Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What happened at the 3/15/16 council meeting: TIF reform, $ for Lifeway development, Fairground gun show bills stall.

This meeting is just a little over an hour long. To see my agenda commentary and to get a link to the Council agenda, follow this link. I am not sure when the Council staff analysis was posted on line, but it was not yet posted the morning of the meeting, but it is now.  To see the staff analysis, follow this link.

Below is a summary of the meeting, highlighting the items of interest.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-148 the TIF deal (tax increment financing) to fund rehabilitation of the Old Hickory Towers, an existing 217 unit high-rise apartment building is approved on the consent agenda.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-168,   "A resolution recognizing April 15, 2016, as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence in Davidson County and across the United States," passes on the consent agenda.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-76 , the resolution by Councilman Glover requesting the Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners to reinstate and continue to allow gun shows at the fairgrounds is not on consent. At the request of the sponsor it is deferred one meeting. To support this resolution and Bill No. BL2016-161 which also deals with the issue, the Friends of the Fairground had put out a "call to action" asking fairground supporters to attend the meeting wearing their red tee shirts. The chamber is not packed with fairground supporters and a look at the audience in the chamber does not show a lot of people wearing red.

 BILL NO. BL2015-32 on second reading which is a bill to prohibit the selling of newspapers or other things in the right of way to people in automobiles is deferred indefinitely at the request of the sponsor. This would have had the effect to ending The Contributor newspaper sales program which aids the homeless. The sponsor says he will be bringing back another bill which will address the issue in a different manner.

BILL NO. BL2016-157  which would make modest improvements to the Tax Increment Finance program passes on a voice vote with no discussion. To learn more about this issue see this link.

BILL NO. BL2016-160 on second reading amends the distance requirements for a beer license. It passes.

BILL NO. BL2016-161   mandates that the Fair Board keep dates available in their calendar to allow the gun shows to rent the facility at the fairground until such time as a court of law or the Tennessee Attorney General determines the Fair Board’s compliance with the Metropolitan Charter, state and/or federal legislation in regard to its actions banning gun shows.  There was a vote in committee to deffer this indefinitely so  "by rule" the bill is deferred.  The sponsor could bring it back but would be required to request in writing to the clerk that it be back on the agenda, then the bill would be on the agenda for a determination if it could be heard. If the bill gets a majority of those voting, then it would be on the next agenda following that meeting.

BILL NO. BL2016-117 and BILL NO. BL2016-132 on third reading amends the zoning code in an attempt to curtail alternative financial services businesses such as payday lenders. They both pass. I oppose both of these bills. While I think payday lenders are slimy leaches preying on the poor, the rate of interest they charge poor people is no greater than banks charge for a bounced check or what NES charges if you get your electricity cut off. Rather than protect stupid people from being taking advantage of, we should educate them. People should be free to be stupid. As to the detrimental effect on development of these institutions, I can't believe they are more detrimental than a used tire stores. I wonder how many used tire stores Nolesnville Road can support? Another one just opened at the corner of Glenrose and Nolensivlle. I think another Advance Financial would be a preferred development, but this bill will prohibit alternative financial institutions so we can save those locations for what? Used tire stores.

BILL NO. BL2016-149  on Third Reading authorizes Metro to enter a participation agreement for the construction of public infrastructure improvements and to accept a donation of property for a park. The ordinance obligates Metro government to spend up to $3.49 million in infrastructure costs such as sidewalks and sewage and the owner of the property would give 1.26 acres to Metro for a park. While $3.49 million dollars is a lot of money, this development gets no TIF (Tax Increment Financing) nor a PILOT (payment in-lieu of taxes) deal.  This is an incentive deal to keep Lifeway headquarters downtown.  If was discussed on the floor of the Council when it was on second reading and is again discussed at this meeting. (See video time stamp 52:00 - 1:03
:04) A concern  surrounding this  issue is that Metro is paying for a park and some feel that Metro should require developers to set aside green space instead of the city financing it. There is also concern that we do not have guidelines as to when we provide incentives and how much incentive the city provides developers. To see The Tennessean's coverage of this issue, follow this link:  Nashville council approves $3.5M boost for LifeWay move.

This is just an aside from observing the Council meetings.  I think there should be a rule change to require all male council member to wear neckties and sports jackets or suits while attending council meetings. A little dignity wouldn't hurt. Also, when addressing the Chair, one should stand.

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