Dean reduces proposed tax hike in General Services District after legal questions

Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 6:20pm

To avoid the possibility of triggering a public referendum and litigation, Mayor Karl Dean’s administration has lowered its proposed property-tax rate increase for Davidson County’s General Services District by five cents from 53 cents to a new 48-cent tax hike.

“There was the potential someone could have challenged it,” Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said Thursday. “The budget’s too important to take any risk for potential litigation.”

The mayor’s original 53-cent tax rate increase for residents of the Urban Services District will remain unchanged. Rates are applied to every $100 of assessed property to calculate property tax obligations.

On Tuesday, Dean proposed what amounted to an across-the-board 53-cent hike to Metro’s two property tax rates. The bump would increase the rate paid by residents of the USD –– the inner core of the city that receives extra services –– from $4.13 to $4.66.

Residents who live in Davidson County’s General Services District, however, the suburban periphery of the county and recipient of fewer services, pay a lower property tax rate of $3.56. Increasing the GSD rate by 53 cents would bring the total GSD rate to $4.09.

The issue for Dean’s administration arose after Metro attorneys reviewed a 2006 voter-approved amendment to the Metro charter that requires a public referendum on raising the tax rate above the levels of that year. The legal question was whether the referendum applies exclusively to the larger, gross USD rate, or the GSD rate was well.

Riebeling said the answer was “ambiguous” and a “close call,” one that could be interpreted either way. “But the budget is too important to get bogged down on some sort of technical matter,” he added.

The 53-cent hike on the USD rate would up the new rate to $4.66 — 3 cents below the 2006 rate of $4.69 and, therefore, 3 cents shy of requiring a referendum. But the now-reduced 53-cent increase in the GSD rate would have brought its rate to $4.09, five cents above the threshold to initiate a public referendum on raising the GSD rate.

With a revised 48-cent hike, the new GSD rate would be $4.04.

Riebeling said the mayor’s administration had already submitted a tax levy ordinance to the Metro Council, which will now be substituted with a new version prior to its first of three required votes on May 15.

The mayor has said a property tax increase would add $100 million in additional revenues, dollars that are needed to avoid “draconian cuts” and make substantial investments in infrastructure. The mayor has proposed a $1.71 billion operating budget and plans to submit a $300 million capital-spending plan.

“We will still have the same budget total as we did before,” Riebeling said, adding that the administration can make some other modifications to make up the difference. “Effectively, it will be the same budget numbers.”

41 Comments on this post:

By: spooky24 on 5/3/12 at 4:48

Lies, lies and more lies. Every cent is going to debt service to pay the interest on the 600 million debt Dean refinanced from a 20 year note to a 40 year in one of the stupidest moves it is possible to make.. Doing this made him look on top of things to have money to spend even before any was allocated to him.
Another huge lie occurred in the description of the bond debt service that Nashville used to float to take a risky deal on a convention center that cost over 4 million a day in bond totals-these totals have nothing to do with paying off the bonds-it just goes right down the toilet.
Of course Dean's powerful political machine can bury this with the help of the media-that he controls- and to the council that he controls.

business as usual.

Riebeling is lying out his a hole "“Effectively, it will be the same budget numbers."


By: sharko20 on 5/3/12 at 4:51

Make the cuts. Governement is bloated, wasteful and loaded with fraud. Just more tax and spend from a big lib mayor. Guess he hasn't noticed all the economic malaise still effecting our country or he doesn't care. Why do Davidson County residents keep voting for these guys? Karl Marx Dean addicted to spending other people's money.

The bicycle lanes are a joke.................

By: willtw on 5/3/12 at 5:21

Start cuts for those staffers who make above $100K (you would be surprised at how many and who)....$200K for Codes? How about auctioning the building to a private owner to renovate, tear down or what.............Government needs to back away from some activities and property ownership by government should not be subsidized by the tax dollars.

By: mewzikman2000 on 5/3/12 at 5:29

Thought the Lottery was to help schools. Our property taxes are high enough. And the teachers are paid enough. Cut the mayor's salary would help alot. Almost makes one want to move out of Davidson County. I have a 3 BR. 2BA home and the taxes are $1250. That is more than enough. Again, slash salaries to help. He is a poor example to lead the city.

By: JayBee56 on 5/3/12 at 7:25

All great comments. The general population has endured layoffs and job loss. Why should government employees be spared? While no one wants people to lose their jobs. I agree with willtw - cut those making the largest amounts first. Decide what government MUST do and cut the rest. THAT'S leadership. No more passing the buck to the taxpayer.

