Monday, January 14, 2013

Update: analysis and summary of the 1/15/2012 Metro Council agenda. What to watch for.

 It is Monday evening and there still is no staff analysis posted.

You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: MetroCouncilAgenda. 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.  At this time the staff analysis is not yet posted. If it is posted on Monday, I will update this post with more analysis.

There are fourteen resolutions,  all of which are on the consent agenda at this time. 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. 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."  Any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. 

Below are resolutions that may prove controversial and I suspect will be pulled off of the consent agenda:

  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-558 is the amendment to the Capital Improvement Budget that adds the improvement to the rear of Bridgestone Arena, which will be across the street from the front of the new Music City center, and to establish a new central police precinct which will be moved from its present location in the Bridgestone arena.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-559  authorizes the city to issue general obligation bonds of $110,000,000 to fund  the construction of the new police precinct and the Bridgestone Arena improvements mentioned above and some other projects. I would expect someone to object to this  resolution and the one above and I would expect them to be pulled off of the consent agenda but I expect both to pass.  
  • ·     RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-560 accepts a grant to fund a new financial literacy program in Nashville designed to help  low-income residents reduce debt and build assets.  This seems like a good program. However, the Mayor is hiring Eric Cole to run the program.  (Read the Tennessean story on this.)
Eric Cole is a former two-term councilmember who has been an enthusiastic supporter of the mayor and who headed the Dean-funded "grass roots" organization Moving Nashville Forward, which advocated for the Mayor's increase in property tax hike. Eric Cole's wife is also on the Metro payroll as head of the Metro Arts Commission.
This does not smell right. Why was the position not advertised and filled by a non political person? There are numerous agencies in town with experience administering similar programs such as Individual Development Account programs and programs teaching financial literacy. This money could have been given to United Way with instructions to issue a RFP's and let agencies already experienced doing this compete for the money .  Why should a program like this be administered out of the Mayor's office? Why was the position of program  administrator  not advertised?  How much salary will Eric Cole's position be paid? This looks like using money intended to help poor people being used to hire a political operative for the Mayor.
The other  bills on the consent agenda appear routine and I would not expect any of them to be pulled or see any that I think need to be pulled.
Bills on First reading almost always pass. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that simply allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. There are only two bills on first reading, neither very important nor controversial.

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;
    SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2012-283 is the new Metro Solicitation bill that would impose new regulations on commercial door-to-door solicitors. It  passed unanimously on second reading when previously on second reading and I expected it to sail on through third reading. However, legal staff had determined that the bill had a flaw that would prohibit it from withstanding a First Amendment challenge.  Legal said it would violate the First Amendment to prohibit solicitation for the "expressive arts."  Councilmember Clairborn asked for unanimous consent to amend the bill to address that issue.  To amend a bill on third reading however requires unanimous consent and there were objections so he successfully moved to rescind action on second reading and move the bill back to second reading.  That is why this bill is again on second reading. (Read more about this issue.)
  • BILL NO. BL2012-292 is the bill would permit home recording studios in residential neighborhoods. It was on public hearing on 12/4/2012.  There were some in the music industry community who had problems with the bill and the sponsor said she would work with them to improve the bill. It will be interesting to see what they have come up with. Home recording studios are not uncommon in Nashville.
  • ·     BILL NO. BL2013-338 by Tygard and Dominy looks very similar to a bill which Councilman Dominy recently unsuccessfully tried to pass. This bill says that "no sole source contract for the purchase of goods or services, including contracts for economic development initiatives and services, with a total contract amount in excess of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) may be entered into unless and until such contract has been approved by resolution duly adopted by the council by twenty-one affirmative votes.” 
I  don't know how this bill differs from the previous bill on the same subject, but I am glad to see Dominy is not giving up the fight. I am glad to see Councilman Tygard join as cosponsor. This is a good bill that needs to pass. One of the few sole source contracts that metro has 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. 
  • BILLNO. BL2013-339 and BILL NO. BL2013-340 are more bribes incentives to private business to get them to expand in or relocate to Nashville. I would hope the Council would consider the wisdom of this policy. If this continues, every business of any size that could relocate will have a reason do so unless paid not to so. Councilman Stites has been the lone voice in the Council opposing these incentive deal. I expect to hear him ague against this deal. For more on this, see here
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.  There are several zoning bills on third reading and some may interest neighbors of the proposed rezoning, but none of them appear to be of general interest. None of the other bills on third reading appear to be controversial. 
Memorializing Resolutions: There are no memorializing resolution on the agenda.  

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment