From Nashville.Gov, NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean today unveiled Metro's Fiscal Year 2016 proposed operating budget and highlights of the capital spending plan.
"As with past budgets, we have funded our priorities of education, public safety and quality of life," Mayor Dean said. "In this budget, we stay true to the principles that have kept Nashville moving forward by saving where we could, investing in our priorities, keeping taxes low and maintaining our reserves."
Finance Director Rich Riebeling presented the budget proposal to members of the Metro Council today, following Mayor Dean's State of Metro address.
- Recommended budget of $1.968 billion, representing a 4 percent increase over FY 2015. Budget is $76.6 million larger than FY 2015.
- No proposed increase in property taxes. Nashville's property tax rate is lower than in 2007, when Mayor Dean took office. It is the lowest combined city-county rate of the four big cities in Tennessee.
- Projected revenue growth of $75.2 million, largely driven by $35.6 million in additional local sales tax revenue. Sales tax revenue has grown 36 percent - nearly $100 million -- since the FY 2009 budget, propelled by a growing population and an increase in visitors.
- Debt service, as a percentage of the budget, is slightly lower than when Mayor Dean came into office at 10.5 percent versus 10.94 percent in 2007.
- Metro Schools will continue to receive the largest portion of the budget at 41 percent, and public safety will get the second largest portion at 21 percent.
- Metro Schools will receive $810 million for operations, which is $36 million more than the current fiscal year, allowing them to make the improvements that were recommended by Schools Director Jesse Register and approved by the school board.
- With this increase, schools' operating budget will have grown by $219 million since Mayor Dean took office, a 37 percent increase. Since FY 2009, the schools budget has grown 30.5 percent.
- Investments in the budget proposal also include improvements for Metro employees and direct services to citizens:
- Employee compensation, $24 million: All employees would receive 2.5 percent cost-of-living raises. The budget also would fund increment pay, provide appropriate funding for those who aren't eligible for increments and offer a solution to the salary compression issue that affects some public safety employees.
- Metro Transit Authority, $3.64 million: MTA would fund a full year of bus rapid transit (BRT) lite operations on Charlotte Pike and begin BRT lite operations on Nolensville Pike. BRT lite is also available on Gallatin Pike and Murfreesboro Pike.
- Nashville Public Library, $1.4 million: Regional branches would open on Fridays for the first time in more than 10 years, with branches at Bellevue, Southeast and Madison starting Friday hours on Sept. 1 and branches at Bordeaux, Hermitage, Edmondson Pike and Green Hills starting Friday hours on Jan. 1. Funds would also create a joint electronic card catalog for the city library system and libraries at Metro Schools as part of the Limitless Libraries program.
- Metro Parks, $1.4 million: With added park and open space, the department has seen an increase in maintenance, mowing and custodial needs.
- Metro Public Works, $1.26 million: A new convenience center for residential waste and recycling would open in southern Davidson County. Additionally, funds would cover operating costs for a new downtown recycling program, which would add 175 recycling receptacles downtown. Recycling infrastructure in public spaces makes it easier for tourists, business people and anyone in the downtown area to make the right choice for the environment and the community.
- Metro Public Health, $319,800: Dental services at Lentz Public Health Center would expand. Metro Animal Care and Control would increase its staff and fund a community spay-and-neutering project.
- Creation of the Office of Family Safety to coordinate domestic violence services and manage the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center. The new office would institutionalize work that is already taking place in Metro and would require a budget enhancement of $205,600. Current expenditures are at $535,900, and the new office estimates a $741,500 operating budget.
- With this budget, the largest single investment in affordable housing during Mayor Dean's term will take place with a $6 million investment in the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing and $4 million for the Metro Development and Housing Agency to advance affordable housing initiatives.
- Barnes Fund: $1 million in operating funds, including revenue from AirBnB tax collections, and $5 million from the sale of the Nashville Convention Center.
- Most departmental operating budgets are status quo and received no reductions.
- Reductions in the budget include:
- Metro's operating budget will see $15.2 million in budget savings, from reductions in costs regarding health benefits, injury on duty and pension costs and from departmental savings. More than $75 million has been saved through budget reductions and organizational efficiencies since FY 2009.
- As in FY 2015, there is no operating subsidy budgeted for the Farmers' Market, Municipal Auditorium and State Fair.
Capital Spending PlanThe proposed $520 million capital spending plan would be Mayor Dean's seventh and would continue the city's focus on its priorities of education and public safety, improving infrastructure and maintaining a high quality of life. This amount includes $44 million in self-funded items, which generate revenue to cover their costs, and a previously announced $149 million public safety investment to relocate the Criminal Justice Center.
EducationThe plan includes $131 million for Metro Schools.
- These investments would build on the $389 million in capital spending for Metro Schools since Mayor Dean took office.
- Capital dollars would be used for the following:
- Renovating Overton High School and Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School.
- Building a new elementary school in Cane Ridge.
- Planning funds to begin the process of moving Hillwood High School to Bellevue.
- Planning funds for the future of Hillsboro High School and Nashville School of the Arts.
Public SafetyThe largest portion of capital dollars would cover a previously announced, $149 million public safety investment to relocate the Criminal Justice Center. This plan would consolidate Davidson County Sheriff's Office operations and relocate Metro Nashville Police Department headquarters to Jefferson Street.
The plan also would build a new Family Justice Center on Murfreesboro Road.
Quality of Life
- Public Works, $73 million, including $25 million for sidewalks, the single largest infusion of dollars for sidewalks in any of Mayor Dean's capital spending plans. Approval of the plan would bring Mayor Dean's capital spending on sidewalks over the past eight years to $82 million, more than any other administration has spent on sidewalk construction in Metro history.
- Parks, $50 million, including funds for new community centers, open space, greenways and public infrastructure at the Nashville Zoo.