NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – The Nashville Metro Council voted 31-3 overwhelmingly to pass the 2023 budget that will fund the Metro government during the next fiscal year, starting on July 1st.
Officials said the budget passed by Council includes funding for all key initiatives Mayor Cooper had previously outlined in his Agenda for Neighborhoods and Families in April. This includes pay raises for bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and paraprofessionals; significantly more resources to bolster core city services; 157 new first responders across Metro departments; and more funding to expand affordable housing.
“It’s been said that a budget shows a city’s values better than any words can. I’m grateful to the Metro Council for their hard work and diligence in passing a budget that reflects Nashville’s values and priorities and will help our city grow in a way that works for everyone,” said Mayor John Cooper.
Here are some of the critical provisions passed in this year’s budget which will make a meaningful impact on the lives of Nashvillians:
- Record investment in Metro Nashville Public Schools for the second year in a row, up 9% for 2023 after a 9% increase last year as well, in the 2022 FY budget. These new investments are one year after making Nashville’s teachers the best paid in the state, which is how Metro creates the best possible circumstances to recruit and retain the best public school teachers in the country.
- Paid family leave for all MNPS employees for the first time is a generational request Metro can finally fulfill.
- Significant increase of resources and workforce at the Department of Transportation so we can better serve our neighborhoods – focusing on maintenance, safety, and engineering — and analyzing traffic patterns to reduce traffic and congestion across Nashville.
- More Homeless Impact Division staff, which we have increased 92% over our past two budgets.
- Over $20 million annually to create affordable housing and ARP funds. Our rate of investment in affordable housing has increased fivefold since Mayor Cooper took office.
- Bus Drivers will get a minimum annual pay increase of approx. $11,000 to almost $14,000.
- MNPS Paraprofessionals will get a minimum annual pay increase of nearly $4,400 up to almost $8,700, and cafeteria workers will get a yearly minimum pay increase of over $3,700.
- A living wage of $18 an hour for all Metro employees, and the Council has extended the same standard for MNPS employees – which means all Metro and MNPS full-time employees will be paid a minimum of $18/hour next year for the first time.
- Adding more police officers to prioritize community safety in neighborhoods, including opening the 9th precinct in southeast Nashville once it is fully staffed and built.
- Adding more first responders, including firefighters, EMS units, and 911 call dispatchers to decrease response times and help reach the national standard for firefighters per truck.
- Adding more Parks employees to properly maintain the 178 parks and 15,000 acres of green space, including fully staffing community centers and expanding greenways access.
- Increased investments for maintenance along our roads, bikeways, and alleyways – to sweep streets, clear brush, and keep trash out of storm drains and groundwater – including 12 new positions to remove trash and litter. As a result, in the last month alone, instances of litter reported by residents have decreased by half.
- A 20% increase in waste service to increase the reliability of trash pickup and ensure Metro has the capacity and resources to quickly make up for any shortfalls in trash collection if they arise.
- Adding the fifth crew to repair potholes – in driving lanes, crosswalks, and bikeways to decrease the time between when they are reported and when they are fixed to under 72 hours.
- Making Metro Government more accessible for immigrants by hiring Spanish and Kurdish speakers at HubNashville – part of a broader language access initiative to provide better services at our 9-1-1 call center, State Trial Courts, the Office of Family Safety, and the Woodbine Health Clinic.
- Investing in being a city that cares about its history and what it looks like by hiring a city architect to incorporate community feedback and quality design into significant projects and hiring a city archeologist to provide in-house assessments of historic sites, including those associated with Native Americans, the Civil War, and early African American neighborhoods.
- Additional resources to improve service and hours at Nashville Public Libraries and …….