Jeff Syracuse

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Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency (MDHA) Programs

Our Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency (MDHA) has a few programs that few know about.  Home improvement, weatherization, building ramps for disabled neighbors, and more.  Below are flyers that describes these programs.  There are income limits to qualify.  Contact MDHA for more information.

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Metro Nashville 2023 Budget Recap

July 1, 2022 begins our FY2023 fiscal year for Metro Government.  As reported in my last newsletter, overall, I was generally pleased with the budget proposal from Mayor Cooper.  I want to thank Council Member At Large Burkley Allen for leading Council through the budget process as Budget & Finance Chair and crafting a substitute budget that made some important tweaks to address critical issues, specifically the $22.6 million gap in funding for MNPS that we had to address.  It was unfortunate that the issue was caused by the timing of when the Mayor was required to send his budget proposal to Council and when the final new calculation from the State came in, which created the deficit.

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New Chair for Music Makes Us Advisory Council

Speaking of schools, I am wrapping up two years as Chair of the Music Makes Us Advisory Council and pass it over to Brian Sexton, who has served as Vice Chair for the last two years.  Brian is a fantastic community leader and will be a fantastic leader of this initiative.  This is an area I’m passionate about and like many of you I’m sure, my experience in band and music programs in school was the most formative and impactful growing up. I want to help ensure kids have the same, if not greater, opportunities that I had.

The last two years have been difficult as we all know. The impact to schools, reflected in the $22.6 million less we received from the State due to reduced enrollment, is something that is occurring all over and has also impacted music and arts programming. Reduced enrollment means principals must make hard decisions on staffing and funding internally for each school.

This has impacted McGavock High School’s program this year, as well as Oliver Middle School, which is going through a frustrating experience of high turnover and leadership issues that has also impacted their highly regarded middle school program. One effort is that we are working on recruitment efforts at feeder schools to help rebuild their programs.

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$18 million in grant and loan funds made available through the American Rescue Plan

$18 million in grant and loan funds made available through the American Rescue Plan for small businesses in Nashville and Davidson County are now open to applicants. Metro Nashville is partnering with Pathway Lending to administer the funds. Eligible small businesses can apply for a grant or start a loan application.

Eligible small business applicants must have a Davidson County postal address and physical location, 2021 annual revenue between $10,000 and $1,000,000, no more than 50 full-time employees, and must meet additional criteria. The program website details full eligibility criteria as well as frequently asked questions, grant and loan application guides and lists nonprofit program partners (see graphic below) providing technical assistance to help small businesses prepare applications.

Small Business Fund with Councilman Jeff Syracuse

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Event Train to Big Machine Music City Grand Prix!

Tickets are on sale now for WeGo Public Transit’s special event train from Lebanon to downtown Nashville for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday, August 7th. The train will depart from Lebanon Station at 12pm, Hamilton Springs at 12:08pm, Martha at 12:15pm, Mt. Juliet at 12:25pm, Hermitage at 12:35pm, Donelson at 12:45pm and arrive at Nashville’s Riverfront Station at 1pm. There is a 45-minute concert scheduled for after the race.

The return train to Lebanon leaves one hour after the conclusion of the concert. Round-trip tickets cost $15 plus a $2 processing fee and are available for purchase through ticketsnashville.com with a credit card. Tickets will not be for sale on the platforms. Parking is free at the inbound stations. Anyone needing special accommodations to board should call 615-862-5950 prior to their trip. Customers will receive only one ticket for the round-trip and will need to show the ticket to train personnel when boarding.

Upon boarding, each customer will receive a colored wristband in place of the ticket, which will serve as their train ticket. Customers must show the wristband to the conductor for the return trip. Children aged 4 and younger will not need a ticket to board; however, they are required to sit on a parent or guardian’s lap. Children aged 5 and older will need a ticket. Weekday Star tickets and monthly passes are not accepted on the Grand Prix train.

