Nashville Mayor John Cooper has proposed a $474.6 million budget for the next fiscal year, and he said that two-thirds of it will address education and transportation needs.
Cooper, in a press release, said this budget “brings overdue investment in the needs of a growing city.”
“A record $191 million for education – the most in Nashville’s history – will fund much-needed school construction, expansion and repairs across Davidson County,” according to Cooper’s press release.
Cooper’s proposed budget calls for a new high school in Bellevue to replace the current one, which is more than 60-years-old, and would serve 1,600 students. The mayor also has proposed $4.2 million for phase one of a new Cane Ridge Middle School, which he said would relieve pressure at Antioch Middle.
“That school is operating at 121 percent capacity, with students squeezed into buildings and portables,” according to Cooper’s press release.
The plan also includes $18.8 million for a 24-classroom expansion at Cane Ridge High School, the press release said.
The proposed budget also includes $122 million in transportation investments, which Cooper said delivers on the first phase of the Metro Transportation Plan.
Cooper’s proposed budget also calls for replacing a fire station, building a new police precinct in southeast Nashville, park lighting and repairs, new greenways, and fleet and radio upgrades for first responders. The mayor’s budget also calls for more affordable housing, the press release said.
“The Metro Nashville Transportation Plan calls for 1,961 improvements across 300-plus neighborhoods – everything from safer pedestrian crossings to smarter traffic signals,” the press release said.
“The Metro Nashville Transportation Plan is also a platform to unlock state and federal funding to pay for up to 60 percent of its projects.”
Cooper’s plan proposes the following:
• $21 million to repair 31,500 feet of sidewalk and build more than 2,500 feet of new sidewalk
• $2 million to build an estimated 16 new bus shelters in 12 districts
• $30 million to pave more than 180 lane miles across the city
• $2.5 million for traffic calming projects in 24 neighborhoods
• $7.5 million for smart traffic management projects on some of Nashville’s busiest roads
As The Tennessee Star reported Saturday, Metro Nashville At-Large Council Member Steve Glover said Metro Nashville officials must use good judgement when planning Davidson County’s next budget and must do right by its police and fire department officers.
Glover said this in a Facebook Live video.
“So, as we go into the budget season, I am watching very closely. I’m concerned because what I heard from the state was that we may have to raise taxes because we didn’t cut expenses. We raised taxes astronomically last year, and we are going through a reassessment right now. I don’t think anybody wants taxes raised. We have got to get our priorities in line,” Glover said.
“We have got to take care of our police and fire. We have got to do those things. We have avoided that. We have ignored it. We have let it slide for far too long, and look at what’s happened. We are about 200 officers short in the police force. We are about the same on the fire department. We have one station more than we had 20 plus years ago in the fire department. That’s ridiculous. In a city our size that is ridiculous.”
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