Saturday, January 14, 2017

What's on the Council agenda for 1/17/17? Enforcing airbnb regs and changing the managment of the Autumn Hills nursing home.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse.   Council meetings are really boring and I watch them so you can be a well-informed citizen of our city and still not have to watch the council meetings. If, however, you are going to watch the council meeting, you really need the agenda and  the Council staff analysis, otherwise you will be clueless about what is going on.  Follow the highlighted links above to view the agenda and staff analysis. This should be a short meeting. There is no public hearings and not mush of interest or controversy on the agenda. That is fine with me. I am tired, and I am sure council member are, of four hour meetings. Below is my commentary and analysis.

There is only one appointment to Boards and Commissions on the agenda and you can expect it to be approved unanimously. There is one resolution on public hearing to grant an exemption to the minimum distance requirements for obtaining a beer permit. There are no Bills on Public hearing.

There are 16  resolutions on the consent agenda. Resolutions on "consent" are passed by a single vote of the council instead of being voted on individually. If a resolution has any negative votes in committee it is taken off of consent.  Also any council member may ask to have an item taken off of consent or to have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded. None of them are very controversial and most are simply accenting grants.  Here are the ones 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. What it looks likes we are purchasing is a computer technology 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 may bring in additional revenues to offset the cost.  Assuming the price of this service is right, I approve of this.  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. I can see the need for something like this in order to monitor STRP.  However, if I were in the Council, I would not support this is we are going to ban non-owner occupied STRP.  I would favor deferring this to see what happens to the STRP bill.  Those that allegedly cause problems are the non-owner occupied units.  This seems like more help than the city needs if STRP are banned for all but owner-occupied STRP.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-520 accepts a grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to support the Nashville Financial Empowerment Center. I am mentioning this to give a plug for this entity. They provide free financial counseling to help people improve their money management skills.  I have worked most of my professional life serving low income people. A lot of what I have done over the years is help people learn how to save, reduce debt, and improve their credit score.  People really do stupid stuff, but a lot of the time it is because they never had any good role models and never learned a different way of thinking about money. When people realize they do not have to remain poor and can live a life without fear of creditors and being evicted they can change.  They have to want to; but they can change.  This programs provides them an opportunity to change. I know it is difficult to tell other people what they ought to do, but if you know someone who is screwing up their life because they are mismanaging their money, tell them about the availability of this resource which can empower them to gain control over their finances.
There are 20 bills on First Reading but I don't know what's in them.  First Reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda. They are not discussed by committee until after First Reading.  Almost always, bills on First Reading are lumped together and pass by a single vote.  I do not examine bills on First Reading.

Bills on Second Reading. There are only 12 bills on Second. These are the ones of interest:

BILL NO. BL2016-461  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.

BILL NO. BL2016-525 would require the Metropolitan Police Department to provide reports of positive engagements with the community to the Metropolitan Council. This seems like a waste of time and effort. Every engagement with the community should be a positive engagement unless the person engaged is a non-cooperative criminal or belligerent drunk. This ask for, but not be limited to, a listing of those community events and activities that the MNPD were involved in or otherwise participated in during the previous quarter. This seems like a silly ordinance and will require unnecessary reporting.
Bills on Third Reading. There are 18. These are the ones of interest.

BILL NO. BL2016-529  would 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 bill is not a plan to destroy the Fairgrounds but part of a plan to improve the facility.  Don't be alarmed. 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.
BILL NO. BL2016-540 would cancel 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 would also rescind 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 is 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.
To watch the Council meeting, you can go to the courthouse and watch the meeting in person, or you can watch the broadcast live at Metro Nashville Network's Government TV on Nashville's Comcast Channel 3 and AT&T's U-verse 99 and it is streamed live at the Metro Nashville Network's livestream site. You can catch the meeting the next day (or the day after the next) on the Metro YouTube channel.   If can stand the suspense and just wait I will post the video hear and provide commentary.

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