Monday, September 17, 2012

Update 2: Metro Council Agenda for Tuesday, September 18, 2012

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.

There are a lot of resolutions that simply accept grants in this agenda.

There are eight resolutions that propose amendments to the Metropolitan Charter for consideration on the November 6, 2012 ballot. All but two are innocuous housekeeping things. Below are the worth being aware of:

  • RS2012-279 by Tygard, Proposal seeks to merge all elections: A proposal to save money by having Nashville’s mayoral, vice mayoral and Metro Council elections at the same time as other elections is raising concerns among council members who might not support it enough to give voters a say in the matter.(link to Tennessean story). 
    I have reservations about extending the current term of the Mayor and Vice Mayor and Council without an election. Also, I fear that if the Council is on the same ballot as the federal and state elections, that very little attention would be paid to Council elections. Even more people may just vote for a name that sounds familiar rather than making informed decisions. However, by voting for this resolution, that simply allows the issue to be placed on the ballot, so I might would vote for it despite some reservations. I don't feel that strongly about it  and could be convinced it is a wise move. It would save money.
  • RS2012-377 by Garrett, proposes an amendment to the Charter to clarify the duties of the sheriff’s office. Currently the Sheriff is the keeper of the jail and has no law enforcement functions. The Sheriff's office has been participating in the 287(g) program, which identifies and processes immigration offenders in our correctional facilities. There was an anticipated challenge to this program, claiming the charter did not permit the Sheriff to perform this law enforcement function. and this amendment would have removed the threat of that  potential challenge. However, the term of the 287(g) agreement expires in October 2012, and the sheriff has decided not to seek reauthorization.  While there may be a few other things the Sheriff does that constitute law enforcement, I am not sure this is needed if we are not going to do the 287(g). In any event the urgency is gone for doing it. I, at this point, do not have an opinion and want to see what the Public Safety committee recommended. The charter revision commission only recommended approval by a vote of 4 to 3.
RS2012-410 by Tygert appropriates $400,000 from the general fund reserve fund (4% fund) to the election commission to purchase 200 additional electronic poll books. This was confusing and controversial last Council meeting, when this expenditure was pulled out of a much larger expenditure resolution. To watch that exchange follow this link. The discussion starts at 1:28 in the video. I don't know what has happened since the last Council meeting, so I don't know if this will sail on through or if there will be continuous debate. The election commission is dominated by Republicans as required by State law. Last election there was some problems with the limited use of the new electronic poll books being used for the first time.  The election commission as already said they will not be using the new electronic poll books in the November election. Their is some legitimate concern about the new poll books and there is some politics at play and grandstanding. 

RS2012-412 by Matthews, approves an agreements between TVA, NES and Metro for the purchase, interconnection, and operation of electricity generated by solar units installed at two fire halls. These solar units were installed at a cost of $50,000 each and Metro will receive a credit of $0.12 per kilowatt hour generated and generate roughly 15% of the electricity needs of the two fire halls. I want to know, how many years will it be before the city breaks even?  Is this a wise investment or a politically correct feel-good measure?  I don't know, but would like to know. I hope someone does the math and ask the question. 

RS2012-413 by Matthews  approves an application for a $144,772 grant to the mayor’s office to implement a program designed to help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. The program will involve partnering with the United Way to provide counseling services that will include various topics such as business ownership, improving credit, increasing employability, and increasing financial literacy. There would be a required in-kind local match of $105,311. Having spend a lot of my career working in programs that teach people better money management skills and  similar programs, I am supportive of programs like this. Some programs like this can really help people if they are well designed and well executed. I am in favor of programs that help lift people out of poverty  rather than programs that simply subsidize poverty.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-237 on second reading amends the Metro Code to implement a number of the recommendations of the study and formulating committee pertaining to employee and retiree benefits and pensions. This ordinance would basically curtail the benefits of employees going forward. This is a wise move. Many cities are going broke because of liberal defined benefit packages and retirement plans.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-241 by Dominy, on second reading amends the Metropolitan Code to require the annual contract for services between the Metropolitan Government and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for the Partnership 2020 economic development program to be approved by resolution of the council and would require 21 affirmative votes to be approved. This is a good bill. Metro pays much more of the government contribution to Partnership 2020 than the other nine governments, but it often appears we do not get the bulk of the benefit. The Council should look at the plan annually to determine if Metro's level of commitment is appropriate.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-228 would allow up to 20 hens to be kept on school property for educational purposes on lots of five or more acres in the GSD. There are other restrictions.
BILL NO. BL2012-195 by  Council Members Burkley Allen, Erica Gilmore, and Edith Taylor Langster is on third and final reading. This bill would rezone more than 1500 properties over a 450 acre area in Midtown (between Charlotte and West End from I-440 to downtown). (link to what the Tennessean has to say about this.)

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1 comment:

  1. Regarding the solar units at the fire halls: What happens to these units if we have another hail storm?