VOL. 127 | NO. 49 | Monday, March 12, 2012
Commission Could Pass Redistricting
By Bill Dries
Shelby County Commissioners could pass a redistricting plan Monday, March 12, two months and two weeks after the deadline to complete the once-a-decade process.
On Monday’s agenda for the last of three readings is the ordinance that would keep the commission at 13 members but change the body from its current set of five districts to 13 single-member districts.
The plan needs a nine-vote, two-thirds majority to pass on final reading. The plan had nine votes when it passed on second reading three weeks ago.
In committee sessions last week there were some tweaks to the set of district lines that have to be reconfigured every decade to reflect population changes and shifts as recorded in the U.S. Census.
Also on the agenda is a resolution that puts the commission on record as opposing a countywide sales tax increase.
The resolution would clear an obstacle from the path of leaders of the county’s suburban cities and towns who are moving toward the formation of municipal school districts.
Those school districts, if approved by voters in a set of May 10 referendums, would be separate from the soon-to-be consolidated countywide school system.
Two of the five municipalities on the path to such school districts also have separate ballot questions on the Aug. 2 ballot to specifically approve a half-cent local option sales tax rate increase to fund municipal school districts.
Those tax hikes, which are critical to the municipal schools efforts, could be checked or made invalid if there was a countywide sales tax rate increase.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has already said he would not favor a countywide sales tax rate hike.
And the commission is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would abolish the Memphis and Shelby County Coliseum Board. The board appointed by the Memphis and Shelby County mayors oversaw the Mid-South Coliseum, which has been closed for years. The resolution on Monday’s agenda urges the Memphis City Council to take the same action.