Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dean proposes Arena upgrades which will crowd out other improvement projects

On Friday, the Mayor presented his Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) to the Council. The CIB is not really a budget, but is a planning document of proposed capital outlays identifying and prioritizing projects and the means of financing them. The CIB does not appropriate funds, but instead identifies those projects that are eligible for consideration for funding in the Capital Spending Plan.

When the Council passes an operating budget, so many cents out of the tax levy is allocated to fund the Capitol Improvements Budget.  The Council determines that amount. Unless a project is in the CIB, the Council cannot fund it. The more of the tax levy the Council allocates to capital improvements, the deeper down into the priority list the city can reach.  Many projects are in the CIB but never get funded. Citizens who want a new school, park, police precinct, or major roadway improvement in their neighborhood, need to make sure it is in the CIB and that it has a high ranking. As soon as the CIB is posted, I will provide a link.

Today's Tennessean reports that Dean is calling for a major upgrade to the rear of the arena which will face the front on the new mammoth convention center. This sounds like a reasonable thing to do. Having made the major investment of the new convention center, it should not face the ugly back side of the arena. When conventioneers walk out of the convention center they should see something pleasant and a place to spend money. They need to be enticed to leave the center and see the city. However, if this project is a priority, then other projects will not be funded. Seven million dollars could fund a lot of neighborhood needs. (Read, Dean calls for upgrades at arena.)  

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