Meeting Re(Adjourned)

There is a Special Adjourned Metro Council Meeting tonight… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices. 

The work continues

What a week we've had... Last week, we held our regularly scheduled meeting which did not adjourn until 5:15 AM the next morning. We are not planning to be that late tonight. 

Below, I want to share 6 quick points...

  1. The budget (which we've discussed in detail) will be on 3rd and final reading next week June 16.
  2. Nashville will begin full deployment of Body-Worn Cameras for Metro Police Department.
  3. The mayor has delayed proceeding from Phase 2 - Phase 3 of the COVID-19 reopening plan due to an increase in cases throughout the county. Remember to be safe, wash your hands.
  4. I will not be entertaining any new requests for rezones until we have spent time in Phase 4 (final phase) of the city's reopening plan.
  5. Metro Schools have a framework for reopening in place. This is a 3 tiered situational approach. Also, the city has purchased 90,000 netbooks and computers for students in need to allow for home learning.
  6. I will continue to fight against racial injustices. 

Tornado Relief 

FEMA has included a grace period for registration for the March 3rd tornado. You can call them at 1(800)-621-3362 or visit Fema.Gov. Also, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and several organizations rooted in North Nashville are helping with disaster and emergency relief from organizations that have received funds. Here are a few that are working now... Gideon's Army, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, Inc. (J.U.M.P.), Lee Chapel AME Church, New Covenant Christian Church, Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church, NAACP Nashville, Northwest Family YMCA, Catholic Charities of Tennessee - McGruder Family Resource Center, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University Foundation, Rebuilding Together Nashville, The Equity Alliance, and Urban League of Middle Tennessee. These organizations jumped in on the ground floor and have committed to working until individuals in our communities are back to whole and better. If you or someone you know are in need of relief, of any kind, from the tornado, please reach out to one or several of these organizations to find the help you are looking for.

What to expect tonight:

BL2019-8 - This bill is on public hearing if you are interested in speaking for or against this bill be sure to call in while it's being heard during tonight's meeting. This bill, if passed, would call for sidewalk allocations in the sidewalk fund will stay in the District where construction is happening to be spent throughout the district.

BL2020-277 - This bill proposes the opportunity for non-conforming properties damaged in the March 3 tornado to be rebuilt as it once stood.

BL2020-299 - This bill will raise the license tax... for renewing and receiving your license plate. $66 to $116 and $55 to $80.

 

Dates to remember:

  • All in-person meetings (large/small groups or one-on-one) that I have scheduled are postponed in light of the increasing COVID-19 concerns and will not be rescheduled until further notice. 

Lets Connect:

I invite all District 21 residents to reach out to me directly with any information or concerns in our community. Email is the best form of communication, but invite you to call me as well. My contact information is below.

Contact information: Email - [email protected] / Phone: 615.946.9700

Best regards,

Brandon


Black Lives and Budgets Matter

There is a Metro Council Meeting tonight… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices. 

Black Lives do, indeed, matter!

Just think if we did not have cell phone footage today... For years injustices in America have been overlooked, overshadowed, and just blatantly covered up. Over the past several years, injustices on people of color have played out in the media via phone footage, body cameras, and other video-recording devices. George Floyd was killed in my old neighborhood in Minneapolis. This was the neighborhood where I often walked, ran, and biked. The neighborhood where I would try to "beat the yellow light" to get to work on time during busy mornings. A neighborhood I thought was safe. Unfortunately, the safety I thought was there, was not. 

You see, there are many situations where I could have been George Floyd, Tamir Rice, or Ahmaud Aubry. Where people saw me a threat simply because I am Black

The message in all of this is simple... I MATTER! I know that many of you are weary and just as tired as I am. You may be wondering what you can do to make a change.  If not, I hope you can find it, we need everyone in this fight.

I implore you to keep the passion for change beyond the next few weeks and months. So often, the hurt of these tragedies fades... at least until the next time. But if we want change, true change, that cannot happen. We all have to do our part, no matter how big or small. There is a poem, "The Race", that tells us no matter if you when or lose, you only really lose if you do not try.

The Budget is Here

We will be discussing the proposed budgets tonight. We've been having this conversation for quite some time now, and we are nearing the final decision on what Nashville's budget will look like next fiscal year. I explained that there are five proposed budgets that we will be considering. As of today, there are six, but we may dwindle back down to five as CM Benedict may withdraw her substitute budget. CM Mendes has introduced two budgets, one that would have a similar $1.00 proposed tax increase such as the mayors, but with different spending. The second proposes a $1.06 tax rate increase. Click here to see the difference in approach that CM Mendes is using for his two budget options. 

We also have CM O'Connell's proposal to increase taxes by $0.37. Again, his budget cites federal government assistance that will have to be secured to enact his budget. I presume, he will share more information with us tonight.

CM Glover also has a proposed budget. I don't know much about it, however, he has mentioned multiple times that he will be cutting spending. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how this will affect the current services (and many may think the lack thereof) that we are receiving now.

This may help you understand some of the decision making as we move forward through the process to our final vote on June 16. We have a choice to choose a substitute, either CMs Glover, O'Connell, Benedict, and the two from CM Mendes. However, we can only amend, make changes by law, to Mayor Cooper's current proposed budget, or to either option 1 or 2 from CM Mendes. The only amenable budgets are the Budget and Finance Chair or the mayors budget. I hope this helps you as we continue to walk (slowly) to the finish line.

I know that you have heard a lot about the proposed tax increases being due to the tornado and Covid-19 pandemic, but keep in mind the city was in need of an increase prior to these two disasters. Therefore, I strongly believe all substitutes will have an increase in the tax rate. As of now, each one that I know the most about will have a tax increase.

