May 20, 2024 - Politics

Nashville faces budget, LPRs, East Bank Development Authority

Illustration of Nashville City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Transportation funding, policing policies and development of the East Bank figure to dominate the city's political landscape for the year, based on Metro Council legislation coming soon.

The big picture: The defining political issue for Nashville this year will be the referendum over Mayor Freddie O'Connell's transportation improvement plan.

  • From now through the end of June, O'Connell's $3.28 billion proposed operating budget will be the dominant issue.
  • Metro leaders are also likely to address the police department using license plate readers and the formation of a new city agency to oversee development of the East Bank.

What we're watching: The police department paused the use of license plate readers to solve serious crimes last year. Since then, there's been a community engagement process to discuss how LPRs are used and where they're posted.

  • O'Connell spokesperson Alex Apple says the administration doesn't know when the LPR legislation will be filed.
  • State lawmakers passed a bill enabling the city to create an East Bank Development Authority.
  • Council still must approve the new agency, and there's a sense the legislation will be filed soon. Apple says the administration hasn't "quite made a final decision" about when to send the legislation to council.

Zoom in: According to the legislation, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, one of the state's top Republicans, may serve on the East Bank Development Authority or designate someone to serve in his place.

What's next: The budget is the most urgent of the upcoming priorities because Metro Council has a June 30 deadline.

  • The mayor's budget included pay raises for Metro workers and did not seek to increase property taxes.
  • Apple says the transportation improvement plan legislation will be in front of council as soon as June 18.

Nashville library and other facilities opening soon

Three important Metro projects are expected to celebrate their grand openings in the coming weeks.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with more details.

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