City won’t raise property taxes, mayor says, though budget cuts are coming

Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 1:24pm
Mayor Karl Dean

Highlighting commitments to continue city growth despite economic difficulties, Mayor Karl Dean’s annual State of Metro address Thursday began with the assurance that he will not ask for a property tax increase next week when he presents a city operating budget proposal to Metro Council.

“There will be cuts in every area,” Dean said. “Some positions will be eliminated; some hours of operation will be changed. But where we have to make reductions, we will do so judiciously and with compassion.”

Dean’s speech, delivered from the new Music City Center bus transfer hub, cited examples of big city improvements made during tough economic times, including the construction of Centennial Park and the current downtown convention center.

He highlighted four areas of focus for the next year: his administration’s first capital spending plan, mass transportation and the environment, development of a new downtown convention center, reform of public schools.

Metro Council member Ronnie Steine said he appreciates the realistic tone set by Dean’s words, given the seriousness of the city’s revenue situation.

“This is clearly going to be a budget unlike any we’ve ever seen,” Steine said. “We’re going to have to pull in the reins.”

Dean’s public statement that he won’t raise property taxes was well received by Council members including Phil Claiborne and Jim Hodge. Hodge said the announcement will put “rumors to rest,” and Claiborne said Dean’s commitment is consistent with his promises.

“That underscores the fact that the administration is sensitive to the economic climate,” Claiborne said. “He is staying firm to his commitments from the beignning.”

At-Large Council member Jerry Maynard, however, said he had concerns about Dean’s intention to not ask for a property tax increase, given the jobs that may have to be eliminated in the next year.

“That puts the city in a tough, tough situation in order to maintain the quality of life that we want,” Maynard said.

Economic development highlights

Dean’s first capital spending plan will include funds to start planning for two additional police precincts in the high-need areas of Madison and southeast Nashville, an announcement that drew brief applause from Council members including Antioch representative Duane Dominy.

Dean also announced that funding will be made available this year to plan for a “28th Avenue connector.” That project will be aimed at reducing the divide that Interstate 40 creates between North Nashville and other parts of the community and will eventually “connect Baptist Hospital to Meharry, TSU and Fisk to Vanderbilt, Centennial Park to Hadley,” Dean said.

“The need for it is something I’ve heard about almost since I moved to Nashville 30 years ago, and it’s time to do it,” Dean said.

The push for development of a new downtown convention center was evident throughout Dean’s speech. The first plug for the center was before Dean even stepped behind the podium, during a performance from country musician Keith Urban. Urban included a lyric, “A big convention center’s coming,” during his performance of the song “Better Life” just before Dean’s speech began.

Dean also referred to the construction of the existing downtown convention center as an example of a positive decision made during “tough” times.

Moving forward with the convention center plan Dean presented to Metro Council last week, Dean said, will help support Nashville’s tourism industry, which Dean credited with providing almost 60,000 jobs and more than $100 million in direct tax contributions to Metro.

“This project may seem daunting given current economic conditions, but I believe that only further underscores its need,” Dean said. “When the doors open in early 2013, our economy will have improved and we will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of it.”


23 Comments on this post:

By: pandabear on 4/23/09 at 12:10

Now Dean is making some sense.

By: JeffF on 4/23/09 at 12:16

if only there was some pot of money sitting out there waiting for council member and the mayor to set their priorities publicly.

By: idgaf on 4/23/09 at 2:19

If we are going to have budget cuts then why is he spending and thinking of spending a BILLION dollars on a Convention Center we don't want or need?

By: NashvilleAdam on 4/23/09 at 4:29

This simply passes the buck to George Rooker. PROPERTIES IN DAVIDSON COUNTY WERE JUST REAPPRAISED UPDWARD. Check it out for yourself. Go to, then click the 'Property Data' button or call the Assessor Of Property at 862-6059. You will find that your house is worth tens of thousands more today than last year--that's right, the housing bubble collapsed everywhere but here. WHILE YOUR TAX RATE MAY DECREASE, YOUR TAX BILL WILL INCREASE. My advice? Flip your house today in Nashillve (maybe sell it to a benevolent city leader), then move to Florida tomorrow.

By: eastnashville37207 on 4/24/09 at 6:33

Convention Center? Why when we have a bunker to party in.

By: idgaf on 4/24/09 at 7:49

What Dean don't realize is he was the lessor of two evils against Clement, and the next guy/girl can replace him.

I would find it hard to vote for him again.

Crafton IMO could beat him after what he has done or is trying to do to us.

