Metro councilman submits alternative plan to mayor's tax hike
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
The mayor's proposed 53 cent property tax increase will not be the only option for Metro Council members when they vote on a budget next week.
Residents who were hoping for a smaller property tax increase, or none at all, will be disappointed. Metro Councilman Sean McGuire's alternative budget proposal still includes a 53 cent tax increase, but it also includes about $9 million in cuts.
McGuire submitted his proposal Friday after a work session to gather ideas from budget committee members.
McGuire said it would be extremely painful and probably devastating to the future of Nashville if there were no property tax increase in any budget approved for the city.
"I can confidently say I've been through this budget backwards and forwards, and I've really tried to make as many cuts as I possibly could," McGuire said.
McGuire's cuts would put that nearly $9 million into the city's debt reserves.
"I think our dollars are better served to be put away in our reserves, the way every household in our city probably puts money away under the mattress or in a savings account," he said.
Among the biggest cuts proposed, Metro schools would lose $3.5 million. But it's not clear if teachers or staff would be affected.
Metro police would lose more than $200,000, likely in money set aside for overtime pay.
The Nashville Farmers' Market, Municipal Auditorium and state fairgrounds would also lose money Mayor Karl Dean had set aside, and the Metro Council's travel budget would be chopped by $80,000.
"None of us want to come back to the public and ask for another tax increase. So this is really an effort to prevent us from having to do that," McGuire said.
Councilman Robert Duvall said the alternate budget plan is better, but he won't be happy until a tax increase is completely off the table.
"This is not the time to raise taxes, period," Duvall said.
Duvall said he thinks cuts to schools and other areas can be much deeper.
"Everything that government provides - it's nice to have the frills, but it's like your family. Are you going to feed your family first or take them to the movies?" Duvall said.
McGuire said he expects other council members to submit changes to his alternate budget proposal over the weekend.
The council is set to take a third, and final, budget vote on Tuesday.
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