I will be encouraging my colleagues to choose a budget that will add investments directly in District 21 and nearby areas. Also, a budget that will help teachers and other MNPS employees. The Minority Caucus will be working to invest in the Community Oversight Board and activating MNPD body-worn cameras and using COVID-19 dollars to be spent directly with Nashvillians other than paying city expenses.

Tornado Relief 

FEMA has included a grace period for registration for the March 3rd tornado. You can call them at 1(800)-621-3362 or visit Fema.Gov. Also, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and several organizations rooted in North Nashville are helping with disaster and emergency relief from organizations that have received funds. Here are a few that are working now... Gideon's Army, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, Inc. (J.U.M.P.), Lee Chapel AME Church, New Covenant Christian Church, Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church, NAACP Nashville, Northwest Family YMCA, Catholic Charities of Tennessee - McGruder Family Resource Center, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University Foundation, Rebuilding Together Nashville, The Equity Alliance, and Urban League of Middle Tennessee. These organizations jumped in on the ground floor and have committed to working until individuals in our communities are back to whole and better. If you or someone you know are in need of relief, of any kind, from the tornado, please reach out to one or several of these organizations to find the help you are looking for.

What to expect tonight: (Not much here other than budget)

BL2020-298 - The capital improvements budget will be on second reading and will have a public hearing.

BL2020-286 - This is essentially the initiation of the city budget. It's on public hearing tonight as well.


Investments in District 21

There is a Metro Council Meeting tonight… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices. 

Budget Season is Heating Up

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, here is the link for the 2021 Budget Book proposed by the mayor. Schedule time to read the book, as this is a 690-page document. 

I've received several questions regarding the budget timeline (or when is the budget vote?), and I wanted to answer those questions. 

  • The mayor presented his budget to the council on April 28.
  • The budget book was sent to the Council on Friday, May 8.
  • Council began hosting public budget hearings for each department on Monday, May 11, and will continue this week.
  • Substitute budgets were due by Wednesday following the Friday we received the mayor's budget book.
  • A budget has not been finalized, and five substitute budgets have been filed and proposed.
    • We will not be able to see these substitutes until the first meeting in June.
  • Here's a brief analysis of the five substitute budgets...
    • 1) Mayor Cooper's budget includes a $1.00 increase in tax revenue and doesn't call for any city employee furloughs or layoffs. It also doesn't give any raises that have been promised to the city employees.
    • 2) CM Mendes' substitute has not been shared publicly, and we will see his budget when the agenda is released for the first council meeting in June. If he does provide his alternate budget prior, I will follow up with you.
    • 3) In CM Glover's substitute budget, we may see a decrease from the mayor's $1 increase, but he still proposes an increase in taxes of 20% or less. 
    • 4) CM Benedict agrees with the mayor's budget but sees an opportunity to increase from $1.00 to $1.16 with taxes to include the raises promised for teachers and city employees.
    • 5) CM O'Connell, similar to CM Glover, would like to lessen the blow of a $1.00 increase to a more modest $0.37 tax increase. He also cited using a federal government opportunity for funds to close the gap in lost revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Moving forward, these are the only substitute budgets that will be considered. Council members have the opportunity to file amendments to the details in the budget (where dollars are spent and how in each department's budget).
  • The Council will vote on the final budget in June - the last meeting in June.
    • There will be a public comment period at the first meeting in June.

Meeting with the Mayor

On Friday, I met with Mayor Cooper to discuss how the $121M the city has received from the federal government for COVID-19 will be spent and I advocated for the much-needed capital investments needed in District 21.

During our meeting, we discussed how the fallout and impact of COVID-19 could have a long-term effect on several Nashvillians. For instance, many companies have suspended, not forgiven, payments due during the start of the coronavirus pandemic. This means these dollars will still be expected to be paid from individuals that lost jobs or income due to the pandemic. Also, these families may have not recovered from this loss of revenue. My request was for some of the $121M to be used to directly help our constituents in the future. The mayor mentioned a few other options that he was thinking about using these funds for which include, hazard pay for first responders, overtime costs for city employees, new incurred costs for the Metro health department, and telelearning opportunities for MNPS students. He didn't confirm anything as of now, but I am working to learn more and find ways you have an opportunity to for relief with these funds.

Secondly, I discussed capital investments for District 21. I have been working with the city and the mayor's administration for several months, prior to the tornado and COVID-19, to receive capital improvements that are not listed in the capital spending plan. Some of these improvements were moving forward prior to March, and I am working to make sure that a few of these investments will happen in the coming year. I've requested projects such as paving in alleyways and roadways. Others have been adding more lighting in areas, this requires budget spending from both NES and Public Works. Lastly, traffic calming has been on my list as well. Many of you have asked for traffic calming in your neighborhoods and it's definitely needed in many areas. Please continue to send your thoughts and areas you see improvements and I will continue to advocate for you.

Tornado Relief 

FEMA has included a grace period for registration for the March 3rd tornado. You can call them at 1(800)-621-3362 or visit Fema.Gov. Also, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and several organizations rooted in North Nashville are helping with disaster and emergency relief from organizations that have received funds. Here are a few that are working now... Gideon's Army, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, Inc. (J.U.M.P.), Lee Chapel AME Church, New Covenant Christian Church, Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church, NAACP Nashville, Northwest Family YMCA, Catholic Charities of Tennessee - McGruder Family Resource Center, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University Foundation, Rebuilding Together Nashville, The Equity Alliance, and Urban League of Middle Tennessee. These organizations jumped in on the ground floor and have committed to working until individuals in our communities are back to whole and better. If you or someone you know are in need of relief, of any kind, from the tornado, please reach out to one or several of these organizations to find the help you are looking for.

