Monday, November 20, 2017

What's on the Council agenda for 11/21/2017: A bond issue for $133 million and not much else of interest.

I do not see anything on this agenda that is likely to generate controversy. There is no public hearing, so this should be a relatively short meeting.

The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the staff analysis  you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links.

There are nine mayoral appointees to Boards and Commission on the agenda for confirmation and as always they will be affirmed. There are no resolutions or bills on Public hearing. 

There are 14 resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes unanimously the committees to which has been assigned. Since the committees have not met yet, some resolutions which are listed as on the consent agenda may not be on the consent agenda when the council meets. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Resolutions on the consent agenda are lumped together and passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. Any member of the body however, may have a resolution pulled off of the consent agenda or have their "no" vote or abstention recorded. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. Below are the resolutions of interest.

RESOLUTION RS2017-963  approve the issuance of up to $133.2 million in  general obligation bonds to provide funding for various projects contained in the Mayor’s mid-year Capital Spending Plan. That is a lot of money. However, this is nothing to be alarmed about. This planned spending is for projects known about and approved. It includes additional funding for a planned community ice center in Bellevue operated by the Nashville Predators, additional funding for the ongoing renovation of Hillsboro High School, construction of a new Metro police headquarters on Murfeesboro Pike, and reconstruction of the Criminal Justice Center, which houses the downtown jail. All of these projects are already under way. I expect this to be approved without controversy. For more on this, read the bill or the Council staff analysis. To read The Tennessean report on this bill follow this link.
RESOLUTION RS2017-965  declares certain properties as surplus and gives the property to selected nonprofit organizations, and authorizes grants of up to $4.5 million from the Barnes Fund for affordable housing to the selected nonprofit organizations for the purpose of constructing and rehabilitating affordable or "workforce" housing. This is fulfillment of what is already a policy. To see the address of the properties and a list of the non-profits and how much each receive, read the bill. The Woodbine Community Organization gets $1.2 million which is the largest grant.

RESOLUTION RS2017-966  authorizes the Mayor to employ the law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann &Bernstein, LLP, as special counsel to pursue claims against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids that have "wrongfully caused drug addiction in Davidson County."
 Bills on First reading: There are 21 bills on first reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda and they are not considered by committee until after they pass first reading. I do not read them until they get to second reading. Bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote except in extremely rare cases.

Bills on Second Reading. There are 13 bills on Second Reading. These are the ones of interest.
BILL BL2017-949 codifies what is already a policy of metro and establishes a debt management policy for the city.  Metro would be prohibited from issuing or incurring any debt in violation of this debt management policy unless approved in advance by Council resolution. To understand the policy, see the bill and the staff analysis. This is a good bill.

BILL BL2017-952 says that private consultants and contractors who offer services assessing the initial cost, feasibility or adoption of a public project would be prohibited from subsequently bidding on the actual project. This seems like a reasonable policy.  

BILL BL2017-953  restrict door-to-door commercial solicitation to daylight hours. As one who once sold cable TV door-to-door when Viacon was new to Nashville, this seems overly restrictive, especially in the winter when it is dark at 5:30. When I was selling cable, I often worked till 8PM. 
Bills on Third Reading. There are 27 bills on third reading. Most are zoning bills that have been approved by the Planning Commission or are approved subject to modification as recommended by the Planning Commission. Below are the ones of interest.
BILL BL2017-939 would add additional obstacles to adopting the mayor's proposed transit plan. The state enabling legislation allowing for transit improvement known as the IMPROVE Act, provides that a  transit improvement program be adopted by ordinance or resolution by majority vote of the local government’s legislative body. This bills specifies that such a plan must must be approved by ordinance rather than a resolution. A resolution only requires one vote of the Council; a ordinance requires three votes. This is a good bill. It passed Second Reading on a voice vote.

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 and you can watch it live on Roku. 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 on this blog the day after or the day after that and provide commentary.

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