Music City Grand Prix with Councilman Jeff Syracuse

 

 

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Lincoya Hills Neighborhood Association Meeting

Lincoya Hills Neighborhood Association will have a second meeting on Saturday, July 16th from 10am-noon to discuss the same two topics.  The first is to review the traffic calming program recommendations with neighbors and talk about next steps after input from the last meeting.  The second topic is to further discuss the Contextual Overlay, which is the only tool in the toolbox that is available to protect the character of our mid-20th century neighborhoods. 

We learned from a member of the Planning Department last time, and it was requested that a team member from Codes be at the next meeting to address those specific related issues.  So, be sure to attend this meeting and spread the word to neighbors.  As stated before, I currently have no intentions of filing any bill to implement an Overlay for Lincoya Hills.  This is purely an educational meeting, and the neighborhood will need to further discuss if this is the direction they’d like to take or not.

Lakeland Drive, Emery Drive, Donelsonwood Drive and Fitzergerald Drive neighbors – If you haven’t signed the Traffic Calming Petition or have any questions, please contact me. As soon as 70% of neighbors sign the required petition, traffic calming can be installed on your streets. If you’re reading this and know of a neighbor who lives on one of those streets, please help reach out to them and make them aware of this process and to contact me with any questions.

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Roots On The Rivers Music Festival

A wonderful partnership between the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion and WMOT Roots Radio 89.5 will happen on Saturday, August 27th when they present Roots On The Rivers music festival. Gates will open at 2pm for an afternoon and evening of community vendors, food trucks, a beer garden, and no surprise, six hours of great music from friends of Roots Radio.

Roots on the River with Councilman Jeff Syracuse

Maggie Rose and Lera Lynn are among Nashville’s most cutting edge singer songwriters and sound creators. 49 Winchester from Appalachian Virginia is blowing up out of their regional base on the strength of their celebrated new album Fortune Favors the Bold. Nashville’s soul star Mike Farris will join transplant Nicki Bluhm and veteran country outfit The Lost Trailers to round out a pretty dreamy day of tunes.

The single-day mini-festival reflects a partnership with the Cumberland River Compact’s Root Nashville program, which aims to plant 500,000 trees across Davidson County by 2050. Ticket sales support programming on WMOT. Tickets are $45 and accessible here at this link. If you’re a member of the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion, you get a $10 discount. Email me for a special link for Friends members

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Piedmont Gas Donate to Donelson Gateway Project

Big thanks to Piedmont Natural Gas for supporting The Donelson Gateway Project. This very gracious donation helps a lot with our continued maintenance needs, especially during this dry weather when we need to water with our mobile water truck (shown behind us in the picture). All tax-deductible donations are sincerely appreciated and go directly towards keeping Donelson beautiful.

We are always seeking partners, sponsors and folks willing to help with the physical labor to maintain our sites. This is a non-profit that does a lot with a little and is something we can all be proud to support. The community was wonderful last year in supporting DGP and that went directly to purchasing a mower for all our sites as well as continued expansion and maintenance. We have many needs, so if you’re interested in assisting us, please let me know. Pictured with me are Piedmont’s Stephen Francescon, and Mike Rose, DGP President.

The Donelson Gateway Project Piedmont Donation with Councilman Jeff Syracuse

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August 4th Voting Schedule

Please don’t forget the August 4th election is fast approaching. All information is located at www.nashville.gov/vote. Below is the schedule. Make a plan to vote! 

Please be sure to check out a sample ballot on the website.  It’s a long ballot.  There are also four Metro Charter amendment proposals on the ballot.  I’m advocating for voting in favor of all four.  Council Member At Large Bob Mendes does an excellent job of explaining them.  Check out his blog post about it here.

