I hope this finds you well and having a great start on your summer! This time of year we do Brentwood’s budget, and I spend a lot of time thinking about how we consistently deliver important services in addition to things we love such as parks and our beloved library. In addition to daily operations, we are called to think through challenges such as:
- Addressing congestion on our roads
- Managing the increase in severity of storms and accompanying damage
- Keeping our neighborhoods vibrant and desirable
- Keeping our business district healthy in the evolving post-COVID market
- Connecting our city in terms of walkability and cyclability
Brentwood’s City Budget addresses both daily operations and long-term investments. Our budget document is more than 300 pages, the Capital Improvement Program another 165, so I’ll try to hit some highlights here and point to where you can find the detail if you would like to dig in.
If you are thinking “we elected you to do the math so I don’t have to”, that is perfectly fine. You can stop here knowing that I really like this part of the job and am working to do it well on your behalf.
If, on the other hand, you find this all as interesting as I do, read on, and please share your thoughts and comments with me. We are lucky to have a lot of very astute people in our community, and I truly value your experience and insight.
Your perspective and feedback are valuable and I’m in the business of being easy to contact. Just use Nelson.Andrews@BrentwoodTN.gov if it’s not “on fire” and 615-917-1384 (voice or text) if it is.
Sincere thanks to friends who contribute the process of creating this newsletter. Keeping people informed is vital to good governance, and “it takes a village.” I link to source material whenever possible and welcome your questions or suggestions.
Bike Walk Brentwood has preliminary designs for Mountain Biking in Marcella Vivrette Smith Park and is raising money towards construction.
Bike Walk Brentwood has made significant progress towards a planned $100,000 mountain bike trail at the rear of Marcella Vivrette Smith Park.
- Designers from Rock Solid Trail Contracting of Bentonville, Arkansas, spent four days surveying the 50-acre property to design the 6-mile trail.
- In March, Bike Walk Brentwood and Citizens for Brentwood Green Space attended our City Commission Meeting and announced their fundraising partnership.
- If you, your family and/or company are enthusiastic about this project, I’d like to encourage you to reach out to them at here and get involved.
- Additional coverage can be found on Community Impact.
The John P. Holt Brentwood Library is hosting its first-ever Summer Reading Kickoff Event, “Splash Into Summer”
Join us Friday, June 3rd at 4:00 pm in the library parking lot.
- There will be carnival-style games until 6:00 pm plus food trucks, and other fun activities.
- This event is a great time to sign up for a library card, learn about our upcoming summer reading programs, and meet the Friends of the Brentwood Library.
- The John P. Holt Brentwood Library is located at 8109 Concord Road, and this program is funded by the Friends of the Brentwood Library.
Follow-up on Previous News
- Rezoning the location of the oldest building in Maryland Farms from C1 to C2 to help the site better fit the needs of our community has passed first reading by the Brentwood City Commission. The project now goes before the planning commission and to a community meeting before second reading at City Commission on June 27.
- Stormwater Management – We are both improving our stormwater codes to better account for the impact of new projects and redevelopment and undertaking a comprehensive study to improve stormwater control city-wide. Field work has begun for a comprehensive watershed analysis, and the maintenance needs get loaded into our Geographic Information System (GIS) database as we identify them.
- Stormwater Flow Equalization Tank — construction of this facility is going well, and when it is completed this November, rainwater infiltration during severe storms will be captured in this tank to prevent overflows as the pump station catches up.
- Turf fields at Crockett Park are well under way. If you are in the park near the baseball fields you will notice the construction, and the project is on track for completion this summer.
- Our Miles Together Inclusive Playground at Granny White Park is making good progress and we are looking forward to it opening mid-August.
- Brentwood’s Summer Concert Series at Crockett Park is starting Sunday June 5th! Be sure to come out and enjoy this long-running Brentwood Tradition!
- Our full City of Brentwood Calendar is available online.
- Summer Events include:
- June 5 – Start of the Summer Concert Series with Monsters of Yacht
- June 12 – Concert Series with BA Singers and Nashville Symphony
- June 19 – Concert Series with The Bicho Brothers
- July 4 — Concert Series with Smoking Section and Fireworks
- July 23 — Brentfest!
- 5pm – Various Food trucks, beer garden, and Kids Fun Zone Opens
- 6pm – Cruizin Keys Dueling Pianos
- 7pm – Rubiks Groove
This Month’s Focus: City Budget & Projects Overview
One of the most important things we do as a commission is to make sure our City of Brentwood is financially stable and investing your tax dollars in ways that support and improve our quality of life over the long-term.
The budget document for 2022-2023 (we run on a July to June fiscal year) is 312 pages long, and a full copy can be found online here.
