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Fact Sheet: Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

4/30/2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean today unveiled Metro’s Fiscal Year 2015 proposed operating budget and capital spending plan.

“The large projects always attract the most headlines, but, in reality, we have spent far more on the basic needs of our communities than on anything else,” Mayor Dean said. “It’s important that we keep our economic vitality going, and this budget does just that by supporting our priorities of education, transit and improving our quality of life.”

View the budget presentation slides

Operating Budget

  • Recommended budget of $1.89 billion, representing a 4.37 percent increase over FY 2014. Budget is $79 million larger than FY 2014.
  • No proposed increase of property taxes. Nashville’s property tax rate is lower than in 2007 when Mayor Dean took office. It is the lowest combined city-county rate of all four big cities in Tennessee.
  • Projected revenue growth of $51.9 million, including property tax collections ($24.9 million) and local option sales tax ($6.2 million).
  • Debt service is essentially at the same percentage level of the budget as when Mayor Dean came into office. Metro will pay off half its debt in 10 years.
  • Metro Schools will continue to receive the largest portion of the budget at 41 percent, and public safety will get the second largest portion at 22 percent.
  • Metro Schools will receive an additional $27.5 million.
    • Metro School’s $773.9 million budget is a 3.7 percent increase over the current fiscal year.
    • With this increase, their operating budget will have grown by $176.32 million since Mayor Dean took office, a 29.5 percent increase.
  • Metro Transit Authority will receive a $3 million improvement to bring its total budget to $36.37 million.
    • Bus rapid transit “lite” on Charlotte Pike.
    • Allows high school students in Metro schools to ride any MTA bus for free.
  • New facilities will receive first-year operating funds, including:
    • Bellevue Library, projected opening December, 2014: $226,400
    • DNA Crime Lab, opened in January, 2014: $600,000
    • Midtown Hills Police Precinct, projected opening August, 2014: $4.8 million
    • Sevier Park Community Center, projected opening this summer: $115,100
    • Southeast Library, projected opening September, 2014: $382,700
    • Southeast Park, projected opening September, 2014: $495,500
  • Employee compensation will go up with an additional $10.2 million in funding.
    • All full- and part-time employees will receive a 1 percent across-the-board raise, effective Jan. 1.
    • Employees in Metro’s step pay plan will receive increment pay increases.
    • Departments will receive an allocation of 2 percent to fund open-range increases effective Jan. 1.
  • Metro will fund domestic partner benefits, making Nashville the third city in Tennessee to provide domestic partner benefits. Knoxville and Collegedale both implemented such benefits in 2013.
    • Metro estimates up to 1 percent of employees will access domestic partner benefits. Benefits will be extended to both same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners.
    • Costs are estimated at $500,000 to $1 million annually.
    • Domestic partners means two adults who meet certain criteria:
      • Are in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.
      • Share a primary residence.
      • Have shared a primary residence for the past year.
      • Are jointly responsible for basic living expenses, as demonstrated by a signed declaration of financial interdependence and providing three documents of proof. Those could include utility bills listing both domestic partners; joint ownership of a vehicle; joint bank or credit account; joint liabilities, such as credit cards or loans; a will or trust designating the partner as beneficiary.
      • Have been jointly responsible for living expenses for the past year.
      • Neither adult is currently married or in a domestic partnership with anyone else.
      • Are not prohibited from marrying in Tennessee because they are related.
    • The Metro Employee Benefit Board is scheduled to take up the issue in a study session on May 20 and a vote could be scheduled for June 3; Metro Council could hold its first reading on May 20.
  • Domestic violence initiatives will be funded an additional $1.065 million.
    Funding to various departments across Metro government is currently $11 million. New funding will support the following:
    • Victim Resource Center to be located at the Ben West Building.
    • Ten additional advocates.
    • Creation of a General Sessions Court docket specifically for domestic violence cases.
  • Funding for new initiatives include the following:
    • Public Guardian Office, $195,000
      • Nashville will become the only city in Tennessee and one of the first in the nation to launch such a program to enhance the protection of those in need of conservatorship and guardianship services.
    • SOAR, $114,300
      • SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery program (SOAR) helps people diagnosed with mental illness who are re-entering the community from jails to access their federal Social Security benefits by embedding SOAR case workers in the jail system.
    • Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, $500,000
      • A second-year of funding to make grants available to nonprofit housing developers to create affordable rental and homeownership opportunities for those who are disabled, elderly, low-income and transitioning from homelessness.
  • Operational transfers include shifting the following:
    • Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) from the Mayor’s Office to Nashville Public Library to give this afterschool program for middle school students a permanent, long-term home.
    • Office of Emergency Management from the Mayor’s Office to a stand-alone department with administrative support provided by the Fire Department.
  • Four non-profits will receive new contributions from Metro:
    • nashvilleAchieves, $500,000. This program provides financial assistance to participating Metro Schools seniors to attend community college; $250,000 to fund current seniors and $250,000 to fund seniors in FY 2015.
    • Nashville Civic Design Center, $100,000.
    • The Next Door, $100,000. Will assist the nonprofit, which helps women impacted by addiction, mental illness, trauma and/or incarceration, move to a new location.
    • Nashville Education, Community and Arts Television, $50,000.
  • Reductions in the budget include:
    • $8.2 million in departmental operating budgets.
    • As in FY 2014, there is no operating subsidy budgeted for the Farmers’ Market, Municipal Auditorium and State Fair. Metro will continue to fund the lease payment at the Farmers’ Market.
    • The subsidy to the Hospital Authority continues to decrease to $35 million.

Capital Spending Plan

  • The proposed $275 million capital spending plan is Mayor Dean’s sixth and continues the city’s focus on its priorities of education, improving infrastructure and maintaining our high quality of life.
  • The largest portion of the proposed plan is $110 million for Metro Schools.
    • The $110 million builds on the $279 million in capital spending to Metro Schools since Mayor Dean took office.
    • Renovations include Bordeaux Elementary School and at Casa Azafran to house new pre-kindergarten hubs; partial renovation and expansion at M.L.K Magnet School; renovation at Hume-Fogg High School; new facility for Tusculum Elementary; and a new elementary school in the Overton cluster.
  • Public Works, $63 million, including $15 million for sidewalks and $30 million for paving, roads and bikeways.
  • Parks, $36 million, including $3 million for Greenways and $2 million for Open Space.
  • Metro Transit Authority, $18 million, including $4 million for bus rapid transit “lite” on Charlotte Pike and Nolensville Pike and $1 million to build 100 new bus shelters.
  • Nashville Public Library, $5 million.