August 4 Voting Schedule Councilman Jeff Syracuse

 

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FY23 Budget Season, Pennington Bend Meetings and the Mayor’s Office of Music, Film and Entertainment

The Metro FY23 budget season has begun.  Fundamentally, the Mayor’s Budget is a good one as I see it thus far and focuses on critical needs.  Council has begun our budget hearings to take a deep dive into the Mayor’s proposal.  The Citizen’s Guide to the Metro Budget can be found here.  Some of the highlights of the FY32 budget proposal:

  • 4% COLA and step increases
  • Support for Paid Family Leave
  • MNPD personnel support for the 9th precinct – 46 officers
  • Emergency Communications personnel support – 36 additional staff
  • Fire Department personnel support – 31 positions
  • Highest ever support for affordable housing between budget and federal American Rescue Plan funds with personnel support for Housing Division
  • Support for homelessness via American Rescue Plan funds with personnel support for Metro Homeless Impact Division to address substance abuse, mental health and finally moving forward for a 90-unit permanent supportive housing complex.
  • Codes, Fire Marshall, Planning and Water – focused personnel support to meet continued growing demand for services
  • Additional much needed support for Parks, Arts and Libraries

Here is an invitation to attend the groundbreaking of the permanent supportive housing complex on Tuesday, May 31st.

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Trash Pickup Update, Development Community Meeting, Traffic Calming and More

After weeks of a new low in performance by our trash contractor, Red River, things are finally improving after hiring another contractor to begin picking up routes to coincide with Metro picking up a few other routes that should allow Red River to be able to handle the remainder.

As many have heard, Red River filed bankruptcy last October and so they are afforded protections under the law.  Metro has legal counsel in Dallas aggressively representing our interests.

Red River’s contract began in 2004 and while it worked OK for some years, their poor management, inability to keep up with our growth, and failure overcome equipment, truck, and personnel challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic is why we find ourselves in this continued frustrating and untenable situation.

As many will recall, I filed a resolution last year calling for the end of the contract with Red River.  That prompted some structural changes to the contract, which made the situation better for some months afterwards, but Red River’s internal problems have only become worse, and they are spiraling downwards.

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The Holidays are here with Tree Lightings, Parade, and Finally the Unveil of our new Donelson Branch Library

Dear Friends,

The Holiday Season is here and there is much to be thankful for and celebrate.  I hope you and your families and friends enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Here are some events coming up to put on your calendars:

  • The Donelson Hermitage Neighborhood Alliance has put together the 1st Annual Hermitage Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 2nd. 5:30pm decorating, 6pm tree lighting. It’ll be at the Hermitage Library.  See flyer below.

Hermitage Tree Lighting

  • The 36th Annual Donelson Hermitage Chamber Christmas Parade will be on Saturday, December 4th at 2pm. It’ll be on the same route it’s been for several years along Donelson Pike from Elm Hill Pike to Donelson Station, so pick a good spot anywhere on either side of the street on the sidewalk. For all information, street closure information, application to enter a float and more, visit https://www.donelsonhermitagechamber.com/christmas-parade/.
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Two Rivers Mansion Event Center, Metro Arts “Call To Artists” for New Donelson Library and Redistricting Update

Dear Friends,

Good news to share and important updates this newsletter.  First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. AsafeNashville.org continues to be Metro’s information site for COVID-19 testing and vaccines. Here’s a great PSA from the TN Council for Development Disabilities featuring our State Representative Darren Jernigan and State Representative Sam Whitson supporting everyone to get vaccinated. It’s the fastest way to end this pandemic.

A major piece of good news is for Two Rivers Mansion’s 14-acre property and all our community. The long-awaited event center, to be located behind the mansion, was funded in Mayor Cooper’s recently released Capital Spending Plan. The Master Plan that Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation, Metro Nashville Historical Commission and the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion put together several years ago to support its preservation and advancement identified an event center as a needed investment to capitalize on the success of the total renovation at the mansion and renewed interest and excitement in hosting events there. This will help keep the mansion preserved while being able to host larger events that also will be a larger revenue generator. This has been a priority project of mine since I’ve been in office and this investment will be transformational for the property and the future of the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion. Stay tuned for more details to come.

