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


Incarceration is a symptom, not the sickness

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.

37208 Committee Update - click here for the committee's report

“You either die or go to jail,” said Deirdre Nicole of Gideon’s Army during our first meeting. Her statement sums up the hopelessness of many residents living in 37208. But incarceration is a symptom, not the sickness. 

The sickness is a lack of opportunity, and that is why the work of the 37208 Special Committee is paramount.  

In the Brookings Institute report, Work and Opportunity Before and After Incarceration, Adam Looney cites poverty as one of the major predictors of incarceration. Twenty-seven percent of prisoners grew up in families in the bottom 10 percent of income distribution—earning less than $14,000 annually.  Family conditions are also linked to high incarceration. African American boys raised in single-parent homes are two times more likely to be incarcerated than those in two-parent homes.

In searching for solutions, the 37208 Committee has concentrated on two areas: Prevention and Post-incarceration.

As a resident of zip code 37208, I take the work our Committee is doing personally. I deeply appreciate their efforts to provide sustainable solutions. Second, I want to thank Vice Mayor Shulman for creating this Committee and giving us the charge to recommend solutions. 

Finally, on behalf of the Committee, I invite you to join us in our campaign to reach the goals outlined in this report. Ten years ago, Nashvillians responded with vigor and tenacity to support neighbors navigating the aftermath of the flood. We will need the same resolve to address the systems of oppression that lead to this devastating statistic. 

Nashville (American) Football 

Soccer has been at the forefront of the most recent conversations. Nevertheless, I am committed to focusing on District 21 matters at hand; creating sustainable solutions for 37208 residents, improving the infrastructure in our communities with safe and complete streets, ensuring public safety for residents, generating opportunities for youth to have a safe place to play and learn, and striving for smart growth and creating unified communities.

I wanted to provide a quick overview of the soccer conversation, when it started and where we are today. The Council adopted a resolution - RS2017-910 - approving the issuance of public facility revenue improvement bonds to the Metro Sports Authority to construct a soccer stadium for Nashville Soccer Club's expansion into Major League Soccer (MLS).

If we fast forward to 2019, Mayor Cooper was elected, the city's budget was not balanced, and the soccer stadium slated for the Fairgrounds hangs in the balance. Last Friday, the Mayor's office and John Ingram, along with the MLS, sent a few open letters sharing their thoughts on the future of the soccer stadium, the Fairgrounds, and the city's responsibility for the budget. 

As this conversation continues to go back and forth I will keep you updated. However, as I mentioned earlier, I will continue to focus on District 21 priorities and communicate with you as we move our neighborhoods forward.

What to expect tonight:

  • There are two (2) full term vacancies and one (1) partial term vacancy on the Community Oversight Board - We will have an election tonight. Ten (10) candidates will be considered for the three (3) vacancies.
  • 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 - 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.
  • BL2020 - 117 is also on Public Hearing. If passed, this ordinance will not allow parking on Multi-Modal corridors as designated in the Major and Collector Street Plan.
  • BL2020 - 162 would ban vaping on hospital grounds.
  • BL2019 - 3 and BL2019 - 49 if passed, will establish a Historic Property Review Board empowered to abate property taxes relating to certain improvements or restorations made to historic properties and authorizing a property tax exemption for historic properties owned by charitable institutions  - I am in favor of these bills. This will be an incentive for property owners of historic buildings to maintain the character and tradition of these structures and communities.

Dates to remember:

  • Tuesday, February 4 - Council Meeting 
  • Thursday, February 13 - Joint Committee meeting re Private Detention Center Contracts - David Scobey Council Chambers - 4:00 PM
  • Friday, February 14 - Valentine's Day
  • 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
  • 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
  • Thursday, March 5 - Rezoning Community Meeting - 40th Ave N and Walter S. Davis - Hadley Park Community Center (Tentative) - 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • 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

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


Water in the New Year

Happy New Year!!

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 hope you enjoyed your Holiday Season. I did, I had a chance to visit with family and friends during my Holiday break. We slowed down just a bit to relax and reminisce about the year that passed. As we begin this year, we will continue to have several conversations regarding Metro's Budget and I plan to keep you updated with all that is going on. Below, is a brief segment regarding water, which is, somewhat, a part of the city's budget. We'll start here, and continue as we go...

