Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Council may finalize budget next week

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer • June 10, 2008 The Metro Council may approve Nashville's 2008-09 operating budget on June 17, a week ahead of schedule, the council's budget chairman said today. The council has been planning to take its third and final vote June 24, with the $1.576 billion budget taking effect July 1. But Erik Cole, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, said there's no point in waiting an extra week if the council is ready before then. He said no decision has been made yet. Cole said the council might still try to find more money for the Metro Transit Authority, which is planning to cut seven bus routes and raise fares by 25 cents to help make up a $2.9 million budget gap. But doing so could add to the pain for other agencies that are already scheduled to see their funding reduced. "If there's a single priority that kind of cuts across the board, it's MTA," Cole said. "But there's not a lot of room." It would take more than $1.5 million to restore all seven bus routes, according to MTA calculations.

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