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Ravenwood Regional Park Ribbon Cutting, Litter Clean-Up and Two Legislative Successes

Dear Friends,

Ravenwood Pavilion Rendering Donelson TNI look forward to joining Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation and Kevin Rhoten - Metro Council District 14 for a groundbreaking ceremony for Ravenwood Regional Park on August 20, Friday, 10:00 a.m. at the construction site of the park. The park will transform 800 acres of farmland near the historic landmark Stone Hall into a space for recreation, hiking, play, kids’ activities, and a quiet ambiance.

“Ravenwood Park is located only a few miles from downtown Nashville. It will fill a notable void in the area by providing vital recreational opportunities to the residents of Donelson and Hermitage as well as others across the county,” said Monique Horton Odom, Director of Metro Parks. The project is in the early stages of development. Phase One of the project includes demolition, earthwork, paving, landscaping, and site utilities. It will also involve the construction of an entry road, greenway and trails, parking lot, playground, large pavilion, sports court and fitness equipment, sidewalks, and open lawn.

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Donelson Plaza Palooza, Rezoning Community Meeting, Digital Inclusion Survey and Job Fair

Dear Friends,

As the weather warms up and everyone is getting out more after being vaccinated, here’s a great opportunity to enjoy our new green space in front of the new Donelson Library site and support Donelson Plaza businesses. On Saturday, May 22nd from 10am – 3pm, bring your chair or blanket, visit Plaza business booths with special deals and grab a lunch at one of the Plaza businesses while enjoying live music and performances in addition to special programming from our Nashville Library! Plus, the Civic Design Center wants your ideas for the public space in front of the Donelson Library. Visit their “Soundbox” shipping container during the event!

Donelson Plaza Palooza

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2021 Reappraisal and Tax Impact, Farmer’s Market 2021 Season, Community Clean Up and More

Dear Friends,

Everyone should be receiving their 2021 reappraisal information in the mail soon if not already.  As you’ll note in the packet in the graphic below, growth has not slowed down, even through the pandemic  Here are two graphics with heat maps that compare the 2013-2017 growth vs the 2017-2021 along with very important information about the reappraisal process, which is mandated by State law.

2021 Reappraisal Packet 1

2021 Reappraisal Packet 2

2021 Reappraisal Packet 3

2021 Reappraisal Packet 4

As you’re probably aware, the State mandates the reappraisal process to be revenue neutral, so as the values go up, the tax rate must come down.  That also means that if you’re above the average countywide reappraisal rate, the impact to your property taxes is that they usually go up.  If you’re below the median increase, they generally go down.  Check out our tax rate compared to Tennessee’s four biggest cities.  You’ll note the impact of the reappraisals over the years.

Property Tax Graph 25 Year 4 Cities

A lot people were understandably upset at the 34% tax increase last year.  It couldn’t have come at a worse time due to pandemic and economic shutdown.  Among the financial issues we have, the biggest one is that we haven’t managed the tax rate well.  If you’ll note on the 25-year tax graph, historically after the appraisal occurs and affects the tax rate to go down, the Mayor and Council will nudge it up nice and easy in the years afterwards to account for growth.  That didn’t happen in 2017 and we were left with an unsustainably low rate.  We hadn’t nudged the rate up since 2012 and should have done that so we wouldn’t have been looking at such a stark increase last year (which was still 30 cents cheaper than it was in 2017).  So, here we are again with an appraisal that shows rapid property value increases, which means the rate will drop back down to historic lows.  Yes, we have issues with overspending and too high of debt, but our overall financial outlook is strong if we can keep our hands tight on the reigns of the tax rate.  We’re still operating with fewer Metro employees than we had in 2003.  We have a lot of work to do to manage growth and ensure it is benefiting everyone.  When you add the impact of the pandemic and the economic shutdown, the trillions of dollars that has come from the federal government assistance to states, cities and local municipalities, we have to be laser focused on stable fiscal management, which means budgeting thinking about the long term and not using federal government assistance to balance our budget.  That would be dangerous as those funds will not be here forever and we need to focus on those funds supporting schools, small business, out of work neighbors and other critical areas so we can get through the pandemic’s impact.  We will get through this together.

The Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market returns for the 10th season at Two Rivers Mansion on Friday, May 7th at 4pm.  This is a treasure of an event for the community and hope you will make plans to support it every Friday through October.

The Donelson Gateway Project needs your help for the annual spring cleanup.  “Many hands make light work”.  Meet at the Briley Pkwy / Lebanon Pk site on Saturday, May 8th at 10am.  We can disperse to other sites as needed.  Thank you for your support of keeping Donelson beautiful!

The Buchanan Family Festival Fish Fry & Flea Market will be May 15th at 11am.  See flyer below for details.

BLH 2021 Festival Flyer

The annual Phil the House with Arts and Friends at Two Rivers Mansion will be on Sunday, May 16th from 1-4pm and will feature the photography of local resident and Friends member Doug Almy.

I’m now fully vaccinated and encourage everyone to do the same so we can get back to opening the city back up 100%, all our kids back in school and put this pandemic behind us.  All COVID19 related info, including how to sign up for vaccine appointments can be found here.

Finally, I will be sending out another newsletter about two rezoning meetings coming up (one for a single family home development at 2600 Pennington Bend Rd and the other for condo developments at 2842 and 2850 Lebanon Pike) plus an exciting community event on Saturday, May 22nd.  So, stay tuned to another newsletter on the heels of this one once I firm up dates and details.

Best,

jeff syracuse

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Let’s Work Together to Create a Better 2021

Dear Friends,

The recent insurrection attempt at the US Capital shows that the complexities that arose in 2020 are not yet in the rear-view mirror.  Many have asked about reports of continued protests and rallies that may turn violent.  The below letter from MNPD Chief Drake was received by Metro Council Members.

January 11 Letter To Metro Council

There is an understandable amount of anxiety and frustration about the rollout of the vaccine.  As with all things related to COVID-19, this website is your best local source to follow Metro Health Department processes and find when your eligible timeframe for receiving the vaccine is here and how to sign up.  That’s also the place to continue to get the latest information on testing centers.  Further helpful information at the State Department of Health here is a good resource as well.

As you may have seen, I’ve been on the news a bit to talk about the uptick in crime, mostly stemming from our hotel / motel and hospitality businesses in the district.  As mentioned to the media, some of this is not new to an uptick we see around the holidays, but certainly some is attributed to the ancillary issues from the pandemic.  I have worked hard at establishing a stronger communication network between our Hermitage Precinct and hospitality businesses and has already shown to have some efficacy.  It will be a monthly meeting focused specifically on how our hospitality businesses can unite together, apply best practices of managing their parking lots guided by the Hermitage Precinct, share resources for being more proactive in protecting their properties, and utilizing improved technology to create a faster, more effective communication network to all area hospitality businesses and MNPD when an incident happens.

As you have likely noticed, we have an uptick in homelessness issues in the district and new camps have been set up in various locations.  Homelessness is one of the most complex issues to deal with and must be done with sensitivity and support for our unhoused neighbors.To that end, I am hosting a virtual community meeting on this topic on Thursday, January 28th at 7pm.  I strongly encourage everyone to attend.  Thanks to Donelson neighbor Tara Shaver, she will host the meeting on her corporate Zoom account and manage the logistics.  We will hear from our Metro Homeless Impact Division and learn about their role and efforts, non-profit partners engaged in this effort, including Open Table Nashville, Room at the Inn, Mental Health Cooperative and People Loving Nashville.  Sergeant Jeff White with our Hermitage Precinct will be in attendance to discuss MNPD’s role and efforts as they interact with the homeless community and how they interact with other Metro Departments.  He will also discuss panhandling, which is a separate issue, but is somewhat connected to community concerns.  State Representative Darren Jernigan will be in attendance to discuss this from a State perspective.  This meeting will require registration.  Please visit this link to register.

