Wednesday, May 10, 2023

What's in the Mayor's proposed FY24, $3.2 billion budget

Metro Press Release, May 1, 2023- Today, Mayor John Cooper files his proposed FY24 budget to Metro Council for their consideration. Mayor Cooper previewed some of the budget's key priorities at last week's 60th State of Metro Address.

This year's proposal reflects $3,218,202,300 in total revenue, which is a 6.2% increase, or $188M, from the FY23 operating budget. It also fully achieves the new fund balance policy passed by Metro Council, which holds 2 months of operating expenditures and 50% of annual budgeted debt service in reserves.

In addition, Mayor Cooper is proposing an additional $125.7 million in one-time capital spending and additional reserves as a result of surplus funds available after meeting Metro's fund balance policy threshold. The Metro Council ordinance establishing the new policy directs that any surplus be used for one-time, capital expenses, debt reduction or the establishment of additional reserves.

"In the past four years, we have course corrected on years of underinvestment and made generational improvements in our most important priorities – education, public safety, housing, infrastructure and other core government services," said Mayor John Cooper. "This year's budget builds on those efforts, investing in what works and innovating to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Nashville's future is bright, and this budget helps create a platform for a successful city for decades to come."

Mayor Cooper's FY24 budget includes $99,970,300 in new operating spending for Metro Nashville Public Schools; nearly $50 million in new spending to increase wages for Metro employees; significant funding increases for affordable housing, including the Barnes Fund at $30 million; new investments to combat homelessness, including establishing a new Office of Homeless Services; fully funding all staffing requests for sworn officers, EMS and firefighters; and an emphasis on continued stability of waste management and furthering our capacity to address litter.

MNPS Investments

This year's budget reflects Mayor Cooper's consistent priority of ensuring our students have the top-quality resources and facilities they need, while our teachers are receiving the pay they deserve. In addition to the nearly $100m in new operating spending for our public schools, this budget fully funds continuity of service and 4% COLA and steps for Metro Nashville Public School Employees. Additionally, it calls for:

  • a pay increase for principals and associate principals;
  • $10.8M to fully expand a national best practice pilot program called Classroom Associates to fix a broken substitute teacher system; and
  • $8M for no-cost meals to ensure every single student receives a free school lunch.
  • A one-time capital allocation of $66 million to MNPS from the surplus will allow for Pre-K space additions to 15 locations across our public schools; a building addition for our most overcrowded school Alex Green Elementary; 5th grade transition expenses in the Antioch, Cane Ridge and Glencliff schools; and other capital improvement projects district wide. A portion of this investment will be held as additional reserves for capital needs.

Public Safety

It is essential that Metro continues to support its first responders. This commitment continues in the FY24 budget: which includes:

  • $15M for increasing police pay
  • $10.7M for increasing fire pay
  • 49 new EMS positions and 39 more firefighters
  • Additional police officers to fully staff 9th Police Precinct in Southeast Nashville
  • Recurring funding for MNPS's SRO program
  • 21 new positions to fund a fleet overnight service program so vehicle maintenance and repairs will be faster
  • Increase juror pay from $10 to $20 a day (and continued free parking program)
  • Expanding Partners-in-Care to additional police precincts
  • $50k for a mail-in gun lock program to provide free gun locks to residents
  • $700k for new investments in the Office of Family Safety


One year ago, Mayor Cooper declared Nashville a "housing first" city and announced an ambitious $50 million homelessness response plan using federal funds that finally matched the magnitude of the problem. This year, he is furthering that commitment by creating and funding a New Office of Homelessness-- a department focusing on getting our unhoused neighbors in permanent homes. This year's budget funds 29 employee positions, equips them with a $750K Community Partnership Fund and a $500k Housing and Support Services Fund.

Neighborhood Services

It is critical that as Nashville continues to grow, Metro equips its neighborhoods with the resources so all its residents can thrive. That's why the FY24 budget:

  • Fully funds operation for all Parks Community Centers to be open on Saturdays
  • Increases funding for library staffing in our branches
  • Continues Metro's tree canopy restoration and development projects
  • Increases the Financial Empowerment Center's staffing
  • Continues the Nashville GRAD Program
  • Provides Community Court navigators and program support
  • Bolsters Social Service program focus and staffing on vulnerable elderly
  • Increases operational and provides $7.3M of capital funding for the Nashville General Hospital

Affordable Housing

Ensuring every family has access to affordable housing is a challenge Metro Nashville is facing head-on. This year's budget continued funding for the low-income tax credit housing tax abatement, Housing Incentive pilot program, VASH voucher support program, and development of a Unified Housing Strategy. For the second year in a row (using federal funds last year), the Barnes Fund will be funded at $30m, meeting the recommendation of the 2021 Affordable Housing Task Force.

Transportation and Infrastructure

A safe, clean, and thriving neighborhood also needs proper upkeep. Budget funds have been set aside to focus on neighborhood safety infrastructural improvements, including projects like litter and street sweeping, right-of-way striping, streetscape, right-of-way enforcement and capacity-building in transportation capital project management. Additionally, a one-time capital investment will be made in projects like Vision Zero, traffic calming, sidewalks, and construction planning for the Murfreesboro Bus Rapid Transit corridor to BNA.

In a city on the move, it's important Nashvillians and visitors alike can move efficiently through our streets. Mayor Cooper's dedication to this cause is visible in the operating budgets almost $10M increase to the Metro and Regional Transit Authorities to fund continuity of service, pay plan, and $2.6M of Better Bus Enhancements.

Government Improvements

The FY24 budget also makes significant government improvements. It includes investment in language access in Metro council meetings and Metro court proceedings, as well as the Office of Family Safety, libraries, and public health facilities. Additionally, it calls for a $1M comprehensive compensation study for all Metro employees, and an increased parking validation budget for Metro public meetings. Finally, it ensures the Metro government meets all contractual increase and requirements, as well as provides funding for FY24 Metro Elections.

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