Metro Nashville Council Member Bob Mendes implied on his website Saturday that Nashvillians will eventually have to pay higher property taxes.
In a 730 word post, Mendes told constituents about Mayor David Briley and the events leading up to this year’s final Metro budget.
“Multiple district council members told me that in the days and hours before the vote the Mayor and his office told them that he would raise the tax rate next year,” Mendes wrote.
“He’s denied that to the press. I guess you all can draw your own conclusions about what to make of that.”
Mendes said this year’s budget disappointed him and that “there now is a broad consensus that we will be right back in this same situation a year from now.” He also said Metro officials are choosing not to fix known budget problems at the expense of making things difficult on Metro employees and on Metro services.
“If you follow my posts, you know that I predicted the size of this year’s budget to within a few million dollars. I predicted $2.335 billion, and it came in at $2.332 billion. That wasn’t luck. The size of a budget is pretty predictable when it is playing defense — you pay what you must and not more. Despite some of the packaging and spin, this year’s budget was another status quo defensive exercise,” Mendes wrote.
“Using the same principles that I used this year, we can look forward to get a glimpse at what next year will bring. As you look at this, keep in mind that new Metro revenue (aside from the one-time sales) for this year was about $100 million.”
Mendes listed what he said is the minimum new spending required in Fiscal Year 2021:
- Make up for relying on one-time non-recurring revenue, $41.5 million
- Pay known existing new bond debt payments, $14.5 million
- Pay for new bond 2020 bond issuance the Finance Dept. has told us about, about $25 million.
- Three percent cost of living adjustment and a step increase for Metro employees, $25 million.
- Increase for MNPS that is the same as this year (i.e <3 percent cost of living adjustment and no step), $28 million.
“That’s $134 million of new spending required in FY21 before getting into any expansion of the government at all,” Mendes wrote.
“This amount wouldn’t allow for the already-announced increase in Barnes Fund funding, or get WeGo Transit back to full funding, or help employees gain ground on what they’ve lost in the last several years, or expand any government service at all, or even cover inflation.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Bob Mendes” by Bob Mendes. Background Photo “Nashville Town Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.