I continue to work hard on all things related to any further development in the Pennington Bend area, specifically on infrastructure.  Last term I focus efforts on attempting to push for a third interchange.  That does not appear likely to happen at all for several reasons, so am now focused on ensuring private development proposals to include ample infrastructure support and have created a couple new Capital Improvement Budget requests of Metro for future planning.  Stay tuned for a community meeting within the next two months that’ll hold to bring everyone up to speed with my efforts.

Despite the challenges before us both at a national and local level, I have strong faith in our ability to come together and meet these challenges and create a brighter future for the next generation.  I hope you will join me in working to find common ground, vehemently reject extremism as a cancer upon our democracy, create and participate in constructive dialogue (especially on social media), and be part of solutions to our problems in service to each other.

Best,

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Donelson Christmas Tree Lighting and Closing out 2020

Dear Friends,

It’s time for the 2020 Donelson Christmas Tree Lighting!  Join us LIVE Sunday, December 13, 4:00pm on the Hip Donelson Facebook page. 

It’s a different kind of tree lighting this year for a couple of reasons.  For safety we are hosting this virtually.  In addition, the location begins a new era as we begin to utilize our new civic space in front of where the new library will be.

Please consider driving by and dropping off an unwrapped toy for the Metro Police Christmas Charities, started by District 15’s very own Chief Joe Casey.  Those who donate a toy will receive a coupon for a complimentary Bacon Popcorn at Homegrown Taproom & Kitchen!

Thanks to District 15 Beautification Commissioner Michele Mazzu, Hip Donelson, The Donelson Gateway Project, JVI Secret Gardens and Donelson Cafe and Catering for all coming together to make this event possible.

Donelson Christmas Tree Lighting in 2020

Click here to review Mayor Cooper’s Transportation Plan for Nashville.  As the Mayor’s Office describes is, this is a “people-focused approach to help set us up better for grant opportunities”.  There is no direct funding appropriated with this plan.  It does help identify the infrastructure needs with “critical projects for community resilience, neighborhood livability, shared prosperity, and system preservation and performance.”

As a reminder as we close out 2020, here are a few resources to help you navigate these very difficult times:

  • Call 211 to reach the United Way, who is a critical resource for guiding you for various resources.
  • Affordable Housing Resources also has two programs to help with rent. Contact AHR at (615) 251-0025, Extension 0 or email sbosworth@ahrhousing.org
  • The Financial Empowerment Center stands ready to help you navigate these very difficult times for so many. See below for their contact info.

Free Professional Financial Counselling

As always, don’t hesitate to call me if I can be of service.  My cell is 615-886-9906.  I wish you and your families a very Happy Holidays.  Despite the extraordinary times we’re living in,

Best,

Councilman Jeff Syracuse

 

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An Overdue Newsletter with a New Format Coming and a Metro Budget 101 Series Everyone Should Attend

happy-thanksgiving-3727343_1280 Happy Thanksgiving from Councilman Syracuse!

Dear Friends,

It’s been a few months since I last sent out a newsletter.  I will freely admit it’s been a challenge to sit and focus on writing one during these strange times… tornado recovery, global pandemic, Presidential election and significant budget issues.  I am hopeful about the news regarding the success with progress towards a vaccine and recovery from the tornado is ongoing, but good progress has been made.

I’m going to soon change the format of my newsletters to be shorter and hopefully more regular.  As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.  For now, I wanted to get this critical information out to you ASAP.  I strongly encourage everyone to get more engaged in our budget issues and processes so we can have more productive conversations about them.  One of my greatest frustrations with this year is the inability to have town halls.  I started looking at doing a live streamed town hall, but this series below is even better.  I may be a day or two late getting this newsletter to your inbox before the first meeting of the series, but it will be rebroadcast and available to watch online as well.

