In a meeting fraught with contretemps, the Metro Council removed funding for all three big Dean Administration projects — the flood wall, the relocation of the jail and the new police headquarters.
Tuesday's meeting turned particularly heated on two occasions. Dominy, as he interrogated Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling on the jail plan, appeared to accuse the finance director of lying about the proposal. That prompted Riebeling to point from across the council chambers toward Dominy and say, "You don't call me a liar."
Earlier, Councilman Todd charged that "backroom" trades had taken place by the administration. Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development Director Matt Wiltshire responded to that accusation by storming out of the council chambers.
The rapid redevelopment of sections of East Nashville has caused a number of ruckuses recently. In this week's Scene cover story, Steven Hale writes about how a number of people — in the words of one activist, "folks that have felt they've lost their voice [and feel] vulnerable of losing control of the future of their neighborhoods" — are rallying around challengers to Councilmen Peter Westerholm and Scott Davis, representatives they say are not appropriately defending their interests.
"Peter is a friend of mine and, there are many issues on which we agree," Withers says. "And the main differentiator is that we sometimes have a different approach to how decisions are reached.
"The difference to me is that I am passionate about reaching out and communicating with our neighbors and seeing what their opinion is. And if the majority of neighbors are in favor, then that's what I'll bring forward, and if the majority want a compromise, then we should have a compromise. If the majority of neighbors are opposed, then we want to look at that a little more closely."
Our friends at the Nashville Scene report that the Metro Council gave Tuesday night final approval of Mayor Karl Dean's plan to privatize two assisted living facilities, with state legislation enabling the plan having passed the Senate and still needing House approval.
The plan has Kentucky-based Signature Healthcare paying $1.3 million to operate Bordeaux Long Term Care and Autumn Assisted Living Partners leasing Knowles Home Assisted Living for $500,000 plus $1,000 annually during the 10-year lease. Signature has also agreed to invest $250,000 in improvements to Bordeaux as well as to build and operate a $18 million nursing facility on Dickerson Pike near Skyline Medical Center.
Dean has said the plan will provide better care for the facilities' patients and will also be a win for taxpayers, with $10.5 million in subsidies phased out over three years.
No residents would be displaced under the plan, and Bordeaux residents would be given the option to stay put or move to Signature's new facility once it's built. Officials say more than 90 percent of the employees at the two facilities "will be offered positions with new employers at the same salary they currently earn." All employees at Knowles will be able to keep their jobs, and Metro officials say they will work to find new positions for 32 non-clinical employees whose jobs will be eliminated at Bordeaux.
The Metro Council Tuesday night preliminarily approved a $66 million incentive package for HCA Holdings related to a North Gulch headquarters development for two of the company's subsidiaries.
As reported by our friends at the Nashville Scene, the incentive is almost identical to the package offered to the company in 2012 for a site plan at the proposed West End Summit, which later fell through.
The new package, for HCA's new North Gulch site, advanced quickly with nary a word, except for Councilman Ronnie Steine's introduction in which he stated that "there are few better corporate citizens than HCA."
The 32-acre site, on which HCA will develop about 11 acres, is located north of Charlotte Avenue and is targeted be the future headquarters of Parallon Business Solutions and Sarah Cannon Research Institute.
A Metro Council bill that, if passed on third reading, would reduce Nashville's minimum vehicle-for-hire fee and, thus, open the door for app-based services like Uber to be used in the city is headed for final approval in the new year. The Metro Council approved the bill, which targets limo businesses, on second reading Tuesday night and will take a final vote at its Jan. 7 meeting. Nashville Scene has more here.
Remember folks, it's a "fee," not a "tax." From Steven Hale:
Though the rhetoric leading up to its completion may have given such an impression, it seems the Music City Center — the half-a-billion dollar undulating structure that spans three city blocks down Demonbreun Street and represents the largest public investment in Nashville's history — is not quite a "build it and they will come" proposition.
The Metro Council Tuesday night approved a .25 percent — a quarter of a penny on the dollar — on the sale of some goods and services within the central business improvement district, a 90-block area downtown. At-Large Councilman Ronnie Steine explained more about the fee, before the council approved it by a vote of 32-4.
The Metro Council has given initial approval to a new incentives program that would provide cash grants for small businesses that hire new workers and for those that invest in improvements to blighted properties in certain districts. Steven Hale and The City Paper have the story here.
The developers of the proposed East Side Apartments moved one step closer to breaking ground on the project after the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday granted a setback variance to accommodate the project’s four-building 23-unit townhome component.
The development (read more here), slated to rise at 909 Main St. in East Nashville, will still need Metro Planning Commission and Metro Council approval.
Metro Council members on Tuesday set the stage for a final vote Dec. 4 on the more than $60 million in incentives HCA Holdings is slated to get to relocate the headquarters of two of its divisions to the West End Summit complex. In the process of studying the city's package of goodies, Steven Hale writes, several representatives have begun thinking about how small businesses can be given access to similar incentives.
Citing numbers from the secretary of state, Stites said only 12 out of 9,000 for-profit corporations registered in Davidson County have access to similar Metro offers. He granted that incentives have indeed been given to some of the city’s largest employers, but also argued that the amount of jobs created by such deals represent an exceedingly small portion of the county’s overall workforce.
“It’s not sustainable,” he said. “You can’t continue to do that.”
The Metro Council's Planning, Zoning and Historical Committee on Monday voted 5-3 to approve the planned rezoning to denser uses of more than 450 acres in Midtown. Among those opposing was Councilman Jason Holleman, who is pushing for clear design guidelines to be fleshed out before the rezoning is approved. The plan will get a third hearing before the full Council tonight.
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