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Metro Nashville Finance Director: It Is Challenging To Spend More Money Than City Takes In

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“Cash is king.” That economic saying is something Metro Nashville may be learning as the finance director warns the city cannot keep spending money as if it is minting it.

Metro Finance Director Talia Lomax-O’dneal has warned department heads that they cannot request new spending measures in the 2018-2019 budget, The Tennessean reports. The city’s current $2.2 billion operating budget was a $122 million, a 5.9 percent increase over the previous year. The 2016-17 operating budget was a $121 million, a 6.1 percent increase over the previous year.

Mayor Megan Barry’s current budget took Metro Nashville over the $2 billion mark for the first time.

“Prudent financial management requires a periodic look for efficiencies and savings opportunities, and there are several fiscal challenges for the 2018 fiscal year,” Lomax-O’dneal said in her letter to department heads.

Those “challenges” include tax collections that have returned to normal levels, dwindling reserve balances and increased debt payment obligations.

Lomax-O’dneal’s letter failed to mention two issues, one a current budget “challenge,” and the other a potential “challenge.” The former is the $17.1 million lifeline the Metro Council voted last month to give Nashville General Hospital. The latter is the proposed $9 billion light rail transit plan (although if one asked the city, they might say the cost would be $5.2 billion).

NoTax4Tracks, a PAC that questions the transit plan’s feasibility, had this to say in a newsletter: “We put on our decoder ring and came up with this. Metro is saying: ‘Our projections were off. We’re spending more than we’re taking in. Our debt has gone up. It’s time to tighten our belts.’

“Sound like a good time to go for a $9-billion light rail plan with the largest sales tax in the country? Nope,” the PAC says.

NoTax4Tracks also points out that nearly every large transit plan in the United States either went or is going over budget.

Some examples:

  • AUSTIN

Projected Cost: $90 million

Final Cost: $148 million

2014 Operating Deficit: $12.6 million

Forbes

  • SEATTLE

Projected Cost: $2.4 billion

Current Estimate: $2.9 billion

The News Tribune

  • HONOLULU

Projected Cost: $5.2 billion

Current Estimate: $10- $13 billion

CityLab

  • PUERTO RICO

Projected Cost: $1.25 billion

Current Estimate: $2.25 billion

Bloomberg Politics

  • BOSTON

Projected Cost: $2.6 billion

Cost with Interest: $24 billion

Boston Globe

  • FORT LAUDERDALE

Projected Cost: $142 million

Current Estimate: $195.3 million

Sun-Sentinel

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6 thoughts on “Metro Nashville Finance Director: It Is Challenging To Spend More Money Than City Takes In

  1. Papa

    Moonbeam told Nashville when debating Fox she would continue to ‘spend’ taxpayer’s money and the people elected her anyway. The big problem with Nashville failing is it will effect every county around Davidson.

  2. Kevin

    Yup and yup! Nashville is already well on the way to being the Detroit of the South. Nashville’s OBEP (other post-employment benefits) account funding is ZERO! In other words, the City has a HUGE unfunded liability, that with every train conductor, bus driver, or personal protection officer hired, only gets bigger. So when the Mayor’s lover retired, there was no money set aside to cover his medical benefits that he gets for life. In private industry, if you promised a benefit and didn’t accrue for it, government would lock you up!

    This is bad, very, very bad, for the non-government employees/citizens of Nashville! The first step to fixing it, get rid of Mayor Barry!

  3. Wolf Woman

    Our progressive Metro council is progressing straight toward a big fiscal pothole in the road. I’m shocked.

  4. Floyd

    Isn’t the finance directory embarrassed to be stuck working for that tawdry sneak Megan Barry? No one can believe anything Metro officials say anymore because of her.

  5. Eric

    If skank Barry remains in office she will bankrupt Nashville.

  6. Not My Mayor

    Democrats have destroyed more cities than low-level bombing .

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