Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Council Meeting of July 16th, 2013 with commentary: spending $15 million for hockey and saying "no" to the fairgrounds.




To link to the agenda and agenda analysis follow this link. This meeting is only 52 minutes long. When you have no discussion and pass everything unanimously, you can have some pretty short meetings. The first 13 minutes of the agenda is presentations honoring people.
Reverend Bill Barnes offers the invocation. Rev. Barnes is the force behind the city establishing an affordable housing trust fund.

A proposed rule change is presented to the Council, but I don't know what it is. It may be nothing important or it could be significant. The rules of the Council can be significant in what gets passed or stopped.

All of the Mayor appointees to Boards and Commissions or approved unanimously as always. Most should be, but the Council simply rubber stamps them all and never turns anyone down. This means the Council exerts no influence to clean up corruption such as at NES, or mismanagement such as at the Farmers Market, or to influence policies such as the Human Relations Commission's promotion of youth homosexuality.

Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing passes.
A bill on third reading is taking out of order. It is SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2013-487  which establishes the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing to assist in providing affordable housing to residents of Davidson County.  It appropriates an initial sum of $2,279,040 to the fund, and establishes the Metropolitan Housing Trust Fund Commission to oversee the fund. The money appropriated to the fund is from a variety of sources including funds from repayment of Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) loans. Most of the money that will fund this program is money that was supposed to be spend in a "pocket of poverty" to benefit low-income people. Most of the money has been used to bribe (crony capitalism "incentives") business to come to Nashville or expand in Nashville or not leave Nashville (HCA, Lowes Hotel). I think this program is a better use of the money. This program will not require funding from property taxes and will not impact the city budget. The money repaid from UDAG can not be used for general government operating cost but must to used for affordable housing or economic development. I support this program. It passes unanimously. Bill Barnes worked long and hard to see Metro establish a housing trust fund. He is recognized and gets a standing ovation.

The consent agenda passes.
That means all the items on the consent agenda are considered in one single vote and they all pass unanimously. Included in the bills that pass on the consent agenda are these two that I think should have been questioned.

  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-768 approves the issuance of $15 million in bonds to build a hockey facility. I would have voted no on this. It is too much of a long-term commitment for the city. We have other needs that should be greater priority. (see article below)
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-770 appropriates $2,150,000 from the general fund to give grants to 28 various non-profits. I would have had some questions about this and would have requested to be recorded as voting no or abstaining if my questions had not been answered. 


Resolution 771 is pulled off of the consent agenda.  
RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-771 takes $8.3 million that was given to the city for 2010 flood relief and reappropriates it to other uses including Riverfront Park development. Councilman Robert Duvall attempts to amend this resolution to take a million dollars out of the funding for Riverfront Park and use it to repair flood damage at the fairgrounds. This fails. This is a shame. This money came to the city flood damage mitigation. Because the Mayor wants to destroy the fairgrounds, he is taking money that could have been used for its intended purpose and spending it elsewhere. The committees to which the bill was assigned voted to approve "without the amendment." If the Council turned this bill down, then this does not bode well for the future of the fairgrounds. Duvalls's amendment failed by voice vote so we don't know who how individual council members voted. (see 24:23-34:10) Robert Duvall is to be commended for trying. 


All bills on First reading pass.

Bills on Second reading  and third reading all pass by voice vote and without discussion except for a few deferral of a zoning bills. 


Two youth hockey rinks approved for former Hickory Hollow Mall
Decision carries significant price tag

by Michael Cass, The Tennessean, Jul. 16, 2013- Metro Council voted without discussion Tuesday to build two new youth hockey rinks in Antioch, a decision that could carry a significant price tag for taxpayers over the next 20 years. (link)

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