What to expect tonight:

RS2020-318 - This resolution is accepting $121M from the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help municipalities recover from the financial burden caused by the pandemic. There is an amendment that requires the finance office and mayor's administration to submit a plan to the council prior to any expenditures of these funds.

RS2020-328 - Is a resolution declaring the intent for the city to not incentivize any companies for economic development for a period of one year. Meaning, we will not approve any for-profit incentive funds unless it pertains to a few affordable housing opportunities within the one-year period.

BL2020-224 - This bill is on second reading, and will require a 90-day written notice to residential tenants of the sale of a property prior to the closing. CM Hausser has an amendment that will be discussed on the floor that may pass that will amend the bill to be a written notice 90-days prior to the intent to sell and a five-day notice of a purchase agreement moving towards a closing day.

There have been many attempts to look at fee structures during this tax season. The city has several areas, where fees have been a limited cost for companies, organizations, and individuals. BL2020-235 begins to look at the fee structure and increase fees for special events throughout the city. These fees will be based on expected attendance.

We have been discussing Substitute BL2019-78 since the beginning of the term. This bill would require non-owner occupied short-term rentals to have a minimum distance from schools, churches, daycares, and parks. 


Tornadoes and Taxes!

Today is very special! Not because we have a historic council meeting that will include a virtual public hearing, nor that we are deep into tax discussions following the Mayor's whopping 32% tax increase proposal. No... This day is so much more special than all of this! It's my beautiful wife's Birthday! 

Happy Birthday, Damita!

There is a Metro Council Meeting tonight… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices. There are items on Public Hearing tonight... I've included a few steps below that will help you join if you are planning to speak on any agenda items.

1. Tune into the meeting via live streaming on Nashville.gov, by watching on cable TV
(Comcast channel 3, AT&T Uverse channel 99), or watch on the Roku Metro Nashville
Network Channel.
2. Wait for the Vice Mayor to announce when your item is ready for live call in.
3. Dial 629-255-1931 and wait for operator assistance.
4. You will be asked if you are calling for the current bill on public hearing.
5. Mute your TV or live stream when it is your turn to speak.
6. Once your time begins, state your name, address, and whether you are for or against the
bill. You will have two minutes to speak.
7. During your public comments, you will receive a 30-second warning before your time limit
is up.

Mayor Cooper's Proposed Budget

On Tuesday, April 28, the Metro Council met with the Mayor and he presented a proposed budget to the members.

Click here to watch the presentation. Click here to review the presentation deck.

The complete proposed budget will not be available until later this week, once it is available, I will send you the link immediately. I plan to review the actual budget and briefly share what this proposal plans to fund in the coming weeks. 

(*Note: These are the facts of the presentation, not my view as your councilman. However, I will share my thoughts briefly towards the end of this segment). The presentation highlighted Metro's current state of finances. Our balance is projected to be $12M at the end of the fiscal year, which is not where we need to be as a city of this size; compare this fund balance to the $132.5M we had in 2019. The presentation shares that we are projected to have a $192M loss in revenue in the 4th quarter of FY20 and a $280M loss in revenue in FY21 due to the March 3 tornado and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To reduce the FY21 $280M loss, the mayor proposed $64M in new revenue that does not include increasing property taxes. A few of the items included in the $64M new revenue are an MOU with the Convention Center Authority that would net $35M along with a PILOT with the Convention Center to find an additional $15M in new revenue, and also a $10M revenue stream with a Metro Water PILOT program. This decreases the projected loss to $216M. As we move into the upcoming fiscal year, we will still have an additional $116M ($332M Total) of revenue needed to balance the budget. This is where we all come in... The proposal to balance the budget is to increase property taxes $1, increasing the current rate from $3.155 to $4.155 in the Urban Services District (USD -D21) and $2.755 to $3.755 in the General Service District (GSD). The Metro Trustee's office has a really nifty tax calculator that will help you calculate your current and proposed tax rate - Follow this link to give it a try

Along with the $1 increase in property taxes, the mayor proposed other reductions totaling $21M. A few of these proposed reductions include TIF refinancing of MDHA property that is projected to save $9.3M, a cut to longevity pay for Metro employees which is projected to save $3.9M, and also a $2.8M projected savings from department cuts (travel freeze, eliminate consulting studies, no body-worn cameras expansion phases). 

In the next step, the Council will receive the actual budget from the Mayor this week. We will delve deep into the proposed budget and host hearings for each department. The council will have until June to vote on a budget, possibly a substitute budget will be presented and we will vote on that budget. The Council will either vote for or against a substitute budget. If a substitute budget is presented and fails, the current proposed budget by the mayor will go into law. You, as a resident of Davidson County, have the opportunity to join us at the first meeting in June to share your thoughts on the budget (and please continue to send your thoughts now, before June). There will be several ongoing conversations regarding the budget and the budget process. You can follow along with the budget calendar here

As I mentioned earlier, this was a brief synopsis of the facts from the mayor's budget presentation. I do however want to share my thoughts based on the responses I've received from constituents... During the meeting with the mayor, when he proposed his budget, I was truly shocked to see a $1 or 32% property tax increase. This has been a tough year for Nashville, and we are feeling the pain of a tornado, COVID-19, and now a storm with gale-force winds that knocked out power throughout the entire county. Once I receive the actual budget this week, I will review and have a much better understanding of the current proposed budget. We can take a look at the proposal and make a few recommendations that will not lead to such a large increase. I do believe that we need to review our current tax rate and increase, but the current proposed rate seems to not be in the best interest of the constituents in District 21.

