Mayor David Briley Submits Status Quo Budget to Metro Council Services to Citizens Won’t Be Affected—Taxes Won’t Be Raised
Mayor David Briley delivered to the Metro Council today a Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal that safeguards all current public services without raising taxes.
“Nashville has enjoyed historic revenue collections in recent years, but shortfalls in several areas this year mean we have to make tough decisions for the city. A tax increase is not on the table, and we have to be fiscally prudent and careful with our funds. To that end, I have asked all Metro departments to tighten their belts and manage a status quo budget. Citizens expect us to manage the circumstances in front of us and keep our city on a healthy fiscal track, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Mayor Briley.
The $2.23 billion operating budget represents a $22 million increase, or just below 1% growth, over the current fiscal year’s budget. It proposes funding increases for education, Nashville General Hospital as well as youth violence initiatives and pre-kindergarten education. In addition, it provides additional funds to support the opening and operation of the following facilities: the Smith Springs Community Center, the Madison Community Center and the new Family Justice Center.
The budget is proposed amid a $34 million revenue shortfall in the current FY18 budget. Property tax revenues, state education funding and several other revenue sources came up short of projections, the Hall Income Tax was reduced by the state, and Metro’s fund balance has dropped below the 5 percent threshold.
“The fundamentals of the City are very strong. We had difficult choices to make but we will manage through this budget cycle as efficiently and seamlessly as possible," said Mayor Briley.
Mayor Briley’s budget also includes $8.5 million for salaries, funding increments and open range increases so that the vast majority of Metro employees will see more in their paycheck. The budget, however, does not meet the 3-year cost-of-living increase pay plan that was approved last year. Metro employees also will not see an increase in their health insurance premiums, although retiree health benefit costs are increasing by $2.2 million primarily due to a growing number.
“With the shortfall in revenue and no tax increase, we simply couldn’t meet the cost-of-living commitment. I know that public service does not come with private sector salaries, and the dedicated and very hard-working employees of Metro absolutely deserve a pay increase. This proposal means the majority of employees will see increases in their salaries, and no one should see their take-home pay decrease,” said Mayor Briley.
Under the budget proposal, public education is allocated a $5 million increase, which Mayor Briley is recommending that the district use for employee step raises. This increase comes in addition to approximately $13.5 million in city funds that are provided to address the shortfall that resulted from a decrease in state BEP funding in FY18 and anticipated decrease in FY19. In addition, Metro faces a $9.4 million increase in its debt service obligations attributed to funding school facilities.
Nashville General Hospital will receive a budget increase of $11.1 million bringing the funding to $46.1 million and designed to meet the Hospital Authority’s request without requiring a supplemental appropriation during FY19.
In line with Mayor Briley’s commitment to affordable housing, the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing will receive $10 million, and the Housing Incentives Pilot Program will receive $450,000.
Following delivery of the Mayor’s budget proposal, the Metro Council and its Budget & Finance Committee will conduct public hearings as well as hearings with each department. The Council is required to pass a balanced budget by June 30.
Due to procedural rules adopted by the Metro Council, Mayor Briley will submit a capital spending plan to the Council after the close of this fiscal year later this summer.
View the FY2019 Budget Presentation