By: girliegirl on 4/24/09 at 8:12

Dean won't have to raise the tax rate. There are other entities which hold the same power to do so.

By: girliegirl on 4/24/09 at 8:14

Hey, Idgaf, I like Clement.... held a fundraiser in my home for him. He's a genuinely nice and super intelligent human, so ease up, ok......

By: Anna3 on 4/24/09 at 9:18

Mayor Dean...Please come to your senses! Stop this silly Convention Center idea....and put PEOPLE FIRST! If you are unwilling to put PEOPLE FIRST...I will be forced to put someone else first....ahead of you... in the next election! Is this leadership you can believe in? I think not! Spending $1 Billion Dollars on a Convention Center while laying off hundreds and hurting their families is shameful!

By: JeffF on 4/24/09 at 9:24

"cuts in every area"

yeah, sure. Cuts in every area except the CVB. There are other cities asking for their quasi independent management "corporations" to share the same cuts as regular (read essential) city departments.

By: JeffF on 4/24/09 at 9:28

Where are the comments from the hired guns at MPF on this? Were they not paid to protect the mayor on all his decisions since he has back all their clients' causes? Did protection not come with the work they did with taxpayer money on his inauguration?

Strange silence from the McNeely, Piggot, & Fox offices the last couple of days. You would think they would at least throw a few stray comments out here to throw us off their skewing of public opinion.

By: pandabear on 4/24/09 at 9:51

Nope, the only thing that makes sense about Dean is, he's being
the Manipulator again.

We will pay more in property taxes.

NashvilleAdam is right. Dean's not raising the base rate,
but the assessment values have risen.
So they take 2 with one hand and give back 1 with the other.

Now I get it.

By: pandabear on 4/24/09 at 9:52

It can't be shame.

...only humans feel that...

By: producer2 on 4/24/09 at 10:13

Do you even realize you have become a parody of yourself. It is like listening to Rush with all of your conspiracy theories! Keep it comin', I for one am thoroughly amused.....Like hockey we ought to call you all the "original 6" lol

By: SirKnight on 4/24/09 at 10:19

If we are having budget cuts and now layoffs in every department, how are we going to add to police precincts with fewer police officers on the force? Last week, Dean boasted of over 100 recent graduates of the police academy in the past year, but what good is that if we are going to have to lay a large percentage of them off, anyway? I don't see more experienced officers losing their jobs. But we are going to have a reduction somewhere!!

Don't even get me started on building this convention center!!!

By: SirKnight on 4/24/09 at 10:27

I think the Mayor is in over his head on this one.

That's what we get for electing a lawyer who's only qualification was that he worked for Metro as an assistant attorney general. He's a nice guy, but he has no idea what he's doing. Clement was the better choice, but he ran a poor campaign and lost.

This kind of reminds me of a recent national election where the less-experienced and less-qualified candidate won the highest office in the land. Our president is a nice guy, but he has no idea what he's doing. We get what asked for.

By: JeffF on 4/24/09 at 1:43

Obviously you are comparing me to someone you have only heard about not actually listened to. Rush as a conspiracy theorist? Really? That comparison is right up there with those coming from the worst news gathering operation of all time - NBC. Every news Producer that ever worked for that organization should be tried on criminal charges of impersonating an educated and intelligent human being.

Glad to see you posting on a topic MPF has never hired to directly represent.

By: producer2 on 4/24/09 at 2:29

NBC? MPF? what the heck are you talking about? Did you take your meds today?

By: JeffF on 4/24/09 at 2:41


You went off the cliff with the odd little Limbaugh comparison, I simply followed.

By: producer2 on 4/24/09 at 3:03

Doesn't Rush believe that every Democrat is out to do harm to the US? That there is something evil in everything they do. Seems like it the way he talks.....That is all I am saying, Rush, Crafton, take your pick, it's all the same.....

By: Captain Nemo on 4/24/09 at 3:07

John McCain is a Rino Republican.

Limbaugh is a rat Republicans.

By: TharonChandler on 4/24/09 at 3:53

Karl Dean is a good man and I think I need to post one of my few letters to him, up on my web-site now. I hope he knows I'm barkin up some big trees and actually am living too risky with regard to mean people out there, and I'm not one of em. If every Mayor cared as much about integrity for the people we wouldn't have any problems, at all in government.

By: idgaf on 4/24/09 at 7:52

Correct me if I am wrong but isn't a raise in assessment a tax increase?

You may be paying the same rate but with a higher assesment does that not mean you will be paying more money?