This week's council agenda extends the conversion of property tax dollars to charitable donations with 5 "Reserve Council Infrastructure Program" resolutions up for council vote:
- $1,500 for Watkins Institute of Art (Jamey Isabel--holdover from last month)
- $20,000 for Community ALERT (Brenda Gilmore, Ronnie Greer, Edward Whitmore, Carolyn Baldwin Tucker)
- $10,000 for Cumberland Region Tomorrow (Gilmore, Buck Dozier)
- $7,000 for Metrocenter Teachers' Apartments, Inc. (Tucker, Gilmore)
- $5,000 for Nashville Inner City Ministry, Inc. (Greer)
Despite glaring chances to pave some alleys or to solve a few water runoff problems or to refurbish the worst public parks in Nashville, council members continue to be set on playing philanthropists, pitching public money at private non-profits rather than at actual Metro infrastructure. Metro Water should have a bunker and more than one security guard to protect those dangerous chlorine gas tanker cars currently sitting out in the open on the North End, so why are these leaders not so allocating these tax dollars to protect us from the calamity of a chemical spill? Why can't they pool a couple or three million to build Charlie Tygard the fire station he says he needs (even as he's spending his own allocated funds on private sports groups and on private swimming pool upgrades)?
Why? Because it would probably get called "massive government expansion" by those who seem to fancy a world of declining municipal services as subsidies for private charities increase. Why is it perfectly fine to criticize spending on government programs that pave roads or build fire stations, but not to criticize the frittering away of uncollected property taxes on private charities, based on nothing but councilmanic discretion?