The Metro Council approved a $500,000 incentive grant to ABC's Nashville Tuesday night, finalizing the city's contribution to a $13 million package for the show, which begins its second season in two weeks.
The state's Department of Economic and Community Development has already approved a grant of up to $12.5 million for the show, and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. and the Event Marketing Fund will each contribute a cash grant of $125,000. The ECD grant is based on “qualified expenditures,” defined as “those incurred in the state for goods or services purchased from a Tennessee vendor or paid to a Tennessee resident in connection with the production.”
Metro officials say they expect the show to generate more than $40 million in local spending.
Before council members unanimously approved the incentives, At-Large Councilman Ronnie Steine said he didn't think the city could get a better bang for its buck. (He also threw out a spoiler of the show's season one cliffhanger, which we'll spare you.)
The council also approved a workforce development and diversity program that sets a goal of seeing 20 percent of the construction budgets on projects receiving economic incentives go to small businesses owned by women and minorities. The key word is "goal," as there is no requirement for companies to meet it.
The program would also have companies receiving incentives work with the workforce development program, which assess skills and provides training for local workers, and helps direct them toward available jobs.
As expected, the council indefinitely deferred a resolution from Councilman Steve Glover that called for a moratorium on new charter schools in Metro. Some Metro school board members have been making the case that the district is facing a large budget shortfall, and can't afford to keep adding the privately-run, publicly funded schools. Glover said he thought many people had misunderstood his resolution.
"I hate that there's been so much confusion," he said. "But we are at a crossroads. Right now we're at a crossroads, because money is not going to be endless."
The deferral isn't likely to tamp down debate about charter schools in Nashville. The council gallery was filled Tuesday night with charter school advocates, parents and students, even though Glover had said he would put off the resolution, which is non-binding. And there is apparently some disagreement regarding the $23 million deficit that has school board members like Will Pinkston sounding the alarm. Finance Director Rich Riebeling told The Tennessean's Joey Garrison last night that he doesn't know where the number's coming from.