NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When John Cooper ran for mayor last year, he knew if he won, he would oversee a city facing major financial issues. Now Cooper is working to build a plan to help Nashville dig out of a tough situation.
That includes a $42 million budget shortfall, the threat of the state taking control and the city facing a budget crisis.
“We have probably moved away from the crisis word in the sense that at one point you had another party that had the ability to come in and lay off employees which is clearly unacceptable,” says Cooper. “We’ve moved beyond the crisis, but we are still in the big problem phases to be sure.”
While expensive, growth provides huge positives, that make Nashville more valuable. “The appraised value of Davidson County is about $103 billion. That’s incredible. It’s a $34 billion increase over the last 3 years.”
The price of growth also includes more police officers, better roads, more firefighters, etc. Mayor Cooper has shortened the budget process and prioritized city spending.
“It is not only speeding up the budget process, it is engaging with the departments on their 4-year plan, the true plan to fix what is going on.”
The mayor calls this ‘The plan to fix Nashville’.
“My personal goal for our administration is, at the end of this process, we have the best teachers and the lowest tax rate than any place anywhere, our region, our state.”
The mayor is prioritizing 6 areas of need, which include education, public safety, and transportation.
“We are starting our transportation plan right now. We will have one this year. We have great people working on that and affordable housing because that is the big factor of cost.”
There is one huge expensive issue that Cooper says could endanger Nashville’s growth, “The threat to it is not having a good enough school system…Investment in the school system is our number one way to stimulate long-term growth.”
The key to successful growth is to prepare for the needs of new citizens, while not forgetting the needs of existing citizens. “You have to govern for the people live here now and how to give them a better life.”
News 2 is reporting on Nashville’s historic growth and the growing pains that come with it. Click here for more Nashville 2020 reports.