Monday, June 22, 2015

Metro Council Cuts Funding for Flood Wall, Jail, Police Headquarters

Metro Council Cuts Funding for Flood Wall, Jail, Police Headquarters 

http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/metro-council-cuts-funding-flood-wall-jail-police-headquarters

Jun 10, 2015

The Metro Council pushed back against Mayor Karl Dean Tuesday night and eliminated funding for the three biggest city projects in his proposed budget. The council had a tense debate and close votes for all three.
There were cheers when the council voted not to pay for a new police headquarters on Jefferson Street. They won’t pay for a new jail either. And the idea of building a flood wall for downtown Nashville — that failed as well.
“Should all the taxpayers in Nashville have to pay for this flood wall downtown? Or should the people downtown who are going to get the benefit of the flood wall pay for the flood wall?" said councilman Carter Todd. "My other big question is: Will this flood wall actually work?”
Todd tapped into one of the concerns that surfaced repeatedly: location. There were also questions about the impact of each large proposal.
Nashville flood wall
Site work had started on a flood wall to protect downtown Nashville, but opposition grew and the Metro Council removed funding from the budget.
Credit Emily Siner / WPLN
Opponents said the downtown flood wall would not protect enough of the county. They said a new jail and a new police headquarters would be too intrusive into some neighborhoods.
In the end, citizen outcry got the council’s attention. During four hours of debate, council members repeatedly cited a lack of community input into the mayor’s plans. Councilman Duane Dominy said the process was moving too fast, especially for projects with a combined price tag of $225 million.
“I’m not opposed to improving the jail. I’m not opposed to moving the jail," Dominy said. "But we as a body should fully and properly vet when we’re making the largest investment in the public safety of this city.”
The defeated projects were part of the city’s construction and capital improvements budget, which still tops $400 million. The council did put $113 million into the budget to renovate the existing jail if the mayor now chooses to pivot in that direction.
The council also approved funding for school renovations, upgrades at fire stations, a new community center in Madison and record-setting funding for new sidewalks.
Councilman Duane Dominy
Councilman Duane Dominy votes Tuesday to pull high-cost projects out of the capital improvements budget.
Credit Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

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