Metro Water Increase

In my newsletter titled "Fiscally Responsive" on November 18, I briefly discussed Metro Water Services' plan for a rate increase. On December 3, BL2019-45 was passed on third reading by Metro Council. This ordinance approved a multi-year step rate increase for water and sewer services. Nashville has not seen a water and sewer rate increase in over 20 years. By increasing rates, the city will be able to secure funding for critical water and sewer upgrades throughout the Metropolitan area. I have invited Metro Water to attend an upcoming Town Hall meeting on January 23 at McKissack Middle School from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm to discuss the rate increases in more detail and for you to have your questions answered on how this rate increase will directly affect your household. 

Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program

The Neighborhood Traffic Calming Application window opened yesterday, Monday, January 6 through Friday, January 24. If you live in an area with high traffic and a high rate of speeding vehicles, make sure to apply for traffic calming. This is an exciting way for residents to get engaged in their communities by sharing areas that are in need of traffic calming. Neighborhoods that applied during the Winter and Summer 2019 application periods, will automatically be reconsidered in the selection process this year. We have already contacted those neighborhoods and made them aware that they did not need to reapply but if there are any changes they need to make to their application, they can contact the traffic calming program manager, Derek Hagerty, directly. To learn more about the traffic calming program visit our website by clicking here.

What to expect tonight:

  • A resolution - RS2020-154 - that will direct Metro Water to make payments in lieu of ad valorem taxes on properties owned by Metro Water.
  • BL2019-48 has been introduced by CM Rosenberg and is on Public Hearing tonight. It will allow homeowners to use their homes for limited business uses such as tutors, music lessons, etc. This bill will allow for homes to be used for business uses with several limitations. 
  • We will be honoring the life of Mrs. Carrie Gentry tonight with a resolution - RS2020159. Mrs. Gentry was an influential figure in the effort to desegregate Nashville, assisting student protestors during the Civil Rights movement by providing transportation to nonviolent tactics training, and paying bail money for those who were jailed 
  • The Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee has introduced a - RS2020-160 - a resolution expressing support and commitment of the Metropolitan Council to fully fund the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing and urging the Mayor to restore remaining funds within the fiscal year with the aim of more immediately increasing affordably priced housing options in Nashville and Davidson County.

Dates to remember:

  • Tuesday, January 7 - Council Meeting 
  • Thursday, January 9 - 2500 Heiman Proposed Development Meeting - Jefferson St. Missionary Baptist Church - 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Thursday, January 23 - District 21 Quarterly Town Hall Meeting - Moses McKissack Middle School - 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Saturday, January 25 - Office Hours - Location TBD - 10:00 am -1:00 pm. (Meetings in 30-minute increments) - Email or call to schedule a meeting time.

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


Understanding Metro's Budget Woes

Happy Holidays!!

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.

You only have 8 days until Santa arrives... Make sure you send him your list!

As we head into a New Year, be sure to take time to look back on your year and think of all that you have accomplished this year. Also, let's look forward to the future. What are your goals/resolutions for the year? How will you accomplish your goals? 

Metro's Budget - Corrective Action Plan

Over the last few months, we've been discussing the city's budget. Metro's budget is not balanced, and the State Comptroller has asked the city to present a balanced budget. Last week, Metro Finance Director Mr. Kevin Crumbo visited with Council Members during a special meeting. The budget submitted in the last term included $41.5 Millon in revenue that we did not receive, nor will we receive, therefore, we have a deficit within the current Metro budget. Here are the two line items that were not approved in the budget the last term: 1.) $30M to privatize parking meters 2.) 11.5M from a sale of an energy system.  In an effort to balance the budget, Mr. Crumbo has created a Corrective Action Plan that has been approved by the State Comptroller.

See Corrective Action Plan line items below...

The plan above shares opportunities the Finance Director has found that could possibly balance the budget. Mr. Crumbo has included $33.9M in corrective actions that would get us closer without cutting services or people. He's also included in the plan an impoundment of $5M from the Barnes Fund and a reduction of $2.6M in Metro expenditures.  