By: Ask01 on 5/3/12 at 8:23

Anyone who did not vote against Karl Dean, this is what you have brought upon us.

I suspected the bill for Mayor Dean's grandiose spending would come due and, despite my now former council representatives hollow assurances, come out of the pockets of Metro property owners.

The fact the proposed increase was just below the level required to trigger a referendum doomed to failure, and the reduction to head off litigation illustrates the chicanery to which the man will stoop to pay for his grand schemes.

The only way to short circuit this travesty is to ensure all council members realize the devastating effect this could have on not only their seat, but whatever business to which they have ties if they figure to support this and not run again.

It is time to take our city back from the politicians and businesses and let them know the citizens own the town.

By: Shadow63 on 5/3/12 at 9:28

Speak to our councilmen and let them know they are in danger of being unseated if this goes through.

By: Shane Smiley on 5/4/12 at 4:06

The only way to stop or reduce this tax increase is by you, the citizen and voter calling or writing your council member and speaking your mind.
YOU must speak up and speak out.

By: Rasputin72 on 5/4/12 at 5:59

There is only one alternative to the charlatans that are in charge of Davidson County politics. You must move out of the county or be subjected to legal extortion of your money.

By: Rasputin72 on 5/4/12 at 5:59

There is only one alternative to the charlatans that are in charge of Davidson County politics. You must move out of the county or be subjected to legal extortion of your money.

By: caluttc on 5/4/12 at 8:04

Hear, Hear!!!
An old stradagy----reminds me of the story that a college student emails her parents that she is pregent and has been charged for dealing drugs. This startles her parents. She lets them fret over night. Next day she emails them again " Oh Mom and Dad, I was just kidding yesterday. However I am over drawn $2000 on my school account". The parents are elated and releaved. They say "thank God. Lets get her a check in the mail immediately".

By: Left-of-Local on 5/4/12 at 8:51

Ah, the ignorant masses.

Cuts have already been more massive under Dean than before, and I am glad he took this more strong-arm approach. All I ever hear is homeowners crying about this very small tax, while our city gains vast improvements to quality of life - TRUE quality of life, not the straw men of SUVs and places to shop.

Glad Dean rises above this frothy funky ooze.

By: Left-of-Local on 5/4/12 at 8:53

PS- when your computer puts that red underline on things, it means you either can't type or can't spell. It'd be fascinating to see people spend as much time improving the latter as they do bitching about every move made in the Mayor's office. Amazing how many East-side isolationists and West-side snoots just cannot let losing the Mayor's race go.

By: slacker on 5/4/12 at 9:03

Left-of-Local.. when the red light flashes on your computer, thats the signal for you to go line up to kiss Dean's butt.

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 9:21

Contact Metro Council about the liberal tax-n-spend BS:

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 9:23

Karl Marx Dean needs to get his millionaire wife to fund this nonsense. The economy crashes, and he wants to suck hundreds of dollars PER HOMEOWNER per year from Davidson residents?


By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 9:25

Karl Marx Dean has sent a liberal propaganda email to all Metro employees encouraging them to step in line with him. I think this is impermissible use of Metro email for political advertising.

By: jvh2b on 5/4/12 at 9:52

Oh the misleading propaganda and stupidity from people on this!!!

1.) Dean controlling the media -- that's just laughable. Go buy more tin foil for your hat while your at it.

2.) The lotto is for college/universities...not municipal schools.

3.) Economy is in a very slow RECOVERY. Lets just conveniently forget he CUT the taxes when he came into office during the worst parts of the economic downturn. Let's also gloss over the fact that even AFTER the increase the tax rate will STILL be lower than it was when he took office!

4.) You RWNJ want govt run like a business...well guess have their people support their positions...Dean sending an email to his employees is the same concept.

I don't like one does...but if you going to oppose it with CORRECT information.

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 9:59

Anybody who supports this works for Karl Marx Dean. "Draconian" cuts? Why doesn't the moron just go full-blown and scream "we're all gonna die"?

Metro needs to cut,cut,cut--just like any business must. We will turn into Greece if this damn libtard, tax-n-spend socialist is allowed to run wild.

I'm sure Dean doesn't have a clue what working folks have to do to pay property taxes since he sits in Belle Meade all weekend sipping merlot and enjoying his wife's millions of dollars.

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 10:00

I have a better idea, Dean: CUT SPENDING.

