In State Of Metro, Mayor Briley Lays Out Vision For Stronger Nashville
Thomas Mulgrew, 615-862-6461
In the 56th Annual State of Metro Address today, Mayor David Briley laid out his vision for a stronger Nashville, focused around four main priorities: education, public safety, building economic prosperity, and quality of life.
Mayor Briley listed a series of accomplishments in just one year in office that will go a long way towards achieving that goal.
He began by reiterating that the state of Metro is strong. In the past year, four leading companies announced plans to add more than 8,600 jobs combined to Nashville. Our average wage is growing faster than any other area outside of San Francisco, Seattle and Silicon Valley. Crime is down in nearly every category. 15 million people visited our city last year, as well.
The Mayor then talked about how equitable growth – not simply growth itself – will help us build a stronger Nashville, comprised of his four main priorities.
Education is priority number one. The Mayor touted a couple recent successes at Metro Schools to show some of the good things happening in our schools: Maplewood High School – where students built a national literary movement called Project LIT – and Napier Elementary, which through community involvement and investment was able to get off the Priority Schools list.
Mayor Briley discussed how in-fighting at the district level and at the School Board has prevented a measure of forward thinking at MNPS. As the Mayor isn’t allowed to dictate how the Board uses the district’s funding, he again urged them to give teachers and staff a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) with the increased funding that the board will receive in the FY2020 budget.
Mayor Briley referenced the memorandum of understanding he is currently working on to be more heavily involved with MNPS’ processes in the future.
Finally, the Mayor spoke about Nashville GRAD, his scholarship program that is designed to improve the rate of completion for students at Nashville State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Nashville.
The Mayor acknowledged the tight budget that was put out last year and that by living within our means for a year, we were able to give Metro’s police, firefighters and other employees a 3 percent COLA this year.
He announced that he will recommend increasing starting pay for Metro police by 6.4 percent. With the COLA and proposed pay plan adjustments, all Metro full-time employees in Metro’s general pay plan will make at least $15 per hour.
Mayor Briley thanked the hard-working men and women of our police and fire departments, as well as the many other Metro departments and volunteers, who played such a big part in making the NFL Draft a successful and safe event.
Over 600,000 people attended the three-day event, and it had 47.5 million viewers. It was the most attended, highest rated and most watched draft in NFL history.
The Mayor talked about Project Safe Nashville, our city’s largest ever inter-agency to get guns off our streets. He went on to say that while homicides are down in Nashville, too many young adults are getting their hands on guns.
Mayor Briley ended by speaking about his $100,000 direct appropriation to the nonprofit Sexual Assault Center to ensure proper resources, as well as the recent opening of the Metro Family Safety Center.
Building Economic Prosperity
Building a stronger Nashville means we must work to ensure that everyone who lives here has access to economic opportunity.
Mayor Briley discussed his historic Equal Business Opportunity program, so that minority- and women-owned businesses have an equal opportunity to compete for Metro contracts. He also spoke about his executive order that made Nashville the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-owned businesses in its procurement process.
The Mayor detailed his Under One Roof 2029 initiative, the city’s largest-ever investment in affordable housing. Metro will invest $500 million over the next 10 years and is calling on the private sector to invest an additional $250 million to address the challenge.
Quality of Life
In his last capital spending plan, Mayor Briley designated $351 million to improve our city’s infrastructure, including schools, parks, sidewalks, roads, affordable housing, a new library in Donelson, a new park in Antioch and much more.
Sustaining strong neighborhoods is a top concern of the Mayor, which is why his next budget will add two full-time inspectors to the Codes Department to focus exclusively on short-term rentals. The Mayor then announced an increase in fees for short-term rental permits so that the general fund will not be impacted by these new hires.
Mayor Briley discussed the success of hubNashville, which makes it easier to address citizen issues across the county. He talked about the importance of the National Museum of African American Music and how it’s worthy of the city’s investment in it.
The Mayor reminded people that one of the first things he did upon entering office was to make the former Greer Stadium site a park that would honor the history of Fort Negley and the slaves who died building it.
Mayor Briley touched on his sustainability efforts in the face of climate change: his Root Nashville campaign to plant 500,000 trees in Nashville in the next 10 years, increasing the frequency of curbside recycling, Metro’s work to double the amount of solar panels on city buildings and the continued work of Metro General Services to make the city’s buildings and vehicle more sustainable.
The Mayor then spoke to what our city is currently doing to address transit. He is committed to improving our current transportation system, working with TDOT and continuing to make our city smarter and more modern through new technologies.
To wrap up his address, Mayor Briley said the following:
“We’ve been called the friendliest city. We’ve been called the ‘It City.’ But those labels came from the outside. It’s time for Nashville to earn a new label, a label we give ourselves:The Most Equitable City.”
The event featured performances by Mumina Ali, 2019 Nashville Youth Poet Laureate, and the Whites Creek High School Cobra Concert Choir. Sharon Kay, General Manager at Fisk University's JAZZY 88 WFSK, served as the announcer and the invocation was given by Pastor Darrell A. Drumwright, Senior Pastor of The Temple Church. Community leader Kasar Abdulla gave a blessing for the city.