Mayor David Briley delivered the 56th annual State of Metro address for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County on April 30. It was the second time he delivered the address, and Briley focused it on four fundamentals: education, public safety, economic prosperity, and quality of life.
“The state of Metro is strong,” said Briley. “While some people seek attention by saying otherwise, the truth is that our credit rating remains high; the average wage in Nashville is growing faster than all but three other big cities; our revenues are up more than four percent; crime is down in nearly every category; and 15 million people visited our city in 2018.”
With most of his speech centered on education, Briley touched on some of the issues with Metro Nashville Schools including the conflict which led to the departure of School Director Dr. Sean Joseph, i.e., issues with school funding, and teacher pay.
“Amazing things are happening in Metro schools and classrooms, and we have some of the hardest-working teachers in our nation,” he said. “But we have a school system that has for many years been riddled with in-fighting among adults, and this has fostered a systemic lack of forward thinking. I recognize there is a growing sense that teachers should get a much larger raise and that Metro Schools should get a much larger budget increase. I’m recommending as much of an increase as possible for education this year. And I am committed to a multi-year approach to make teachers’ salaries better reflect their value and importance.”
Briley also touted successes in education including notable improvement in some of the lowest performing schools and the formation of his Nashville GRAD program that is designed to improve the rate of completion for students at local community colleges.
The mayor also talked about his work with helping the city to be more equitable with the new Equal Business Opportunity program. The goal of the program is to help level the playing field for Minorities and LGBT owned businesses in regards to Metro procurement opportunities. The mayor stated that his new budget would include $442,000 to implement the Program starting July 1.
For public safety, the mayor discussed Project Safe Nashville, the city’s largest ever inter-agency to get guns off our street. His $100,000 direct appropriation to the nonprofit Sexual Assault Center to ensure proper resources, and the recent opening of the Metro Family Safety Center.
The mayor also spoke about what our city is currently doing to address transit, saying that he is committed to improving our current transportation system, working with TDOT, and continuing to make our city smarter and more modern through new technologies.
To close, Briley said: “We’ve been called the friendliest city. We’ve been called the ‘It City.’ But those labels came from the outside. It’s time for Nashville to earn a new label, a label we give ourselves: ‘The Most Equitable City.’”
The event featured performances by Mumina Ali, 2019 Nashville Youth Poet Laureate, and the Whites Creek High School Cobra Concert Choir. Sharon Kay, general manager at Fisk University’s JAZZY 88 WFSK, served as the announcer. The invocation was given by Rev. Darrell A. Drumwright, senior pastor of The Temple Church. Community leader Kasar Abdulla gave a blessing for the city.