Metro Councilman Steve Glover has organized a pair of “roundtable” discussions at his office this weekend to pore over Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed budget with council colleagues and perhaps identify ways to reduce the mayor’s proposed 53-cent property tax increase.
“If you knew me on the school board, I’m obviously always looking at ways we can try to be a little more efficient and operate more efficiently,” said Glover, who recently wrapped up a term as a Metro school board representative. “So, that’s obviously the objective here.”
Glover’s first budget discussion, at his office at 1101 Kermit Drive, suite 610, is set for Sat., June 9, at 1:30 p.m. The second meeting is the following day at the same location and time. Both meetings are open to the public.
“The real nature of the meetings is to say, ‘Alright, if we cut here, what might be the implications, what might be the unintended consequences?’ ” Glover added. “When you’re sitting at a roundtable, you can kind of just throw it all out there.”
This weekend continues a series of meetings the Donelson-area councilman has organized following the mayor’s May 1 tax increase announcement and budget presentation for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Glover said approximately “10 or 11” council members have stopped by for at least one of his meetings, including: Josh Stites, Davette Blalock, Jason Holleman, Scott Davis, Duane Dominy, Jacobia Dowell, Sheri Weiner, Charlie Tygard and Brady Banks.
In addition to some of those representatives, Glover said he expects the attendance of Councilman Carter Todd, and the council’s Budget and Finance Committee chair Sean McGuire this weekend.
“We just talk,” Glover said. “We share things. We ask questions.”
The council’s formal budget discussions are led by the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, which is tasked with holding hearings with Metro departments before later recommending a final budget and property tax levy to the full council.
“The rule of thumb is, ‘No voting’ because it’s not a committee,” Glover said. “We do not want to interfere with any committee work that the council does.”
Nonetheless, some council observers are looking toward Glover’s roundtable to perhaps produce an alternative to Dean’s tax rate increase, potentially lowering the increase by a few pennies.
“I admire his effort,” said Councilman Robert Duvall, a tax increase opponent. “At least he’s trying to do something.”
Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, who presides over council meetings, said she has no problem with Glover’s roundtable approach. “Any council member can meet with any council member about anything as long as they give adequate public notice,” she said.
“I encourage all council members to work within the committee structure and with the committee chairs, so hopefully they’re working in cooperation.”