NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Raises for hard-working Nashville employees have been an explosive issue for the past two years.

Cost of living adjustments were cut out of the budget last year by Mayor David Briley. He said the city couldn't afford it without a tax increase.

Metro Council just approved a budget with 3 percent raises, a budget that did not include a property tax increase.

Here's the question we asked four leading mayoral candidates in our survey: "Would you make cost-of-living raises a priority for city employees?"

Question 3.jpg

John Cooper said yes.

"Part of the cost of growth is paying your employees appropriately so they can live in the city where they work. Now, it's a long-term adjustment, but we're going to have to do better on first responder pay and on educator pay," Cooper said.

Carol Swain said yes.

"We have shortages in teachers, firefighters, all the first responders, and I think that pay to get the best and the brightest and to keep our city operating the way it needs to operate, we have to be able to pay people so that they can live in the city comfortably," Swain said.

David Briley said yes.

"In the first year, I had a tough budget and I couldn't do the pay raises that had been promised. This year we did better and we managed our way through it, had additional revenues. We sent the school board enough for a 3% pay raise for teachers and raised starting pay for police officers by 6.7%.”

John Clemmons said yes.

"Nashville is increasingly becoming unaffordable for too many working families. Metro must lead by example and take care of those who are serving our public."

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Reporter

Nancy Amons is an award-winning member of the News4 Investigates team. She has been breaking stories in Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years.

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