Councilmembers Kyonzté Toombs (Chair) & Delishia Porterfield (Vice-Chair) of the Budget and Finance Committee, will be hosting a Virtual Metro Budget 101 Series over the next few months. The sessions, beginning at 6PM, will provide transparency and education for the general public concerning Metro Nashville Davidson County's revenues, and the budget process.

Questions from the public may be submitted to kyonzte.toombs@nashville.gov by 5PM on the day before the session. All questions must be on-topic.

How does the city get money?

  • November 19, 2020 - Property Taxes: Assessor of Property Vivian Wilhoite, Trustee Erica Gilmore
  • December 3, 2020 - Sales Tax: Councilmember At-Large Bob Mendes
  • December 17, 2020 - City/State Revenue: Finance Director Kevin Crumbo and State Rep. Harold Love

How does the city spend money?

  • January 7, 2021 - Metro Nashville Public Schools: School Board Member Freda Player-Peters, Chief Operating and Financial Officer Chris Henson
  • January 14, 2021 - Metro Public Works and Metro Parks Departments: Public Works Interim Director Shanna Whitelaw
  • January 21, 2021 - Nashville General Hospital
  • January 28, 2021 - Public Safety (Metro Nashville Police Department, Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office)

Community Panel Discussions

  • February 4, 2021 - Community Panel Discussion
  • February 11, 2021 - Expert Panel Discussion
  • February 18, 2021 - How the Budget Process Works
  • February 25, 2021 - Participatory Budget: Councilmember At-Large Zulfat Suara

This series of sessions will provide helpful Information, and I hope you will participate as we wort through this upcoming 2021 budget year. The schedule will be updated as speakers are confirmed.

The public may watch the following meetings live online at:

https://www.nashville.gov/.../Metro.../Live-Streaming.aspx

Metro Nashville and Davidson County residents can view Metro Nashville Network on Comcast channel 3, AT&T U-verse channel 99, Google Fiber channel 3, and streaming on the MNN Roku channel.

As always, don’t hesitate to call me if I can be of service.  My cell is 615-886-9906.  I wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Best,

jeff syracuse

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FY2021 Budget Virtual Community Meetings, Tree Replacement and Unveiling of a New Art Piece in Donelson

Dear Friends,
 
I’m going to keep this newsletter brief as I know we are inundated with information being sent to us from national, state and local levels and I don’t want to simply regurgitate information you’re already seeing elsewhere, such as all information related to Nashville’s COVID-19 response here, where it details the metrics being looked at and the Roadmap for Reopening Nashville.
 
When Mayor Cooper announced his budget proposal, my phone started ringing off the hook as is expected, especially when a tax increase is part of it, and especially when our economy is largely shut down.  I get it and I hear you.  It’s frustrating that we can’t have community meetings in person, so what I’d like to do is set up two virtual community meetings via Zoom so I can offer a platform to hopefully have productive conversations as Council proceeds with our budget hearings with Metro Department heads.  Until then, the Citizen Guide to the Metro Budget and Mayor Cooper’s budget presentation are here.  All documents Metro Council Members are reviewing and our budget hearing schedule is here

  • Thursday, May 21st at 6:30pm – Zoom Meeting Link
    Meeting ID: 811 7969 9344
    Password: 995935
     
  • Thursday, May 28th at 6:30pm – Zoom Meeting Link
    Meeting ID: 830 0936 6439
    Password: 046653

Upcoming Public Hearing

The public hearing for the budget will be at the June 2nd Council Meeting.  How do you have a public hearing without the public?  Great question.  Governor Lee has extended his Order that allows local municipalities to meet virtually until June 30th.  If members of the public are interested in speaking either for or against any item on the public hearing agenda this is how you do it: 

