May 3, 2024 - Politics

Mayor O'Connell unveils his first budget

Photo illustration of Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell released his $3.28 billion budget proposal on Wednesday, telling Metro Council the city must "live within our means."

Why it matters: O'Connell isn't asking for a property tax increase. Although he proposed new investments in schools, affordable housing and employee raises, O'Connell also directed departments to achieve 1.4% savings next fiscal year.

Zoom in: O'Connell committed $30 million to the Barnes Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing. He also earmarked $18 million for new Metro Nashville Public Schools textbooks.

  • Kevin Crumbo, O'Connell's top financial adviser, forecast a trying budget cycle due to relatively flat revenue projections. The biggest question before the release of O'Connell's first budget as mayor was whether city workers would receive pay raises.
  • O'Connell proposed 3.5% cost-of-living pay increases and funds for merit-based raises.

The intrigue: Metro Councilmember Delishia Porterfield, who holds the influential position of budget and finance committee chair, described the mayor's budget as "living within our means while trying to do as much as we can for people."

What we're watching: On the campaign trail, O'Connell promised to create a standalone agency for trash and recycling collection.

  • His proposed budget earmarks new jobs as the city moves toward creating that agency.

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