Thursday, June 28, 2012

Join Mayor Karl Dean as The Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County Celebrates 50 Years!

You are invited to join Mayor Karl Dean along with former Nashville mayors, Richard Fulton, Bill Boner, Phil Bredesen and Bill Purcell to kick off the celebration for the 50th anniversary of Nashville & Davidson County government!
Live Music
Free Lunch

Councilwoman Karen Y. Johnson selected for the NBC-LEO Foundation Fellows Program


NASHVILLE, TN – Councilwoman Karen Y. Johnson was chosen from a competitive slate of national applicants for the NBC-LEO Foundation Fellows Program by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.  The Foundation was established by the NBC-LEO constituency group of the National League of Cities.  Two individuals are selected nationally each year to participate in the program. 

The Fellows program supports and conducts non-partisan research, technical assistance, training, educational and informational activities, and programs to advance African American political participation at the local level.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to participate in the upcoming leadership program,” said Councilwoman Johnson.  I know this will give me the opportunity to focus on the leadership tools and policies that can help me be an effective advocate for the community and our great city.”

End



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reminder: Tues, June 26 Tonight 6-8pm Planning Unveils Draft of our Community Plan

http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=1b732a1a622d8744a0dfff659&id=f8cfabd592 


Tonight is the unveiling of our community plan that has been drafted based on your comments over the last few months.  There will be some changes to how our plan policy will be applied to parcels of land.  In the past what was used was for example, Medium Residential, Low Medium Residential which were characterized as density policies.  Metro Planning tonight will unveil the policies under a new layout called CCM Community Character Manual Policies http://www.nashville.gov/mpc/ccm_manual.asp
Meeting on Draft Policy Recommendations - Tonight June 26, 2012
Time:  6 pm until 8 pm
Location:  Lakeshore Christian Church, 5434 Belle Forge Lane Hickory Hollow


I arranged a meeting with the Nashboro Steering Committee and Tifinie Capehart which was held yesterday at noon at the Metro Planning Offices downtown and at the meeting all members were updated on the change.  Additionally I arranged with Tifinie and Planning to have a separate set aside area at tonight's meeting due to the many varied concerns around parcels specific to Nashboro Village.  
For all other areas of District 29, if you have any concerns after what is presented tonight, please let me know and I will work with any and everyone on arranging special meetings to go into more detail so that any changes that need to be made can be made prior to the final document that will be unveiled in August.  Tonight's document June 2012 is a draft.  I will be available as well as Tifinie and others in planning to help answer any questions or to add and/or amend items that you feel are important and have an impact on our quality of life for District 29 as a whole.  
Below is an email from one of the steering committee members Ms. Jo Beth Hastings of Nashboro Woods that was shared by Nashboro Woods Dean McIntyre on one of our facebook pages for the district and a post from Craig Owensby with Metro Planning on another one of our facebook pages for hickory hollow/the crossings.  I look forward to seeing everyone tonight.  Thank you for helping shape our community's vision and improving our area's quality of life.
  http://www.nashville.gov/mpc/communityplans/subarea/subarea13_update.asp
Nashboro Steering Committee Members for disclosure are:  Jo Beth Hastings, Linda Hill, Elizabeth Hembree, JR Herrell, Sam Neil, Nigel Hodge, Gregory Pratchett, Natasha Blackshear esq, Peggy Nichols, Collette Murphy, Bob Gager, and Donna Ford.  Former Councilmembers and attorneys Sam Coleman and John Summers with the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund help as advisors.
 
Sounds boring, but it's not, and it's important, and you have a say in it! Planning Dept. Antioch plan update meetings continue tomorrow, the 26th, 6-8 pm at Lakeshore Christian Church on Bell Forge near the mall - discussion of draft land use policies & how they might be implemented.http://nashville.gov/mpc/communityplans/subarea/subarea13_update.asp
 
We are in the process of reviewing and recommending changes to the PUD and Zoning of 4 parcels in Nashboro Village thru a Steering Committee as recommended by the Community. The information that will be presented will have an impact on Nashboro Village and especially with the timing of our review by the Commission and subsequent filing of legislation.