Tornado Relief 

FEMA has closed their Emergency Relief registration, but thanks to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and several organizations rooted in North Nashville we still have the opportunity to find diaster and emergency relief from organizations that have received funds. Here are a few that are working now... Gideon's Army, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, Inc. (J.U.M.P.), Lee Chapel AME Church, New Covenant Christian Church, Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church, NAACP Nashville, Northwest Family YMCA, Catholic Charities of Tennessee - McGruder Family Resource Center, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University Foundation, Rebuilding Together Nashville, The Equity Alliance, and Urban League of Middle Tennessee. These organizations jumped in on the ground floor and have committed to working until individuals in our communities are back to whole and better. If you or someone you know are in need of relief, of any kind, from the tornado, please reach out to one or several of these organizations to find the help you are looking for.

What to expect tonight:

Tonight's meeting will be managed virtually. We are having Public Hearing items heard for the first time since we began meeting virtually. The state passed a law that allows the Metro Council and other municipalities to meet electronically, therefore, our meeting will be via the internet and phone. 

Below, I've added a quick synopsis of tonight's agenda...

BL2019 - 7 - This ordinance is on Public Hearing. It will limit one STRP permit in certain two dwelling zoning districts. For instance, a R6 zoning (allows two dwellings on one lot) would only allow one STRP on the lot.

BL2019 - 79 - This is another STRP ordinance on Public Hearing. Owners of owner-occupied STRP's cannot list all of the home's rooms on their listing and the owner must stay on-site and not leave the home for over a 15 hour period during a stay.

Substitute BL2019 - 78 - This ordinance will require non-owner occupied STRP's to remain a certain distance from schools, churches, daycares, and parks.

BL2020-234 - An ordinance providing for the waiver of certain building permit fees for the repair or rebuilding of property damaged as a result of the March 3, 2020 tornado.

BL2019-196 - I'm in favor of this bill. It will add more parameters and detail in regard to noise from construction in residential communities.

Dates to remember:

  • All in-person meetings (large/small groups or one-on-one) that I have scheduled are postponed in light of the increasing COVID-19 concerns and will not be rescheduled until further notice. 

Lets Connect:

I invite all District 21 residents to reach out to me directly with any information or concerns in our community. Email is the best form of communication, but invite you to call me as well. My contact information is below.

Contact information: Email - [email protected] / Phone: 615.946.9700


#NashvilleStrong, Indeed

There is a Metro Council Meeting tonight… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices.

The Metro Council held a Historic meeting on April 7, 2020, our most recent meeting. This meeting was conducted via WebEx. This was a highly unprecedented moment, but we have to continue working for you. During these times of uncertainty, we are striving to remain healthy and safe to allow us to provide the much-needed service to our neighbors and communities. I want to personally let you know that my colleagues and I are working together to ensure our city comes out of this pandemic and tornado disaster just as strong or even better than we were before. Please let me know how we can be of any assistance to those truly impacted by such unfortunate events in our community! Thank you for allowing me to serve District 21! We are #NashvilleSTRONG!

Tornado Relief still underway

Tornado recovery is still moving forward. Metro Public Works suspended bulk item pick up to regroup to protect their employees from COVID-19. They are now back on the ground working to remove large debris from streets and alleys. If you have any debris on your property, please try to get it to the alleys or the curbs. Make sure that there are not any vehicles or anything else blocking the path for Public Works from removing the debris. If you have bulk items that need to be removed please call HUB at 3-1-1 or visit hub.nashville.gov to request a pick-up.

FEMA is still on the ground locally here in Nashville. There are two weeks left for you to for FEMA assistance. You have until Monday, May 4 to register. You can register by visiting the FEMA website at DisasterAssistance.gov or call directly at 800-621-3362 between 6 A.M. - 9 P.M. daily.

As I mentioned two weeks ago, we are not in this fight alone! Millions of dollars were collected for Tornado Relief by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and several organizations rooted in North Nashville have received funds and are providing disaster relief to families in need. Here are a few that are working now... Gideon's Army, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, Inc. (J.U.M.P.), Lee Chapel AME Church, New Covenant Christian Church, Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church, NAACP Nashville, Northwest Family YMCA, Catholic Charities of Tennessee - McGruder Family Resource Center, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University Foundation, The Equity Alliance, and Urban Leauge of Middle Tennessee. These organizations jumped in on the ground floor and have committed to working until individuals in our communities are back to whole and better. If you or someone you know are in need of relief, of any kind, from the tornado, please reach out to one or several of these organizations to find the help you are looking for.

2020 Census... It's Important!

I know we've seen so much thrown at us over the past month or so... The 2020 Census is one more item to follow. I could simply just tell you to FILL OUT YOUR CENSUS, but I want to give you a little more information about why it is so important for us to do so. Responding to the Census is our civic duty, and it also affects the amount of funding our community, city, and state will receive from the federal government. The Census dictates how we can plan for the future. If we are not close to having an accurate depiction of the number of individuals living in our communities, specifically District 21, it will be hard for us to create a plan for the needs we have. This article from the New York Times is one of the more detailed articles I've seen that explains why it's important to participate in the 2020 US Census. If you haven't already, please find some time to complete your 2020 US Census, it won't happen again until 2030. 

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

As of yesterday, 4.20.20, Davidson County has 1,903 COVID-19 cases, an increase of 152 over a 24 hour period, along with a total of 20 deaths. As we continue to be Safer at Home, please remember that we are still working through uncertain times. There were several reports throughout the city and the country of people congregating. While our scientists continue to find an answer to the spread of this virus, we must continue to adhere to the Safer at Home order

The state of Tennessee has seen over 7,000 cases with Davidson County having the highest amount of cases reported. Meharry Medical College has opened a testing center, right here, in District 21. It is exciting to see Meharry working to provide access to our communities to provide testing for this pandemic. By having testing centers in the heart of our communities, we are giving our neighbors the opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones. Historically, black neighborhoods have higher rates of health disparities and are more densely populated. Dr. Rashawn Ray, (a native Tennessean) at the University of Maryland, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institute, describes, in more detail, why it's important for black communities to have access to health care and coronavirus testing Meharry is providing.

