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.
One specific announcement that I am very happy about is the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Music, Film & Entertainment. Since I was elected in 2015, I have worked with all three administrations on the effort to continue efforts creating a public-private partnership to support our music industry and eco-system. The Music City Music Council was an initiative created under Mayor Karl Dean, and then further supported under Mayor Megan Barry with the first full-time position in her office.
The effort to further stronger governance and strategic planning stalled with the political shake-up within the Mayor’s Office and then 2020 hit and so it unfortunately went on the back burner of priorities. Rapid growth and development coupled with the negative impact of the pandemic has shuttered venues and made it extraordinarily difficult for creatives to thrive.
I passed legislation securing funding from American Rescue Plan funds to study ways we can sustain and support our independent music venues, a critical small business sector as part of our overall music eco-system. This is the beginning of what a revitalized Music City Music Council as part of this new office should be doing to support Nashville’s status as Music City, USA. I find myself more and more stating that Nashville is becoming a victim of its own success. If we don’t support the working creatives in this city and the infrastructure that supports them, a major part of our culture and economy will be negatively impacted and so I’m very happy this new Office will help to refocus our efforts.
Sustainability and resiliency efforts continue within Metro. This summer, local experts, nonprofits, and researchers will team with citizen scientists to measure temperatures and humidity across Nashville and Davidson County during a one-day heat mapping campaign. The data will reveal the warmest and coolest neighborhoods in our city and help inform heat mitigation efforts by city public health and environmental officials, nonprofits, urban planners, urban foresters, and researchers.
Below are examples of heat mitigation strategies that Nashville could explore and possibly implement using data collected during the heat mapping campaign. The data collected is likely to be most impactful in terms of informing locations in greatest need of mitigation strategies. This is not an exhaustive list.
- Increased education and outreach on heat risks and heat equity issues
- Increasing trees and vegetative cover
- Creating green or cool roofs
- Use of cool pavements
- Creation of cooling and/or hydration centers
- Deployment of early warning systems
- Encouragement of energy conservation measures
There are a variety of mechanisms that could be used to execute these strategies. This, and a variety of other mitigation strategy design and implementation factors, would need to be discussed among interested stakeholders and neighborhoods to make sure there is ample engagement and buy-in to move forward.
A volunteer recruitment process has begun. Individuals interested in participating in the campaign should complete this form.
Congratulations to Dr. Berthena Nabaa-McKinney for winning her election for School Board District 4 (Donelson – Hermitage – Old Hickory). I endorsed her and will continue to support her in the County Primary Election August 4th. The “Find 2022 Election Information” link at the Davidson County Election Commission website is very handy to prepare for and learn about the candidates. Remember that if you need to register or update your registration (i.e. address change, even within Davidson County), you can do so online as well. All information you need to engage with our elections is on that website. A small number of voters decided judges, District Attorney and School Board races in the May 3rd election. I encourage everyone to be mindful of elections and please participate!
I have not moved forward with a zone change in the Pennington Bend in a few years. There has been a need to align infrastructure with an improved pedestrian-focused policy via Nashville Department of Transportation specific for Pennington Bend before we move forward with the remaining developable areas in the area. After a lot of work behind the scenes, I'm prepared to move forward with bringing us back together with meetings over the next several months.
The first is a 42-unit single family development at 2600 Pennington Bend. Please make plans to attend a community meeting on Monday, June 6th at 6:30pm at Grace Church of the Nazarene at 2620 Pennington Bend Rd. We will discuss where we are headed from a broad perspective as well as hear a presentation from the developer, M/I Homes.
I was honored to be approved from officials from the City of Liverpool on engaging with Nashville on a second Liverpool International Songwriting Contest. Starting during the pandemic as a way of promoting kindness and engagement when we were all separated, this year’s event, called “Road to Nashville”, will focus is on the stigma of mental health, especially in the songwriter / artist community. So far as of the writing of this newsletter, there have been over 1,200 song submissions from 11 different countries. Every songwriter who submits a song will have access to a life coach and/or a psychologist in the country where they reside. The finals will be held on October 9th (John Lennon’s birthday, another Liverpool connection) at Exit / In here in Nashville. It’s been a wonderful project to be part of. For more information and to submit a song, visit this link.
CMA Fest is back and now there is an opportunity ride the WeGo Star to the festivities. Read more about with links and more info at this link to a new story about it from WKRN Channel 2.
The Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market is off to a great start, back again on Friday’s from 4-7pm at Two Rivers Mansion. This is a volunteer-driven market, so if you, your neighborhood, or community organization can help, please see the flyer below for details to contact Hip Donelson and help keep this the wonderful market that it is.
The Donelson Lion’s Club will host a Community Shred & Medication Disposal event on Saturday, June 4th from 9am-12pm at the Tennessee School for the Blind. See flyer below for details.
The road that runs behind McGavock High School has never had a real name. It is highly travelled and as it’s the entrance to Two Rivers Golf Course, Two Rivers Dog Park and McGavock High School, it could use its own name to assist with mapping systems and emergency services. I worked with Metro Parks and Nashville DOT on this, and we will name it Two Rivers Lane. It will soon have its own street signs. I’m also working traffic calming speed cushions as drivers travel at fast speeds and it’s a narrow street with many pedestrians around.
If you live on Donelsonwood Drive or Fitzgerald Drive, I will be coming in a week or two going door-to-door to speak with neighbors about traffic calming speed cushions. The 100-unit townhome development on Lebanon Pike next door did not require a zone change, so I didn’t have any opportunity to engage neighbors and control it more. However, the developer, Legacy Homes, has agreed to pay for speed cushions as there will be an entrance to their development through Fitzgerald Drive and I want to deter speeders cutting through. The installation requires the permission from neighbors, so I will be coming around with more information and a petition to sign if you support this. Please reach out with any questions and please spread the word to any neighbors you know that live on these two streets.
For the past eight years, Aspen Dental offices across the country have opened their doors on the annual Day of Service, to provide free dental care to veterans. Aspen Dental created the Healthy Mouth Movement to help ensure our veterans get the care they need. The Aspen Dental Day of Service will take place this year on June 11, 2022. Since 2014, the Healthy Mouth Movement has provided over $23 million in donated dentistry to more than 30,000 patients in need.
I continue to attend regular meetings as our new Donelson Branch Library and am very pleased to report that construction is scheduled to start in August. Fencing should go around the area towards the end of June or July. We’re finally there!
As always, reach out if I can be service. Jeff.Syracuse@Nashville.gov and 615-886-9906.