WTVF-NASHVILLE — I think it is fair to say this has been the most tumultuous 12-months ever for any first-year mayor, or perhaps any year for a mayor of Nashville.
Even before 2020 began, the city faced budget issues that had the Comptroller of the State of Tennessee threatening to take over the city’s finances unless a $40 million-plus deficit was corrected.
Then in early March came an EF-3 tornado that heavily damaged several Nashville neighborhoods, followed almost immediately by the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown. That in turn triggered a huge economic recession from which the city, the state, the nation, and the entire world are still trying to recover as both the pandemic and the recession continue.
There has also been unrest here and across the country over racial injustice and police brutality. That led to several large peaceful marches in the city, but also in late May a riot damaged the city’s historic courthouse and had Nashville placed under a curfew for several days. Metro is also in the process of looking for a new police chief.
Now there is referendum effort and a court battle brewing over whether to call a vote to repeal a 34% property tax increase the Mayor and Metro Council approved last summer, as well as further impair the ability of Nashville in the future to raise taxes, sign leases, sell property or float bonds for improvements.
Mayor Cooper’s actions to deal with all these calamities and challenges has received both praise and strong condemnation which we will discuss in some detail with him.