Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What to look for at the 4/17/2012 Metro Council Meeting

You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link:Metro Council Agenda.
From the agenda you can link 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.

I read the analysis and agenda for you so you don't have to. Below are the things that I think are worth being aware of that are on this agenda. None of them, however, are likely to create much discussion or debate. The only really controversial issue is the Gayloard-Dollywood tax giveaway and on second reading it passed by voice vote. I doubt their will be any serious effort mounted to derail it.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2012-210  sets the date for the 2012 State of Metro Address. as  May 1, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. at The Cumberland Park. This will not be a controversial resolution, I am only pointing this out because if you are waiting to hear the Mayor say he is going to propose a tax increase and by how much, it will probably happen at the State of Metro event. At that time he will most likely make the case for raising taxes. The Cumberland Club is located at Nashville City Center, 511 Union St, 26th Floor. I am not sure who all is invited to this event or how to get tickets but stayed tuned and I will try to find that information. 

RESOLUTION NO. RS2012-220 approves an application for a COPS hiring recovery grant from the federal government of $3,125,000. COPS is a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund extra policemen for community policing efforts. The grant pays a portion of the salary of a certain number of new police officers for a two or three year period and the local government is required to retain the officers and pay their full salaries and benefits for at least one year following the end of the grant term. If awarded, this grant will  require local match of $2,028,500. I am not saying we could not use the extra money or the extra policemen, but this is the way budgets creep up. When we accept this money, that commits us to continue the funding for at least one year. Once we have included that in our budget and been accustomed to having those extra policemen, then no one wants to lay them off. Sometime free money is really expensive. I wish some council member would make this point and vote against the application. Unfortunately, I don't expect that to happen.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-129 on second reading approves a deal between Metro and Ecotality North America, for the installation and maintenance of eight electric vehicle charging stations on Metro property. This eight stations are scattered around town, most of them in parks. Just so you know, this is not going to cost the city anything. The US government borrowed the money from China to pay for this. Ecotality received a federal stimulus grant for this project. I wonder how many jobs this project is going to create? And how much if cost us, not as Metro tax payers but as Federal tax payers?

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-130 on second reading is a routine ordinance that readopts the Metropolitan Code prepared by Municipal Code Corporation to include all ordinances enacted on or before January 17, 2012. Municipal Code Corporation has the contract with Metro to codify all ordinances enacted by the council, as well as to update and maintain the on-line version of the code. The council periodically readopts the code to make sure the printed and online versions are kept up to date. Yes this is routine. However, if the council adopts an ordinance that the administration does not like, they may very well just leave it out of the adopted code. The requirement that schools be tested for deadly radon was left out of the code and ignored for twenty years. How that happened has never been explained. There needs to be checks in place to make sure that what should be in the code makes it into the code.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-118 on third reading is the Gaylord-Dollywood snow-splash park tax give away bill. This was debated on second reading. To understand the issue, watch that debate.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2012-226 is a memorializing resolution requesting the Mayor and the School Board to include the construction of a new high school in the Hermitage area as part of the Capital Spending Plan for  2012-2013. If one is going to ask for a new high school, then it is hard to turn around and oppose a tax increase.  It should not be. The council can express their priority preferences without being committed to raising taxes.  This may lead to some good discussion.

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