Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act will not be on the ballot this December. Judges ruling keeps it off the ballot.

by Rod Williams - The Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act will not be on the ballot this December. About 4pm yesterday Judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled the election commission did not have to place the measure on the ballot.

I spoke to attorney Jim Roberts the founder of 4GoodGovernment and the drafter of the proposed charter amendment at an election watch party last night.  He told me it is not over and he is not giving up. He said the options are to appeal the judges ruling or just redraft the measure and begin collecting signatures for the new version of the measure which would be rewritten to comply with the judges criticisms of the measure. 

He said appealing would be time consuming and expensive and it may be best to just start over.  However, he said he may both appeal her ruling and start over.  Since the judge had just handed down her ruling a few hours before I spoke to him, he said no decision as how to proceed had been made yet, but vowed that this was not over. 

The proposed measure had five provisions. They are:
  1.  Property Tax Rates. Property Tax Rates shall not increase more than 2% per year after January 1, 2020, without a voter referendum. 
  2. No Give-away of Our Parks, Greenways, or Public Lands. No part of a Park, Greenway, Public Land, or other real property shall be given away or conveyed without 31 votes of the Metro Council in favor. Transfers of interest in real property shall only be at fair market value or greater based on an independent appraisal. A voter referendum shall be required for transfers of interest in real properties valued over $5,000,000.00, and for leases exceeding twenty (20) years, commencing after January 1, 2020. 
  3. Issuance of Bonds. All bonds issued or guaranteed after January 1, 2020, exceeding $15,000,000.00 for a specific project (excluding construction of educational classrooms, public libraries, public healthcare buildings, and police and fire stations, and Charter protected facilities) must be approved by voter referendum. 
  4. Failed Promises: If a professional sports team leaves Nashville, or ceases playing professional games for more than twenty-four (24) months, all facilities and related commercial development shall revert to the people, and all related contracts shall be terminated, including land leased from the Nashville Fairgrounds. 
  5. Metro’s Records Shall Be Open to the Public. Citizens are entitled to keep a close eye on Metro’s actions and entitled to inspect its books and records for free and consistent with the Tennessee Open Records Act’s protections (§10-7-501, et seq). A person or entity receiving more than $250,000 yearly in taxpayer funds or benefits agrees to be bound by this Amendment. Persons or entities refusing to provide public records shall be barred from receiving public funds and liable for treble the Citizen’s damages, including attorney fees.  

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