In his State of Metro Address on Tuesday, Mayor David Briley laid out his vision for a stronger Nashville and suggested that Nashville earn a new nickname.
“We’ve been called the friendliest city,” he said. “We’ve been called the ‘It City.’ But those labels came from outside. It’s time for Nashville to earn a new label, a label we give ourselves: the most equitable city.”
Building a more equitable city, the mayor said, involves focusing on four main priorities: education, public safety, building economic prosperity, and quality of life.
Education remains top priority
When speaking to education, Mayor Briley singled out a few recent successes at Metro Schools, including a literary movement called Project LIT at Maplewood High School and the improving trend at Napier Elementary. He then continued his critique of the School Board and suggested that its members spend more time working to improve our schools and less time in-fighting.
The budget that Mayor Briley presented to the Council last week will include a $34.9 million increase in MNPS’s operating budget and debt service, and the mayor has made it clear that he wants some of that money to go toward a 3% raise for all teachers. Mayor Briley has also insisted that he will play a bigger role in MNPS and School Board operations moving forward.
Affordable housing key to equitable city
Another step towards equitable prosperity, according to Mayor Briley, is a continued commitment to affordable housing. In March, the mayor announced Nashville’s largest-ever proposal to provide affordable housing to Nashvillians. The plan, Under One Roof 2029, commits $500 million to affordable housing over the next ten years.
“This investment will help MDHA and other developers build more than 10,000 affordable and workforce units,” said Briley. “It will de-concentrate poverty by creating mixed-income communities – the kinds of communities where metro employees, downtown office workers, young families and teachers can live together near the core of our city.”
Under One Roof also calls for a $250 million investment in affordable housing from the private sector.
Briley works toward economic prosperity for everyone
“Building a stronger Nashville also means ensuring that everyone can have a shot in our economy,” Briley said.
This comes after the mayor announced two initiatives in the last year that will level the playing field for people who want to contract with Metro Government.
Late last year, the Mayor announced the Equal Business Opportunity Program, which helps minority- and women-owned businesses have an equal opportunity to compete for Metro contracts. Then, earlier this year, he signed an executive order that made Nashville the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-owned businesses in its procurement process.
On creating the “Most Equitable City” nickname for Nashville, Briley said, “Earning it won’t be easy. Our work must continue. And I’m ready for every minute of it.”