Mayor Cooper submits first capital spending plan to address urgent needs

Councilman John Cooper

Mayor John Cooper submitted his administration’s first Capital Spending Plan on February 21—the first CSP since the newly passed legislation that requires full itemization of funding for public projects before construction begins. The Capital Spending Plan contains the mayor’s recommendations of capital project requests from the capital improvements budget that the Administration would like to see approved and financed.

Because of the significant fiscal constraints facing Metro currently, the FY2020 Capital Spending Plan is much smaller than in previous years, focusing on emergency needs such as repairs, replacement and maintenance. The average Capital Spending Plan over the past four fiscal years was $441.8 million. This year’s CSP is $154 million, equally split between General Government and Metro Nashville Public Schools. The $72 million of Metro Schools projects (not including $10 million for contingencies) is a $12 million increase, or 20% over what MNPS received in last fiscal year’s Capital Spending Plan.

“As we navigate difficult financial times, the city faces urgent needs that must be met in order to maintain basic services and public safety,” said Mayor Cooper. “This is a fiscally responsible spending plan, and I’m proud we can make these much-needed investments, including half to our public schools.”

General Government project highlights include:

  • $4.6 million of matching funds to leverage federal and state grant funding for Metro Transit Authority
  • $12.2 million for paving, sidewalks, and roadways
  • $17.2 million to complete the construction of the Sheriff’s headquarters. The FY2017 CSP appropriated $21 million, which was insufficient to complete construction.
  • Funding for planning to replace two fire stations and the Health Department’s Woodbine Clinic; and funding to create a new mounted patrol barn facility. (Currently, these facilities are in a deteriorated and unsafe condition.)
  • $12.0 million for two new police helicopters to phase out an aging fleet with safety concerns. Four of MNPD’s six helicopters are from 1970-1972.

Metro Schools’ project highlights include:

  • $22.9 million for Goodlettsville Elementary School replacement
  • $4.8 million for bus and fleet vehicle replacements to meet state replacement schedules
  • $1.0 million in roof repair
  • $6.9 million in technology needs, comprised of student and staff computers and software
  • $7.4 million in electrical upgrades across the district
  • $20.7 million in HVAC upgrades across the district

“It is wonderful to have a mayor who understands the importance of great facilities to providing a high-quality, equitable education to every child,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, interim director of schools. “The investments proposed by Mayor Cooper in the areas identified by our staff and School Board are critical to maintaining great educational and working environments for our students and staff.”

These projects represent the city’s most urgent needs. For FY2021, Cooper’s administration will be in communication with departments and plans to address additional needs later this calendar year.