The Planning Department in conjunction with the Metro Community Planning for SubArea 13 is developing new policies to be implemented that will assist with zoning going forward. At that meeting a special area will be set aside for the Nashboro Village Community to meet with Tifinie Capehart (the Planner and organizer of the SubArea 13 2012 Community Plan Update) to discuss how the new policies and the Metro Community Plan will effect our density concerns in the future.

We need to have a good turn out to listen and ask questions.

Thanks,
Jo Beth Hastings


=================================================================================================================
Another event coming up soon is our Districtwide Night Out Against Crime Event.  This will be held Tuesday, August 7 from 6 pm until 8 pm and will span across both properties of Priest Lake Presbyterian Church and Smith Springs Church of Christ.  This year we are combining all night out events into one for all of our neighborhood associations, watches, civic clubs, groups, and neighborhoods collectively.  We need your help. Volunteers Linda Hill and Elizabeth Hembree from Nashboro Village, Robert Kane and Sue Kane and Cynthia Dirkson from Castlegate, Sue Paugh and Phyllis Stinson from Percy Priest Meadows met yesterday to lay out the grounds for the event. Our first two planning meetings attending were other volunteers from other areas of the district, but we really need more!  Please consider helping.   If you are interested in volunteering, please place in the subject line Night Out Against Crime Event and email me at Karen.Johnson@nashville.gov
 

Arriola Resigning Likely not to face Criminal Charges

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/18164813/arriola-to-resign-likely-avoid-state-criminal-charges
Prior news story with votes from the council on this issue
http://www.newschannel5.com/story/16987744/metro-council-asks-arriola-to-resign-return-fees 

Here's the vote on the resolution asking Arriola to resign:
FOR: Garrett, Tygard, Scott Davis, Westerholm, Anthony Davis, Bennett, Pridemore, Pardue, Jernigan, Glover, Stites, Stanley, Claiborne, Tenpenny, Gilmore, Weiner, Evans, Harmon, Blalock, Dominy, Johnson, Potts, Dowell, Duvall, Todd.
AGAINST: Harrison, Hunt, Moore, Baker, Langster.
ABSTAIN: Barry, Steine, Matthews, Holleman, McGuire, Bedne, Mitchell.
ABSENT: Maynard, Banks, Allen.
The second resolution, asking him to return the wedding fees, passed on a voice vote.


