NASHVILLE, Tenn. - More local workers could be hired at Nashville's construction sites because of the passage of Amendment 3, but opponents said the fight was far from over.
“We've got more cranes in the core city today than I've seen in my 25 year career,” said Bill Pitts, Senior Policy Advisor for the Greater Tennessee chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.
“Why do we see billions of dollars being spent but in that same area we have growing poverty,” questioned Ashford Hughes, Economic Equality Taskforce Chairman for Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (N.O.A.H.).
With more than 57 percent of the vote, Amendment 3 was meant to address that issue. It specifically targeted construction projects funded with taxpayer dollars.
“We want to make sure on all those projects over $100,000 that 40 percent of those work hours go to local Davidson County residents,” Hughes explained.
The amendment also required a percentage of those hired to be low income.
“We're recruiting within the county. We're recruiting in Middle Tennessee. We're recruiting statewide and in other states,” Pitts said. “We're still unable to find an adequate supply of skilled manpower.”
Contractors were joined by the Chamber of Commerce citing concerns that the amendment could delay projects, therefore increasing costs and becoming more of a burden on taxpayers in the long run.
“It's no longer a bunch of strong backs with shovels and picks,” Pitts said. “The fight is far from over.”
Opponents have been considering appealing to state lawmakers or even legal action.
“We will definitely be ready and willing to take a stand and say this is the right thing to do if it comes to that,” Hughes said.
Despite the votes being cast, it's just the first step. Metro Council was set to determine how Amendment 3 can or will be implemented, including penalties for non-compliance.
“We're fighting to make certain that marginalized communities have a piece of the "it" in the "it" city,” Hughes said.