Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Metro Council Member Emily Evans Put Her Discretionary Funds Up for Neighborhood Group Consideration

This morning I received copies of list serv correspondence between District 23 member Emily Evans and her Hillwood neighborhood constituents regarding the expenditure of the Council's discretionary "infrastructure/non-profit" funds. The discussion included Hillwood constituent support for Council Member Mike Jameson's handling of District 6's discretionary funds as reported in Enclave yesterday. Also, Hillwood constituents criticized District 17 Council Member Ronnie Greer's unopposed "giveaways" to the religious-based programs of the Nashville Inner City Ministries (as reported on Free Tennessee) and Aphesis House.

For her part, Council Member Evans mentions to her Hillwood constituents that she sent out a request to neighborhood groups in her district via their list serv asking for ideas on how to spend the funds. Ms. Evans's list based on that feedback includes both private non-profit and public projects:

  • $10,000 to Senior Citizens, Inc. for programming services; Ms. Evans says that this non-profit serves "quite a number" of West Meade residents
  • $10,750 to the Alliance for Public Education to purchase books for the Hillwood High School Library; she maintains that rules dictate that money earmarked for schools have to be sent through non-profits rather than directly to the School District
  • $5,000 to replace a foot bridge in Percy Warner Park and to purchase a new bench
  • $10,000 to fund a Dry Stone Conservancy Workshop at Traveler's Rest to teach members of the West Meade Conservancy and Metro employees how to build and restore the dry stack stone walls around the 23rd District; she told leaders that she could not use funds for the Belle Meade Plantation because she serves on their board (a refreshing change of pace from many of her peers on the Council)
  • An amount to be designated in the future to fund a survey of all of the dry stack stone walls in the 23rd District; she hopes that the survey will make possible a protection ordinance for the historic walls
Emily Evans should be applauded for involving the neighborhood groups in her district in the decision on how to spend her discretionary funds. While a significant amount is still going to non-profits, at least residents were openly invited to define the earmarks and some infrastructure that serves the broader public is going to be served, too.

In fact--outside of Mike Jameson's impressive prospective expenditures--more public infrastructure will be funded by Ms. Evans's resolution than by all of the other members' requests put together so far. She also avoided the unethical appearance that she was bringing in booty for personally favored private organizations with which she is connected.

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