Strickland and Conrad Pitch South Cordova DeAnnexation

By Bill Dries

Memphis City Council members Jim Strickland and Kemp Conrad want the city to consider the deannexation of the South Cordova area taken in by the city of Memphis earlier this month.

They made the proposal during a Tuesday, July 17, morning council committee session at which the council considered amending the city’s current operating budget to fund services in the area of approximately 4,900 households.

The full council could vote on the idea at its Aug. 7 meeting.

The city’s finance division estimates the city would bring in $4.4 million of city revenue from the area with expenses to provide city services in the area pegged at $3.7 million.

Strickland, who is chairman of the budget committee, that heard the report Tuesday has advocated in the past for referendum approval of annexations by residents of the areas to be taken in by the city.

Strickland argued for such a requirement as a member of the Metro Charter Commission that drafted a consolidation charter in 2010 rejected by voters.

The council approved the annexation of South Cordova in 2001. Two lawsuits followed delaying the annexation until this past May when the last of the two was dismissed.

The short notice of the annexation which became effective July 1 led to a stormy meeting at Bert Ferguson Community Center last week between upset residents and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and City Council member Bill Boyd.

After the meeting, Wharton said he is exploring state legislation that would give residents of the area some relief from paying city property taxes in approximately two months. Officials with the state board of equalization have already told Wharton the city cannot set a different due date for property taxes for the area. The legislation would involve some kind of grace period.