By a resounding vote, the Metro Council Budget and Finance Committee voted on Monday to recommend disapproval of a bill that seeks to preserve the city-owned fairgrounds.
The ordinance, sponsored by council members Duane Dominy and Robert Duvall, received only one vote in committee, with 11 council members voting against it.
The bill, which would effectively stop Mayor Karl Dean’s plans to redevelop the fairgrounds, is scheduled to go before the council for the second of three votes on Tuesday night.
Interestingly, neither Dominy nor Duvall showed up to the committee meeting to speak on behalf of their bill.
Normally, by rule, a bill is deferred automatically when the bill’s sponsors are not present. However, at the last-minute, At-large Councilman Jerry Maynard, usually seen as an ally of Dean and the administration, signed the legislation to allow for the vote.
Some council members are speculating the mayor’s office is maneuvering to defeat the bill permanently at Tuesday’s meeting.
One of the key concerns council members cited is the bill’s lack of support from Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling, who said the ordinance lacks a funding source.
Dean has previously called Dominy’s bill an “unfunded mandate.”
A competing bill, proposed by the Dean administration, outlines a set of leases to enable events currently held at the fairgounds’ expo center to relocate to Hickory Hollow Mall in Antioch.
The Hickory Hollow bill is to be considered Tuesday night on the first of three votes.