Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has been holding the police department over a barrel for the last few weeks. He says officers will lose their jobs if the Metro Council doesn’t pass his tax increase Tuesday night. And the police chief has accepted the possible outcome.
In pitching his 53-cent tax hike, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has described the good it could do for schools, with additional pay for teachers and a list of renovation projects. Metro Police has been the whipping boy.
It’s a complicated bit of accounting to arrive at the 214 police officers who could lose their jobs if the tax increase fails. Fifty of them are part of a stimulus grant that expired, and if they’re laid off the city has to pay back the money it got in the first place, triggering another round of layoffs.
Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson says the effects would be felt across the city.
“There would just be areas of the police department we’d have to shut down. We very well may have to shut down one of the precincts.”
Asked if its “fair” to be used as a political pawn, Anderson says “nothing in life is fair.” But he says others have suffered over the last few years in order to fully fund police.
“Other departments have been cut over the last three to five years, basically to ensure public safety stays in tact.”
Council members critical of the mayor’s budget plan say he should find the savings elsewhere if the tax increase fails.