Revenues — where our money comes from
- Something to keep in mind is the importance of our commercial districts. While commercial land is less than 7% of our total acreage it contributes more than 60% of our tax revenues. This is because businesses pay property tax at a higher rate as well as generate sales tax and sometimes hotel/motel tax or beer/liquor tax.
- Brentwood has been able to go more than 30 years without making a change to the property tax rate. This is in part because we have been able to consistently grow the tax base. As we build out the city and urban growth boundary, this will become more of a challenge.
- As you have likely heard, there is a lot discussion about changing workplace preferences and the kind of office experience that is desirable. As the market for commercial buildings evolves, it is important for us to work to keep Brentwood a desirable place for companies to locate.
Expenditures — where our money goes
- The City of Brentwood is a labor-intensive operation, and personnel is our largest single category of expenses.
- While debt service is not a huge part of our budget, low interest rates over the past 10 years have made having municipal bonds a desirable part of our city’s financial structure. While I am certainly a huge proponent of fiscal responsibility and living within our means, debt is an important tool in certain cases, such as with our police headquarters or large roadbuilding projects. Our AAA bond rating lets Brentwood borrow at a very competitive rate.
- As you can see above, public safety is the largest area of focus, but no single department makes up 25% or more of the budget.
- Our departmental spend is remaining stable as a proportion of the total budget.
Investing in our Community — long-term Capital projects
- Our team keeps a close eye on what money we expect to have for investment in big projects, and we use bond issues at times to augment our capital structure. Over the next 6 years, we expect to spend $158 million to make improvements within our city, and of this, $19 million (about 12%) will come from issuing bonds (government debt).
- Transportation is the single largest area of investment, followed by utilities (water & sewer), general facilities & equipment, then storm drainage.
Concern: Congestion, roads, and improving Brentwood’s walkability and cyclability
- Our largest single category of capital expenditures is aimed at improving our transportation system, with a focus on our city streets.
- We have over $4 million targeted to improve the ability for people to walk or ride bikes rather than drive.
- A looming issue we have yet to resolve is what to do on Old Smyrna Road — a beloved, historic east-west corridor that is also very narrow and seeing more and more traffic.
Concern: The quality and capacity of our water and sewer service.
- Brentwood has a long-standing master plan and investment strategy to make sure that our water and sewer utilities support both our residential and business community now and in the future.
- It is sized to meet the current and future needs of the city, including future annexations of land in our urban growth boundary.
- In addition to our own professional staff, we have reviewed the water and sewer master plan with outside engineers and TDEC to be sure we are on track.
Concern: The increase in severity of storm damage and maintenance on our storm water control systems
- Brentwood recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary, but it is also a reminder to be sure we are reviewing our older systems — storm water in particular — to make sure they are performing.
- We have also seen an increase in the frequency of intense storms, which has caused damage in some of our older neighborhoods in particular.
- Because stormwater always has to go somewhere, we have to be careful that making a change in one area does not create another problem down stream. Unintended consequences are common.
- Given all this, we have added over $8 million over the next 6 years for a comprehensive storm drainage improvement program.
There much more to talk about, but I think these high points are particularly important right now as we navigate the next several years.
All of these elements interact as we work to keep Brentwood a great place to work, live, and raise a family. In addition to what we are doing at the City of Brentwood level, we have others investing in our community including:
- Williamson County Schools investing in a replacement facility for Brentwood Middle School as well as improvements to other schools around Brentwood.
- We have many third-party organizations including the YMCA, Brentwood Ball Club, Bike Walk Brentwood, Brentwood Rotary, The Miles for Miles Foundation, Friends of the Library, and many others who are making significant investments to improve our community.
While we face challenges, we are in good financial shape and are trying to get the most from our tax dollars as we work for the Citizens of Brentwood.
As always, your perspective and comments are very important to me, and I want to encourage you to contact me at either Nelson.Andrews@BrentwoodTN.gov if it’s not “on fire” and 615-917-1384 (voice or text) if it is.
I hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend and have plans for an enjoyable summer.
- Full City of Brentwood Calendar
- Interactive City of Brentwood Maps, including zoning, parks, utility district, land records, and Historic Places
- City of Brentwood Commission Home page, including contact information, meeting schedule, and videos of past meetings
- City of Brentwood Planning Commission Home page, including contact information, meeting schedule, and videos of past meetings:
- City of Brentwood Water and Sewer projects, master plan and other information
- Full contact information for your Federal, State, County, and local elected officials
- Complete list and links to download Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports for the City of Brentwood back to 2006
- Complete list and links to download Capital Improvement Plans for the City of Brentwood back to 2014
City of Brentwood
“From Brentwood, For Brentwood”