Continue to wash your hands, clean any surfaces, and refrain from touching your face. If you must go out, wear gloves and a face mask. There are many tutorials on how to make your own face mask if you do not have one.

What to expect tonight:

Tonight's meeting will be managed virtually, via WebEx. Public Hearing items will be deferred and we will vote on essential agenda items. The state passed a law that allows the Metro Council and other municipalities to meet electronically, therefore, our meeting will be via the internet and phone. 

Below, I've added a quick synopsis of tonight's agenda...

RS2020-273 - Metro has properties available for sale. The properties were acquired due to delinquent taxes. This resolution will give Metro the authority to sell the properties.

RS2020-276 - This resolution will approve Meharry Medical College located in, District 21, to provide clinical experience opportunities for residents. 

RS2020-286 This resolution is requesting flexibility in rent and mortgage collection. COVID-19 has created an unprecedented amount of challenges. This resolution is thanking the companies, institutions, and organizations that have and will continue to work with families financially impacted by COVID-19.

RS2020-287 A resolution requesting the Mayor’s Office and the Metropolitan Department of Public Health partner with Meharry Medical College to seek grant funding to track, study, and report on the impact of COVID-19 on minority and rural communities.

BL2020-276 -This ordinance would establish that Metro creates an impact fee for new developments in Davidson County. The fee would be $1,500 for any new residential units and $5,000 fee for any commercial units developed; collected at the time of the building permit application submittal. 60% of the fees will be allocated to MNPS schools for capital improvements and 40% of the fees will be allocated to fund public infrastructure projects.

BL2020-277 - If passed, would amend the Metro Code to allow nonconforming structures damaged in the March 3rd, 2020 tornado may be reconstructed in accordance with the district bulk regulations in effect at the time of original construction regardless of the percentage of floor area damaged or destroyed.

BL2020-224 - I'm sponsoring this ordinance. If passed, This bill will require landlords to notify tenants of a pending sale of the property 90 days prior to closing. This bill is intended to increase the rights held by tenants/renters and allow for transparency regarding a tenant's future in their current home. 

BL2020-234 - An ordinance providing for the waiver of certain building permit fees for the repair or rebuilding of property damaged as a result of the March 3, 2020 tornado.

BL2020-149 (As Amended) - I'm in favor and a sponsor of this bill. This bill would require landlords to notify tenants of a rate increase 90 days prior to the increased rate begins.

BL2019-196 - I'm in favor of this bill. It will add more parameters and detail in regard to noise from construction in residential communities.

Dates to remember:

  • All in-person meetings (large/small groups or one-on-one) that I have scheduled are postponed in light of the increasing COVID-19 concerns and will not be rescheduled until further notice. 

Lets Connect:

I invite all District 21 residents to reach out to me directly with any information or concerns in our community. Email is the best form of communication, but invite you to call me as well. My contact information is below.

Contact information: Email - [email protected] / Phone: 615.946.9700


Don't be a Vector! #StayHome

There is a Metro Council Meeting tonight… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices.

I'm Standing With You!

The month of March was a "Humdinger," that's how my mother put it! A one-of-a-kind, extraordinary, eventful month. As we continue to rebuild in North Nashville and across this County, we are also fighting a pandemic. With Nashville battling two wars, many residents are taking it all in stride. But not all, some residents are struggling to make ends meet. During the "Safer at Home" Executive Order, I am shopping with local Nashville business owners. I spoke with Chef Kamal Kalokoh at Riddim 'n' Spice, a local restaurant in North Nashville. His business was not affected by the tornado, but many of his customers/regulars were; leaving Chef Kamal with slower days and a new normal. 

However, Nashville is a place of resiliency and resolve. It's also refreshing to know that we are not in this fight alone. Millions of dollars were collected for Tornado Relief by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and several organizations rooted in North Nashville have received funds and are providing disaster relief to families in need. Here are a few that are working now... Gideon's Army, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, Inc. (J.U.M.P.), Lee Chapel AME Church, New Covenant Christian Church, NAACP Nashville, Northwest Family YMCA, Catholic Charities of Tennessee - McGruder Family Resource Center, Tennessee State University Foundation, The Equity Alliance, and Urban Leauge of Middle Tennessee. These organizations jumped in on the ground floor and have committed to keep working until individuals in our communities are back to whole and better. If you or someone you know are in need of relief, of any kind, from the tornado, please reach out to one or several of these organizations to find the help you are looking for.

Did someone say Tax Increase?

On, Tuesday, March 31, during the 57th Annual State of Metro Address, Mayor John Cooper made the statement "Let me be direct. The budget ordinance that will be filed with the council in April will sharply increase the property tax rate from its current, historically, low level. The final amount will be determined with the best information available, but it will be substantial. And this is something we have to do."

Within our District, we have been hit extremely hard, with both the tornados and Coronavirus. I sympathize with the families that are most affected at this time. I have had an opportunity to speak with many constituents and on the local and state levels, we are working hard to make sure Nashvillians are taken care of. I understand discussing taxes at this time is hard and many are unprepared to think of anything more than what's in front of us at this time.

Earlier in the term, I wrote about the city's budget woes, and how we were steps away from being in receivership from state officials. Simply meaning that the state would pay Nashville's bills for us and direct revenue in the manner they see fit. The threat of receivership is one of the most serious any company or organization can face. Also, my first newsletter highlighted the tax conversation and how it will be an ongoing discussion throughout 2019 and 2020.

