FOX17: Metro Nashville’s Low Fiscal Health Ranking 46_FOX17_nashvilles_low_fiscal_health

March 1, 2024 01:36 PM


1. What is Nashville’s debt situation?


A: In its most recent Annual Comprehensive Financial Report, Nashville had $5.7 billion available to pay $6.7 billion worth of bills. That almost $1 billion shortfall creates a debt burden of $4,500 per taxpayer.


Much of that shortfall is due to owing health care benefits that it promised its retirees.


Up until January 2023, Nashville was covering 75% of retiree medical premiums for life. The city couldn’t afford it, and had $4.3 billion in unpaid future payments.


They changed that by switching to a hybrid Medicare Advantage plan.


City officials estimated with the change, it can shave $1.1 billion off the debt and save about $17 million in operating costs every year.


But the city still has a lot of catching up to do, there’s still debt.




2. How does Nashville rank along other cities and how does its fiscal health compare to previous years?


A: Transparency organization Truth in Accounting, along with University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, every year ranks the 75 largest cities on their fiscal health.


Nashville was ranked 48 this year, meaning there are 27 cities with worst finances, and 47 cities with better finances.


Nashville taxpayers each have a debt burden of $4,500, which is much lower than the $11,300 the year before. Its financial condition appeared to improve.


In fact, it’s the lowest it has been in at least 8 years.


In 2019, that taxpayer burden was about $20,000 per taxpayer, and has dropped since then.


Both the state and the city’s pension plans are well funded, but these retiree health care benefits were out of control, Metro couldn’t keep up and had only funded 8% of what it promised to its workers. So that’s why it’s going to take some work to continue to lower the taxpayer burden and improve its finances.


via Fox 17 Nashville


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