Council members may be forced to show stance on Music City Center

Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 12:45am
Insiders are awaiting Megan Barry's vote tonight on convention center financing. She has kept her stance on the project close to the vest.

Before the 40-member Metro Council votes on a finance plan for a proposed $585 million convention center next week, the proposal must clear two committees tonight, presumably revealing the stances of several council members.

Both the council’s 13-member Budget and Finance Committee and its 10-member Convention, Tourism and Public Entertainment Facilities Committee are set to deliberate and vote on the Music City Center at 5 p.m. inside the council chambers.

“It doesn’t seem likely that something this technical will be amended,” said At-large Councilman Ronnie Steine, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. “It’s basically an up-or-down vote.”

The resolution approving the finance plan — which seeks to pay off the project’s bonds through a combination of taxes and fees that target tourists — is expected to ease through both committees by healthy margins.

With At-large Councilman Tim Garrett said to be out of town, talk among observers says the legislation could be approved by the Budget and Finance committee by a 9 to 3 vote. Meanwhile, some say the finance plan may unanimously sail through the Convention, Tourism and Public Entertainment Facilities Committee.

One council member stakeholders on both sides will watch closely is At-large Councilwoman Megan Barry, who has asked some pointed questions about the project, but hasn’t worn her position on her sleeve. She serves on the Budget and Finance Committee.

Another council member sure to be surveyed is Lonnell Matthews Jr., chair of the council’s Black Caucus and member of the Convention, Tourism and Public Entertainment Facilities Committee. Matthews had previously been critical of the Metro Development and Housing Agency over the number of minority- and women-business owners contracted so far during predevelopment work on the convention center.

More recently, however, Matthews applauded MDHA after the agency demonstrated a commitment to ensure that going forward 20 percent of contracting for the convention center will go to small businesses and those owned by women or minorities. He also applauded the efforts of Mayor Karl Dean, who recommended the Convention Center Authority establish a committee to ensure minority participation.

“As one of my largest concerns about the [convention center] proposal, knowing the commitment to the [diversity] program and its objectives will weigh heavy on my decision of whether or not I support the Convention Center,” Matthews wrote in a letter last week.

17 Comments on this post:

By: CitizensWin on 1/14/10 at 12:27

Light a Candle For Metro Council
To Vote No to the Music City Center

On Tuesday January 19th, Join Us at
One Public Square ( Metro Courthouse )
Music City Center Opponents are encouraged to attend a rally to place a
candle on the courthouse lawn during the hours of 5pm-8pm.

Metro Council is voting on nearly one billion dollars of indebtedness
for over 30 years

But Did you know...
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain costs $100 million
But the Music City Center is estimated to cost $650 million!

Did you know that
72% of Citizens Polled want a vote on the matter while only
26% Citizens Polled support the construction of the Music City Center!

Metro and the public are genuinely getting ripped off
Time to go back to the drawing board

Light A Candle on The Courthouse Lawn
And tell the council NO THANKS

By: WayneJ on 1/14/10 at 8:13

The candles are a good idea but if it's cold (or otherwise) I think we need to bring our horn-equipped vehicles and get the "stop-the-state-income-tax" playbook out and run it again. That procedure has a proven track record and will be far more audible than the candles. Where are Gill and Valentine on this one?

My Smyrna-built horn is ready to go! Who will go with me??

By: NewYorker1 on 1/14/10 at 9:00

Don't waste your time with the candles or the horns. They've already purchased the land and closing businesses that are in the footprint of the convention center. This thing is going to get built regardless. It's already a done deal, they are just making it look like we have some say in it.

By: Walter Sobchak on 1/14/10 at 9:02

You guys have fun wasting your time brandishing your candles and fudged dollar figures.

Hey CitizensWin: The Guggenheim Bilbao cost $1.27 billion to build in the mid 90s. Underhanded, Bad-headed man.

By: morpheus120 on 1/14/10 at 9:49

As the City Paper reported last week, the Convention Center Authority board voted unanimously to accept the Mayor's financing plan without even getting the report from the bond agencies. For all we know, the agencies will say that this is a massive risk and that our bond rating could be lowered as a result.

I wonder if Dean's lackeys will even bother showing the report to the Council committees before they vote today...?

Another example of this Administration ramming the project down the voter's throats. Let's hope that this supposed "progressive" Metro Council grows a pair and actually reviews what the experts have to say about this waste of taxpayer money.

By: idgaf on 1/14/10 at 10:01

Tonight we will find out whether they are ready/willing to go to war with us.

By: producer2 on 1/14/10 at 10:06

did someone get a different pseudonym?

the vote as predicated in the article at a minimum will be 19-3. Two more votes and it is over.......

By: JeffF on 1/14/10 at 10:12

this references the Gugenheim Bilbao

By the way this is an AWESOME read about the propensities of large government projects.

By: NoodlesSarducci on 1/14/10 at 10:23

It's time to build the Music City Center. With 28,000 Nashvillians currently unemployed, we need the jobs. We also need the added tax revenues. Let's move forward.

By: Anna3 on 1/14/10 at 11:38

WHat I want to know is why weasels like Bo Mitchell continue to tell folk that they are opposed to the project out "In the District" while they oppose a Public Vote on this and work as hard as they can to pormote it as a lap dog for the Chamber of Commerce crowd. These folks all need to go. Remember whom it is that votes for this stuff and against the referendum option next election. I will and I'm going to spend my money reminding as many as I can about who turned a deaf ear to the people.

By: Anna3 on 1/14/10 at 11:39

PS - aren't ACTUALLY saying that this project will cure unemployment in Nashville are you??? Get real!

By: Walter Sobchak on 1/14/10 at 11:44

Anna3 - You already run the risk of having an extra 20 bucks tacked on to your yearly property taxes if the MCC never attracts a single show, and we're forced to pay operating expenses as taxpayers. Don't spend your money reminding people about "deaf ears". You might go broke.

By: producer2 on 1/14/10 at 11:47

that is what you are supposed to do. Vote the way you want. If you want to change the Metro Charter vote for a candidate who is willing to do the same thing and help others who have your same opinion. Until then you will have to live with the current set up (which by the way was also voted on by the citizens of Davidson Co.)

By: CitizensWin on 1/14/10 at 12:23

Walter Sobchak: Please Note URL

How much did it cost to build the Guggenheim Museum in Spain?

It cost $100 million to construct it in 1997, the year it opened, and another $20 million was invested in it's endowement. Due to it's success, the endowement has since been increased to $118 million dollars.

By: cashnthings on 1/14/10 at 6:43

sitting here watching these criminals debate how great this is and how much money we are going to make.We need to hound these people constancly after they ram this down our troats and let them no we are not happy with this and make them wish they had never voted for it.

By: JeffF on 1/14/10 at 7:41

Yay Fitch!!!!!

By: idgaf on 1/14/10 at 11:00

By: NoodlesSarducci on 1/14/10 at 10:23
It's time to build the Music City Center. With 28,000 Nashvillians currently unemployed, we need the jobs. We also need the added tax revenues. Let's move forward.

DUH the tax revenue will be used to pay off the thing or at least partially.