Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What happened at the Council meeting of 1/17/2017: software purchase to enforce Airbnb regs deferred, Autumn Hills nursing home management agreement cancelled.

At only 42 minutes long this is a relatively short meeting. To get a copy of the agenda, the staff agenda analysis and my commentary on the agenda follow this link.

Confirmation of appointees to Boards and Commissions pass without descent, the public hearing of  a bill to grant  an exemption to the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit passes with no one speaking on it,  all bills on First Reading pass without discussion by a single vote as is the norm, and all resolutions except for one pass on the consent agenda all lumped together and passing by a single vote. Below are the resolution and bills of interest.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-519  approves a  sole-source contract for over a million dollars for a five year period between Metro and Host Compliance, LLC to provide services to identify unpermitted STRPs, collect data on the extent of all such non-compliance, estimate rental activity for permitted and unpermitted properties, compare estimated rental activity with hotel/motel tax receipts from the property, and maintain a 24 hour complaint hotline. This is essentially a computer software program and tech support. The system will monitor on-line sites such as Airbnb and then compare those Nashville listings with  permits and hotel-motel tax payment records. This will help catch those who are illegally operating and help insure that operators are paying the hotel-motel tax.  This may bring in additional revenues to offset the cost. While I think we over regulate STRP, I support this bill.   If we are going to regulate STRP then we need to make sure the law is enforced. When some people follow the law and others get by with ignoring the law, that breeds contempt for law.  However, there is a move afoot to  ban non-owner occupied STRP.  I would favor deferring this to see what happens to the STRP bill.  Should they be banned, then it seems there would be less need to purchase this program. I do not think they will be banned but I think it would be prudent to wait and see what happens to that effort before purchasing this program.  One committee of the Council recommended referral of this resolution, so "by rule" it is deferred one meeting. To view The Tennessean's report on this resolutions, see Council debates $1M software contract to enforce Nashville Airbnb rules.

BILL NO. BL2016-461  on Second Reading requires employees of Metro to report fraud and unlawful acts committed against the Metropolitan Government to the Metropolitan Auditor. There is already a State law that does something similar. This was on second reading last time and deferred to this meeting.  It is deferred again.

BILL NO. BL2016-525 on Second Reading would require the Metropolitan Police Department to provide reports of positive engagements with the community to the Metropolitan Council. This got a negative recommendation in committee and the sponsor moves to deferred one meeting.

BILL NO. BL2016-529  on Third Reading approve the removal of  certain buildings and structures on the Fairgrounds. This is part of a Fairgrounds improvement plan in which some existing building are to be torn down, but not the racetrack. These building are to be replaced. The Charter requires Council approval to tear down any building at the Fairgrounds. This protection was put in the Charter by referendum following former Mayor Dean's attempt to abolish the Fairground and make the property available for redevelopment for other uses. This passes on a roll call vote of 38 in favor and none opposed.

BILL NO. BL2016-540 cancels the lease agreement with the management company than manages the Autumn Hills nursing home, formerly a Metro operated facility that is in the process of being fully privatized. It also rescinds the Council’s approval of the Purchase and Sale Agreement between Metro and the Vision Real Estate Investment Corporation for the sale of the 76 acre property. This facility was formerly the Knowles Home Assisted Living and Adult Day Services facility. This would not affect the Bordeaux facility which is under a separate agreement. While this move may be warranted, I would hope Metro would totally get out of the nursing home business entirely so it was not in a position of stepping back in to rescue a mismanaged facility. For more on the issue follow this report from News Channel 5: Council Begins Process To Get New Autumn Hills Management. This passes on a voice vote with no discussion.

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