  1. Partial Impoundment (take back) of the Barnes Fund of $5M total.
    1. This will affect the Affordable Housing for the year. The Affordable Housing Committee met with non-profit builders yesterday, and the impoundment of $5M will adversely remove nearly $20M in assets these affordable housing builders will lose.
  2. Reduce Metro Expenditures (Budget Cuts) of $2.6M
    1. The Mayor's office will try not to cut everyday services, but this plan wants to minimize disruptions to the normal course of operations and services to the public.

As mentioned, this plan has been approved by the State Comptroller and does not require Council approval. The budget conversation is not over, and we will continue discussing this, and I will keep you updated. During the budget hearings in the Spring, the Council will have to approve a budget that does not include cuts or impoundments. We will need to find recurring revenue streams that allow for year-over-year revenue and not one-time deals to balance the budget, rather add to the budget. 

What to expect tonight:

  • There's a bill on Second Reading that will restrict barbed/razor wire fencing in urban neighborhoods - BL2019-30. If you own a property where you are using such fencing, please reach out to me with any thoughts.
  • BL2019-49 will allow for a tax exemption for historic properties owned by charitable organizations.
  • CM Sledge has introduced a bill - BL2019-95 - that will require public restrooms to have diaper changing stations.
  • BL2019-31 will require property owners to file for a permit to construct any permanent fencing. I am interested in the discussion that will take place on the floor. What makes me nervous about this bill is for the weekend warriors that are planning to construct a fence on their properties for safety and other reasons that will add value to their homes. This may be an additional barrier for homeowners.

Dates to remember:

  • Tuesday, December 17 - Council Meeting  
  • Thursday, December 19 - 37208 Committee Meeting - McGruder Family Resource Center - 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
  • Thursday, December 19 - Emergency Public Safety Community Meeting  - Elizabeth Park Community Center - 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
    • Elizabeth Park and Buchanan Area
    • Osage/North Fisk Area
  • Thursday, December 25 - Christmas Day - Enjoy your loved ones!
  • Thursday, January 1, 2020 - New Year Day
  • Thursday, January 16 - District 21 Quarterly Town Hall Meeting Location TBD - 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


Thanksgiving Leftovers - Eat Them Today!

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 hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Did you take time to be with loved ones and reflect on what you're thankful for? We did, we had a great time with family and friends and reflected on our year and all that we are thankful for and excited what the next year will bring.

Remember to finish your leftovers within three to four days of storing. This article is helpful and gives you a few tips on how long before your Thanksgiving leftovers go bad!

Inaugural 37208 Committee Meeting

At the beginning of the term, Vice Mayor Shulman created 8 special committees. I was appointed to chair the 37208 committee. This committee is comprised of Council Members and citizens. The committee was initiated from a Brookings Institute study citing the 37208 zip code had the highest incarceration rate in the country. We held our inaugural 37208 Committee Meeting two weeks ago. We opened the meeting with a discussion around the Brookings study titled "Work and Opportunity before and after incarceration." The authors set out to examine the filing behavior, use of tax credits, and employment outcomes of prisoners, to develop and improve tax policies to deter entry into crime and facilitate reentry following incarceration as one element of potential reforms to criminal justice policies. 

During the study, they found that 37208 and 37207 in Nashville had two of the highest incarceration rates in the country, amongst several other findings (make sure you skim through this study). Our committee has until January 31st to create a report regarding the 37208 community's priorities. The group is communicating about the next steps and we will need your support and thoughts as we move forward. Please be on the lookout for more information, we would like to hear from the 37208 residents to help guide the committee's actions.

Paving in the District (Update):

In my last note, I discussed the paving in the District. Each paving project has included new striping for bike lanes and for one a new parking area. For those of you that use Arthur Ave often, please review the diagram and example below. This will help you have a deeper understanding of the flow of traffic, parking instructions, and bike lane flow. 

