Metro budget cuts may be revealed this week

Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 11:11pm

Nashvillians are about to learn what a hefty budget reduction across Metro government could look like, as Mayor Karl Dean is set to hold budget hearings with department heads over the next four days.

The annual hearings come after Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling in January asked departments to evaluate the effect of making a 7.5 percent reduction in their budgets. The hearings are a standard part of the budget process. 

After sitting down with more than 50 department directors, Dean is expected to hand the Metro Council his final budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year by May 1.

Receiving headlines over the last few weeks has been the Metro Nashville Board of Education, which approved a $633 million budget last week that included cuts affecting school custodians, groundskeepers and bus drivers.

Dean’s budget hearing with the school board is scheduled for Tuesday. The mayor has indicated he supports Director of Schools Jesse Register’s decision to protect teacher positions. 

“I am particularly pleased to see that Dr. Register has proposed a budget that does not recommend any cuts to direct instructional support,” Dean said in a written statement. “It's important that as much of our public education dollars as possible go directly to helping our students succeed in the classroom.”

Other departments observers will keep tabs on this week include Metro Police, Metro Parks, Metro Public Library, the Hospital Authority, Metro Public Works and the Juvenile Court Clerk’s office. Read the full schedule here.