Wednesday, April 04, 2018

What happened at the 4/3/18 Council meeting: Sidewalk bill deferred, lot of $ spend, not much else.

At just a little over an hour long this is a relatively short meeting especially considering it is a meeting with public hearings on zoning matters. There are no long speeches or contentious items on the agenda. To access the agenda, the staff agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda follow this link. Below are the items of interest.

Bills on Public Hearing:

Bill BL2017-1029 by Councilman  Steve Glover which would change the laws regarding "contributions" paid in lieu of the construction of sidewalks is deferred indefinitely. Also,
Bill BL2018-1130 by Councilman Glover which would  require an annual study of sidewalk costs is deferred indefinitely. The Councilman says there is more work to do on the bills.  Both of these are good bills and I hope they do come back, especially 1130. It should be criminal the amount of money wasted on sidewalk construction. Back in October, The Tennessean investigated Metro's sidewalk program and found that city allocated $30 million a year for each of the last two years for sidewalks and the city build only 3.5 miles of new sidewalks.
Resolutions of interest:

Resolution RS2018-1123  appropriates $19.759 million from the 4% fund to various departments. This is normal and is for purchasing of things that ware out or for unexpected repairs. $1.5 million is for library material, $1.5 is for maintenance material and supplies for the parks department and .5 million for Metro General Hospital. Due to our fund balance falling below an acceptable level, I would think it wise to defer some of these expenses, such as purchasing new books for the library, until the new fiscal year. Five hundred thousand dollars to fund the relocation of a salt bin is taken out, which is wise since we won't need to salt the roads in the summer. Unfortunately nothing else is deferred and the bill passes by a voice vote with no audible "no" votes.

Resolution RS2018-1124 is a supplemental appropriation of $2,516,400, largest amount going to the Sheriff's Department for salaries. This supplemental appropriation reduces to  3.18% for the GSD General Fund and 3.93% for the USD General Fund.  According to a policy approved by the Council in 1989 and by Office of Management and Budget in 2005, the minimum fund balance percentage should be no lower than 5% of the total operating budget. This is an indication of Metro's mismanagement. This passes on the consent agenda. That means it is lumped in with most other resolutions all of which are passed by a single vote of the Council.  

Resolution RS2018-1125 awards three economic development incentive grant agreements from money already appropriated for that purpose. The grants are $50,000- Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum (Rolling Stones exhibit), $325,000- The Country Music Film Project (Ken Burns documentary), and $625,000- Music City Productions ("Nashville"). This also passes on "consent." 
Bills on Second Reading.
Bill BL2018-1111 would put under the purview of the Board of Ethical Conduct and the Standards of Conduct those who violate executive orders regarding rules of conduct. Currently this board only has authority to act on those who violate a section of the Metro code concerning standards of conduct. Concern is expressed that this would put too heavy of a burden on employees to defend themselves against complaints filed with the board. At last council meeting it was discussed and then deferred one meeting. To understand the arguments on both sides of this issue you may want to watch the video of the March 20th meeting at timestamp 1:29:18-1:51:15It is again deferred one meeting.

Bill BL2018-1140  will create a South Nashville Central Business Improvement District. A district such as this creates a governing body which may impose additional taxes on businesses within the district for project within the district.  Such project may include building parking facilities, promoting the district, beautification and improvement projects in the district and more. The initial additional tax levy will be 55 cents per $100 of assessed value of real property and estimated initial projects will cost approximately $10.948 million. This district would consist of approximately 266 acres, whose boundaries are approximately Cane Ridge Road to the West, I-24 to the East, Target Drive to the North, and Old Franklin Road to the South. There are other such districts like this, including the central business district. This passes on a voice vote with no discussion.

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