National convention

Subway impact fee floated to attract Republican National Convention votes – Tennessee Lookout

The Metro Nashville City Council will consider a proposal next week to create a development impact fee, part of an apparent effort to sweeten the pot for a vote to bring the 2024 Republican National Convention to Nashville.

Although the move is seen as over the top after council refused to vote on the RNC in early July, Metro Councilman Robert Swope confirmed on Wednesday he was re-running his order along with a supporting resolution to hold the convention in Nashville.

Swope is also supporting a resolution sponsored by Councilman Jonathan Hall to implement an impact fee, a measure that would need to be approved by the state legislature. Hall could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

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I think it’s a figment of council member Swope’s imagination.

— Metro Board Member Bob Mendes in a renewed effort to bring the 2024 Republican National Convention to Nashville.

A Republican site selection committee has already voted to hold the convention in Milwaukee. But Swope and Republican leaders in the state are hoping they can persuade the Metro Council to enter the fray with a final vote pending.

Swope, the only Republican on the council — which is officially a nonpartisan body — is also the sole sponsor of the RNC ordinance, which would establish a security deal and provide about $50 million in federal funding to pay for overtime. the policy and related costs. Other expenses are to be covered by a host committee, which is trying to raise up to $65 million, including $25 million approved by the Legislative Assembly for the event.

Swope said he wasn’t sure if the mayor’s office supported a decision on the impact fee. He also declined to discuss whether council members were being pressured, although he said no “paid person” was involved in pressuring council members to vote for them. the order of the RNC.

Councilman Bob Mendes predicted that any measure Swope backed would fail.

“I think it’s a figment of council member Swope’s imagination,” Mendes said Wednesday.

He questioned whether the mayor’s office had negotiated a decision on impact fees and wondered if anyone at the state level had come up with such legislation. He noted that the board never seriously discussed impact fees, which would lead to higher costs for developers and customers at a time when the board is trying to increase supply and reduce costs.

Axios Nashville quoted House Majority Leader William Lamberth as saying the impact fee legislation would not be related to the RNC issue.

A spokesman for House Speaker Cameron Sexton said he does not “negotiate, raise taxes or provide money to Metro Council members for pork projects in return for a positive vote”.

“They may or may not support the resolution supporting the RNC’s desire to have Nashville as the convention host site. It’s still not too late for Metro to do the right thing. If they want to raise taxes for their residents, that’s a vote Council has to take. Plus, they have a team of lobbyists in the General Assembly representing their interests,” spokesman Doug Kufner said on behalf of Sexton.

A spokesman for Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said Wednesday he had heard the topics discussed but had not seen any of the subway resolutions.

State Representative Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

“An invoice allowing Metro to assess an impact charge would be a local invoice. If and when the Davidson County delegation introduces such a bill, they will consider it as they would any other local bill,” spokesman Adam Kleinheider said.

In contrast, State Rep. Darren Jernigan, a former Metro Nashville City Council member, called the deal a “good deal.”

He tried to pass impact fee legislation in 2020, but faced opposition from Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the House State and Local Government Committee, including some who have impact fees in their county of origin. According to his bill, impact fees would have generated $110 million a year to cover infrastructure costs such as Nashville’s subway sidewalks.

“It’s for smart growth,” Jernigan said.

Jernigan’s legislation exempted affordable housing and nonprofit agencies from impact fees.

Democrat Old Hickory said he spoke to some council members on Wednesday and told them he thought the Republican National Convention could be a game-changer for Nashville. Jernigan noted that he understands the opposition to holding the RNC here, as the Legislative Assembly brought in new congressional districts to make it difficult to elect a Democrat, forced private school vouchers into the law and changed the state’s K-12 education funding formula, among other attacks on Davidson County. .

But he pointed out that Metro Nashville could earn $200 million.

“The economic impact on our city is really hard to ignore,” he said.

State Representative Sam Whitson, a Franklin Republican who grew up in Nashville, also encourages Metro Council members to support the RNC ordinance.

“That could be a big plus and help bridge the gap between Nashville and the General Assembly,” Whitson said Wednesday.