Oprah enters the council chambers, tells everyone to look under their chairs, then points around the room while shouting, “You get an e-bike, and you get an e-bike, and you get an e-bike!” Last week, a resolution was filed introducing a piece of legislation which would provide $1 million in American Rescue Plan funds to subsidize the purchase of e-bikes. If passed, this money would go toward standard rebates for residents of up to $300 for an e-bike or $500 for an e-cargo bike. Income-qualified rebates based on household income would also be available: up to $1,400 for both e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. That being said, according to CM Sledge, the legislation will be deferred tonight while the council explores alternative ways to support the initiative without ARP funding.
Aside from RS2023-1951, six other items on the agenda are also related to “alternative” transportation. As we noted last week, five maintenance resolutions for lighting and signal upgrades associated with cycling and pedestrian facilities throughout the city will be up for vote. RS2023-1965 will also be introduced to extend the term of the Nashville Complete Trips Transportation Demand Management Program, an initiative aimed at easing traffic congestion, for a grace period of 120 days beyond its December 31st completion date. Below, we take a look at a few more items to keep an eye on this evening, before tallying up the cost of these ARP-funded projects.
ARP: YOUR FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS AT WORK
RS2023-1947 Ten million dollars in ARP funds will be allocated to neighborhood needs through a community-led participatory budgeting program. There’s a twist here, though: Davidson County residents will be able to submit ideas to be included on a 35-item ballot. All residents aged 14 and older will be able to cast a vote for the projects they want funded.
RS2023-1950 This resolution proposes the use of ARP funds to bankroll the salaries and office incidentals of a staff assigned to oversee the allocation of… these very funds. In other words, ARP funds are paying for ARP fund oversight to the tune of $517,000.
The grand total of American Rescue Plan Act funds being voted on tonight is $11,517,000.
BALANCING THE BUDGET
RS2022-1901 and BL2022-1632: These are paired pieces of legislation aimed at creating reserve operating fund policy that will set aside a minimum target of 17 percent of each governmental operating fund. This will create a stockpile equal to approximately two months’ worth of expenditures which can serve as Metro’s operating budget. Read more on Metro’s past budget-balancing shortfalls here.