By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Davidson County Clerk John Arriola submitted his resignation Monday after months of scandal surrounding his office and a lengthy criminal investigation.
Arriola's resignation -- effective the end of the day Friday -- comes as part of a deal with Davidson County prosecutors that will let him avoid state criminal charges. DA Torry Johnson said it will allow his office to avoid "protracted and costly litigation."
Still, Johnson said the Internal Revenue Service and federal prosecutors were not part the deal with the county clerk. The DA said he believes a federal investigation into Arriola's tax returns may be continuing.
""In our opinion, this is by far the most beneficial resolution of the matter for all the citizens of Nashville," Johnson told reporters during an afternoon news conference. 
Longtime Arriola campaign treasurer Leighton Bush will also be required to resign his position in the County Clerk's Office.
Arriola broke the news of his impending resignation during a 7:30 a.m. staff meeting just before his office opened for business, although insiders say that the county clerk did not give a reason for his decision to resign.
The resignation effectively ends a probe by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the state comptroller's office.
"As an elected official, Mr. Arriola had a lot of discretion on how to run the office," Johnson said in a news release. "The result of the TBI investigation and state audit found that while some of his actions and decisions may have indeed been questionable, or in violation of Metro policy, they weren't necessarily criminal in nature."
But Johnson acknowledged that -- if Arriola had not resigned -- his office had been prepared to ask a Davidson County grand jury to indict him for official misconduct for pocketing tens of thousands of dollars for wedding ceremonies that he and his staff performed on taxpayer time.
That practice was first exposed last July as part of a wide-ranging NewsChannel 5 investigation of the county clerk.
See NC5 Investigates: Davidson County Clerk
Arriola had claimed that when couples were told that his ceremonies cost $40 cash, it was a gratuity -- which is allowed by law -- not an illegal fee.
But NewsChannel 5 Investigates obtained an email in which the county clerk referred to the money as a "ceremony fee." Other email messages revealed that Arriola allowed some of his Metro employees to perform weddings in his absence, but required them to leave the cash payments for him.
A state audit concluded in January that Arriola may have pocketed as much as $119,000 in illegal fees over five years.
That audit report also contradicted Arriola's argument that the money was a gratuity.
It noted that "sworn statements provided to the auditors and TBI from personnel in the county clerk's marriage department disclosed the county clerk required, with rare exception, a $40 cash fee for the performance of a marriage ceremony. These personnel indicated they would assist individuals inquiring about a free marriage ceremony by giving them the general number to the county courthouse."
Johnson said the question of whether the moneys were gratuities or fees would have made prosecution potentially difficult.
"He's resigned, and that's all behind us as far as I'm concerned," the DA added. "That's more beneficial than anything that we would have ever gotten out of two years of litigation."
As NewsChannel 5 Investigates first revealed, the audit also confirmed that Arriola had put campaign treasurer Leighton Bush on the Metro payroll without making him document the time that he actually worked.
That audit also noted that "another employee advised the auditors that he received 40 hours a week pay while working only three days a week or less since he was attending college full time." Our investigation revealed that the college student lived in a house owned by Arriola.
In addition, our NewsChannel 5 investigation discovered that Arriola hadawarded numerous contracts to friends without following Metro bidding procedures.
As a result, Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling revoked Arriola's independent purchasing authority, forcing his office to go through the Finance Department for purchases.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean called for a Metro audit of the county clerk's office after our investigation first aired. The DA later requested that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and state auditors also take a look at Arriola's office.
In February, after the release of the state and Metro audits, the Metro Council voted 25-5 to call upon Arriola to resign -- a non-binding resolution that the clerk seemed to ignore.
More recently, the Dean administration had asked the Council to take away Arriola's authority to collect some $40 million in Metro taxes, saying that the office had become increasingly dysfunctional and had become slow in depositing that money into Metro accounts.
Arriola, a former state representative, was elected Davidson County clerk in 2006. The clerk was paid $115,000 annually.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Una Church of Christ in District 29 has Successful Food Drive

Mayor Karl Dean, UHC, country duo Steele Magnolia, Pastor Tidwell and many neighbors volunteered Friday for the Second Harvest Food distribution at Una Church of Christ which will be aired by GAC on a segment about hunger in America. All local news stations turned out as well. Food to feed 1,000 people was distributed.







More Pictures can be viewed at our District 29 Community Facebook Page by clicking on the below link

School Board District 7 Candidate Forum held at Croft Middle

A new Representative will represent parts of District 29 schools. The School Board Forum held on Wednesday June 20 at Croft Middle School was very informative. Each of the candidates answered questions from the audience and shared why they are running for school board. On August 2, 2012 Nashville Voters will elect 5 of the 9 members of the School Board. Early voting takes place Fri July 13 through Sat July 28. For more information and to find your voting location visit the Davidson County Election Commission website at www.nashville.gov/vote


District 29 Cleanup Spring 2012


Thank you to Curtis Freed, Sue Paugh, Jerry & Jean Sussey, Elizabeth Hembree, Gregory Pratchett, Steve Cardin, Pat McCabe, Martha Mehlem, Leon & Phyllis Stinson, State Representative Janis Sontany, Thomas Gooch, David Johnson, and Mike VanCleave for helping district 29 neighbors load large items into the dumpster, cooking the hotdogs and organizing the cleanup areas for Smith Springs Road, Bell Road, Anderson Road and Murfreesboro Road. A special thanks to our Beautification Commissioner Karen VanCleave, Metro Beautification, Mayor Karl Dean, Metro Public Works, Goodwill Industries, Shred-It, Starbucks for the coffee, Compton's for the doughnuts, Homestyle Bakery for other pastries, State Representative Mike Stewart, Juvenile Court Clerk David Smith, and State Representative Janis Sontany for the donations. Our Fall 2012 Cleanup is being planned. As new information is confirmed, it will be shared as soon as possible. If you are interested in volunteering and helping with planning our next district wide cleanup, please call or email Commissioner Karen VanCleave at 399-1550 or bubbavan@comcast.net Another event coming up soon is our Districtwide Night Out Against Crime Event. This will be held Tuesday, August 7 from 6 pm until 8 pm and will span across both properties of Priest Lake Presbyterian Church and Smith Springs Church of Christ. This year we are combining all night out events into one for all of our neighborhood associations, watches, civic clubs, groups, and neighborhoods collectively. We need your help. If you are interested in volunteering, please place in the subject line Night Out Against Crime Event and email me at Karen.Johnson@nashville.gov Thank you.
Click on link below to view all pictures on our District 29 Community Facebook Page

