NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Education and mass transit were two priorities for Nashville Mayor Karl Dean during his seventh State of Metro Address, Wednesday morning.
With Nashville recently in the top 10 of the country's fastest growing cities, Mayor Dean touted the success of the new Music City Center, which has already generated $135 million of economic activity in less than a year.
“We are at the top of our game in almost every marker used for a city: job growth, construction permits, visitor spending,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “Even our sales and property tax collections are now above where they were before the recession.”
In addition to economic growth, the Mayor also focused his attention on education. The mayor's budget included more than $27 million for Metro Nashville Pubic Schools - most of which would be used to expand Pre-K programs.
“I am very pleased with the budget, the education part. It is still very much a high commitment by the mayor of this city and the council,” said Edith Langster, with Metro Council.
Dean also called for new funding for mass transit programs. The proposed budget included a Bus Rapid Transit System for Charlotte Avenue and Nolensville Road.
Dean also proposed making MTA buses free of charge for all MNPS students.
The Mayor addressed the need of programs that care for the elderly, by proposing a new Office of Public Guardian to defend the elderly and others who aren't able to care for themselves.
Perhaps his most controversial proposal would extend health insurance and other benefits to domestic partners of city employees. The budget also included funding increment pay increases for city employees and a one percent raise for every employee.