As we continue to fight two wars, our spending will increase to ensure the safety and health of residents. It has been calculated that Metro will lose $200-$300M in sales taxes for the fiscal year due to the tornados and the COVID-19 pandemic. I mentioned prior, that taxes will be at the forefront and will be discussed. Some say that "Timing means everything" and in this case, that is true. The timing with the taxes and capital spending plan actually came much earlier to the public. In the Council's effort to be transparent to the city, we began this conversation in February, for most, it was discussed in October 2019 when we began our discussions on the Capital Improvements Budget. We added items that we wanted to see in the Mayor's proposed Capital Spending Plan (which has been revised three times due to the tornados and coronavirus). Unfortunately, during those times, we were not aware that we will be facing such uncertain times as we are today.

While taxes are never an easy conversation, we must have this discussion. The city has a historically low cash balance and no rainy day funds. The federal government will help with relief, but it is a long process. It took nearly ten years for us to receive the final relief payment for the 2010 flood. 

The Metro Council will have to prioritize families. We must make sure that we are doing all that we can to ensure financial safety and well being of residents in Nashville. We are thinking of creative ways to provide relief for families in need as well as families that will be affected if a tax increase is in our near future. Conversations with the Trustees office, Financial Director are happening now to find a way to add tax freeze and tax relief to more families. We've currently extended the application period to close on May 6 for households to apply. We are taking deeper dives into areas that are vulnerable and find opportunities to create contingency plans for our neighbors in need.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

We are preparing to reach the apex of the Coronavirus between now and the next few weeks. I highly advise you to listen to health officials and stay home, only leave for any essential work or shopping. Dr. Hildreth has explained numerous times how important it is for us not to be vectors. We have found several cases of individuals that are asymptomatic, not having any symptoms of the virus but still having the virus. This is how we have seen the spread of this pandemic. I echo the sentiments of Dr. Hildreth, please be careful and don't be a vector.

Continue to wash your hands, clean any surfaces, and refrain from touching your face. If you must go out, wear gloves and a face mask. There are many tutorials on how to make your own face mask if you do not have one.

What to expect tonight:

Tonight's meeting will be managed differently, similar to our last meeting. Public Hearing items will be deferred and we will vote on essential agenda items. The state passed a law that allows the Metro Council and other municipalities to meet electronically, therefore, our meeting will be via the internet and phone. 

Below, I've added a quick synopsis of tonight's agenda...

BL2019-184 will require contractor bids awarded by the city to become effective no later than 30 days following approval.

BL2019-196 - I'm in favor of this bill. It will add more parameters and detail in regard to noise from construction in residential communities.

BL2019-78 - I will abstain from this vote, but if passed this bill will limit Non-Owner Occupied short-term rentals from being 100 feet from a church, school, daycare, or park. There is a proposed amendment that will remove churches from this list, it will have to be introduced tonight to be added as this is the final reading unless the bill is deferred. 

BL2020-117 - This bill will add the following subsection G to the current charter which will state; no parking shall be required for uses located on multimodal corridors, as designated in the major and collector street plan.

BL2020-149 (As Amended) - I'm in favor and a sponsor of this bill. This bill would require landlords to notify tenants of a rate increase 90 days prior to the increased rate begins.

Dates to remember:

  • All in-person meetings (large/small groups or one-on-one) that I have scheduled are postponed in light of the increasing COVID-19 concerns and will not be rescheduled until further notice. 

Lets Connect:

I invite all District 21 residents to reach out to me directly with any information or concerns in our community. Email is the best form of communication, but invite you to call me as well. My contact information is below.

Contact information: Email - [email protected] / Phone: 615.946.9700


Be the Best You, you can be! - MLK Day 2020

“Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quarterly Town Hall Meeting - Thursday, January 23 - 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - McKissack Middle School

37208 Community Listening Session

In October 2019, Vice Mayor Jim Shulman created a set of special committees to address issues facing the Metro Council and tasked each committee with developing recommendations in response to the committee’s framing question. The question to the Special Committee on 37208 was, “Zip code region 37208 has the highest percentage of incarceration in the country, according to reports. What needs to be done to correct that?”

After two months of productive small-group meetings, the Special Committee now opens the discussion to 37208 residents, business owners, and interested neighbors, via a community listening session at noon on Jan. 25th at McGruder Family Resource Center, located at 2013 25th Ave N. The session will be led by Special Committee Chair and District 21 Councilmember Brandon Taylor.

There is a Metro Council Meeting tomorrow night… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices.

What to expect tomorrow night:

  • BL2020-148 is on first reading tomorrow. If approved by Council, this bill would not allow Metro to contract any private contractor to operate, manage, construct, or lease any detention facilities. In short, this bill would not allow any contractual partnerships or relationships with Metro Nashville and any privatized correction facility/company.
  • I'm co-sponsoring a bill with CM Toombs - BL2020-149. This bill will require landlords to notify tenants of a rate increase by providing a 90-day written notice to the residential tenant. 
  • A few people have contacted me regarding the "Idling Bill" - BL2020-114. This bill would prohibit a motor vehicle to idle for longer than 3 minutes while parking, standing, or stopping. It will also, prohibit a motor vehicle for idling for longer than 1 minute in a school zone while parking, standing, or stopping. I'm interested to hear the discussion regarding this bill. What are your thoughts?
  • I have a bill on Third Reading - BL2019-89 - that will allow Crossroads Pets to rezone and develop the land located at 1757 16th Avenue North and 1601, 1603, and 1609 Buchanan Street.
  • Scooters are back in the conversation - BL2019-109 - by CMs O'Connell, Henderson, and Allen, is requesting that we we end the pilot program for SUMDs (shared urban mobility devices)/scooters and began a process to open an RFP (request for proposal) process for future scooter companies. The scooter operators must receive an RFP from the city and adhere to the public safety and right-of-way guidelines set forth in BL2019-109.

