Honky tonk owner condemns Mayor's parking privatization plan

Posted at 6:27 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 19:32:44-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Prominent Nashville business owner Steve Smith is calling out Mayor Briley, saying his plan to privatize parking is a bad one, adding to the controversy surrounding the plan that would bring in $300 million over the next 30 years to Metro.

“We’re going to be paying through the nose, and we’re not going to be able to fight it or do anything about it, so every time your car gets a ticket, they’re gonna hit you real hard,” Smith said. “I think it’s a bad deal for the city and I think David Briley’s just giving the farm away.”

Smith owns Tootsie’s, Honky Tonk Central, and numerous other businesses in Nashville and the surrounding areas.

Admittedly, he’s a supporter of Carol Swain for mayor, but he said he’d rather buy Nashville’s parking himself than have an outside company come in that would increase parking rates, more than double fines, and extend hours of the meters, even if it cost him $300 million over 30 years.

“I’d probably take that deal too, because it’s a wash up. Anytime anyone’s willing to put that kind of money on something, they will be tripling their money over thirty years, maybe better than that,” Smith said. “There’s better ways to raise money for this city.”

At the end of the day, Smith said he believes Mayor Briley’s proposed plan would hurt the people of Nashville as well as tourists, and it won’t just be a short-term impact, but one that will impact the city for decades.

“I don’t think that anybody, any mayor, should be able to give this city away for a 30-year contract,” Smith said. “I’m praying to God that metro council does not let this happen. You know, they gotta step back and look at what he’s gonna leave us with for the rest of our lives, and they gonna be as responsible as he is by making this bad decision.”

Metro council members will hear the first of three readings of private privatization Tuesday night.