NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Big dollars are expected to come to Nashville after the city hosted 600,000 people for the NFL draft, but a recent Vanderbilt University poll found residents are uncomfortable with the rapid growth in the city and with how the money is being managed.
Mayor David Briley laid out his priorities, vision, and plans for the future of Nashville during his second State of Metro Address.
Part of the city’s goal is to attract businesses to Nashville, and events like the NFL Draft help.
Although this brings in money, residents worry all of their taxpayer dollars are going to these businesses.
Vanderbilt conducts an annual poll to gauge whether Nashvillians think the city is on the right track.
This year 78% of residents interviewed said Nashville is growing too fast and 64% said too many buildings are going up.
Most of the residents involved in the study are concerned about the state of Metro Nashville’s education and want to see a push towards improving the school system.
“Of course that’s become even more true in light of the battles that have been going on over the school board and (former) director (Dr. Shawn) Joseph,” said Vanderbilt professor John Geer. “There’s concern abut affordable housing and traffic.”
In Tuesday’s State of Metro speech, Mayor David Briley addressed all of those topics, saying his main priorities are education, public safety, building economic prosperity and quality of life.
In his tenure as Mayor, more than 8,600 new jobs have been announced and in the first quarter of this year Metro has issued $1.4 billion of building permits.
While this is good for the economy, Geer said residents worry the city is overlooking key issues that accompany growth.
“Should we be providing a census for more business to come here? Maybe we should use that money to pay our school teachers more," Geer said.
Briley will submit a budget plan on Wednesday that includes a 3% raise for Metro teachers and support staff and a pay raise for police, firefighters and other employees as well. The hope is these raises will keep Metro employees in Nashville.
“There’s a robust job market, unemployment’s very low and the city is collectively doing well but we have to worry about what’s coming over the next five years," Geer said.
Although the city has been successful in attracting businesses and events, residents said they would rather see long-term financial health and education as priorities.