March – can you believe it? It feels like I ran right past the first of the year, and things are moving quickly everywhere I look. Wasn’t it just days ago we were making a New Year’s resolution, and now we are here giving something up for lent.

As a commissioner, it also means:

  • The May 2nd election is getting close, and I am asking for your vote.
  • As I reflect on my first term, it is more clear than ever how important your feedback and perspectives are as we work on where we go over the next 4 to 8 years. Please take a minute to share your thoughts with me.
  • This is the time of year we work on our City of Brentwood Budget. It is the most important thing we do as a commission, and your input on how we prioritize our spending decisions is huge.

As always, your perspective and feedback is important to me, and you can reach me at either if it’s not “on fire” and 615-917-1384 (voice or text) if it is.

Sincere thanks to friends who contribute to the process of creating this newsletter.


Mountain Biking is coming to Smith Park

  • At our February 27th meeting, the Bentwood City Commission unanimously approved two resolutions to create a partnership with the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, Middle Tennessee Chapter (SORBA Mid-TN SORBA Mid-TN), and work with them to create a dedicated mountain biking trail system in Marcella Vivrette Smith Park.
  • We are developing a timeline and hope to have it all fully operational by Fall 2024.
  • You can learn more at the Williamson Herald.
  • If you would like to get involved either through volunteering to help build the trail or to support the project financially, you can connect to them here.

Indoor Tennis in the City of Brentwood

  • The Maryland Farms YMCA is closing May 2023 as construction at the newly renovated Brentwood Family YMCA on Concord Road finishes.
  • When the Maryland Farms YMCA closes, 7 indoor tennis courts go off-line, not including tennis “under the bubble”. Getting indoor time in Brentwood is already a challenge and losing these courts is painful for the Tennis community.
  • Over the past 18 months or so, the City of Brentwood, Williamson County Parks and Recreation, and the Tennis Community have worked to see if there is a way to approach this as a collaborative effort. The full range of options appears to be:
    • Agree that losing indoor courts is unfortunate, but do not replace the private YMCA tennis program with a tax-supported public facility.
    • Put together a joint venture with the City of Brentwood and Williamson County Parks & Recreation partnering to leverage location, management skills, experience, and to split costs and create a tennis/pickleball facility near Crockett Park. This would be about a $6m expense to Brentwood with Williamson County contributing a like amount. Brentwood residents could possibly have priority access, location would be convenient for many, and working with the county would both deepen the talent pool as well as add “checks and balances” to the process and long-term management.
    • Brentwood could “go it alone” and create a tennis/pickleball facility at Crockett Park built, staffed, and controlled by the City of Brentwood. This approach would be about twice the cost to Brentwood (an estimated $12 million), would give Brentwood complete control, and would require Brentwood to develop new expertise in managing a racquet club efficiently. The attraction seems to be flexibility in running the facility more like a private club and the possibility of making money for the City of Brentwood.
  • Youth tennis, educational programs, open court time, clinics, and tournaments are all considerations in the discussion.
  • Racquetball was initially part of this discussion but was later dropped at the request of some Brentwood commissioners. Adding racquetball courts would increase the capability of the facility but add cost to the project.
  • The location under consideration is just south of the Indoor Soccer facility near Crockett Park, and is the same location also under consideration for a second inclusive playground (it likely cannot be used for both).
  • You can find some of the preliminary public conversation at our City Commission Briefing on February 23rd, and should continue at our next briefing 9am March 9th at City Hall. The video from the Feb 23rd briefing is here and the tennis discussion starts about 51 minutes in.

Focus: Putting Tax Dollars to Work

This is the time of year when the Brentwood City Commission looks ahead at the needs of our community and works to spend money wisely. We have been able to go over 30 years since our last tax rate increase, and a good part of this is carefully picking on what we spend money.

I heard former Governor Haslam make the comment that doing the budget is not as easy as crossing out the bad ideas and circling all the good ones – it is choosing which good ideas to fund and which good ideas you agree are good ideas but don’t fund. It would be incredible to have enough money to pay for every good idea, but you cannot do it and have a balanced budget.

Starting out, it is important to review where our resources come from and protect them carefully.

  • 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, hotel/motel tax or beer/liquor tax.
  • While we benefit from sales tax generated through online purchases, most is generated by large retail stores like Costco, grocery stores, restaurants and automotive operations.
  • 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 our tax base and consistently develop cost-effective partnerships. As we build out the city and urban growth boundary, this will become more of a challenge and increasingly important.
  • As you have likely heard, there is a conversation about changing workplace preferences and the office experience workers prefer. As the market for commercial buildings evolves, it is important for us to work to keep Brentwood a desirable place for companies to locate.

What are the broad categories where we spend money?

  • The City of Brentwood is a labor-intensive operation, and personnel is our largest single category of expenses. It is also one of our biggest challenges as we continue to work to provide the competitive wages, work environment, and the opportunities it takes to attract and retain a top-quality workforce. We are currently conducting a compensation analysis to help with this.
  • 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 (Police/Emergency Communications/Fire & Rescue/Safety Center East) 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.

Capital Outlay — investing in long-term Capital projects

  • 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.
  • If we add a multi-million dollar project, such as a new racquet sports center, we will need to figure out where the money comes from, and if it requires us to delay something else or add debt to the city through a bond issue.

If you would like to see the current planned road projects and when they are likely to happen, this chart may be useful:

  • You probably notice immediately that some large roads that need attention do not appear here — Franklin Road and Wilson Pike most notably. This is because they are state roads, not city roads, so we don’t control their maintenance.
  • With that said, we do work closely with TDOT to encourage good road maintenance for all the streets in Brentwood.

Water, Sewer, and Storm Drainage

  • 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.
  • This chart can help you see what upgrades and improvements are coming up, and when they are likely to happen:
  • 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.

As we move forward with this process, I’d appreciate your feedback, by letting me know you think we are on the right track or if you have input on where we can make improvements, whether it is funding allocations, timing, or items not yet addressed. You can reach me at either or call 615-917-1384 (voice or text).

Commissioner Nelson Andrews

Thank you again for your feedback and support. I enjoy my work on Brentwood City Commission and look forward to continuing to represent the Citizens of Brentwood.

Doing the newsletter and keeping everything posted online does cost money, and if you would like to help with financial support, you can do so by check, PayPal, or Venmo:

  • Checks payable to: Elect Nelson Andrews — mail to: PO Box 427, Brentwood TN 37024
  • PayPal:
  • Venmo: @Nelson-Andrews or

I’m working to keep Brentwood Safe, Clean and Beautiful, and appreciate your encouragement and support!

Nelson Andrews

Vice Mayor, City of Brentwood

From Brentwood, For Brentwood

Commissioner Nelson Andrews Homepage

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