What to expect tonight:

  • There are several zoning bills on public hearing tonight. 
  • Water is still a hot topic, and we have a Bill on second reading that will require water and sewerage services to submit an annual report to the council.
  • In response to a few mishaps with Metro's Cold Weather Plan, CM Bradford has introduced a bill that would require the Social Services Commission to adopt, by law, an annual Cold Weather Plan that will have to be submitted to the council by May 31. Currently, there is a cold-weather plan in place, but the Homeless Commission isn't required to present an annual plan to the council. As a member of the Affordable Housing Committee, (in which we are discussing Metro's overall response to individuals experiencing homelessness and housing barriers) we are working with Ms. Judith Tackett and the Homelessness Commission to increase the awareness and provide more education to the community and Metro Government on how to best manage our response properly.
  •  BL2019-42 is on third reading, and this bill would require any sale of Metro property to be presented to the council for approval and the transaction must be accompanied by an appraisal for any consideration by the council. 
  • In our efforts to keep transparency BL2019-43 will require all financial communications from the State to the Mayor's office to be sent to the council office within seven days of receipt. 
  • Short Term Rentals (STRs) seem to find it's way on each council agenda:
    • BL2019-6:  This bill is on third reading tonight, and I have followed this bill closely. This bill will penalize individuals operating an STR without a permit by making them wait one (1) calendar year to apply for a permit if sited.
  • I mentioned this bill in my last note, BL2019 -77, which will require full cost itemizations of capital expenditures for all Metro departments before the approval of requests. This bill passed first reading and is now on second reading. This is an interesting bill to me, It will add a few checks and balances for metro Departments as we strive to have fiscal responsibility and transparency with you.

Dates to remember:

  • Tuesday, December 3 - Council Meeting  
  • Thursday, December 5 - I will be hosting a listening session with the neighbors in the West End/Centennial Park area - Centennial Performing Arts Studio - 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, December 10 - Community Meeting to discuss two proposed rezoning projects - Elizabeth Park Community Center - 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    • A project at Buchanan and 9th Ave. N: Proposed rezone from CS's and Rs5's to MUL-A
    • A project at Clay and 9th Ave. N: Proposed rezone from R6 to CS
  • Thursday, December 12 - Community Meeting to discuss a proposed project at 2500 Heiman St. - 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church
  • Friday, December 13 - Lip Sync Competition with Metro Parks - Hadly Park - 6:00 p.m.

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


Fiscally Responsive

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.

Paving in the District:

I've received several calls and emails regarding the paving in the District. I've spoken with Public Works, and these projects are slated to be finished within the next month and a half. The paving that you see along Buchanan St, Arthur Ave, and Ed Temple Blvd will have bike lanes added... For you all that use Arthur often, I am sending an additional email detailing the layout of the street in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience with these projects. Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions.

Report Street Light Outages:

With Daylight Savings upon us, I wanted to share with you the best connect with NES to replace any street lights that are out in your neighborhood. First, you can call (311) from your home or mobile phone. (311) will connect you with our colleagues at HUB Nashville. Second, you can report a street light out on HUB Nashville's website or Smart Phone App. Lastly, visit the NES website for the fastest response. Be sure to write down the number on the yellow sign posted on the light post prior to reporting any outages.

Metro Water Report:

Last week, on Wednesday, the Budget and Finance Committee held a special meeting with Metro Water and the State of Tennessee's Comptroller in attendance. Scott Potter, Metro Water Directo, shared with the Council the state of Nashville's water services. Currently, Nashville has one of the lowest water rates in comparison to other peer cities. We have not had a water rate increase in 23 years, and the Metro Council will be voting on recommendations from our water department regarding a rate increase. Our Metro Water department is also in dire need of upgrades to maintain our systems, this was mentioned to previous mayoral administrations but never made to the Council body. Therefore, we are now at a critical juncture to increase the water rates to ensure that our water treatment, stormwater management, and infrastructure maintenance stays at a high-quality level.

