Sunday, May 13, 2012

Update: What is happening at the 5/15/2012 Metro Council Meeting?

Update: I just received this email from Kathleen Starnes, Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party:
I find all 3 of these pretty ridiculous.. Contact your council member to vote against these.. Common Sense is needed.  Thank You Pat Carl for staying on top of this
Kathleen Starnes
Here are my comments on 3 resolutions/ordinances coming before you next Tuesday:

Resolution No. RS2012-245
To increase Criminal Court Clerk's Pay by 10%. 
Metro residents are facing a huge property tax increase but to increase Howard Gentry's pay by 10%.....this is a slap in the face of the taxpayers of this county.  Plus, in this economy a 10% increase is totally out of line.  This increase would be in excess of $12,000 (I'm not sure of current salary).  Mr Gentry has been in the Criminal Court Clerk's position for less than one year

Bill No. BL2012-156
To transfer certain tax collections from County Court Clerk to Dept. of Finance.
Guess this will leave Arriola only selling auto tags/stickers.  Big Arriola salary for what?? 
Think maybe it is time for another resolution asking him to resign?????

Ordinance BL2012-139 (Bennett)
Zoning change to allow used car lot on Gallatin Road.  Does Gallatin Road, or Nashville for that matter,  really need another used car lot?  Customers can come to Nolensville Road where we have 77 car lots in 7 miles (as documented by Jim Hodge.  Wonder if Council Lady Bennett has counted used car lots on Gallatin Road.
Here is my response:

The reason for the increase in salary for the criminal court clerk is explained in the analysis:
State law sets the minimum salaries for county officials based upon the population of the county and a complicated escalator formula tied to the general increases in state employee compensation. The county officials include the sheriff, the property assessor, the county clerk, the court clerks, the trustee and the register of deeds. State law provides that county officials must all receive the same salary, but includes an exception for the sheriff, as well as for court clerks that serve more than one court. Upon approval of the local legislative body, such court clerks may receive additional compensation in the amount of ten percent of their base salary to compensate them for “the additional duties and time required to serve multiple courts.”

In June 2006, the council approved a ten percent salary increase for the Davidson County circuit court clerk and criminal court clerk. The circuit court clerk serves the eight circuit courts (including the probate court), the civil division of the general sessions court, and the traffic court. The criminal court clerk serves the criminal division of both the general sessions court and the state trial court. As a result of the documented work habits of former clerk David Torrence, the council revoked this additional compensation for the criminal court clerk in June 2011. Subsequently, Mr. Torrence resigned and Howard Gentry was appointed by the council and elected by the voters as criminal court clerk.
If approved, this resolution will restore an approximate $11,500 increase in the criminal court clerk’s salary.
The $11,500 is a restoration of a salary that was taken away to punish David Torrence for malfeasance in office. One could argue that in today's hard economic times the position should pay less, however, this is a restoration of salary, not really an increase in salary for this position.  

Bill BL2012-156 is on first reading. First reading is no more than getting a bill on the agenda. Bills are not generally even evaluated on first reading and almost all bills on first reading pass without discussion. The city wants to take these tax collections away from the County Clerk because he will not deposit Metro taxes into Metro accounts. This is explained in this post. I do agree Arriola should be forced from office, however in the meantime, I support taking away from him this tax collection function. He can't be trusted with the city's money. 

Regarding Ordinance BL2012-139. It was approved with conditions (7-0) and disapprove without those conditions. It changes from CS to SP district the zoning on a certain piece of property. The zoning on particular pieces of property are changed routinely. Rather than taking a position that this is not a wise zone change, I would defer to the Planning Commission, the Planning Committee of the Council and the District Council Member.  

Here is my original post below:

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 an analysis, they are just really boring.

There is almost nothing of interest on the agenda. The ordinance adopting the budget and setting the new tax rate are on first reading,  but bills are generally not discussed on first reading, so this should pass without comment.

Two people are being appointed to the troubled Transportation Licensing Commission and this could be an opportunity for a council member to insure that appointees would be inclined to clean up that troubled agency, but I doubt it will happen. If there is any discussion at all with the appointees about their view of the agency's problems, it will most likely take place in committee, but I doubt that will even happen. 

There are 27 resolutions on the consent agenda which means they passed the committees unanimously and will be considered as a group instead of voted on individually.

There is a sign bill on third reading that  would require replacement panels in multi-tenant developments to be consistent with the other signage on the property.This bill has been around a while and substituted from an earlier version. While there are some people who are always interested in sign bills, this one should not be controversial.

There is really nothing of interest on this agenda. Don' bother watching. This ought to be a very short and very boring meetings.

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