Mayor Karl Dean Talks Budget - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Mayor Karl Dean Talks Budget

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by Janet Kim

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It might not include a property tax increase for residents, but Mayor Karl Dean's proposed budget will include changes for some departments.

Mayor Dean couldn't stress it enough: Nashville is moving forward. He believes education and public safety hold the keys to its continued success and his proposed budget reflects that.

If you ask Mayor Karl Dean, Nashville is right where it needs to be.

"The place that we're at in our budget today is a result of the decisions we made in the years past," said Dean. "Our city is in good financial standing as a result of the way that the budget has been managed."

Weeks since the budget hearings, the Mayor and Finance Director Richard Riebeling rolled out a $1.8 billion proposed budget.

They said the city is moving forward thanks to revenue growth from property taxes, local sales tax, grants and contributions. This year, residents won't be seeing a property tax increase.

"I'm really pleased with the fact that we're going to continue to grow the city," said Metro Councilman Jerry Maynard. "I wish we were able to provide more for our Metro Employees but with a tight budget, I think we're doing the best we can."

Metro employees would get a 1.5 percent increase in pay. The Metro Transit Authority, Public Works, Parks and Recreation are among those that would get a boost in their budget, with education and public safety getting the biggest increases.

"Education is one piece we as a city have to get right," said Dean. "Public safety is where we need our attention, where we need to continue to invest."

Metro Schools requested a $44 million increase in their budget, but the mayor's plan allocates a boost of only $26 million. However, $95 million of the capital spending fund will go to schools.

"Our administration will take this number and start looking at the budget and see what could be reduced," said MNPS Director of Communications Olivia Brown.

It's just one of many steps ahead before Metro's final budget is approved.

"Nashville is truly a city on the rise," said Dean. "This budget allows us to continue our city's momentum but in a way that is prudent and fiscally responsible."

Not everyone escaped cuts. The Hospital Authority went from nearly $48 million to $38 million dollars, and currently there is no subsidy budgeted for the Farmer's Market, Municipal Auditorium or the state fair.

The mayor also wants to use $55 million from the rainy day fund to balance the budget, but he says the city will still have more reserves than before he took office.


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