In first day of budget hearings, Dean quells speculation of tax hike

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 10:05pm

Mayor Karl Dean squashed any speculation that might have been lingering around the Metro Courthouse Tuesday morning, as he kicked off the year’s budget hearings.

“Let make it clear at the very offset, take whatever suspense there may be out of this,” Dean said during his opening remarks. “We will not be asking — we will not be asking — for additional revenue this year to help cover budget needs. We will not be proposing — we will not be proposing — an additional property tax increase.”

Dean, along with Deputy Mayor Greg Hinote and Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling, heard presentations from 15 Metro departments throughout the day Tuesday. The procession of department heads will continue through Thursday, and then again on April 1 and April 12. The mayor’s budget will be presented to the Metro Council on April 30.

Last year, Dean enacted a 13 percent property tax increase, which he and other Metro officials argued was needed to avoid cutting essential services. Dean noted on Tuesday that Metro was able to use the increased revenues to add 100 new teachers, raise teacher salaries, maintain additional police officer positions. It was the county’s first property tax hike in seven years, and the mayor said the city won’t be going to that well again this year.

“This year, like every year, we will continue to look for cost savings and ways to make our government more efficient,” Dean said. “That doesn’t stop, even though the economic situation has improved, but we’re not back to the pre-recession times and I don’t know when and if that will happen. But we want to avoid impacting essential public services.”

“We recognize that the term ‘do more with less’ has a very real meaning to the many hard working employees all across Metro. We know that and I take that very seriously. But services have continued to grow, along with the population of our city — our staffs and budgets have not.”

In January, the mayor’s administration asked Metro department heads to prepare a 2 percent budget cut scenario. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Dean was asked how realistic it was that such a scenario would end up in the final budget.

“Well I would expect that every department would look at a 2 percent cut,” Dean said. “Whether that cut has to be enacted in the final budget remains to be seen. Clearly we’re in a better financial situation as a country than we were several years ago, but that doesn’t mean the floodgates have opened. We have to be very conservative, very prudent about how we handle this budget.”

14 Comments on this post:

By: courier37027 on 3/27/13 at 7:24

So much for the Titans and Predators adding to the city's coffers. We were told more than a dozen years ago pro sports would cure our budget woes.

By: on 3/27/13 at 7:30

2% cuts here; 5% cuts there; etc. But plenty of money for a $1 billion convention center. How does this add up? After last year's tax increase, why cut some departments while spending money on non-essentials?

By: courier37027 on 3/27/13 at 7:55

Accordibg to Dean, buying the Fairgrounds and developing Maytown would have added to our city's funding surplus.

By: NewYorker1 on 3/27/13 at 8:12

I just sent Metro a check for my property taxes and the check was a lot more than the year before according to my records so why would they even consider a tax hike? Hell, we are paying more. They need to cut spending, that's the answer guys. When is enough enough? Hell, I have to eat too with my money.

By: gid on 3/27/13 at 8:57

Dean - how about taxing business ? You give business free pass on property taxes yet the citizens are left paying their bill. I think Dell has more $$ than I do

By: sharko20 on 3/27/13 at 9:11

Even a leftist like Dean knows not to raise property taxes two years in a row. Oh wait, I think this year is a property reassessment year!!! I bet you get it now. Your taxes are going up.

By: sharko20 on 3/27/13 at 9:11

Even a leftist like Dean knows not to raise property taxes two years in a row. Oh wait, I think this year is a property reassessment year!!! I bet you get it now. Your taxes are going up.

By: bfra on 3/27/13 at 10:22

Nah! There is just going to be a "sales fee" on downtown businesses & according to this AM including The Gulch. Dean whips out another scheme but doesn't call it a "tax".

By: bfra on 3/27/13 at 11:08

Mentioned in another article, this can also be used to offer rental rebates at the MCC to attract more conventions. Now the MCC is supposed to take care of it's own! When? How, when their electric bill puts them in the hole? Dean's white elephant seems to need a lot of help.

By: Rasputin72 on 3/28/13 at 3:50

There are three kinds of people living in Davidson county.

Young people who haven't started a family yet
The underclass
Wealthy people or those making over $300,000 dollars a year

All others are fleeing.

By: Ask01 on 3/28/13 at 4:00

Mayor Dean, (as if hizzoner would ever read this or even care,) you did not ask the citizens for a tax increase.

Far from it you 'asked' the sock puppet Metro Council who spinelessly nodded like bobbleheads.

Face it fellow citizens, we don't own city hall or any other government body. All that fluff about government by the people is smoke and mirrors. We will endure this until we elect people who truly represent the middle class and give the middle finger to professional politicians.

By: tomba1 on 3/28/13 at 5:58

Again folks, Dean did his tax increase in 2012 because it would be based on 4 year old appraisals which were higher in value than he would see in the 2013 appraisals, the last of his term. Plus law prevents him from doing a property tax increase during the same year as a reappraisal, ie this year. So what's he taking credit for in all this publicity about saving the taxpayers from another tax increase this year when he can't do it anyway?? He's spewing all of this rhetoric about "protecting" the citizens from a tax increase which he has already implemented and cannot do again this year even if he wanted to.

He mentions that though we are in a better economic situation (certainly debatable from many angles) "but that doesn’t mean the floodgates have opened". May heaven help us when that happens!

By: 4gold on 3/28/13 at 2:44

Yep, no property tax increase. Just a reassessment. Property tax goes up by any other name. How strange my property value continued to climb even in a Real Estate Market Bust according to Metro. I complained to Metro comparing what national real estate standards say via Zillow but Metro says Zillow is wrong and their inflated estimate is gold. LOL. RAPE.

The Titans don't provide entertainment any more. Send them packing. All they provide is that sucking sound of Nashvlle's money headed back to Houston and more city expenses.

Nashville a great place to live!

By: Ask01 on 3/29/13 at 11:51

I'm not sure why Mayor Dean cares. He is a lame duck mayor so will not have to face the voters again. He can do what he wishes and leave the puppets on the council to take the heat.

By the time he runs for a higher office most will have forgotten what he did to Nashville despite efforts of people like me to remind them.