Sunday, September 10, 2023


Reposted from The Pamphleteer, Sept. 1, 2013- 

Back in January, Metro voted to let residents decide how to spend a chunk of leftover
ARPA funding. Since then,13 steering committee meetings have been held, with voting integrity taking center stage as a top concern. After initial discussions, a timeline was issued to create a 35-item ballot for the public to vote on some time in December.

Though some eyebrows were raised when Metro decided Nashvillians aged 14 through 17 could decide how taxpayer dollars were spent, a review of May 4th’s meeting notes reveals a more questionable practice. 

“We've had a lot of discussions about the integrity of the ballots,” said Jason Sparks, chair of the Participatory Budget Steering Committee. “We've really thought a lot about this… because we also want to make this available to people that aren't citizens that just, you know, live in our community.” 


Over 1,300 suggestions were submitted after Metro’s call. At last month’s board meeting, approximately 300 of the ideas were determined ineligible, bringing the number down to about 1,000 (unfortunately, a community center with an indoor swimming pool would cost more than the $10 million set aside for this initiative). 

So far, the process seems complicated. There is no voting verification, just a simple cross-check to address whether there are duplicate names and addresses attached to the votes cast. The ability for nonprofits to be awarded funding based on the suggested submissions has also been called into question. What we do know: the voting will take place over multiple days and votes can be cast at polling locations, libraries, and during voting expos. 

Rod's Comment: Thanks to The Pamphleteer for this excellent reporting.  

What is reported is a shame. This money is public funds.  We should not allow those not registered to vote or ineligible to vote to decide how to spend public funds.  Those who are in our country illegally should certainly not have a vote.

In addition to concern that illegal aliens and children are getting to decide how to spend public dollars, I do not like the whole concept of participatory budgeting. We have elected representatives and a process in place to determine what gets funded. We have a Capitol Improvements budget that rates projects based on a variety of factors not just what the loudest and most engaged want. It may be that redesigning a dangerous intersection would save lives, but the participating public may want a new playground. We probably wasted a lot of money that could have funded a backlog of needed projects in the Capitol Improvement budget.

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