Councilman asks Dean to end 'media noise' on property tax hike

Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 12:09pm

Conservative Metro Councilman Robert Duvall wants Mayor Karl Dean to end the suspense and reveal whether he plans to propose a property tax increase in next year’s budget or not.

Historically, such a proposal would come on the day of the mayor’s State of Metro Address, when the mayor traditional unveils a budget for the next fiscal year, which this year is set for May 1 at 10 a.m. at the new Cumberland Park. Duvall, however, running as a Republican for House District 59, has asked Dean to go ahead and kill the speculation.

“I would like to stop the media noise we are all hearing about a property tax increase coming in the 2012-13 submitted Metro budget,” Duvall wrote to Dean in an April 10 letter.

“The only way we can end those rumors is by you taking a public position on the matter, and submitting a press release that you will not support or offer a property tax increase in the upcoming 2012-13 budget,” the Antioch-area District 33 councilman continued.

Metro’s last property tax increase occurred in 2005. Dean was able to avoid a tax hike in his first term, but it came at the price of substantially tighter government operations. There are 670 less Metro employees today than when Dean took office in 2007.

A potential property tax increase has been at the center of media speculation in part because Dean’s campaign committee polled Nashvillians on the matter over the winter.

Dean earlier this month wrapped up budget hearings with most Metro department heads, and will sit down with Director of Schools Jesse Register and the nine-member school board Friday morning to discuss the school board’s proposed $723 million budget, a massive $48.9 million increase over the previous year.

Asked after a previous budget hearing about a possible tax hike, Dean said a decision would come after final revenue figures are reviewed.

“Making a decision as to whether you ask for a property tax increase or whether you don’t, and how you present the budget, is probably the most important thing we do,” Dean said on March 26.

“But put this into context,” Dean added. “I’ve been mayor for four and a half years. I think I’m the first mayor in ages who’s gone a full term without a property tax increase. We did that because we operated a lean government.”

Duvall, in his letter, alludes to Dean’s 2007 run-off election against former Rep. Bob Clement. A Dean campaign commercial at the time said he’s against raising taxes.

“During your previous campaign you specifically stood up and stated you would not support a property tax increase and challenged all other candidates to commit to the same,” Duvall wrote. “I know you are a man of your word, so I thought the best way to end the media rhetoric related to a property tax increase was to solicit the support of you, the mayor.”

Duvall concludes by saying that “in this economic environment, a property tax increase is the last thing the citizens of Davidson County would support.”

Duval letter to mayor.pdf53.68 KB

9 Comments on this post:

By: whitetrash on 4/12/12 at 11:23

So Duvall asked Mayor Dean to end the Media Noise when Duvall created more noise. Why is this in the Nashville City Paper? It must me a slow news week.

By: whitetrash on 4/12/12 at 11:24

So Duvall asked Mayor Dean to end the media noise when Duvall created more media noise. Why is this in the Nashville City Paper? It must be a slow news week.

By: JeffF on 4/12/12 at 11:53

He is gonna try to get it in the next year or so. He does not have to run again leaving him unaccountable to voters AND he has paved the way by spending and committing all available funds to pet, discretionary projects of little importance to the life of Nashvillians. Now no one can claim there is plenty of money when he trots out the parade of poor school kids and the upcoming EPA stormwater slam.

The Deaniacs have been strangely quiet on new pet projects for 2 years now. Obviously they were not keen on the baseball stadium so it is ignored for the most part. Otherwise every downtown oriented project they want for tourism is either built or coming out of the ground.

By: JeffF on 4/12/12 at 11:56

Nashville is like the Chicago Cubs fan. Cubs fans will continually support that team no matter how little the team cares about winning. The little blue Nashville island will always vote in the people like Dean, regardless of how counter to their own values and needs these "leaders" truly are.

By: MusicCity615 on 4/12/12 at 1:52


didn't you see that the metro school budget is being increased? I am a true believer that throwing more money at school does not always equate to more efficiency, but you cannot accuse the Dean administration to being apathetic to our schools. I think Dean has been more dedicated to our education than any other mayor. He is doing great things for Nashville.

By: JeffF on 4/12/12 at 3:50

did you not notice all the other things that had to come first before the budget was increased this year. It was important that all truly discretionary revenue be earmarked so schools, public transportation, stormwater and other infrastructure, and real government services would not be able to grab hold of them.

This is the Alabama method of funding allocations. Earmark the hell out of things and decrease the flexibility futures councils/boards/legislatures when things change (they always change). The only difference is that in Alabama it wasn't planned that way, it is just a matter of the electorate not trusting elected officials to do what they say they will with new or expanded revenue streams. Here, it is done on purpose to make sure the extras are built at the detriment of the mandates and essentials.

I myself would like to see some examples of Nashvillians who have received great things from Dean. The list will no doubt be limited to tourism owners (not workers since tourism is awful for wages and benefits) and downtown developers. Everything outside the downtown the belt not sending in hotel/motel taxes has been completely ignored. The one thing in the hinterlands Dean even acknowledges in existence is the fairgrounds and he wants to sell that.

The man's entire economic development plan is based on selling cowboy hats and PBR on Broadway. A plan to compete with Williamson for real, high paying jobs was ignored because it would compete with downtown's future as Nashville's only economic development zone. Only one company not directly involved in tourism/hospitality has profited from his help, his PR firm, McNeely Piggot and Fox has managed to sign multiple Metro OBEs, with the airport authority contract being presented as a hand wrapped gift exempt from a legal procurement process. MPF was even paid with Metro funds to lobby Metro for more funds!

By: sharko20 on 4/12/12 at 4:29

NO -- to higher property taxes!!!

By: govskeptic on 4/14/12 at 7:38

The Mayor will not give any indication on whether there will be a tax increase
on our currently over appraised property nor a hint as to the size of any
increase for one reason: Wait until the very last last legal moment for said
announcement so there will be less time for opposition voiced to both
himself and his obliging council members to act on passage!

By: Ask01 on 4/15/12 at 7:50

govskeptic makes a valid point.

Any public discussion or comment will likely be delayed until the last possible minute. However, I have no doubt deals will be struck in hallways, breakrooms, or any place such communications can be termed 'idle chatter' as opposed to 'deliberations' to provide the thinnest veil of plausible deniability should charges of subterfuge be brought.

Make no mistake, I believe Mayor Dean has already targetted our property taxes to fund grandiose schemes having squandered all other funds for corporate and business welfare and ego boosting public projects to bear his name until the next egotist demolishes them, making way for their own pharonic scale monuments.

Mayor Dean is term limited out so he doesn't care what we citizens think of him. After all, Phil Bredesen bequeathed the expense of maintaining the Titans stadium to Metro Nashville Davidson County and still managed two terms as governor. Perhaps that is the next aim for Mayor Karl.

After padding his resume of accomplishments at the expense of our wallets.