Mayor Megan Barry Delivers State Of Metro Address

"We build bridges, not walls."
Posted at 8:59 AM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-26 19:22:49-04

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry delivered her State of Metro Address at Bridgestone Arena.

The event was held at 10 a.m. Wednesday just outside of the arena. The mayor's address was preceded by a poem from Youth Poet Laureate Gray Bulla and songs sung by gospel artist CeCe Winans.

In her speech, Mayor Barry detailed her recommended $2.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2017-2018.

According to reports, Nashville has been expected to have the lowest combined property tax rate in its history. Mayor Barry said it's less than $3.16 per $100 of assessed value. That was following the 2017 property reappraisal.



The mayor also discussed the future of Nashville's transit.

"We cannot wait another year to start the process of building our first light rail," said Mayor Barry. "I'm very happy to announce that today the work begins to create light rail service on the Gallatin Pike corridor. I'm excited to have the city start the process of making light rail available to our citizens. I'd drive across the river and put a shovel in the ground this afternoon if I could -- and I might just do it anyway!"

The mayor added she has planned to present a transit plan to the city's voters. The plan has been set to include dedicated sources of revenue to build high-capacity transit along the Gallatin, Nolensville, Murfreesboro, and Charlotte Pike corridors, as well as along the northwest corridor from North Nashville to Clarksville.



"Nashville cannot wait any longer to embrace our future," the mayor said.

While detailing her proposal to utilize the $119 million in new revenue as a result of new buildings coming online and continued growth, the mayor's highlights of the operating budget were set to include:

  • $40.6 million: promote fiscal responsibility through debt service payments (including $11.4 million in reserves for future requirements.
  • $879 million for Metro Nashville Public Schools: a 4.3 percent, $36 million increase over the previous year to fund higher pay for teachers, literacy and ELL programs, and social emotional learning to help students manage emotions and maintain positive relationships.
  • $4 million: to fund 22 new officers for the Metro Nashville Police Department for foot patrols to enhance community policing efforts, as well as 48 new officers, six for each precinct, to better match Nashville's growth.
  • $1.9 million: to fully fund new EMS Medic units for the Nashville Fire Department, along with 14 new fire recruits and fire inspectors.
  • $18.1 million: new funds to compensate Metro employees through a three-year pay plan.
  • $7 million increase: to fund the elimination for transfer fees and extend the Music City Circuit to Tennessee State University along the Jefferson Street corridor. These funds will go into the Metro Transit Authority subsidy.
  • $500,000: to fund temporary public art projects and the THRIVE program to meet the neighborhood demand for public art. These funds will go to the Metro Arts Commission.
  • $500,000: to launch a Conservation Assistance Grant Program to leverage effective partnerships in conserving public and private lands and resources of conservation value in the county.



Mayor Barry also announced she will be recommending a new Paid Family Leave for Metro employees that would allow them to take six weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or a seriously ill, close family member.

The mayor's capital spending plan included:

  • Purchase of 31 new hybrid buses for MTA to replace an aging diesel fleet, upgrade fare collection system, and fund the implementation of the nMotion strategic plan for transit - more than $35 million
  • Sidewalks and paving - $65 million
  • Sidewalks connected to schools - $3 million
  • Bikeways and the mayor's Intersection Improvement Program - $2 million
  • Body and dash cameras - $15 million
  • New laptops and printer equipment for the police department - $8 million
  • General obligation bonds to fund new affordable housing programs - $25 million
  • Additional funds to build a community center and two ice rinks in Bellevue, a pocket park on Jefferson Street, expand the Hadley Park tennis center, and start design on a new Hadley Park branch library

"Growth has brought many exciting opportunities to our city, but it's also made it difficult for many residents to stay here. The demand for housing has raised prices throughout the city, and we've responded by attacking the problem on multiple fronts," Mayor Barry said.

The mayor also said our city celebrates diversity. She added to that by saying, "We build bridges, not walls."

Of course, Mayor Barry spoke about the Nashville Predators following the team's recent sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the crowd went wild.

She ended her address by saying, "When faced with decisions about Nashville's growth, we've always made the right choice, and we will do it again, together."