Monday, June 18, 2012

Update: What's on the Council Agenda June 19th? The budget - Metropolitan Clerk - Agenda
From the agenda, there is a link to the analysis. 

Most council meetings are really boring; this one will be an exception. The Council will vote on a budget and the tax levy. The McGuire budget which substitutes the Mayors budget and which does not cut the mayor proposed 53 cent tax increase but would move some money from schools to the debt service fund has been approved by the Budget and Finance Committee. There will be a motion to substitute the McGuire budget for the Mayor's budget.

In addition to the McGuire budget, there are three other competing budgets: The Duvall budget which is a no tax increase budget, the Tygerd budget which cuts $28 Million and cuts the proposed 53 cent rate increase by 12 cents, and the Bedne budget which cuts $2.9 million from the Mayor's budget. The McGuire budget is the one likely to pass.

I suspect the Duvall budget will get five to seven votes and the Tygerd budget may get ten to twelve votes. However, I have nothing to base this on but a feeling. If thousands of citizens showed up at the council meeting however, the Council could have a change of heart and defer all budgets and then come back with a no-tax or much lower-tax budget. I don't think a couple hundred people will have that effect, but I think 5000 would.  The Council could meet again between now and July 1st. They do not have to pass the budget on Tuesday night. 

Normally, if the Council votes down all budgets, then the Mayor's budget become law even if it gets no 'yes' votes. However, this year we have a very unusual situation  due to the fact that the Mayor's budget as originally proposed included a General Services District tax increase which would also be 53 cents.  If the Mayors budget passes, that would trigger a referendum. The Council should vote "no" on the McGuire budget and let the Mayor's budget go to a referendum.

For more discussion of what is in the various budgets and to see what happened in the Budget and Finance Committee follow this link.

Other than the budget, this is what else of interest is on the agenda:

Twenty bills are on the consent agenda. None of them are controversial and should be passed. Last month someone sounded an alarm about some of these bills, but it was a false alarm. All of the bills on the consent agenda need to pass.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-161 (TYGARD, MAYNARD & WEINER) on second reading amends the Metropolitan Code to require all new employees of the Metropolitan Government to be residents of Davidson County. This is a very, very bad idea. Metro employees are a build in constituency for higher taxes, they vote heavily and they campaign. I would prefer no metro employees lived in the county.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-162 (TODD, DUVALL & CLAIBORNE)  on second reading amends the health insurance benefits portion of the Metro code relating to former members of the Metro council. Currently if a Metro Council has served eight years, he may continue to participate in the plan by paying the same rate paid by Metro employees, which is 25% of the premium. This ordinance would eliminate the subsidized health insurance benefit for members of council after they leave office. Since term-limits, there are a lot more former Council Members than in the past. Also, while Council Member are not getting rich, the rate of pay for Council Members is much greater than it was when this benefit was first approved. This benefit now cost the city about $300,000 a year. I think this bill needs to pass.  It was defeated in the Budget and Finance Committee.

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