FOX17: Metro Nashville To Cut Spending, Employees Still Want a Raise 31_FOX17_cut_budget,_but_still_get_a_raise

April 19, 2024 02:50 PM


1. Why will money be tight in the next budget and what do Metro officials plan to do?

A: Nashville recovered well from the pandemic and was bringing in money, including lots from federal COVID aid. That aid is dwindling so Nashville will no longer have that. There was pent up demand in people were spending a lot and so the city is now transitioning into more normal spending patterns

Finance Director Kevin Crumbo expects no growth from the current year. He said Metro will look for places to save money, “We’re going to look top to bottom at the Metro government.”

Although it’s unclear exactly what Mayor Freddie O’Connell will propose and what Metro Council will think about it before a budget is approved.


2. How much of a raise are employees asking for and how does it compare to other cities?

A: Metro’s HR told the city’s Civil Service Commission that they are recommending a 3.5% cost-of-living adjustment for most employees and 3% merit raises for qualifying employees, so a combined 6.5% for some people.

Last year, Metro employees saw a 6% cost-of-living adjustment and a 3% merit raise, so 9%.

Local union leaders are saying that 6.5% isn’t enough, one leader asked for 5% instead of 3%.

The national average for raises last year was 4.4% - this year is expected to be 4.1%. (another source says between 3.8% and 4.1% in 2023, and a projected 3.5% and 3.9% in 2024)

So while people can argue how much Metro employees should get, what is recommended and what they’re asking for is far greater than what other people are getting around the country.

The civil service commission chair William Farmer told Nashville Scene “Our job is not to balance the city’s budget. It’s just not. Our job is to ensure the employees are fairly paid. If they can’t find the money, that’s on them. If they have to raise taxes, that’s on them.”

Which is just unreasonable to say “we don’t care whether about the actual finances, you must do it.”

So there are going to be tough decisions to make, including cuts and how large raises are.


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