Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
New Donelson Library Project Begins, Unopposed on the Ballot and a New Sister City in Music
Dear Friends –
The groundbreaking for our new Donelson Library was a memorable morning with beautiful weather. Thanks to everyone who were able to attend. Nashville Library Director Kent Oliver, student library patron Elijah Byrd and neighbor Diana Bradford spoke on the importance of our library to them. Mayor Briley and I also spoke and then we officially broke ground on the full project. As you’ve already noticed, road closures have begun as infrastructure work begins. Most of the work done this year will be all related to stormwater, road and sidewalks. Remember to keep tabs with the Donelson Plaza website. The library itself may not go vertical until next year with hopefully (fingers crossed) completion by the end of 2021. Below are a few pictures, including our fantastic Donelson Library Branch Manager, Chris Morin, who I couldn’t resist taking a selfie because of his “Libraries Rock” shirt. They sure do and it’s in large part because of Chris and his staff!
Thanks to everyone who supported our area restaurants on my six-stop Lunch & Brunch Tour and management and staff at Phat Bites, John A’s, Party Fowl, Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace, Nectar: Urban Cantina and Caliber Coffee. I enjoyed our conversations. I turned in my ballot and I am humbled and honored to be un-opposed on the ballot this year for re-election. It’s been the most rewarding yet challenging endeavor of my life and I truly do love the job. Thanks for your continued support and engagement. There are a number of opportunities and celebrations ahead for us.
Below is the Early Voting Schedule. If you need one, you can secure an absentee ballot here. We will of course be voting on Mayor, Vice Mayor and At Large, so be sure to put voting on your calendar and be sure to vote!
After the horrendous rains in February, they actually compromised the integrity of some bridges in areas along Greenways around us. It appears one of the worst ones is a critical link between Donelson and East Nashville along Shelby Bottoms. Metro Parks & Recreation released the below map recently with a detour and more information.
In April, I had the extraordinary opportunity to make my second trip to Chengdu, China (on my dime, not the taxpayer’s). Chengdu is becoming a key city in Asia for trade in a number of industries, notably the music and entertainment industry. Over the last couple of years, Nashville’s relationship with Chengdu has grown and we’ve officially become Sister Cities. Council Member Sharon Hurt and I attended the 8th Music Cities Convention. We were honored to present this framed resolution Metro Council passed and signed by Mayor Briley recognizing this Sister Cities relationship to Mr. Zhong Laizho with the Chengdu Office of Foreign and Overseas Affairs. I am hopeful this will broaden our cultural sharing, strengthen the dialog on the importance of strong Copyright protections for creators and enhance Nashville’s presence as an international city. 48 cities around the world were present to showcase their music and entertainment economies and it was a fascinating learning experience. I brought back new relationships from many of those cities that I believe will be of strong value to Nashville in the years ahead. Special thanks to our Nashville Symphony and Nashville Opera for sharing some small gifts that I was able to present to our hosts and industry leaders in Chengdu.
I wanted to mention a recent story in the Nashville Business Journal I read recently regarding the growing discontent with how Nashville is managing our growth. In my role as your Council Member, I have a particular acute sense of this from both hearing from you and managing the growth. This budget season also in particular highlights some of the issues surrounding this. Teacher pay and MNPS funding, the parking privatization proposal, WeGo (MTA/RTA) reduced service and increased fares, and other issues have surfaced as indicative of how and why we need to double down on efforts to be fiscally conservative, cease large incentives that negatively impact our operating budget, put our Metro employees first and protect the quality of life Nashville residents deserve to have. The larger issue is that our property tax rate is the lowest it’s ever been in Metro’s history. As we’ve gone through this budget process, it’s clear we don’t have sufficient revenues to meet the demands of our growing city, especially when after our regular property reappraisal that caused the rate to drop so low since per State law, we can’t generate revenue on a reassessment, so when the value goes up, the rate must come down to equalize the overall revenue generated by property taxes. While I believe there is broad consensus we need to adjust our property tax rate, I want to first ensure we are fundamentally changing direction to not fund unabated growth downtown through “corporate welfare” type of incentives that will only add to debt and negatively impact our operating budget. If we can achieve that and the increased revenues are dedicated to teachers, schools, police, fire and Metro employees, then I can support that. The reality is that our Metro employees have taken the brunt of our growth in working so hard with little to no cost of living adjustments while we recovered from the Great Recession and May 2010 flood. We owe our Metro employees a great deal because of the work they’ve done. I’m not sure if will be this year or next, but I believe a property tax rate proposal will come before us at some point and I believe it will ultimately be warranted as long as it accompanies a budget that is not focused on debt and growth, but managing growth and funding basic services.
Metro Emergency Alert and Notification System (MEANS) is a new public safety program that enables Metro to let you know what safety actions to take when there’s danger. Once registered, you can choose how to receive communications: cellphone, landline, text/SMS, or TTY. Users can enter one or more addresses to receive location-based emergency notifications. For example, if a user adds their home and work address to their account, they will receive emergency notifications when either of these two addresses is within the boundaries of an alert’s location. If a user wishes to only receive countywide text/SMS messages, they can simply text the keyword ‘NashAlerts’ to 888-777.
Users with smartphones are also urged to download the Everbridge Mobile App from the Apple App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). The Everbridge app brings the added security of delivering alerts to cell phones based on a user’s physical location at the time of an emergency. When you register and provide your contact information, MEANS enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as criminal activity and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. Get the alerts you want, the way you want – cell or landline phone call, text, email or TTY.
PRO TIP: When you register, please provide at least one street address. This can be your home address, or the address of a nearby grocery store, library or fire station. An address is not required, but it will ensure that the alerts you receive are focused on locations that matter to you -- places where you live, work and play.
This summer, consider taking a class through Nashville Community Education. Check out their Summer 2019.
Thousands of veterans will receive free dental care on Saturday, June 8th, when Aspen dentists and their teams from more than 450 offices across 39 states open their doors for Aspen Dental’s 6th annual National Day of Service, including 4054 Lebanon Pike in Hermitage. Many veterans struggle to find accessible and affordable dental care, in particular because most aren’t eligible for dental benefits through the VA unless they’re 100% disabled, have a service-related mouth injury or were a prisoner of war. It’s estimated that 470,390 veterans live in Tennessee.
Here’s how you can help:
- Interested veterans need an appointment to receive care and should call 1-844-AspenHMM (1-844-277-3646) to find a participating practice in their community and schedule an appointment in advance – space is limited and appointments are filling-up fast!
- Spread the word in your community! Be sure to use #HealthyMouthMovement and @AspenDental when posting on Twitter and Facebook. Below are some sample posts you can share.