Sunday, April 15, 2018

What's on the Council Agenda for 4-17-2018: Public hearings on the Donelson Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan and the South Nashville Central Business Improvement District.

By Rod Williams, April 15, 2018 - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse.  If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the staff analysis  or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links.

Boards and Commissions
The first order of business is the call to order, prayer and pledge, followed by consideration of mayoral appointments to boards and commissions. There are eight mayoral appointments to boards and commissions on this agenda for Council confirmations. The council normally rubber stamps whomever the mayor nominates. 

I wish someone on the Council would exercise some legislative mussel when it comes to these appointments. Most of the time, I would not oppose an appointee and believe the mayor should generally have the prerogative to appoint whom he wishes to these position. However, there is one position being filled on this agenda and I think anyone appointed to this particular board needs close scrutiny.

If I served on the Council I would question the appointee to the Board of Fair Commissioners to ensure he is someone who supports continuation of the fairgrounds.  It appears the writing is on the wall, and Nashville will lose the State Fair.  We have done nothing to make it a great state fair.  Even if we lose the State Fair however, we should still maintain the fair grounds for its current uses.  The charter requires that, but if the city insiders were committed to supporting the fairgrounds they would never have placed the soccer stadium at that site. I have the feeling that the city elites are embarrassed by gun shows, stock car racing, fairs, and flea markets, the same way a previous generation of elites were embarrassed by country music. If I served in the Council I would want to know that appointees to the Fair Board were committed to keeping the State Fair at the fairgrounds, to keeping current uses, and was open to moving the soccer stadium to the propose Metro Center location.

Public Hearing: There are two bills on public hearing. 

Bill BL2018-1139  on Second Reading  approving the Donelson Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Plan. There is a new authority given to cities to plan, facilitate and guide develop around transit stops to encourage a certain kind of development around those stops and to give cities the authority to issue Tax Increment Financing bonds for improvements in the designated area. This would be the first time this authority has been used. This designation would apply to the Donelson stop on The Nashville Star line. There is a lot of detail in the staff analysis for those who want to know more. I have no problem with this concept.  My primary concern is that this not confer the power of eminent domain to MDHA for use in this area.  I do not know if it does or not. I would only support this if eminent domain condemnation had to go back to the Council in each instance where it was used. If the public has concern with this it will probably be due to the affordable housing component. The TIF funding can finance affordable housing construction. Many people oppose the development of affordable housing in their community.

Bill BL2018-1140  on Third Reading 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. 
There are 19 resolution on the agenda and all are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes unanimously the committees to which it is assigned. Resolutions which receive negative votes in committee are pulled off of consent. Also any councilman may have a resolution pulled off of consent. Those remaining on consent are lumped together and passed by a single vote. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Here are the ones of interest:
Resolution RS2018-1138  approves an amendment to a grant from the State of Tennessee to work with Hispanic victims of crime and their families who find the criminal justice system disorienting due to language limitations and cultural understanding.  This is no doubt needed if we are going to have large numbers of people in our midst who do not speak English. I do not oppose this, but don't let anyone tell you there is not a cost to having large numbers of people in our midst who do not speak the language. The State grant would be increased to $969,421.00 and Metro's match wold be $123,618.00.

Resolution RS2018-1154 dissolves the Special Committee set up to investigate the wrong doings of Mayor Barry. I approve. No use beating a dead horse and others entities are looking into this and I doubt there is not much more to learn. 
Bills on Second Reading: There are six. Here are the ones of interest:
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. There is some concern that this would put too heavy of a burden on employees to defend themselves against complaints filed with the board. At the March 20th council meeting it was discussed and then deferred one meeting and then last meeting it was deferred again to this 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 1:29:18-1:51:15.  

Bill BL2018-1142  would require that 4% fund request resolutions affecting only a single Council district must be preceded by written notice to the Council member representing that district at least one week before the resolution is filed with the Metropolitan Clerk.That sounds reasonable.
Bills on Third Reading: There are 27 and none of them are of much interest.

To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site and you can watch it live on Roku. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel. If can stand the suspense and just wait, I will post the video on this blog the day after or the day after that and provide commentary. 


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