NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The state is raising new concerns about how the Metro Nashville government manages and spends your money.

The Tennessee Comptroller's Office sent a letter to Mayor David Briley and Metro Council members on Tuesday.

The state spotted a couple of red flags including the sale of city property. They're concerned Metro is relying on those sales.

Nashville Mayor David Briley hit pause on a private company buying the city's parking and Metro getting $34 million upfront.

Metro Council members haven't taken the plan back up.

The mayor wanted to wait until after the election, but this year's budget is banking on the deal passing.

The Comptroller's office said selling property can be risky.

"When you do that, you’re not guaranteed that sort of revenue year after year. This is a one-time transaction, but yet you have to pay for things every year," said John Dunn, spokesman for the Comptroller's office.

Briley responded to the letter saying:

"The letter from the Comptroller’s Office underscores the very real budget challenges I’ve been working to resolve in my first year as mayor. Today’s realities were set up in 2017. The budget passed by Council that year dug deep into reserves and failed to set the property tax at the correct rate. It also resulted in the city reneging on promised cost-of-living raises for Metro workers, first responders and teachers in 2018.

While I wish we could have completely recovered from this in one year, it will take some time. I am proud that we have made great progress. Based on projections of $100 million in new revenue, my FY20 budget provided cost-of-living and step increases for all Metro workers, raised starting police pay 6.4%, gave teachers their highest cost-of-living adjustment in a decade, and brought all Metro workers on the pay plan to $15 an hour or more. We are on the right track, but we have more work to do – and we are up to the challenge.

As I have said many times, to fully implement the necessary improvements to our budget, we will need to take a close look at all revenues, including property taxes. While some have called for new city revenues to come out of the Convention Center Authority, state law and bond commitments substantially restrict the use of those funds for non-convention center and tourism-related expenses. Metro does not have the legal ability to commandeer those funds for other general government operating expenses. This is why I’ve continued to say that we need a robust public dialogue in the coming year about our city’s finances, needs and goals, so that any tax and revenue decisions can be as accurate and informed as possible."

The state said it wants to see more documents and better policies on how Metro manages its money.

Both of those are due before December.

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Reporter

Cameron Taylor is a national Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist who joined the News 4 team in December 2018.

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