By: slacker on 5/4/12 at 10:02

jvh2b, those people you refer to as Deans employees, are paid by the taxpayers, not Dean. I'm sure you'll agree thats CORRECT information.

By: ptotaximom7 on 5/4/12 at 10:45

I am shocked by the apparent lack of knowledge on the budget front.
Metro workers have been laid off. Metro workers have been reduced due to attrition and have endured no pay raises for the last four years.

By: ptotaximom7 on 5/4/12 at 10:50

Metro Schools have laid off workers, made classroom sizes larger, reduced bus drivers hours, laid off all the custodial crews and contracted that work for less money. They cut back the number teachers and have encouraged the older teachers to retire. New teachers cost less, including the pay @$40,000. because their health benefits cost less.
Metro Schools have buildings that need new windows, roofs, heat & air; they have physical plant issues because they maintain buildings in our communities all over Davidson County, choosing to repair instead of replace due to the lack of capital funds available for major improvement projects.

By: ptotaximom7 on 5/4/12 at 10:52

To the comment - “Lottery funds go to the schools”. No, that is Incorrect. The lottery funds go to scholarships for High School Graduates. The lottery was intended to help this state attain more College Graduates. It drastically improves our work force…

By: ptotaximom7 on 5/4/12 at 10:53

To the comments yesterday that rental properties have reduced tax rates, this is also incorrect. All commercials properties as well as residential properties pay property taxes. Renter’s pay for their housing and if the landlord is doing their job correctly, the tenant is covering the property taxes with their rent payments.

Only a few of our many businesses in Davidson County receive “credits” on their property taxes; the credits were negotiated to bring new larger employers to Davidson County so we have jobs instead of high rates of unemployment.

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 11:52

There are ALWAYS a thousand "excuses" for raising taxes. Usually, the tax-n-spend crowd uses fear--your house will burn down, police will be laid off, etc.

The same liberals NEVER find a reason to reduce taxes. They love spending other people's money.

DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM. Metro needs to cut spending, not screw residents.

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 12:07

Karl Marx Dean used the Metro email system to send out liberal propaganda to Metro employees trying to rally support for this nonsense.

He's strong arming Metro employees by threatening their jobs if they don't support this MASSIVE tax increase.

Of course, there will be no investigation because he is a liberal.

By: jvh2b on 5/4/12 at 1:00

slacker - tell that to an officer next time you get a ticket -- see how far that goes.

By: jvh2b on 5/4/12 at 1:04

Jarhead -

1.) Massive? You think this is a massive increase? I've got a bridge to sell you.....

2.) Since no liberal ever reduces taxes (your claim) please explain why Dean REDUCED the real estate tax when he took office...and STILL won't be increasing them to levels above when he took office even after this proposed increase???

I won't hold my breath waiting for an answer though...

By: BigPapa on 5/4/12 at 1:14

Look you can NOT run a government like a business. It's a nice idea but.. A BUSINESS CAN GO OUT OF BUSINESS.

At some point Nashville HAS to have schools, jails, police, a fire department, and other essential services.

Stop giving money to non-essentials and spend on what we (you remember us, the actual citizens of Nashville?) must have to have a viable city.

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 1:34

@jvh2B: Go ahead and hold your breath, freeloader. There's nothing I can say to change your tax-n-spend mind. Yes---MASSIVE. Of course, a liberal moron like you never considers 100MILLION massive, because you can always find something to spend it on.


By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 1:35

The Metro budget has EXPLODED since Dean took office. Exploded--and now, let's hit Joe Sixpack for some more spending money.


By: slacker on 5/4/12 at 1:43

My favorite is the hiring of 50 police officers on a federal grant, knowing the funds would expire. Then whining we'll lose these officers if we don't increase taxes.
Next favorite is re-financing the debt in an election year. Sneaky, sneaky.

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 2:19

Another thing--the Metro Finance Department is an incredibly bloated one, with everyone making great salaries. The fox guards the hen house, I guess.

So--this sums it up---Dean is gonna spend us into bankruptcy, and then preach to the taxpayers that we just don't "get it." Of course, he'll be long gone living off of his wife's millions.....

By: Jughead on 5/4/12 at 2:31

This is the SNEAKIEST slight of hand. Raise assessments but lower rates so taxpayers don't complain in 2009. Now, raise the rate back up--and voila!

Sneaky, back door politics. Another thing---how in the world does Metro justify assessing properties at a higher rate in 2009 when we all know the values decreased?

