Sunday, March 17, 2013

What is on the Council Agenda for 3/19/2013

You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. You can find the analysis at this link: Metro Council Agenda 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. This agenda is more boring than most and this should be a short meeting. There is nothing controversial on the agenda. Don't bother watching unless you just have nothing better to do. I will watch it for you.

There is one resolution on public hearing about a beer permit but it would interest no one except the immediate neighbors.

There are twelve resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Since 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. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. I do not expect any to be pulled off of the consent agenda. I don't see any controversial resolution.

Bills on First reading almost always pass. There are nine bills on first reading. 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. I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but see nothing of any consequence and will review them more carefully before second reading.

Bills on Second Reading. It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are only six bills on second reading. None of them seem terribly important but below are a couple worth noting:

BILL NO. BL2013-381 by Councilman Tygard would require periodic reports regarding the energy and water savings from Metropolitan Government buildings and facilities constructed using sustainable building principles and practices. This report would determine if LEED certified building are saving any money over non-LEED certified buildings of similar size. This seems like a good move. We need solid data to determine if the cost of expensive energy efficiency measure pay for themselves or if they are just feel-good measures.

BL2013-388 repeals the local residency requirement for liquor store owners. The Tennessee Attorney General recently opined that the residency requirement violates the U. S. Constitution because it discriminates against interstate commerce. This opinion is based on a recent ruling in a similar matter.

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 sixteen bills on third reading. Most of them are zoning bills and none of the bills on third reading are controversial. While not controversial, the following bills are worth noting:
ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-379 tweaks the backyard yard chicken policy.

ORDINANCE NOS. BL2013-376 & BL2013-377 change sign policy in the downtown commercial area.

ORDINANCE NOS. BL2013-383 & BL2013-384 are bills that authorize the mayor to submit the 2013-2018 plan for community development programs for Metro Nashville and the 2013 analysis of impediments to fair housing to HUD. This is required to get money from several different programs. The goals of the plan are to increase the supply of affordable housing, increase access to healthy food choices, reduce homelessness, and promote community and economic development. These two bills are routine. The plan for community development programs provides for several categories of expenditure but before any money could be spend the council would have to specifically approve the spending. One good provision I am pleased to see in this bill is that none of these funds will be used for any property acquisition involving the use of eminent domain.

Memorializing Resolutions: There is one memorializing resolution and it ask TVA to change its current policy of clear-cutting all trees fifteen foot or taller in a TVA easement. Currently that policy applies even to trees that are slow-growing and ornamental and that will never reach the height of a TVA power line. This ordinance also ask TVA to give homeowners a 60 day notice before cutting trees on their property that are within the TVA easement.

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