Mayor Dean outlines $1.8 billion budget - WKRN News 2

Mayor Dean outlines $1.8 billion budget

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Calling his $1.8 million Metro budget "conservative" and one with "no surprises," Mayor Karl Dean presented his spending plan for fiscal year 2014 late Tuesday afternoon to the Metro Council.

Few council members, who have to approve a budget by June 30, took issue with the numbers, which included a $26 million increase for Metro Schools, but $18 million less than Schools Director Jesse Register requested.

"We have increased the school portion of the budget every year under Mayor Dean," said Metro Council at-large member Jerry Maynard. "We are going to fully fund schools."

The mayor was more specifically saying that funding for schools "has increased by $126 million" since his first budget.  

This year's budget also includes a 1.5% across-the-board raise for all Metro employees.

Mayor Dean previously stated that property tax rates would not see an increase, and in fact, the rate will decrease due to property reappraisal and the increase in property values.

Some other highlights in a release from the Mayor's office include:

  • "Metro schools will continue to receive the largest portion of the budget at 41%, and public safety will get the second largest part at 22%."
  • Metro police will receive an additional $2.8 million to help fund the city's new DNA Crime Lab as well as staff the new Madison Police Precinct
  • Parks will receive $878,400 to help cover maintenance, mowing and staff two new community centers.
  • Nashville Public Library will receive $469,700 aimed towards opening the main library downtown on Mondays.
  • The Health Department will receive $150,000 for three additional animal control officers.
  • MTA will receive an increase of $4 million to help operate the new University Connector, the city's first cross-town route.
  • There is an increase of $350,000 for the Community Enhancement Fund, "a program in which Metro awards grants to nonprofits that provide services in three critical areas: domestic violence, education or after school care, and direct community service. The increase will add a fourth category of adult literacy."

The statement also said, "The largest portion of the proposed $300 million capital spending plan is $95 million for Metro Schools, including funding for Goodlettsville Middle School and Tusculum Elementary to be replaced; Waverly Belmont to be renovated and opened; and to build a new elementary school."

It continues, "The rest of the capital spending plan is set aside for general government projects, including Public Works, Library maintenance, Parks improvements, fire halls and MTA."

The 2013-2014 fiscal year begins on July 1.

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