Neighbors gets Council budget post

Tuesday, September 14, 2004 at 1:00am

Vice Mayor Howard Gentry, Jr., has tabbed Metro Councilmember-at-Large Diane Neighbors to lead the city's 40-member legislative body through what promises to be a tough year of financial discussions.

Neighbors will replace council's outgoing Budget and Finance Committee Chair Brenda Gilmore on Oct. 1 for a term expiring Sept. 30, 2005.

There have been four tax increases since fiscal year 1994, and fiscal year 2006 is projected to be a fifth - Metro had to trim $100 million to balance the fiscal year 2005 budget.

"I think it is too early to speculate, and a lot of it is going to depend on what happens on the state level and if any of the local portion of the sales taxes are returned or if it will all continue to go to the state fund," Neighbors said.

Council has 13 committees appointed by Gentry to serve during the four-year term and two special committees - Charter Revision and Federal Grants Review - that expire after one year.

Special committee chairs are Chris Whitson for Charter Revision and Pam Murray for Federal Grants Review.

Gentry selected Lynn Williams to serve as Education Committee chair beginning Oct. 1. Williams said she expects her committee to discuss funding out-of-school activities, consider funding Pre-K programs and also bring issues such as family and workplace literacy into the education conversation.

"Children whose parents can't read have a more difficult time reading and getting up to the standards that we need them to have, and so I hope that we will be able look at literacy as a community issue that supports education as well," Williams said.

Other committee chairs are: Tommy Bradley for Codes, Fair and Farmers Market; Erik Cole for Health, Hospitals and Social Services; Ginger Hausser for Transportation and Aviation; Harold White for Traffic and Parking; Vivian Wilhoite for Parks, Library, Recreation and Public Entertainment Facility; David Briley for Personnel, Public Information, Human Relations, Housing.

J.B. Loring was named chair for the Planning and Zoning Committee; Sam Coleman for Rules, Confirmations and Public Elections; Rip Ryman for Public Safety, Beer and Regulated Beverages; Adam Dread for Convention and Tourism and Jim Shulman for Public Works.

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