospital bed while in labor. This happened five years ago. She won a lawsuit against the city and was awarded $200,000 in damages and another $1.2 Million in attorney's fees. Metro appealed and won. However, she was awarded a new trial. This resolution would settle the case giving Ms. Villegas $100,000 and her attorneys $390,000. While some Council members may not like settling this suit, my view is that if the legal department recommends settling, we should settle. Voting to settle a law suit does not imply one agrees with the outcome, only that a settlement is in the financial best interest of the city.

Bills on First reading almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but will before second reading. There are six bills on first reading.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are fifteen bills on second reading.

  • BILL NO. BL2013-526 and Bill NO. BL2013-527 establish a Metro Injury-on-duty clinic and approve an entity to operate it. It looks like it has been a deliberative process to reach this point and it appears this will save the city money. Apparently this mode of operation is successfully used by major corporations. These are good bills.
  • Bill No. Bl2013-546 is an approval of a lease for the location of the Metro Injury-on-duty clinic.
Bills on Third Reading: Third Reading is the final reading. If a bill passes third reading it becomes law unless it is vetoed by the Mayor, which has only rarely happened. There are ten bills on third reading. None of them appear controversial.

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