Residents from across North Nashville weighed in on the possibility of a property tax increase on Tuesday night during the first of six community meetings about the Metro budget.
The crowd was largely open to the idea of paying more — but only if their community sees the benefit of those dollars.
About 100 people attended. They received an overview of Metro’s tight finances — similar to the message the state comptroller delivered to the Metro Council in December. The decision for leaders is to either cut spending again, to raise taxes, or to try some combination.
Those who spoke at the Northwest YMCA were deeply concerned about more cutting, especially any impact on Nashville’s schools or emergency responders.
“In getting this tax raised, let’s look at fixing the things that need to be fixed. Like this fire station out here,” said Lola Brown of Bordeaux. “I’m tired of suffering.”
Others want to attach rules to any tax increase — like making sure the funds are used beyond downtown Nashville, or that they not contribute to incentive packages for companies.
“I personally would not mind paying $30 extra a month … but I do want to ask that those dollars are morally supporting the city,” said Raquel Davis. “Where are you putting these dollars?”
The area’s councilmember, Kyonztè Toombs, co-hosted the meeting. She said she heard a begrudging consensus that a tax increase would probably improve city services.
“Folks, they want receipts. They want to see how it’s going to benefit their community,” Toombs said afterward. “They don’t want the same old same old, where they don’t have the infrastructure, don’t have the basics in their community, yet they’re paying the same taxes as everyone else.”
Five more community meetings are coming up before the mayor delivers a proposed budget by March 31, with the council aiming to pass a final revised budget by May 19.