Metro Nashville Budget:

As I mentioned, the State of Tennessee Comptroller joined the Budget and Finance Committee's special meeting to share with us the state of Metro's budget and finances. The message was clear and extremely eye-opening, Nashville needs to have a structurally balanced budget, which we do not have at the moment. Here are a few reasons we are in this situation. 1.) Metro has been spending more money in recent years. 2.) We have been using our savings to keep up with the increased expenses the city has incurred over time. With these increases and a lack of new revenue, Nashville has had to dive into savings over the past few years. 3.) Metro has borrowed more and more money, and now these bonds, obligations, and loan payments are due. By spending more and already depleting our savings, Metro now has a challenge in finding new revenue to pay down these loans, bonds, and other obligations. 4.) We have sold assets for one time (non-recurring) revenue. Yes, this will help with the interim, but has not been sustainable over time. 5.) We all see the growth and progressiveness of the city (especially downtown), so where is the money? Yes, we are receiving tax dollars from the tourism and boom in the city's core, but we have contracts for the bonds, loans, and other obligations that I mentioned earlier that these tax dollars are set aside for. This plan allows the city not to have any new debt for places such as the Music City Center, the dollars that come into the city, by law, are already set aside to pay for the building. 

The State of Tennesee has also been a part of the oversight of the Metro Budget. We have received fewer funds in the most recent years for our MNPS funding from the state. The loss of these funds have a direct effect on our budget, Metro must make up that difference for the success of our students and schools. Moving forward, we have a few bills that are coming to the Council body to help with these oversights. These bills will require the department heads of all metro divisions to provide a detailed, itemized budget for any capital expenses before they receive approval for funding. 

Click here to watch the special committee meeting to learn more about the water and budget conversations I've mentioned.

What to expect tonight:

  • Short Term Rentals (STRs) are still a hot topic in Nashville. We have a few bills on the agenda tonight that will be discussed:
    • BL2019-6: This bill will penalize individuals operating an STR without a permit by making them wait one (1) calendar year if sited.
    •  BL2019-7: Currently, only one owner-occupied STR permit is allowed per lot. This bill will allow two home lots to have two separate permits.
    • BL2019 -78: This bill would require non-owner occupied STRs to have a minimum distance from schools, daycares, parks, and churches.
    • BL2019 - 79: This bill will require the owner of an owner-occupied STR to be onsite at all times and may not leave the property for more than 15 hours in a 24 hour time period.
  • The bill described below is in regards to the metro budget and water conversation in the text above.
    • BL2019 -77: Will require full cost itemizations of capital expenditures for all metro departments prior to the approval of requests

Dates to remember:

  • Thursday, November 21 - Olympic Park Community Meeting to discuss trash collection - St. Luke CME Church at 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 23 -I will host office hours from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    •  All timeslots are booked.
  • Thursday, November 28 - Thanksgiving, please enjoy your Thanksgiving with family and loved ones. If you are traveling, safe travels, and remember to take time to reflect on all you are thankful for. 
  • Monday, December 2 - Sylvan Summitt Community Meeting to discuss a rezoning application at  0 Trevor St. - 7:00 p.m. West Nashville Police precinct 
  • Tuesday, December 3 - Council Meeting  
  • Thursday, December 5 - I will be hosting a listening session with the neighbors in the West End/Centennial Park area - Centennial Performing Arts Studio - 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, December 7 - I will host office hours from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. - A few timeslots are booked.
  • Thursday, December 12 - Community Meeting to discuss a proposed project at 2500 Heiman St. - 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church

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


Buchanan Street Paving Updates

I'm excited about the paving and infrastructure projects happening along Buchanan and Arthur Avenue. These projects will slow traffic, introduce bike lanes and make it safer for pedestrians to cross.  But this is just the beginning, both 28th Avenue and Monroe will be paved in the Spring of 2020. Visit the Planning Department's website for additional information. 

 

I'm receiving questions regarding when paving will be complete on Buchanan. The short answer is: it depends.The weather must be near 50 degrees to install the plastic thermal markings. Here is a VERY tentative timeline:

 

One Week: Paving Complete

Two Weeks: Temporary Markings

30 Days from Paving Completion: Permanent Striping, Bike Lane Painting and Pedestrian Island Installations 

45 Days: New Signage and Bike Lane Markers 

 

This is all weather dependent.  Please be prepared for delays and workers along Buchanan.