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VOL. 128 | NO. 100 | Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Daily Digest

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Auto Garage Owner Files Loan on Property

The owner of the automobile service garage at 615 W. Poplar Ave. in Collierville has filed a $418,000 loan on the property.

Stanley H. Trezevant III, who lists a Germantown address, filed the deed of trust May 15 through Commercial Bank and Trust Co. of Memphis.

Built in 1949, the Class C facility sits on 2.3 acres along the south side of West Poplar, between the U.S. 72/Tenn. 57 split and Abbington Road.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal of the property was $842,800.

Trezevant bought the facility in 2003 for $1.2 million from Henri G. Fooks.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

American Queen Buys Boat for Northwest Cruises

Memphis-based American Queen Steamboat Co. announced on Tuesday, May 21, that it has bought a second cruise boat from the U.S. Maritime Administration.

“Empress of the North,” a U.S. flagged riverboat with five decks and room for 223 guests, will be renamed “American Empress.”

It will travel rivers of the Pacific Northwest starting in April 2014 with a homeport of Portland, Ore.

The boat was built in 2002 and operated by Majestic America from 2002 to 2008.

American Queen did not disclose a purchase price for the boat.

The company bought the American Queen, the largest steamboat in the world, from the maritime administration with financing from the city of Memphis and other investors for a refurbishment in which the American Queen called Memphis its homeport.

Memphis also became home to the newly formed company as well.

– Bill Dries

Whalum Election Dispute Heard by Armstrong

Shelby County Chancellor Kenny Armstrong heard on Tuesday, May 21, from all sides in a disputed countywide school board race from August 2012.

The trial took several hours in Shelby County Chancery Court with no ruling from Armstrong from the bench after he heard attorneys for school board member Kenneth Whalum Jr. make the case that the District 4 election results should be voided.

Whalum lost to Kevin Woods, another school board member, in the certified election results.

But all sides in the case including attorneys for Woods and the Shelby County Election Commission acknowledge some voters outside the district got ballots with the school board race on them and other voters who live in the district got a different school board race on their ballots.

At issue is whether the disputed votes are enough to change the margin of victory by Woods in the certified results and whether the problems were so widespread that the election results should be thrown out.

Armstrong gave no indication when he might rule.

– Bill Dries

Commission Approves AMR Ambulance Contract

Shelby County Commissioners approved Monday, May 20, a five-year $1.7 million contract with American Medical Response of Tennessee Inc. for emergency ambulance service in Shelby County outside Memphis.

AMR won the contract in a proposal that the county administration judged better than Rural Metro, which has had the contract for the last six years.

But Rural Metro executives contested the process used for the contract prompting a lengthy question-and-answer session with commissioners going over the details of the offers with leaders of both companies.

Both companies submitted alternate proposals for an option that would see Germantown opting out of the arrangement.

The dispute was over an option in which Germantown and Collierville opted out.

Neither company submitted a proposal specifically on that option. The administration instead looked at the cost each company estimated would be involved for including Collierville and calculated from there.

The commission also voted down Monday a resolution that would have repealed the living wage ordinance following passage of a state law earlier this year that bars local governments from setting such standards.

And the commission repealed an earlier ordinance that required contractors with county government to pay a certain amount of fringe or health benefits to those they employ on county jobs.

The commission also approved paying $152,255 in legal fees from its contingency fund to pay fees for the commission’s role in the ongoing federal lawsuit over schools consolidation and municipal school districts.

The commission had voted down a smaller amount in legal fees a month ago.

– Bill Dries

County Commission Approves Capital Improvements Budget

The Shelby County Commission also approved Monday a capital improvements plan budget of $29.9 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The biggest part of that amount – $13.6 million – is pay-as-you-go projects funded from county savings with another $10 million in CIP funding from the federal government.

The largest amount of the spending for the next fiscal year – $12.5 million – will be for roads and bridges with another $7.7 million for information technology.

The CIP budget is a five-year plan with the four out years being a plan that could change as the future fiscal years approach. The five-year budget approved Monday is $82.7 million.

Unlike the operating budget, the CIP budget is funded with one-time federal and state money as well as bond money paid back with interest over 20 years to 30 years.

County government established a pay-as-you-go fund for paying for such projects with money saved during the administration of A C Wharton Jr.

The policy has continued under County Mayor Mark Luttrell as the county continues to drop its debt from the CIP bonds below the $1.7 billion high point it reached in 2002.

Most of the debt is the result of schools construction for the city and county school systems.

– Bill Dries

Tennessee Employers Turn to Jobs-Related Tax Credit

Tennessee employers who took advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program hit a record high in potential federal income tax savings during the fiscal year that ended in September.

That’s according to Burns Phillips, acting commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

Last year the department issued 64,300 certifications for the tax credit to Tennessee employers, equating to a potential federal income tax savings of more than $232 million.

The WOTC program is available to any for-profit employer.

– Andy Meek

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108