Sunday, July 3, 2022

More Highlights of the recently passed 2023 Metro Nashville budget. Look for things to get worse.

Reposted from the District 20 Newsletter:

Metro Council passed our budget on Tuesday. This budget will give a series of raises for schools and metro employees and fund hundreds of new positions across Metro departments. The budget passed on a 31-3 vote.

The budget includes:

  • Raises, paid family leave, and 4% cost-of-living increases for Metro schools employees and additional raises for support staff
  • A 4.5% cost-of-living adjustment  and an average 3% merit increase for Metro employees
  • A commitment to an $18 per hour minimum wage for full-time Metro positions
  • $20 million toward affordable housing (including $15 million for the Barnes Housing Trust Fund

Of the 17 amendments submitted, four passed:

  • $5 million will be taken from Metro's emergency reserve to fund MNPS support staff bonuses
  • $98,700 of Metro's $175,000 payment to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for Partnership 2030 will be redirected to add a housing planner position in the Housing Division.
  • $650,000 will be taken from the judgments and losses fund, $650,000 from the self-insured liability fund, and $700,000 from the 4% fund to cover a $2 million Nashville General Hospital shortfall.
  • $125,000 will be redirected from the Nashville Department of Transportation to fund two positions in the Human Relations Commission to assist with compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and increase accessibility.
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Rod's Comment: This is a budget that shows misplaced priorities and how hopelessly progressive is the city of Nashville. 

We are still inadequately funding our police. We cannot build sidewalks which is something people want. We have a mayor who brags about adding sidewalks to 1.89 miles of roadway a year as if that is something to brag about.  It is not that we do not tax enough but we fund the wrong things and mismanage.

Instead of shifting money to give more funding to General Hospital we should abolish or privatize it. Ever since the advent of Medicare, the poor have had options.  They do not have to go to the city's charity hospital. There is no charter requirement nor state law requiring Metro to maintain a charity hospital and many cities do not do so.  

The Human Relations Commission is an agency that pushes a left-wing politically correct agenda and should be abolished, not get additional funding.

Our schools get worse as at the same time Metro throw more money at them, and enrollment drops because people with options choose other options. The School board resists excellence and choice.  

Nashville continues to move further and further left and I expect it to only get worst. As more people move here from California and failed cities, they will vote for the same policies as the places they fled.  I have given up on ever hoping things will get better. Nashville is a Democrat city and like most big Democrat cities is mismanaged.  Tolerance for crime and homelessness will only increase.  

I still think Nashville is a great place to live and I love this city but I love it and it is a great place to live, not because we are governed well but in spite of being governed poorly.  Thankfully, the State keeps Metro on a short leash or we would be much worst than we are. 
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The below is from an email from Councilman Thom Druffel, District 23:

BUDGET AND FINANCE
I just finished my third year on the Budget and Finance Committee. We go through a very extended process in reviewing each department for budget changes. The budget book is over 750 pages but if you have any interest in reviewing it or a specific department in it, there is an Executive Summary that hits the highlights on how it is formulated and aids in deeper diving for areas of interest.
Some highlights:

REVENUE:
Significant revenue growth has come from both the property tax and the optional sales tax. A strong Nashville economy has helped grow the optional sales tax. The increase in home values and strong new development has supported growth in property tax revenue. Home values alone grew over 32%.
Property tax revenue is budgeted to grow by $102 million.
Optional sales tax is budgeted to grow by $138 million.

EXPENSES:
  • MNPS: $101 million or 9% increase from last year. The increase included raises for cost of living adjustments and step raises for MNPS workers and separate raises for support staff such as bus drivers and paraprofessionals. Support staff are critical in supporting teachers and school operations.
  • Adding more police officers including full staffing of the new Southeast Police Precinct
  • Adding more first responders including firefighters, EMS, and 911 call dispatchers.
  • Cost of living increase for Metro staff
  • Increase staff at Codes. Planning, Water, NDOT and Fire Marshall
  • Fully staff metro parks for the 178 parks and 15,000 acres of green space.
  • 20% increase in waste services to increase reliability
  • Increase in Homeless Impact Division staff
  • Add a 5th crew to repair potholes
POTENTIAL FUTURE BUDGET CONCERNS
  • The economy may be heading toward a recession and we need to be ready to make adjustments to expenses if revenue growth from property and sales taxes do not achieve targets
  • Metro debt service will increase $410.8 million in fiscal year 2023, a net increase of $50.8 million. This will increase the operating budget debt payment for future years. We will have to monitor this closely.
  • Fund balances were used to fund some expense items in the budget. I voted against most all amendments that would involve the use of fund balances because I think we need to exercise more fiscal restraint.

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