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VOL. 126 | NO. 173 | Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Council Could Consider Schools Settlement

By Bill Dries

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Memphis City Council members take up the schools consolidation lawsuit settlement at their Tuesday, Sept. 6 sessions.

The meeting at City Hall, 125 N. Main St., begins at 3:30 p.m.

The settlement will be discussed during a 2 p.m. council executive session and could be added to the agenda for the full council session.

Council approval of the settlement would be the final vote needed to make the settlement a consent decree and enforceable. The settlement includes the seating of a countywide school board effective Oct. 1. If the council does not vote on the settlement at Tuesday’s meeting it has one more meeting on Sept. 20 before the Oct. 1 deadline.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is third and final reading of a city referendum ordinance proposed by council member Kemp Conrad.

The ordinance would require a two-thirds vote by the council – or nine of the 13 council members – to approve a city property tax hike that is a higher percentage than the rate of inflation. The proposed change in the city charter would go to Memphis voters on the Nov. 8, 2012 ballot, which will be topped with the presidential general election.

The council will also vote on third and final reading of a zoning ordinance to change property of the south side of Monroe Avenue east of Florence Street in the Overton Square area from residential to commercial mixed use.

Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration’s proposal to establish a minimum age for retirement from the city is up for the second of three readings.

There is now no minimum retirement age to receive full benefits after 25 years of service. The ordinance would set a minimum age of 65 for most city employees. Commissioned police officers and firefighters would have a minimum retirement age of 55.

That and several other proposed changes affect city employees hired as of Oct. 1 and those city employees who are not vested.

The other changes as of first reading last month included a change for general – or non-public safety – employees in the formula for their retirement benefit. It would change to be an average of the five consecutive years in which they had their highest pay. That replaces the option of using the last 12 months of employment. Fire and police benefits would be based on their last three years on the job.

And line of duty disability terms would change to permit an injured employee to be reassigned to a comparable city job and comparable pay if the employee can perform those new duties.

A city employee who retires on disability would go to a regular benefit when they turn 65.

Surviving spouses who receive a death benefit would lose the ability to reclaim pension benefits if they remarry or divorce.

The administration’s goal is to have the changes approved by the council and in place as of Oct. 1.

Other items on the agenda include approval of a Dollar General Store to be built in Nutbush on the northeast corner of Jackson and Fairoaks avenues as well as setting a Sept. 20 date for a proposal to close the section of North Parkway between Third Street and A. W. Willis Avenue, which runs through the campus of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

PROPERTY SALES 63 441 6,018
MORTGAGES 72 450 6,721
BANKRUPTCIES 0 1,045 4,093