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Mayor Freddie O’Connell delivers first State of Metro address

Mayor O’Connell’s State of Metro speech focused on four initiatives — the spending plan, the operating budget, transit funding, and the East Bank.

The John Siegenthaler Pedestrian Bridge spans the Cumberland River.

Metro Nashville. | Photo courtesy @angel.visuals

Mayor Freddie O’Connell delivered his first State of Metro on Tuesday.

“Many years, the State of Metro address includes new initiatives announced in the budget,” O’Connell said. “This year, though, the big things we’re doing are happening outside our traditional operating budget process.”

Here are the four main points highlighted in his address:

Capital spending plan

O’Connell’s $514 million spending plan, approved earlier this year, allocates funds for Metro Schools, NDOT, WeGo Public Transit, Metro Parks, and other city services.

At the State of Metro, he highlighted a few countywide investments included in the plan:

  • The future Mariposa Park
  • Mill Ridge Park’s expansion
  • Three elementary schools under construction (Lakeview, Paragon Mills, and Percy Priest)
  • Two new fire stations
  • New Hadley Park library branch (design phase)

Operating budget

The mayor’s proposed $3.27 billion operating budget includes $1.25 billion for Metro Nashville Public Schools, a 3.5% cost of living increase for Metro workers, and bringing the minimum hourly wage up to $20 for general government employees.

“We’re keeping the lights on, have a strong pay plan, are investing in our public schools and affordable housing, and otherwise living within our means with this year’s operating budget,” O’Connell said.

Transportation improvement program

The $3.1 billion “Choose How You Move” initiative unveiled in late April depends on voters approving a half-cent sales tax increase to fund sidewalk, signal, service, and safety improvements. Mayor O’Connell announced that the plan passed an independent audit this week and will now go before Metro Council for ballot approval.

East Bank

The riverfront area you see today will look much different in the future following the approval of key East Bank legislation last month. Metro’s master developer agreement with The Fallon Company means 1,550 residential units (including 695 affordable units) are a go, and TPAC will one day call the East Bank home.

Watch the 2024 State of Metro in full — the mayor’s remarks begin at the ~21-minute mark.