Nashville Farmers' Market needs more city help - WSMV News 4

Nashville Farmers' Market needs more city help

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The struggling Nashville Farmers' Market is in line for some help from the city next year. At a time when Metro is considering raising property taxes, more than $300,000 in tax money is slated to go to the market.

Jan Sobatka makes it a point to get to the Farmers' Market every week.

"I think this really adds to the quality of life in the city, so I think it's really important," Sobatka said.

The food for sale is local and fresh, but the market's financial situation is not so pretty.

The market hasn't brought in enough revenue to cover its expenses.

Metro has already helped the market this year with $90,000, but the market needs even more help next fiscal year.

The subsidized money to support the market would come from a budget based on a proposed 52-cent property tax increase.

Bruce McNeilage is against the property tax increase and believes the Farmers' Market should be privatized due to its operational problems.

"If the market is failing and bleeding money, it should not be subsidized by Metro," McNeilage said.

The market lost its executive director last month, so now it is being operated by Metro General Services.

"We took over the day-to-day operations of the market with a focus on implementation of recommendations of a financial review," said Velvet Hunter, assistant director of Metro General Services.

The financial review found issues with how money was being handled and problems with lease contracts, and a full review of the operation is under way.

Some damage from the May 2010 flood was recently discovered, and General Services officials said they are working to fix the issues.

They also said privatization isn't something they have ruled out.

"All things would be considered in terms of direction of the market," Hunter said.

A budget hearing for the Farmers' Market is set for Thursday, June 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Metro Council chambers.

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