Saturday, March 31, 2012

Update: What to look for at the April 3rd Council meeting

You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Agenda. The agenda also links to the analysis. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda and analysis, they are just really boring.

As per a tweet from Michael Cass, "Council agenda includes appointment of attorney Brock Parks to Beer Permit Board. Parks lost close race for council District 26 last year." Chris Harmon is the Council Member currently serving his first term in District 26. He won his race against Parks in a squeaker winning 50.3% of the vote. It seems like a slap in the face to a sitting council member to appoint a defeated challenger to a board or commission. The Mayor recently appointed Ana Page, who was defeated by Tony Tenpenny, to a position on the MDHA board.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-118 sponsored by Council Members Clairborne, McGuire and Tygard is the Gaylord-Dollywood Snow-Splash Park subsidy bill. It gives a 60 percent property tax break to Gaylord-Dollywood for developing the park. This should generate some good discussion and should be controversial. To learn more see the Metro Staff Analysis and read here and here and here.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-121 by CM Karen Johnson amends the “passenger vehicle for hire” regulations in the Metropolitan code to exclude shuttle vans that solely provide transportation to and from a parking facility and the airport. This is probably just a housekeeping measure and will generate no controversy and looks like a good bill, but since Metro is facing a lawsuit for its vehicle for hire price fixing and because the city has conspired to restrict competition in the limo and taxi business, any bill concerning taxis, limos or shuttle services should be watched very carefully.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-116 by Council Members Sean McGuire, Fabian Bedne, Ronnie Steine, and Karen Johnson, on third reading, is the HCA tax give break bill. This deal would give 100% tax abatement for the first five years, and a 50% abatement for the next five years on a new regional data center being built in Antioch. This will probably sail right through without debate. The bill was approved by the Budget and Finance Committee and passed on second reading by a voice vote. Two council members were recorded as abstaining but none requested they be recorded as voting "no."

There are a couple other bills (BL2012-115, smoking ban extension and BL2012-92, a property rights expansion) which I though would generate some opposition when they were on second reading, but they did not, so I would not expect them to be opposed on third reading.

Other than the Gaylord-Dollywood Snow-Splash Park tax giveaway bill, there is nothing on the agenda that will likely generate controversy.

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