Click on link below to view the email sent













Metro Council approves budget with 53-cent property tax hike


The Tennessean, June 19, 2012 
Metro Council member Sean McGuire's alternative budget passed by a 32-8 margin Tuesday night, raising taxes on Nashville homeowners by 53 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
A key Metro Council committee had given overwhelming support Monday to the budgetplan and property tax increase that closely follow Mayor Karl Dean’s original proposals, setting the stage for a final vote by the full council Tuesday night.
The Budget & Finance Committee wound up agreeing unanimously by voice vote to Chairman McGuire’s substitute budget after rejecting seven proposed amendments, none of which received more than two votes. McGuire’s plan would preserve the mayor’s recommendation to raise the property tax rate by 53 cents per $100 of assessed value, but it would put $8.6 million of the $100 million in new revenue into reserve funds. That amount would include $3.5 million of the $46 million increase Dean had recommended for the Metro Schools budget.

Tally at Tuesday's meeting

Voting yes: Megan Barry, Ronnie Steine, Tim Garrett, Charlie Tygard, Jerry Maynard, Lonnell Matthews Jr., Frank Harrison, Walter Hunt, Brady Banks, Scott Davis, Peter Westerholm, Anthony Davis, Bill Pridemore, Doug Pardue, Steve Glover, Josh Stites, Bruce Stanley, Phil Claiborne, Sandra Moore, Burkley Allen, Erica Gilmore, Buddy Baker, Edith Langster, Sheri Weiner, Jason Holleman, Sean McGuire, Chris Harmon, Davette Blalock, Karen Johnson, Fabian Bedne, Jacobia Dowell, Carter Todd.
Voting no: Karen Bennett, Darren Jernigan, Tony Tenpenny, Emily Evans, Duane Dominy, Jason Potts, Robert Duvall, Bo Mitchell.
In response to the Metro Council action this evening, Mayor Karl Dean released the following statement:
“The budget approved by the Metro Council supports our priorities of schools and public safety and looks to Nashville’s future by strengthening the city’s debt service reserves. I appreciate the Council’s thoughtful input and support to make the necessary investments to keep our city moving forward.”



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Agenda side 2 from District 29 Meeting held Monday June 11 regarding the proposed tax increase

A Copy of the Agenda (side 2 meeting dates) from our District 29 Meeting that was held on Monday, June 11 regarding the proposed tax increase.
Below is a link to the documents distributed at the meeting.
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B-Hy0ONzShrzajFuSGVpUi1NQVU

Agenda side 1 from District 29 Meeting held Monday June 11 regarding the proposed tax increase

A Copy of the Agenda (side 1) from our District 29 Meeting that was held on Monday, June 11, 2012 regarding the proposed tax increase.
Below is a link to the documents distributed at the meeting.
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B-Hy0ONzShrzajFuSGVpUi1NQVU


McGuire's alternative budget clears committee, heads to full council vote

McGuire's alternative budget clears committee, heads to full council vote



A tweaked version of Mayor Karl Dean’s budget — one that still includes a property tax increase ­­— cleared the Metro Council’s Budget and Finance Committee Monday, giving it an edge at prevailing Tuesday for the full council’s final vote.

The 17-member committee voted unanimously Monday to approve a Councilman Sean McGuire-sponsored $1.71 billion substitute budget that retains the mayor’s original 53-cent property tax hike, but makes cuts totaling $8.6 million from Dean’s plan that would be diverted to the city’s rainy day funds. McGuire, who chairs the committee, introduced his alternative budget Friday.

