Nashville residents soon will have a voice in Metro Council’s spending habits.
Metro Council voted 34-4 to create a “Blue Ribbon Commission” like a popular one in Atlanta in which private citizens may critique the budget, Nashville Public Radio WPLN reports. The commission will form by October.
Councilman Fabian Bedne said he doesn’t want to see the effort turn partisan as people do not always agree on spending.
Councilman John Cooper suggested the commission.
The commission’s recommendations will be just that — recommendations.
“This is a statement from us as a council that we recognize … our budget process is somewhat broken. That we do need fresh eyes,” said Councilwoman Angie Henderson.
WPLN also reports that Metro Council members, who were dissatisfied with the surprise budget shortfall, also voted to cut funding by $103,000 for the city’s Finance Department. Those funds will provide a finance expert to work directly for the council to help them handle the budget.
Betsy Phillips of The Nashville Scene reports that move will help the council hold the Finance Department accountable — since the department answers to the mayor.
Phillips compares the mayor’s office’s control of the complicated budget to The Labyrinth of Greek myth:
To go back to the labyrinth metaphor, the mayor’s office is obviously King Minos, the builder of the labyrinth (which could make Rich Riebeling Daedalus), with the Metro Council being the kids who get shoved into the labyrinth as a sacrifice every set number of years. The problem the council has is that the mayor (and this isn’t just confined to Briley, let me be clear — this has been a problem for a long, long time) is both the dude who needs to appease the monster in the labyrinth and the dude who’s claiming to be Ariadne, with the string, guiding the council through the labyrinth.
If you want to read the actual 2019 budget, click here.