In a Feb. 21 announcement, Cooper said his administration has compiled a smaller list than in the previous year, in light of the city’s ongoing budget issues. This list of recommendations, which includes projects for the city as well as Metro Nashville Public Schools, totals $154 million, a 65% decrease in funding requests than the four-year average.
“As we navigate difficult financial times, the city faces urgent needs that must be met in order to maintain basic services and public safety,” Cooper said in a statement. “This is a fiscally responsible spending plan, and I’m proud we can make these much-needed investments, including half to our public schools.”
However, projects for MNPS call for more funding than the city has allocated in previous years. Project recommendations for MNPS total $72 million, a 20% increase in what the district received in the previous fiscal year, according to a release from Metro Nashville.
“It is wonderful to have a mayor who understands the importance of great facilities to providing a high quality, equitable education to every child,” MNPS Interim Director Adrienne Battle said in statement. “The investments proposed by Mayor Cooper in the areas identified by our staff and school board are critical to maintaining great educational and working environments for our students and staff.”
Projects for Metro Nashville include:
- $4.6 million in matching funds to leverage federal and state grant funding for Metro Transit Authority
- $12.2 million for paving, sidewalks and roadways
- $17.2 million to complete the sheriff’s headquarters. Previous funding in 2017 appropriated $21 million, which was insufficient to complete construction, according to the mayor’s office.
- Funding for planning to replace two fire stations and the health department’s Woodbine Clinic as well as funding to create a new mounted patrol barn facility
- $12 million for two new police helicopters to phase out an aging fleet with safety concerns.
Projects for Metro Nashville Public Schools include:
- $22.9 million for Goodlettsville Elementary School replacement
- $4.8 million for bus and fleet vehicle replacements to meet state replacement guidelines
- $1 million in roof repair for campuses
- $6.9 million in technology
- $7.4 million in electrical upgrades across the district
- $20.7 million in heating and cooling upgrades across the district
Legislation passed earlier this year requires full itemization of funding for city projects before work can begin, according to the city. While these projects have been proposed, they will likely not be approved until later this year, depending on which version of the budget—the mayor’s or an alternate budget proposed my Metro Nashville Council—is passed.
For more on how Metro Nashville’s budget process works, click here.