Metro FY20-21 Budget

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors’ offers support for Mayor Cooper’s fiscal rear 2020-2021 budget in a letter sent to Metro Council.

Date:    Monday, June 1, 2020

To:       Vice Mayor Shulman and Members of the Metropolitan Nashville/Davidson County Council

From:   Miranda McDonald, Vice President of Metro Policy, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors urges your support of BL2020-286, Mayor John Cooper’s proposed operating budget ordinance for fiscal year 2020-2021. 

Early this year, the Chamber released an independent study of Metro Finances conducted by Elliott Davis. The study determined that Metro’s financial difficulties were primarily an issue of revenue. Per the study, Nashville’s tax and fee burden (including property tax, as well as other common taxes and fees) were found to be 16 to 53 percent less than all of the peer cities. Furthermore, while property taxes made up 53 percent of the revenue included in the city’s 2018 general fund, Metro Nashville-Davidson County’s property tax growth has not kept up with property values due to lack of property tax rate adjustments that traditionally accompany property reappraisal years. Meanwhile, on the expense side of the ledger, Metro Nashville’s expenses were found to be at the median of peer cities. As a result, Metro reported the lowest fund balance (less than a month’s operating funds at the time), compared to peer cities. 

The Chamber Board did not arrive at its decision to support Mayor Cooper’s budget and the accompanying property tax rate increase lightly. With the stress of the March tornado and the COVID-19 pandemic on the city’s budget, as well as the uncertainty of how COVID-19 could continue to strain the city in the coming year, the depleted fund balance has become the priority issue for the city. Chamber members recognize the value of stable city government – 77 percent of members indicate that a financially-stable city government with the ability to provide services is critical to their business’ success. Mayor Cooper’s proposed property tax increase addresses the fund balance and sets Metro on the path to financial stability. 

We respectfully ask that you vote in favor of this budget ordinance and appreciate your commitment to Nashville’s economic recovery. 

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