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.
Here are some of the key aspects of budget investments:
- A record investment in Metro Nashville Public Schools for the second year in a row, up 9% for 2023 after a 9% increase last year as well, in the FY22 budget. Nashville’s teachers last year became the best paid in the state.
- Paid family leave for all MNPS employees.
- Critical resources for Nashville Department of Transportation, focusing on maintenance, safety, and engineering, and analyzing traffic patterns to reduce traffic and congestion.
- More Homeless Impact Division staff and now a dedicated Department to be eligible for federal grants to assist in our efforts.
- Over $20 million to create affordable housing, in addition to American Rescue Plan funds.
- Bus Drivers will get a minimum annual pay increase of approximately $11,000 to almost $14,000.
- MNPS Paraprofessionals will get a minimum annual pay increase of nearly $4,400 up to nearly $8,700, and cafeteria workers will get a minimum annual pay increase of over $3,700.
- Living wage of $18 an hour for all Metro employees, and Council has extended the same standard for MNPS employees – which mean all Metro and MNPS full-time employees will be paid a minimum of $18/hour next year.
- Adding more police officers to prioritize community safety in neighborhoods, including the opening of a 9th precinct in southeast Nashville once it is fully staffed and built.
- Adding more first responders, including firefighters, EMS units, and 911 call dispatchers to decrease response times and help reach the national standard for firefighters per truck.
- Adding more Parks employees to properly maintain the 178 parks and 15,000 acres of green space, including fully staffing community centers and expanding greenways access.
- Increased investments for maintenance along roads, bikeways, and in our alleyways – to sweep streets, clear brush, and keep trash out of storm drains and groundwater – including 12 new positions to remove trash and litter.
- A 20% increase in waste service to increase the reliability of trash pickup and ensure Metro has the capacity and resources to quickly make up for any shortfalls in trash collection if they were to arise.
- Adding a fifth crew to repair potholes – in driving lanes, crosswalks, and bike ways to decrease the time between when they are reported and when they are repaired to under 72 hours.
- Metro Government can now be more accessible for immigrants by hiring Spanish and Kurdish speakers at HubNashville – part of a broader language access initiative to provide better services at our 911 call center, State Trial Courts, the Office of Family Safety, and the Woodbine Health Clinic.
- Investing in being a city that cares about its history and what it looks like by hiring a city architect to incorporate community feedback and quality design into major projects and hiring a city archeologist to provide in-house assessments of historic sites, including those associated with Native Americans, the Civil War, and early African American neighborhoods.
- Additional resources to improve service and hours at Nashville Public Libraries and NAZA summer program.
- Hiring new staff across Codes, Planning, Water, Fire Marshal and NDOT to improve the core functions of local government. This will help us alleviate the strains growth can put on the city and its residents and impact customer service.