Budget Demands & Call to Action!

Nashville’s Metro Council will vote on a new operating budget on June 20, 2023.

Our demands for the budget

1. No new funds for MNPD ($16 million proposed)

2. Dedicate that $16 million to a citywide Participatory Budgeting (PB) process for 2024

3. Give full control of the PB process to a department independent from the Mayor’s Office, such as the Metro Human Relations Commission


Call to Action

(1) Endorse our demands as an individual and/or as an organization.

(2) Join us to testify at the annual Budget Hearing on June 6, at 6:30 pm, City Hall to tell Council how fulfilling these demands will improve your life! (Gather outside council chambers at 6:00 pm.) Register here to let us know you’re coming!


Here are 5 reasons why we’re demanding no new funds for MNPD and $16 million for Participatory Budgeting

1. MNPD “calls for service” plummet year after year, yet MNPD funding continues to skyrocket. 

Nashvillians interact with police less than half as much as they did in 2016. Approximately 80% of all calls in 2022 were for non-criminal matters, while only 5% of all calls were for explicitly violent situations. Property offenses, which are direct manifestations of wealth inequality, accounted for 20% of all calls.

2. MNPD produces fewer tangible public safety outcomes every year, yet MNPD funding continues to skyrocket.

Police respond after a crime has already taken place. At least 75% of all calls for service in 2022 resulted in no tangible public safety outcome whatsoever. Only 2% of all calls for service resulted in citation or arrest.

3. MNPD currently has 137 funded and unfilled positions, totaling at least $13 million in excess funds.

Forty new officers are slated to join MNPD by August, but many positions will remain unfilled. The ongoing trend of officers resigning also promises to continue. Meanwhile, other departments providing crucial, life-sustaining goods and services are asked to make sacrifices year after year.

4. MNPD has received a total of $42 million in new funds over the last three years—more money than they can even use.

Even with an abundance of perpetually unfilled positions, plummeting calls for service, and diminishing returns on our “public safety” investment, MNPD receives millions in new funds each budget cycle, and millions more through supplemental allocations between budget cycles.

5. When well-executed, Participatory budgeting is a radically democratic way to reclaim public funds to make safe & thriving communities.

Metro’s current participatory budgeting (PB) process suffers from inadequate funding, inaccessibility, & burdensome control by the mayor. Control of the PB process must be transferred from the mayor to an independent, equity-focused department such as the Metro Human Relations Commission.

If you agree, (1) endorse our demands & (2) let us know you plan to testify at the budget hearing on June 6! 


If you plan to testify on June 6, please be sure to:

(1) lift up our demands & narrate in personal detail how meeting these demands will positively impact your life & your community

(2) write out & practice your remarks in advance as you will have only 2 min to speak.

The safest communities are not the ones with the most police but the ones with abundant public goods and resources.

Black, Indigenous, working class, and unhoused Nashvillians have been left behind for far too long. It’s past time to build a Nashville for all of us!

The Fight Continues. And We Will Win.

On Tuesday night, Metro Council celebrated loads of cash for cops and a few crumbs for our communities with a standing ovation. 

Yes, the substitute budget that council passed makes important investments in education, including teacher and support staff pay, and minuscule investments in affordable housing, transit, and violence interruption. These items were only included in the budget at all because we have joined impacted community members in amplifying the desperate need for increased funding for these resources for years. 

But nearly 3,000 Nashville residents living in all council districts and zip codes have already told us that this is not even close to enough! The budget we deserve and demand is a budget that meets our communities’ needs by fully funding the public goods that enable us all to thrive. 

Instead, we have a budget that maintains the violent status quo by devoting millions more to cops and cages while our communities suffer from crises of poverty, displacement, and violence that cops and cages by definition cannot fix, and often make worse. 

It does not have to be this way.

And that is why we stood in solidarity with illegally evicted renters and brought Tuesday’s council meeting to a grinding halt. Fed up with council’s swift rejection of the only amendment that would have divested from police and invested in our young people, its disregard of the voices of thousands of constituents calling for serious change, and its self-congratulation for maintaining the violent status quo, we were left with no choice but to disrupt business as usual. 

While some are painting our disruption as disrespect, we know it was actually the closest thing to democracy that happened Tuesday night. When the budget process does not include historically excluded residents in any meaningful way, we have no choice but to involve ourselves, whether the process allows it or not. As a result, renters and members of our coalition have the attention of the city, and we will continue to force the life or death issues our people are facing until change comes.

City leaders may be relieved that they pushed through millions more for cops and cages and a few crumbs to satiate us. But it will not be possible to ignore the growing chorus of thousands of Nashvillians for much longer. Years of organizing to disrupt the violent status quo in Nashville has shown us that history is on the side of people fighting tooth and nail to survive systems that do not serve and protect us, and to build new systems in their place.

The fight continues. And we will win. 

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