Some fears assuaged as mayor unveils next year's budget

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:51am

Mayor Karl Dean said he’s “optimistic” about the state of Metro government as he unveiled a budget this morning that includes no property tax increase and cuts that are less severe than previously feared.

Instead, Dean’s proposed $1.52 billion budget would seek to restructure, or increase, the city’s debt service that is accrued over time as the city pays off its bonds. The budget is a 1.2 percent decrease from the previous year as opposed to the 7.5 percent that had been forecasted.

“We can do this and still protect our city’s finances in the long run, because we will take advantage of the historically low interest rates that have come about as a result of the current economy,” Dean said of restructuring Metro’s debt, which will add about $70 million to the city's bottom line. 

“In recent history, most Nashville mayors have raised property taxes during their first few years in office,” Dean said. “We are going to break that tradition.”

As he’s framed his mayoral agenda since campaigning for the job in 2007, Dean said his budget prioritizes education, public safety and economic development. 

Dean said his budget would fully fund the request submitted by Director of Schools Jesse Register and make up the $25 million shortfall that still exists because Metro schools has depleted its rainy-day funds. He said the budget would also keep the police department fully staffed. In addition, Metro employees would enjoy an across-the-board 2 percent pay bonus this year, while restoring longevity pay for employees. Government salaries have been stagnant for four years. 

Dean’s capital spending budget is $160 million, less than it has been in the past.

New projects funded in the budget would include a new 28th Avenue Connector, a new center for the Metro Health Department, two new police precincts, a library in Bellevue and a new community center at Sevier Park. 

As well, Metro Public Works' budget will remain flat next year, meaning there will be no changes to basic services like recycling and brush pickup. 

9 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 4/29/10 at 11:53

What about brush pickup? recycling facilities and the rest?

By: sgeorge on 4/29/10 at 12:10
Good point. We added a sentence at the end addressing that. Garrison is reporting this as it's unveiled, so the story will be updated.
By: Kosh III on 4/29/10 at 1:49

Thanks!

I sure hope one of those new police stations is Madison, we sure need it.

By: govskeptic on 4/29/10 at 2:52

With ony a 1.2% decrease-there's got to be alot
to this story we don't know. Revenues are going
to be a great deal lower for sure. Each new Finance
Director comes up with some clever skeem, but in
the end both taxes and bonding grows. We'll look
for the revisions upwards later!

By: WickedTribe on 4/29/10 at 5:52

Is the city of Nashville's entire budget only $1.52 billion or is that some particular portion of the budget???

By: frodo on 4/30/10 at 7:38

Let's hope there is a news outlet in town that will do some real reporting on the budget in the days ahead...not just repeating what the Mayor's minions say and the howlings of the vocally opposition. I remember a day when a reporter would actually read a budget and inform the citizens accordingly.

By: concernedtaxpayer on 4/30/10 at 9:07

Kosh: One of these proposed precincts is for Madison

govskeptic: I will have to look at the full budget when the public can view it. However, since the Mayor and the finance director chose not to raise property taxes (probably did it to attempt to be re-elected), more than likely the city is borrowing more money while they are restructuring the loans.

WickedTribe: You can consider that is Nashville's entire budget even though the state and federal government may contribute more money for projects during the budget year that is currently unknown.

By: idgaf on 4/30/10 at 9:36

Dean’s capital spending budget is $160 million, less than it has been in the past.

Has he forgetting MCC?

Precients are building that do nothing to protect people in fact they cost more money and take cops off the street. Ever enter a precient? You have to get screened by civilans (2 in hermitage) then if you get to see a cop you talk to him in a little side room not within the inner sanctum. They are not user friendly.

By: gyarlett on 4/30/10 at 12:02

I would like everyone to know , The Bus Drivers,Custodians, and Ground Keepers are still going to be affected!! And we will NOT be included in the 2 % pay raise!!! As to what I have been told. This is not right!!!! We do not have a great saftey record, clean schools and nice school grounds because it was given to us, we earned it and we care about your Children.Our pay ranges from 20,000.00 to 27,000.00. That is not alot of money!!!!!.I am a proud School Bus Driver with 23 years of Service. Let your voices be heard and call your Council members and ask them not to pass the Metro School Board's Budget!!!!