Following an hours long debate, Metro Council approved a budget that will not raise property taxes increase but will keep Metro employees from receiving a pay raise.
Vice Mayor Sheri Weiner cast the deciding 20-19 vote to reject a budget proposal that would have increased Davidson County property taxes by 16 percent. The budget, proposed by At-Large Councilman Bob Mendes, would have allocated millions of dollars in tax revenue to cost-of-living increases for Metro employees.
The council ultimately passed 34-4 a budget presented by Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher that reallocate $2 million in funding for public schools. Vercher's budget does not include a pay raise for Metro employees.
The council had to approve one of the two substitute budgets prior to July 1 or Mayor David Briley's proposed budget would have taken effect. Briley, whose plan included the sell of East Nashville's Edgehill Park to held fund the budget, voiced his opposition to a property tax increase.
Mayor Briley released the following statement to the council early Wednesday morning:
"I thank the Council for their work to pass a budget that funds our city’s operations for the next fiscal year. I know that reaching consensus tonight was hard. The circumstances we faced meant tough choices, but the fundamentals of the city’s finances remain strong, and I am very pleased that this status quo budget does not increase property taxes.
My message has been clear from the start. It is just not the right time to impose a property tax increase on our citizens, particularly the lower-income residents who saw large increases in last year’s reappraisal. In the morning we will roll up our sleeves and work together to move our great city forward."
The council, which meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the David Scobey Council Chambers at the Metro Courthouse, will also meet Tuesday, June 11. The courthouse is located at 1 Public Square in Nashville.