“We could potentially be heading into another fiscal year that is difficult,” McGuire said. “My intention with putting some money away into reserves is to first make it so we don’t have to come back here again and ask for another property tax increase.

“Going into next year, we’ll have an $8.6 million head start on our budget, and a head start on our debt obligations,” he said, adding that it could also “go a long way” in improving Metro’s bond ratings.

The committee’s vote for a budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year came after a series of council members’ amendments — ranging from reducing Dean’s tax hike altogether, trimming it by 4.5 cents and cutting it by 12.5 cents — all failed.

The lone committee members to vote for each attempt to slice Dean’s tax increase were conservative council members Karen Bennett and Charlie Tygard, who also took exception with moving revenue to reserves.

“It makes no sense to me that at a time of recession — citizens suffering and struggling to make ends meet, our seniors on fixed income — that we would take money and put it in reserves for a future year,” Tygard said.

Monday’s vote, however, means the committee’s now-recommended budget and tax increase could have a healthy number of votes to gain final approval by the 40-member council Tuesday. The full council will again consider amendments to eliminate or lower Dean’s 53-cent property tax increase, but the odds might be stacked against them to succeed: Each attempt Monday to touch the tax hike was met with at least 13 of 17 possible committee votes to disapprove them.

“This essentially guts Metro government as we know it,” Councilman Ronnie Steine said of a budget brought forth by conservative Councilman Robert Duvall that required no tax increase. It failed by a 13-2 vote.

McGuire’s altered budget, which has now effectively replaced Dean’s first draft, would cut $3.5 million from Metro schools’ original proposed $46.5 million budget increase. Metro Codes, one of several departments with minor budget reductions, would get $200,000 less than Dean originally allocated while Metro Parks & Recreation would get $100,000 less.

Metro schools spokeswoman Meredith Libbey said the schools’ cut “will eliminate jobs, but the number and types of positions are not determined.”

The committee’s recommended budget also eliminates a $591,500 subsidy to Municipal Auditorium, a $200,000 subsidy to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds and a $148,800 subsidy to Nashville Farmers' Market. On ending such subsidies, McGuire said the council needs to stop “these enterprises from continuing to underperform” when they could come back at certain points to “make their case” for Metro dollars.

While Dean has said his initial budget “reflected the needs of this community,” he has also said that he appreciates the council’s emphasis on strengthening the city’s debt services. “If adopted, I am confident the budget as proposed by chairman McGuire will also keep our city moving forward.”

Budget amendments proposed by Tygard, Duvall as well as council members Steve Glover, Fabian Bedne and Phil Claiborne all suffered losses in committee Monday.

Tygard took the lead in challenging McGuire’s budget as the at-large councilman discussed his proposal to lower Dean’s 53-cent property tax increase by 12.5 cents and the overall budget by $23 million.

Council attorney Jon Cooper said Tygard’s proposal would save taxpayers $12 per month on a $300,000 house.

Among other areas, Tygard is seeking to reduce the Metro schools’ budget by $7.5 million, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s subsidy from $300,000 to $200,000 and eliminate a 4 percent pay increase for Metro employees that would save $16.3 million. Tygard has also offered a “bonus” for Metro workers who reside in Davidson County.

“I respect our employees,” Tygard said. “They work hard, but at this time, when so many of our citizens don’t have a job, to go ahead and make that commitment ... is just something I could not do.”

Others defended the employee pay increase, however. “Our city is only as good as the employees who work for us,” Councilman Jerry Maynard said, adding that they’ve had to sacrifice the last five years. “They’ve had to do more with little.”

Nashville property tax hike nears final vote


Nashville Property tax hike nears final vote
Metro budget panel supports "innovative' alternative that adds money to reserves.  The Tennessean Article, by Michael Cass.
June 19, 2012


A key Metro Council committee gave overwhelming support Monday to a budget plan and property tax increase that closely follow Mayor Karl Dean’s original proposals, setting the stage for a final vote by the full council tonight.

