Thursday, February 4, 2016

Update. What happened at the Council meeting of 2-2-16: PILOT to fund affordable housing, no new reg for historic home events, ....

... $10M more for Meharry money pit, inclusionary zoning bills deferred on first reading, Human Relations strengthening bill deferred.

To see my commentary on the agenda a link to the agenda and agenda analysis, follow this link. There are a lot of zoning bills on public hearing and I don't report on them unless they have an impact beyond one community or prove extremely controversial, so if you are particularly interested in a zoning issue, don't rely on my analysis or meeting summary.

Following the prayer and pledge, the meeting starts with a presentation about heart disease and the agenda is not taken up until time stamp 8:23. Below is a summary of the meeting calling attention to the most important actions.
Charles Robert Bone's appointment to the board of MDHA is a approved and all other mayoral appointments to Boards and Commissions are approved. The other appointments were to the NECAT  board.

  • BILL NO. BL2015-96 by Councilman Withers which would restrict all “Historic home events” to enclosed areas is withdrawn without explanation. Good. That was a bad bill. An explanation would have been nice.
  • BILL NO. BL2016-107 by Councilman Anthony Davis which would expand the Inglewood Place - Jackson Park Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District to 454 additional acres has people wearing green "Preserve Inglewood" tee shirts speak in favor of the bill, and several people speak against.  It is approved. To see the discussion on this bill see time stamp 18:15- 41:45.
  • BILL NO. BL2016-109 which is a rezoning proposal for property on Kenilwood Drive to allow the construction of large self-story facility generates some negative comments from the public and passes second reading. See time stamp 47:15 -1:14:01 to view the discussion.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-86 which authorizes MDHA to  enter into a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) Agreement with a developer, developing a 240 unit apartment complex of affordable housing is approved on a voice vote. This is the first of its kind program in Nashville to build affordable housing using this tool.  
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-100 which request an addition $10 million dollars in operating subsidy for Metro hospital in addition to the $35 million dollar operating subsidy in the FY16 budget is approved unanimously. I am disappointed and think Metro should totally get out of the hospital business.  I am disappointing that none of the council members who identify as conservatives took a stand on this issue. Since poor people can go to the hospital of their choice, there is no need for Metro to have a charity hospital. While passing unanimous, the council does require the Hospital Authority to report report back to the Council on their financial status and questions the timing of the request. If Council had not approved this expenditure, the hospital would not have been able to meet their next payroll. Metro privatized the two nursing homes it used to own and should do the same thing with Meharry Hospital. The way I see it, the only reason we have a Metro General Hospital now is because it is a payoff to the Black Community. Metro General is also know as Meharry Hospital and is the teaching hospital of Meharry Medical College. Meharry Medical College is a Black institution and the Black community takes pride in it. All candidates for Mayor promised they would continue to support it. Due to the desire to curry favor with the Black community, politicians still continue to poor money into the Meharry Hosptial money pit despite there being no logic to funding a charity hospital.  If I am missing something and there is logic to funding Meharry, I would like for someone to explain it. Without a Metro charity hospital, is there anyone served who would not otherwise be served?  Not all cities have charity hospitals. How do cities without charity hospitals care for their indigent? To view the discussion, see time stamp 139:05- 1:56:54. To read The Tennessean report on the issue see Council approves emergency $10M for Metro General Hospital.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-101  refinancing some metro bonds to a more favorable interest rate freeing up some debt capacity, passes unanimously. This sounds like a good deal to me.
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-102  which takes out the north shed portion of Farmers Market is deferred two meetings. It is revealed that the $4M that the State is going to pay Metro for releasing the northern sheds, will not flow back to the Metro General fund but will go to subsidize the operation of the Farmers Market. I do not like that and think the money should go to the General Fund and any additional subsidizing of Farmers Market should have to come before the Metro Council. In my view the Farmers Market should not have to be subsidized. I like Farmers Market but think it should be able to cover its own operating cost. Kudos to Council member Jacobia Dowell for speaking out on this issue.  
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-113 is a memorizing resolution asking the Davidson County Delegation to oppose House Bill 1412 sponsored by Rep. Mark Pody which responds to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges which forced all states to grant license for same-sex marriage, by saying the Supreme Court's decision in Tennessee is "unauthoritative, void and of no effect." I am no friend of gay marriage but do think HB 1412 is a bad bill. RS2016-113 passes on a voice vote. 
  • BILL NO. BL2016-133 and BILL NO. BL2016-134 on First Reading are the inclusionary zoning ordinances and they are deferred indefinitely. Almost never is a bill on First Reading not passed.  For more on this issue, read The Tennessean's report at this link: Affordable housing plan delayed in Metro Council  
  • BILL NO. BL2016-99 which would strengthen the Human Relations Commission by removing the term limits for members of the Commission is deferred one meeting.

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