NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tuesday, Metro Council members passed the 2023 Metro budget in a 31-3 vote. The next fiscal year will begin on July 1.
The passed budget includes funding for key initiatives outlined in Mayor Cooper's Agenda for Neighborhoods and Families in April. This will mean funding to expand affordable housing, increased resources for core city services, 157 new first responders across Metro departments pay raises for bus drivers, cafeteria workers and paraprofessionals.
The nearly $3 billion budget means cost of living increases for city employees, including teachers. However, additional funds to increase school support staff was also allocated.
“It’s been said that a budget shows a city’s values better than any words can. I’m grateful to the Metro Council for their hard work and diligence in passing a budget that reflects Nashville’s values and priorities, and will help our city grow in a way that works for everyone,” said Cooper.
Cooper emphasized the $100 million dollar investment in MNPS. However, he said it's likely the state won't be increasing metro's school budget in the coming years under the TISA funding formula.
"We're the county that does not get any money out of TISA," he said. "As we're building on these historic increases, 80 million last year, 100 million this year, it will probably be the same next year. We're going to be continuing to increase our dollars while the state is going to be flat or even going to be down because of the TISA change. Only a well managed city will be able to pick up all of that state lack of support for education."
He said it's likely the city will increase MNPS a similar amount next year.
Mayor Cooper's office named the following as some of the most notable provisions passed in this year's budget:
- A 9% increase in the Metro Nashville Public Schools budget
- Paid family leave for all MNPS employees — for the first time ever
- Increase of resources and manpower at the Department of Transportation focusing on maintenance, safety and engineering
- 92% more Homeless Impact Division staff
- Over $20 million annually toward affordable housing, including ARP funds
- A minimum annual pay increase of $11,000 to $14,000 for bus drivers
- A minimum annual pay increase of $4,400 to $8,700 for MNPS paraprofessionals
- A minimum annual pay increase of over $3,700 for cafeteria workers
- A living wage of $18 hourly for all Metro employees, including MNPS employees
- Increased police officers and the opening of a 9th precinct in southeast Nashville
- More first responders — firefighters, EMS units and 911 call dispatchers
- More Parks employees, including fully staffing community centers and expanding greenways access
- Increased investments for roads, bikeways and alleyways maintenance, including 12 new positions to remove trash and litter
- 20% increase in waste services
- Adding a fifth pothole repair crew
- Hiring Spanish and Kurdish speakers at HubNashville
- Hiring a city architect to incorporate community feedback into future projects and a city archeologist to provide in-house assessments of historic sites
- Additional resources to improve service and hours at Nashville Public Libraries and NAZA summer program
- Hiring new staff across Codes, Planning, Water, Fire Marshal and NDOT