Wednesday, November 1, 2017

At-large Councilman John Cooper seeks to trigger tougher vote threshold for MLS stadium

On Tuesday of next week the Council is set to vote on the $225 million bond resolution to fund the soccer stadium at the fairgrounds.  This will be a resolution and only requires a majority of those present to pass. Part of the deal to build the stadium is a replacement of the exhibition building at the fairgrounds, however to demolish a building at the fairground requires a bill to be passed that must win approval of 27 members of the council.  Should the resolution pass but not the bill authorizing demolition, then we could see a situation in which the soccer stadium gets build but not the rebuilding of existing buildings. The mayor office confirmed this is true in a statement issued by her office. The mayor says she planned on bringing the demolition bill to the council in December after it was determined if Nashville was one of the cities awarded an MLS franchise.

Councilman Cooper has filed a bill to approve the demolition which will be on first reading on Tuesday night. Almost all bills pass on first reading which is really a formality and simply gets a bill on the agenda.  If Cooper's bill should pass first reading on Tuesday but never be finally adopted and the resolution approving the bond sale should pass, we would still be in a situation were we get the soccer stadium but not the replacement of old building on the fairground. Nevertheless, this at least gets the bill in the pipeline. The mayor's office is opposing Cooper's bill.  I would advocate waiting until the demolition bill passes before passing the bond resolution. The problem with thus is that the city must have a commitment to building a soccer stadium in order to have a chance at being awarded a soccer franchise.

If the Council passes the bond resolution without first passing the bill approving demolition then the council is simply trusting the mayor. The Council is in a tough spot. To read The Tennessean's report on this development, follow this link.

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