The Budget & Finance Committee wound up agreeing unanimously by voice vote to Chairman Sean McGuire’s substitute budget after rejecting seven proposed amendments, none of which received more than two votes. McGuire’s plan would preserve the mayor’srecommendation to raise the property tax rate by 53 cents per $100 of assessed value, but it would put $8.6 million of the $100 million in new revenue into reserve funds. That amount would include $3.5 million of the $46 million increase Dean had recommended for the Metro Schools budget.
Councilman Tim Garrett said McGuire’s plan is “innovative” because it would give the city some cushion against future financial trouble. McGuire said it also could help Metro improve its bond ratings, which would let the city borrow money at a lower interest rate.
“I think we could be potentially heading into another fiscal year (a year from now) that is difficult,” he told the committee. “My intention with putting this money away into reserves is to first make it so that we don’t have to come back here again and ask for another property tax increase.”
Councilman Charlie Tygard took issue with McGuire’s approach. He said it makes no sense to put money away for a rainy day when “a lot of people in this county are still suffering.”
Tygard’s amendment would have cut 12.5 to 13 cents off the proposed tax increase by making $28 million to $29 million in cuts, which would have been partially offset by $5.4 million in new bonus pay that city workers could receive based on their residency and pay classification. Tygard wanted to cut $16.3 million from the mayor’s employee pay plan, eliminate the $8.6 million in reserve funds McGuire identified and cut $4 million from the schools budget while giving several departments relatively small increases.
Councilman Ronnie Steine objected to the plan, saying no one asked Metro employees where they lived when they were working hard to help residents recover from the flood. Tygard has filed separate legislation that would require new employees to live in Nashville.
The committee voted 14-2 to reject Tygard’s amendment, which he still can bring back to the full, 40-member council for debate tonight. Those vote totals were more or less duplicated on the six other proposed amendments, which also are eligible for another discussion and vote at today’s 6:30 p.m. council meeting.

Big cuts rejected

The most radical amendment came from Councilman Robert Duvall, who recommended finding $100 million in cuts to the Dean and McGuire plans so that no tax increase would be necessary.
The Duvall plan would have cut $29.6 million from the schools budget proposed by McGuire and $29.5 million from the amount he suggested for Metro Hospital Authority. The Metro Transit Authority would have sustained a nearly $4.9 million cut, and the arts commission would have lost more than $2.4 million.
“This essentially guts Metro government as we know it,” Steine said.
Duvall, who has criticized the proposed tax increase from the start, was not present to defend his plan.
The other amendments had fewer moving parts than Duvall’s and Tygard’s but didn’t get any more traction with the 17-member committee. The simplest, from Councilman Bo Mitchell, would have taken $28,000 from Partnership 2020, a public-private, regional economic development initiative run by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and given it to the Davidson County Election Commission so it could add early voting sites. (Tygard proposed taking $100,000 away from Partnership 2020 in a “symbolic” protest of other counties’ small contributions compared with Metro’s.)
Mitchell represents Bellevue, which isn’t scheduled to have an early voting site this summer.
Another amendment, proposed by Councilman Steve Glover, also would have done just one thing. It would have cut the $8.6 million in reserve funds that McGuire wants to set aside, resulting in a 4.5-cent reduction in the property tax increase.
But Glover’s idea, like every other pitch to revise McGuire’s plan, ran into a dead end.

Contact Michael Cass at 615-259-8838 ormcass@tennessean.com. Follow him on Twitter @tnmetro.

8 Cities with Surprsing Growth | Nashville Listed for fastest two year job growth

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/8-cities-with-surprising-job-growth.html
Nashville wins the prize for fastest two-year job growth among all the metro areas on our list -- four times as fast as the U.S. as a whole. Vanderbilt University, the largest employer, will continue to add a variety of health care, education and service jobs. Nissan North America will add manufacturing jobs at its auto assembly plant and office jobs at its Nashville-area headquarters.

National Mortgage Settlement

Additional information shared by Councilman Fabian Bedne
Thank you!
http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/cpro/mortgageservicing.html

Federal Government & Attorneys General reach landmark settlement with major banks | NationalMortgage

Shared by Councilman Fabian Bedne
http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/
Click on link to read entire article on settlement reached