Budget cuts would be hard hits for parks, libraries

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 11:31pm

Though Mayor Karl Dean hasn’t established a final budget-cut percentage, a worst-case scenario could result in reducing operating hours at most public libraries and closing a Metro Parks community center.

All Metro department heads are in the process of meeting with Dean to discuss the effect of a 7.5 percent cut on their budgets for the next fiscal year. Throughout the first three days of this week’s budget hearings, Dean has made clear, “No decisions have been made,” calling the gatherings a “step” to determine where Metro can find savings.

But if the Metro Public Library were to reduce its budget by the full 7.5 percent then the department would have to reduce hours at its five main branches –– Bordeaux, Madison, Green Hills, Edmondson Pike and Hermitage –– from 50 hours to 40 hours per week. In addition, smaller community libraries could be asked to reduce hours from 40 hours to 20 hour per week.

No cuts would be directed at the main downtown library.

“We know that they will do the best they can,” Public Library Director Donna Nicely said of the mayor’s office. “We’re hoping it’s not 7.5 percent because that’s a major reduction of hours for the public.”

Meanwhile, cuts of 7.5 percent to Metro Parks, as outlined by Interim Director Tommy Lynch, could mean closing the Sevier Park community center, reducing hours at Wave Country water park; reducing park maintenance; and eliminating administrative positions within the parks police department. In total, cuts would lay off 23 parks employees.

According to Lynch, Metro is already slated to tear down the Sevier Park community center and construct a new facility by 2012.

The parks department in December found itself facing a budget overage for the current fiscal year, financial struggles that led to the resignation of then-Director Roy Wilson.

Originally, the department was expected to ask the Finance department and Metro Council for a supplemental appropriation of $850,000 to make up the overshoot, but according to Lynch, the parks department is now seeking a much smaller figure.

Lynch said the supplemental appropriation request should be coming within the next two days. He declined to reveal how much money the department is seeking.

11 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 4/1/10 at 5:38

If a library is only going to be open 20 hrs close it down.

As for the others they should be closed on different days not all on the same day.

By: pswindle on 4/1/10 at 8:29

If we have to close what the public needs the most, why are we building a convention center right now ? That center will suck all of sthe money out of Nashville and the State.

By: idgaf on 4/1/10 at 8:31

only dizzy dean knows that answer.

By: TITAN1 on 4/1/10 at 8:42

Or it will bring in a lot of money.

By: concernedtaxpayer on 4/1/10 at 8:58

Prepare for the next few years to be rough for the City of Nashville. Dean's focus is on other things except what citizens of the county want and need the most. The convention center will not bring in alot of money for the city. Dean was not the mayor that Nashville needed. In fact, attorneys do not even need to hold political positions like this. Even though attorneys may know how to read laws, they lack common sense when it comes to business. Instead, Nashville needs a business minded individual as our next mayor.

By: TITAN1 on 4/1/10 at 9:04

The sky is falling! LOL!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/1/10 at 10:11

concerned, you think a business minded person will care about individuals over developers? if so, that is a naive viewpoint.

By: wolfy on 4/1/10 at 10:32

Gee, I wonder how Knoxville's Convention Center is doing? Oh thats right, they're losing money! Building a Convention Center during a recession is about the stupidest thing i've ever heard.

As far as the budget...It's this simple: Services have been cut the last three years. Either go against the pundits and have an election year tax increase or stop essential services. The one's moaning about higher taxes need not to complain when an officer or ambulance delays its response because of lack of manpower. Thats all part of the belt-tightening.

By: TITAN1 on 4/1/10 at 11:08

The MCC is going to be built. Those who have predicted it would not bring in revenue are now hoping they are right. Sure glad you are not in charge. Look for positives instead of dwelling on something you THINK is not going to work.

By: TITAN1 on 4/1/10 at 11:12

Knoxville? Now there is a destination city! LOL! You can't even compare the two. Nashville has so much more to offer.

By: concernedtaxpayer on 4/1/10 at 3:44


A business minded person will care for individuals. As a business owner myself I know how to control spending by not being wasteful. Business minded individuals actually focus on ways for employees to be productive and eliminate employees that are actually not needed. Dean has absolutely no experience in business ownership and as a result does not know how to curb wasteful spending effectively. Another reason the MCC is being built is due to being "buddies" with many business owners downtown. Even though I have some friends that work as suppliers for me at times, I will not use their products and services when they charge more than someone else. It is called common sense by reducing expenses and friends do not consider me as backstabbing them because they know that society is a competitive market.