Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One Last Metro Council Push for "Infrastructure" Earmarks, Part I

In spite of the warning that tonight's Metro Council meeting would likely be too close to the June deadline for considering any more requests for discretionary funds created by late property taxes, a number of council members put in requests for earmarks from those funds. Since the number of last-minute requests is legion, I am dividing them up into two posts, one on actual infrastructure requests and the other on the typical non-profit patronage that has characterized the majority of these requests.

The resolutions requesting tax money for actual public projects and infrastructure include:
  • $1,750 for upgrades in the children's section of the Green Hills Public Library (Jim Shulman)
  • $35,000 for the Metro Police Department's "Crime Reduction Team" activities in the South Sector (Sam Coleman)
  • $5,250 for inmate community service equipment and supplies in the Metro Sheriff's Office (Eric Crafton)
  • $12,667 for monument refurbishment and tree acquisition and planting in a public right of way (Erik Cole)
  • $12,750 for partial funding of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education (Lynn Williams)
Ms. Williams' request does not stipulate whether the Alliance for Public Education will spend the funds on actual schools in her district, but I am told that the only way that the Council can legally use discretionary funds for education is to give them to the School District's non-profit partner. Hence, I am giving her request the benefit of the doubt.

Once again, this is a small number of request for funds for actual public programs and services, but that fact should in no way dampen our gratitude to these five council members for using their funds wisely and for cutting against the grain of non-profit earmarking.

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