Dates to remember:

  • Tuesday, January 21 - Council Meeting 
  • Thursday, January 23 - District 21 Quarterly Town Hall Meeting - Moses McKissack Middle School - 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Saturday, January 25 - 37208 Committee Community Listening Session - McGruder Family Resource Center - 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 1 - My Brother's Keeper - Nashville Launch - IT Creswell Middle Prep - 10:00 a.m. - Noon

Lets Connect:

I invite all District 21 residents to reach out to me directly with any information or concerns in our community. Email is the best form of communication, but invite you to call me as well. My contact information is below.

Contact information: Email - [email protected] / Phone: 615.946.9700

Best regards,

Brandon

 


Safer at Home Executive Order

Mayor John Cooper announced Executive Order #7, "Safer at Home." This executive order requires Nashville/Davidson County residents to stay in their homes unless they are providing or receiving essential services and activities. Companies performing non-essential services will be ordered to close. The "Safer at Home" Order will go into effect tonight (tomorrow morning), March 23 at 12:01 AM. This order will remain in place for 14 consecutive days.

Click on this link to see what businesses are deemed essential within the Mayor's Executive Order. 

Best regards,

CM Brandon Taylor

-----------------------------------

Below is a highlight of the Mayor's Executive Order. Click here to read the entire Executive Order.

Safer at Home Order: What You Need to Know

To further combat the spread of COVID-19, the Metro Public Health Department has issued a Safer at Home Order — directing all residents of Nashville and Davidson County to stay inside their homes and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Residents of Metro Nashville and Davidson County are required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.” On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.

YOU CAN … 

  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others. 
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

YOU SHOULD NOT … 

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.

Rebuilding with Social Distance!

There is a Metro Council Meeting tonight… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices. Also, I did not have a chance to send a newsletter on Thursday, March 5, therefore, I will add an update on the agenda from the last council meeting. Here is a link to the minutes from the March 5 meeting.

Rebuilding Nashville

On March 3, 2020, a devastating tornado ripped through the northern portion of District 21. The city immediately activated a disaster relief plan for those individuals affected by the storm - homes that are totally damaged to families that did not have power and electricity. I'd like to commend our first responders, Public Works, and NES for the work that they have done and are continuing to do to help rebuild our City.

The Mayor's office has prepared a Metro Storm Response page to help you navigate the opportunities for restoration. Disaster Relief & Assistance Centers have been opened to the public at three locations - North Nashville/Germantown at Hadley Park Community Center - 1037 28th Ave N, East Nashville at East Park Community Center - 600 Woodland St., and Donelson/Hermitage at Hermitage Community Center - 3720 James Kay Lane at each location, you will be able to register for potential aid from Red Cross, SBA, and FEMA. You will also be able to receive information and opportunities for support from Metro agencies to help you begin the process of restoring your lives.

As the Community Foundation receives gifts, local non-profit organizations will receive grants to aid in the relief of tornado victims. Some organizations have received gifts and are working on ways they will be able to assist neighbors as we rebuild.

Two weeks to date, we have restored electricity to all NES customers that can receive power and Public Works continues to move forward with clean up and debris removal. If you know of any areas that need immediate debris removal, please let me know via email at [email protected], and call 311 or visit hub.nashville.gov. 

CM O'Connell shared a link to the Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) that has several helpful tools that you can use during your disaster relief. This link will be useful if you are in need of legal aid, need information regarding the filing of taxes for tornado victims, and legal clinics for families. 

The city will continue to help with clean up and provide services to those affected. Please contact FEMA if you have had any loss during the tornados. 

Coronavirus/COVID-19

For months, we've watched other countries struggle with the Coronavirus outbreak, and we all were certain that, in due time, we will be faced with making some of the same decisions. 

The city has created a Coronavirus/COVID-19 Response and Information page. During this time, please use a commonsense approach to ensuring the spread of the virus is limited. Please continue to practice social distancing -the perceived or desired degree of remoteness between a member of one social group and the members of another, as evidenced in the level of intimacy tolerated between them - wash your hands repeatedly, clean and disinfect surfaces, cover your cough with your elbow, restrain from any unessential physical touch, stay home if you are sick, and if you are sick, please call your doctor immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has great information on their website to answer any questions you may have.

Social Distancing is real... Please, if you are a resident, business owner, neighbor, or manager, to refrain from your everyday interactions and practice social distancing and be sure to allow others in your care to practice as it as well. This article by USA Today gives a great explanation of social distancing and other terms that we have heard over the last week or so. 

A few countries and US cities have began to enforce lockdowns, CNN has a live feed that shares information about how the coronavirus is spreading globally. Just yesterday, San Francisco enacted a lockdown that will not allow residents to leave their homes due to the vast spread of the virus throughout the city. Some cities like Little Rock, AR, have initiated curfews for their residents. Their Mayor, Frank Scott, Jr. says "This curfew is to further discourage unnecessary social gathering." Nashville has not made a decision to mandate a curfew or a lockdown, but the Health Department has suggested that we as a city increase our practice of social distancing.

Please take this issue serious and understand that this is real and it matters how you protect yourself and others from this virus. Many Americans are questioning if the actions we see around the country are the right decisions or just an overreaction. I believe the decision to keep Nashvillians safe is the best decision. There have been 73 cases of Coronavirus reported in the state of Tennessee with Davidson County having the highest amount of cases with 42.

Stay safe, continue to move about with care. Wash your hands, if you exhibit any symptoms of Coronavirus, stay home and call your doctor immediately. I will continue to provide updates via social media and through email updates. 

What to expect tonight:

Tonight's meeting will be managed differently from most council meetings. We are planning to only discuss business that is essential to running the city, i.e. capital spending plan, budget and finance resolutions and ordinances, tornado relief, coronavirus. Due to the request for social distancing, we are planning to defer items that are not deemed essential at the moment to allow for community members to join a public meeting at a later date.