  1. Tune into the meeting via live streaming on Nashville.gov, by watching on cable TV (Comcast channel 3, AT&T Uverse channel 99), or watch on the Roku Metro Nashville Network Channel.
  2. Wait for the Vice Mayor to announce when your item is ready for live call in.
  3. Dial 629-255-1931 and wait for operator assistance.
  4. You will be asked if you are calling for the current bill on public hearing.
  5. Mute your TV or live stream when it is your turn to speak.
  6. Once your time begins, state your name, address, and whether you are for or against the bill. You will have two minutes to speak.
  7. During your public comments, you will receive a 30-second warning before your time limit is up.

While the live call-in feature is strongly encouraged in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, members of the public may attend the Metro Council Meeting at the Historic Metro Courthouse (1 Public Square) and speak to the Council from the Council Chamber.  Additional information about virtual Council Meetings and remote participation in Council public hearings can be found here.
 

Affordable Housing Programs for Tornado Victims

Affordable Housing Resources has a new program to help homeowners who lost use of their homes in the tornado called the Tornado Mortgage Mitigation program (TMM).  The TMM is a free service designed to help these homeless homeowners get up to a 12 month “holiday” from their mortgage payments – basically as long as the home is unlivable.  From working in past disasters, including Katrina, they learned it takes most homeowners 12 months to settle on their FEMA and Insurance payments, find a contractor and get the repairs completed.  During this time most homeowners are responsible to keep their monthly mortgage current and are now also paying rent on temporary housing; however, experience has shown that it’s often challenging for many homeowners to deal with mortgage servicers.  This is because they do not deal with financial institutions and mortgage servicers often and these institutions are often full of pushbacks.  AHR is experienced at mitigating mortgages as they worked with thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure during the 2010-2014 Recession.  They know how to successfully negotiate with the various professional mortgage servicers.  Below is a flyer with more information about this free service to all homeowners whose homes were rendered unlivable by the tornado.  Most lawyers charge $2,000 or more for this mitigation work.   They are able to make it a free service because of generous grants from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Frist Foundation and NeighborWorks America.  Also, thanks to a recent gift from the United Way, AHR can now help those homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage due to recent job losses caused by COVID-19, so give them a call to learn more.
 

 
Thanks to organizations like Root Nashville, there are opportunities to engage in helping us restore our tree canopy we lost in the March 3rd tornado and recent storms of May 3rd and 4th.  For us to be successful in helping neighbors plant the right kind of trees in the right places and defray the cost, it’s important we support organizations like Root Nashville as plans are made available for us to engage with.  As you’ll note at the link above, “Planting Captains” will help coordinate the logistics.  The other program will be through the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps called “Operation Overstory”.  I encourage you to check them both out and support them as you’re able.  More information on this in the weeks and months ahead, but please let me know if you’re willing and able to assist with these efforts as we’ll need it.

The Donelson Gateway Project

To close this newsletter, I invite you all to join The Donelson Gateway Project's Facebook page LIVE next Thursday, May 14th at 6:30pm as we unveil a public art piece at the Briley Parkway / Lebanon Pike site.  This was inspired by our treasured Merry Oaks neighbor and former 15th District Beautification Commissioner Naomi Regensburg.  The idea came to life thanks to our Metro Arts: Nashville Office of Arts + Culture THRIVE program, artist Brian Somerville, and Brian Sexton with Creatives Day managing the process.  It’s an art piece that is poignant for the times we’re living in, so we decided to go ahead with an unveiling event live on Facebook.  It’d be a great night to support a local restaurant for dinner and tune in next Thursday, May 14th at 6:30pm live on The Donelson Gateway Project’s Facebook page.  See you then.
 

 
During this extraordinary time of challenges, if I can be of service, don’t hesitate to call my cell at 615-886-9906.
 
Best,
 


615-886-9906

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