Metro Council to consider budget proposals before vote Tuesday - WSMV News 4

Metro Council to consider budget proposals before vote Tuesday

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Could Nashvillians see their property taxes go up?

Right now, Metro Council members are hashing out the details of the city's $2.2 billion operating budget.

Some Council members think a property tax increase needs to happen.

Regardless, it is going to be a busy couple of nights for Metro Council.

The budget and finance committee is meeting on Monday afternoon trying to decide which version of the budget they want to advance to the full council on Tuesday night.

Right now, education and public service are at the forefront of the debate.

“That’s a big deal. From July 1 through June 30, 2019, this will set the parameters of how Nashville does business,” said District 19 Councilman Freddie O’Connell.

O'Connell said a “substitute budget proposal" from Budget and Finance Committee chair Tanaka Vercher would reallocate $2 million from Mayor David Briley's proposed budget.

The $2 million would go to the budget of Metro Nashville Public Schools. However, it would only be enough for paraprofessionals and cover fees for advanced placement tests and it wouldn't add any money for a cost-of-living pay increase to Metro workers.

“This is one of the most difficult budget seasons we’ve seen,” said Dr. Erick Huth, president of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association. “The longer we keep our salaries low, the harder it's going to be to fill our classrooms with teachers because teachers will go elsewhere where the cost of living is lower and the salaries are higher.”

First responders are echoing those sentiments.

“This year’s budget does not allow for any staffing increases for the fire department,” said an e-mailed statement from the Nashville Firefighters Union. “As this city grows we cannot ignore the need for more fire and ems protection."

“If we are going to continue to deliver the exceptional services that this city has come to expect, we absolutely must pay our employees a reasonable living raise,” the Fraternal Order of Police said in an emailed statement.

The substitute budget does not include a property tax increase. Some Council members said a property tax increase needs to happen or more cuts will follow.

At-large Councilman Bob Mendes is likely to propose a second substitute budget which would include a property tax increase.

News4 attempted to reach Mendes today for comment but did not hear back.

The Metro budget must be approved by July 1.

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