The people who run the Metro Nashville government will have to act a little more frugal this coming year, according to Nashville Public Radio.
The city’s finance director laid it all out in a recent budget memo, the station went on to say. The director told department leaders not to ask for any discretionary funding increases this year. They are also tasked with thinking about potential cost savings.
“While we understand that maintaining current funding levels will be a challenge, we can only consider required/mandatory budgetary improvement requirements given our anticipated revenue streams,” Nashville Public Radio quoted Finance Director Talia Lomax O’dneal as saying.
O’dneal also asked departments to consider ways to raise more revenue. Those methods could include charging higher fees and pondering ways to avoid spending, the station reported.
“All of those ideas will be given to the new Blue Ribbon Commission, which the Metro Council created last year to hunt for government savings. The commission has been asked to make savings proposals by April 1,” according to Nashville Public Radio.
“The finance director does praise city agencies for being thrifty in the past year, as few have requested emergency cash, and ‘targeted savings are on track to be achieved.’”
Metro officials worry some revenue streams are on the decline. They blame decreases in traffic ticket revenues and decreases from the Hall Income Tax on investments. State legislators voted to phase those out last year, the station reported.
“The pinch comes as Metro has increasing debt payments to make, and as new facilities open that will need staff and upkeep,” Nashville Public Radio reported.
“The memo says departmental budget hearings with Mayor David Briley are being scheduled for late March.”
As The Tennessee Star reported this month, Metro Council member Steve Glover said the city is broke. He said taking even more money out of the city’s operations budget for more incentives programs, such as the one proposed for Amazon.com, is “a double-edged sword, no matter how you slice and dice it.”
“We are to the point where I don’t think we can afford many more incentives,” Glover told The Star.
“Frankly all we have done is give away incentives and not had anything in return to be prepared for all those incentives.”