Dang criminals. Karl Marx Dean.

By: Ask01 on 5/4/12 at 8:18

While it may be correct to say the vast majority of citizens have little contact with, and therefore equally little knowledge of, the Metro Budget, I feel safe in believing the majority of the citizenry are very aware of Mayor Dean's 'big ticket' items such as the MCC which was approved without allowing voters a voice by way of a referendum, but while leading voters to believe the facility will be a cash cow for the city. The inference being the income produced from events held there will benefit the average citizen.

The electorate also is aware of all the 'sweetheart deals' Mayor Dean and associates have finagled to lure businesses to Nashville with a claim of bringing jobs.

The problem is, the city has to pay for this monument to ego Mayor Dean so desired and the only people making substantial profits will be those in the businesses depending on the convention business.

My suspicion is there will be little money after the 'mortgage' is paid and all maintenance and upkeep is figured into the total. I also suspect the majority employed when the MCC is hosting an event will be part time, temporary, minimum wage workers who will not be pumping much money back into the community.

Likewise the 'jobs' Mayor Dean's supporters are hyping. How many will be full time, permanent positions paying above minimum wage?

The final analysis from my perspective, ignoring any propaganda from the Dean camp, is the MCC will profit private enterprise by building a facility for their use, and expecting the taxpayer to foot the bill when income does not meet projections.

Similarly, the taxpayer takes another hit to entice businesses to the area with tax breaks, when I suspect most jobs produced will not generate enough tax revenue to make up the deficit caused by corporate welfare.

Mayor Dean has no worries, though. He is in his final term, facing no liability if his leadership (HAH!) leads to financial ruin for the city, and able to claim he oversaw a massive construction effort when he makes his run for governor. (I know, he has said that, but I have a feeling of intense dread this schlub could harbor such grandiose schemes.)

I really feel Mayor Dean and the Metro Council Gang are true shysters without any concern for the average citizen.

By: Ask01 on 5/5/12 at 7:14

BigPapa, I didn't comment earlier and do apologize, but I agree totally with your post.

Government CANNOT be run like a business, as you astutely observed, as the goal of business is to make money and governments business is, well, to govern.

The problem is, far too many in government cater to businesses at the expense of the average citizen, handing out corporate welfare, justifying the act as 'stimulating job creation' when, deep down, they know the only true beneficiaries will be those at the top, while the ones who actually do work and contribute positively to furtherance of the economy are paid a pittance.

Let's stop corporate and business welfare, allowing these entities to sink or swim on their own. Let them pay their way instead of brokering 'deals' at the expense of the taxpayers.

On a tangent here, but I've often wondered what would happen if every worker just didn't go to work?

I recall when a certain delivery company experienced a strike several year ago and management had to actually work performing physical labor. The result was a sharp decrease in productivity and, if memory serves, a rise in injuries.

Maybe this is what is needed to remind those at the top wthout people actually performing hands on physical labor, they are nothing.

I wonder how far the pyramids would have gotten without laborers to do the manual labor?

By: standingonthetop on 5/6/12 at 10:32

Mayor Dean is trying to pull the same bullshit scare tactics that Obama did! Our illustrious mayor is threatening to cut 200 essential service jobs like fire, police, and schools just to get his way! Hmmm....Maybe he should've been as concerned about our fiscal situation when he was spending MILLIONS and MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars on stuff we didn't need like greenways, the TOTALLY unnecessary convention center, and 4th of July fireworks! I just hope the council has the balls to hold this idiots feet in the fire and vote "NO" to his budget! Nashville has lost enough residents that have moved to other counties because of all the tax increases of the past...didn't he learn his lesson? The answer is he doesn't care...he's on the way out the door anyway!

By: standingonthetop on 5/6/12 at 10:49

Also, the mayor was on Bob Mueller's weekly show on channel 2 but wouldn't take any call ins from Nashville citizens. HE KNEW BETTER! HE WOULD'VE GOT HIS ASS HANDED TO HIM!!!!

By: frogmild on 5/7/12 at 7:17

This is so magnanimous of the kingly mayor, guess since he's only planning to cut our throats part way we should all me grateful to the liar, or does this make him only a half liar. Oh well, at least his pals are making a bundle.

By: yucchhii on 5/8/12 at 1:10

How about instead of a five cent reduction, they reduce it by 53 cents.....If you need to know what that means, you need to hire somebody to slap you!!!