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.
Bills on public hearing: Bills on public hearing are usually zoning bills and interest to no one except the immediate neighbors of the proposed rezoning, but code text changes and some other things may also be on public hearing, which can be important. There is one resolution on public hearing concerning the minimum distance for a beer permit and thirteen bills on public hearing. Below are some bills of interest on public hearing .
One of the bills (BL2012-291) amends the code changing the definition of “recycling facility” to clarify that the conversion of material into a fuel product or asphalt is not a permitted function as part of a recycling facility.
Ordinance BL2012-292 amend the code to permit home recording studios to have up to ten clients, customers, musicians, or other visitors come to the property per day. Currently they are only allowed to have one visitor. This being Music City, we should be friendly to the music industry. This seems like a reasonable bill.
Councilman Karen Johnson has several bills concerning Nashboro Village. I have not bothered to fully understand them fully, but anything having to do with Nashboro Village can create controversy. One of the bills would change property zoned residential to a commercial zoning. One would change property now zoned residential to allow a day care facility. It also would change the zoning to allow only a two-story house instead of a four-story as currently zoned. Councilman Johnson apparently is attempting to rezone this against the wishes of the owner, which the Council seldom does. (Read more about this.)
BL2012-313 adds provisions to the code to ensure that the Metropolitan Government is providing adequate accommodations to persons and organizations under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). Basically, if I understand this, it says we will not enforce our zoning ordinances that are inconsistent with the fair housing act or RLUIPA. The impact of this is that we cannot use local zoning to stop someone from building a group home in a neighborhood. That could be a group home for people that are disabled, such as a drug rehab home or home for the mentally challenged. These type homes often run into neighborhood opposition.There are fourteen resolutions, all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution is on the consent agenda if it passed the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government or authorizing the Department of Law to settle claims against the city or appropriating money from the 4% fund. However, sometimes things that should be controversial do slip through on the consent agenda, most often bills endorsing some national liberal policy such as urging strict enforcement of the EPA’s regulation of Co2, or bills praising students for demonstrating in favor of gay rights.
Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single voice vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. If one is present and does not ask to be recorded voting "no" then they are assumed to have voted "aye." However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda.
Resolution No. RS2012-488 on the consent agenda is part of the sweetheart deal with HCA and that provides $500 per new HCA employee, employed at the new HCA facility to be build on West End.
SUBSTITUTE RESOLUTION NO. RS2012-489 is another bill which is part of the HCA deal. It appropriates a million dollars to the HCA deal. The justification for this is that the corporate relocation of HCA is going to create jobs and those jobs are likely to be filled by individuals residing in the “pocket of poverty.” The pocket of poverty includes the proposed HCA West End development site. This site is just west of Union Station Hotel, just north of Music Row and just northeast a couple blocks from Vanderbilt University. Maybe some of the people who will go to work at the new HCA headquarters will be Vandy graduates, so maybe they are residents of this “pocket of poverty.” I don’t know.
If I was an inquisitive Council member I would want to know the boundaries of this "pocket of poverty." I would want to know if this is money that was supposed to combat poverty but is instead being used to subsidize a well-connected wealthy company that is not likely to hire any really poor people.None of the other resolutions on the consent agenda appear controversial.
Bills on First reading almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. Here are bills of interests on first reading.
BILL NO. BL2012-320 by Councilman Claiborne is a follow up to his recent failed attempt to end lifetime subsidized health insurance for future former council members. This bill would not end it but would drastically reduce the subsidy. (read more)Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. Below are bills of interest on second reading.
BILL NO. BL2012-293 is Councilman Duane Dominy’s bill that would require the fair board to issue a request for information (RFI) to gauge interest from the private sector to see if there is a private sector investors that would be willing to preserve our Fairgrounds for current uses and improve the fairgrounds if given a Twenty-Five (25) year lease. I happened to know that there is, in fact. at least one entity that would like to take over and preserve and improve the fairgrounds. The deck is being stacked to destroy the fairgrounds. This bill needs to pass. Those who want to save the fairgrounds should turn out in force to support this bill, but I don't know of any effort to encourage a big turnout. For more on this issue see here and here.
ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-314 provides for a one-time early retirement incentive to employees of the Metropolitan Government eligible to retire before February 28, 2013. The incentive would be a one-time payment of $700 for each year of employment with the Metropolitan Government. As I understand it, metro cannot effectively reorganize and restructure because there are employees in jobs that need to be abolished, combined or redesigned. Also these are the more highly paid Metro employees. If these position were vacant, metro would have more flexibility to restructure and replace higher paid employees with employees with a lower starting salary. This seems to make sense.Bills on Third Reading: Third Reading is the final reading. If a bill passes third reading it becomes law unless it is vetoed by the Mayor, which has only rarely happened. Below are the bills of interest on third reading.
ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-Bill 294 by Councilman Duane Dominy simply brings a minimum level of accountability and oversight to the purchasing process. This is a bill to watch. It would require all sole-source contracts over $250,000 be approved by the council. Last meeting, after having been defeated in the B & F committee, it passed the Council by a vote of 23 "ayes," and 14 "nos." If this passes, one of the few sole source contracts that would have to come before the council is the city's contract with the Chamber of Commerce for the Partnership 2020 program.
Partnership 2020 is a public-private partnership developed by the chamber whose purpose is to recruit new businesses to the Nashville area. Metro’s appropriation for this program in recent years has been $300,000 a year. While the program serves a ten county area, Metro funds a greater share of the program than the other nine counties combined. Many feel that Metro funds the program, yet the bulk of new relocations to the Nashville area go to surrounding counties. The Chamber has an enormous amount of influence over some council members. It was a tremendous feat that Dominy was able to get this bill through second reading. See if he can push it over the finish line.
BILL NO. BL2012-295 establishing rules for handling the eggs and keeping chickens on school property. On second reading it caused several members take to the floor to speak. However, the bill passed by voice vote so I doubt it will be debated on third reading, but this is a bill of which to be aware. I know it sounds unimportant and boring but apparently it is the basis of some discord between Council members Charlie Tygard and Bo Mitchell. I don't know the real story of what this is all about.
BILL NO. BL2012-297 is part of the HCA sweetheart deal. To learn more about this, see what happened in the B & F committee and what happened on second reading.There are no memorializing resolutions on the agenda.