Dates to remember:

  • All in-person meetings (large/small groups or one-on-one) that I have scheduled are postponed in light of the increasing COVID-19 concerns.

Lets Connect:

I invite all District 21 residents to reach out to me directly with any information or concerns in our community. Email is the best form of communication, but invite you to call me as well. My contact information is below.

Contact information: Email - [email protected] / Phone: 615.946.9700


Property Tax Freeze and Relief - Applications Due April 5

There is a Metro Council Meeting tonight… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices.

Property Tax Relief

Tennessee state law provides for property tax relief for low-income elderly and disabled homeowners, as well as disabled veteran homeowners or their surviving spouses. This is a state program funded by appropriations authorized by the General Assembly. Tax collecting officials, including county trustees, receive applications from taxpayers who may qualify. The Tax Relief section processes these applications and determines eligibility for the program. Each year over 100,000 individuals receive benefits from this $41,000,000 plus program.

Property Tax Freeze - (Apply for Tax Freeze by April 5th) 

The tax freeze program was approved by Tennessee voters in a November, 2006 constitutional amendment referendum. The Tax Freeze Act of 2007 permits local governments to implement the program, and Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County became the first jurisdiction in the state to establish a tax freeze program.

Under the program, qualifying homeowners age 65 and older can "freeze" the tax due on their property at the amount for the year they qualify, even if tax rates increase. Applicants must present:

  1. Proof of age - birth certificate, Medicare card, driver's license, passport, etc.;
  2. Proof of ownership - current tax bill or receipt, recorded deed, etc.;
  3. Evidence property is principal residence - voter registration card, etc.

Metro Action Commission Summer Food Service Program

The Metropolitan Action Commission is looking for partners who will serve as food locations where youth can receive nutritious meals during the summer when school ends for the summer.

Metro Action receives funding to provide breakfast and lunch meals to locations such as apartment properties, summer camps, community centers, enrichment programs, youth sports, and dance camps. 

To qualify as a site, the location must be in communities where families with low incomes reside.  There are other requirements such as refrigeration for meals and attending the site providers' training in May. 

“The goal of this program is to provide as many meal sites as we can for children to eat nutritious breakfast and lunch meals over the summer,” said Marvin Cox, director of Metro Action Community Services.

To apply as a site to provide meals visit the agency’s website (www.nashville.gov/mac) to access the application and submit to that agency’s main office (800 2nd Avenue, North). 

Metro Action urges all potential sites to submit their application by Friday, February 28, 2020.  For more information call 615-862-8860, Extension 70120.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a national program designated to provide nutritionally balanced meals for school-age children during the summer that may otherwise go without a meal during the day.  Metro Action receives federal funding for the SFSP from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service through a grant with the Tennessee Department of Human Services. 

What to expect tonight:

  • RS2020-207 A resolution honoring Nashville African American suffragists including Dr. Mattie E. Coleman, Nettie Langston Napier, and J. Frankie Pierce, who successfully fought for the vote for women.
  • BL2020-184 - Is on first reading tonight. If passed, this bill would require all contracts procured through an invitation to bid process shall become effective and operative no later than 30 days after the final award is made, regardless of the signature of the mayor, a department head, or the chair of a board or commission.
  • CM O'Connell has introduce BL2020-189 to name certain facilities at the Howard Office Building in honor of Mr. Charlie Cardwell. Mr. Cardwell served as a public servant in Nashville for over 60years.
  • BL2020-148 has been introduced by CM Benedict. This ordinance, if passed, will not allow Metro Nashville/Davidson County to enter into or renew any contract with any private contractor to operate, manage, construct, or lease any detention facility in Davidson County.
  • BL2019 - 78 is one of two Short Term Rental items on Public Hearing - which allows you to share your thoughts with Council Members prior to the vote. This bill would require a minimum distance for non-owner occupied short term rental from schools, churches, daycares, and parks. 
  • BL2019 - 111 - Introduced by CMs Parker, Toombs, and Sledge - This is a Short Term Rental Bill on the third and final reading- This ordinance will create a new zoning code structure (NS - No STRP) that would be able to zone parcels with the NS designation to not allow for this zoning to be able to receive a Short Term Rental Permit.This bill is on Public Hearing.

Dates to remember:

  • Tuesday, February 18 - Council Meeting 
  • Tuesday, February 18 - Hospitality Industry Job Fair - Hadley Park Community Center - 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Thursday, February 20 - 37208 Committee Meeting - McGruder Family Resource Center - 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Monday, February 24 - Rezoning Community Meeting - 1820 Scovel St. Request from Rs5 to R6 - Eighteenth Ave Enrichment Center - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday, February 25 - Rezoning Community Meeting - 35th Ave N and Felecia St properties - West Nashville Police Precinct - 6:00 PM -7:30 PM
  • Thursday, February 27 - Monday, March 2 - Council Member Taylor will be Out of the Office
  • Tuesday, March 3 - Super Tuesday - Get Out the Vote!
  • Thursday, March 5 - Council Meeting (Rescheduled due to Super Tuesday voting)
  • Saturday, March 7 - Home Improvements Resources Fair - McGruder Center - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Tuesday, March 10 - Rezoning Community Meeting - Clay St and 9th Ave N - Elizabeth Park Community Center - 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Thursday, March 12 (Tentative) - Rezoning Community Meeting - 40th Ave N and Walter S. Davis - Hadley Park Community Center (Tentative) - 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Lets Connect:

I invite all District 21 residents to reach out to me directly with any information or concerns in our community. Email is the best form of communication, but invite you to call me as well. My contact information is below.

Contact information: Email - [email protected] / Phone: 615.946.9700

Best regards,

Brandon