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Nashville mayor announces budget priorities, schedule

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    NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced six distinct areas of focus in his budget planning process for the 2021 fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2020.

Cooper said in a news release his budget priorities will be Education, Public Safety, Transportation, Neighborhoods, Affordable Housing, and Effective & Sustainable Government.

“I am fully committed to the responsible and effective use of taxpayer dollars to deliver core municipal services,” said Cooper in a news release. “With one of the strongest growing economies in the country, we will use the next four years to deliver on our commitment to a more effective government for all of Nashville, creating a city that works for everyone.”

The mayor also announced an expedited timeline that permits the administration to file a budget with Metro Council by March 31, a month ahead of the normal budget schedule, and would seek for the budget to be approved by Council no later than May 31 in order to allow the State Comptroller of the Treasury time to review the completed budget.

Cooper outlined what he hopes to accomplish with his budget priorities:

Education: We will begin addressing the funding needs with respect to teacher and staff compensation, as well as operational and fiscal efficiency opportunities in MNPS.
Public Safety: We will engage on funding needs with respect to first responder and emergency communications recruitment and staffing, and seek to ensure adequate enforcement coverage, community engagement, overall criminal justice system effectiveness, and first responder wellness.
Transportation: We will make critical and needed investments to more efficiently connect our residents’ homes, schools, and workplaces.
Neighborhoods: We will make investments to further livable, walkable neighborhoods; to preserve our region’s natural resources; and to ensure foundational community infrastructure such as greenspace, recreation, libraries, and public health services and the planning/zoning services that guide and design them.
Affordable Housing: We will sustain and make more effective our approaches to affordable housing, supporting the building, funding, and preserving of housing options.
Effective & Sustainable Government: Beginning with cash management and fiscal strengthening, we will ensure that Metro Government meets expectations to be an accountable and efficient government.
To improve Metro’s stewardship of taxpayer dollars and create further means for investment, the Mayor’s Office will work with all Metro departments to seek cost-containment and efficiencies throughout the budgeting process. Mayor Cooper’s Chief of Operations and Performance, Kristin Wilson, will also work with Metro department heads to incorporate actionable metrics to align public expectations of resourcing and delivery. These metrics will be presented along with the proposed FY21 budget.

For proposed budget modifications, the Mayor Cooper’s administration will seek to prioritize investment in the key areas mentioned above. While resource constraints will be a factor in next year’s budget, the Mayor’s Office has requested to hear from all Metro departments regarding their overall needs to address the increasing demand for services throughout Davidson County in effective ways. If not funded in the upcoming budget cycle, departments’ requests will provide critical information for the administration’s long-term planning efforts.

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