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VOL. 128 | NO. 183 | Thursday, September 19, 2013

Daily Digest

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Union Avenue Parking Lot Sells for $1.4 Million

The 186-space parking lot at 235 Union Ave., next to the former Greyhound Bus Station and across from AutoZone Park, has sold for $1.4 million.

Nitinkumar Patel of Knoxville bought the 1.2-acre parking lot, which is operated by Central Parking, in a Sept. 11 warranty deed from 235 Partners, a general partnership composed of Laurence Bloch and Joseph F. Canepari Jr.

The parcel is at the southwest corner of Union and South Fourth Street; its 2013 appraisal is $747,200, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

In conjunction with the purchase, Patel filed a $1.1 million loan through First Citizens National Bank.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Daily News staff

School Board Votes Down Charter Schools Moratorium

Countywide school board members voted down a resolution Tuesday, Sept. 17, by board member David Pickler to call for a moratorium on the approval of any new charter schools statewide until the 2016-2017 school year. Pickler cited the financial impact of charter schools on the school system, as well as legislative proposals pending in the Tennessee Legislature that would allow even more charter schools, some requiring only state approval with no local school board approval.

The resolution also would have questioned the constitutionality of the state’s current law, which has no limits on the number of charter schools that the state can have with local school board approval.

Pickler argued it was a necessary statement, but other board members were opposed to a moratorium or joining in any kind of lawsuit over the existing charter schools law.

In other action, the board welcomed its newest member, Shante Avant, who the Shelby County Commission appointed earlier this month to fill the vacancy in District 6. Avant took the oath of office before the school board meeting, its first in the auditorium at the Board of Education building, where the Memphis City Schools board used to meet.

Board members also elected Kevin Woods as the board’s new chairman and Chris Caldwell as vice chairman. Both assume their duties with the next school board meeting in October.

– Bill Dries

Council Reappoints Bright to Head EDGE

The Memphis City Council has approved the reappointment of Al Bright Jr. as chairman of the Economic Development Growth Engine. The Shelby County Commission had previously approved Bright’s reappointment by Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

In committee sessions Tuesday, Sept. 17, council member Harold Collins said his proposal to decrease the percentage of city property tax abatements awarded by the EDGE board via payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements – or PILOTs – from 90 percent to 75 percent would be back before the council in December.

Collins said he is working on details of a final draft as he hears from business leaders and others on the impact. The 75 percent figure is the percentage used in the abatement of Shelby County property taxes.

There was no discussion Tuesday of the still-pending proposal to set the city’s monthly solid waste fee at $25.05 and kick off a phased-in plan over several years to fundamentally change city sanitation services and provide a monthly retirement supplement up to $1,000 for sanitation workers.

The ordinance to raise the solid waste fee was approved on the second of three readings Tuesday with no discussion, and third and final reading set for the council’s Oct. 1 session.

In other action, the council approved three radio transmission towers at Omar Robinson Road and Holmes Street for Flinn Broadcasting Inc. Council member Shea Flinn, who works for the broadcasting company, recused himself from the vote.

The council also approved a $60,000 appropriation for repair work at the Gaston Community Center in South Memphis.

– Bill Dries

Fed Downgrades Outlook for US Economy

The Federal Reserve has a more downbeat outlook on the U.S. economy for 2013 and 2014 than it did three months ago.

The Fed predicts that the economy will grow just 2 percent to 2.3 percent this year, down from its previous forecast in June of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent growth.

Next year’s economic growth will be a barely healthy 3 percent, the Fed predicts.

But the Fed’s policymakers expect the unemployment rate to fall to 7.1 percent to 7.3 percent by the end of 2013, slightly below its June forecast of 7.2 percent to 7.3 percent. It predicts that unemployment will fall as low as 6.4 percent next year, down from 6.5 percent in its June forecast.

The unemployment rate is now 7.3 percent.

– The Associated Press

CEOs Less Optimistic About US Economy

U.S. chief executives are less optimistic about the economy, according to a survey released Wednesday. The survey also indicates that disagreements over the 2014 budget and raising the debt ceiling in Washington are making them cautious about hiring.

The Business Roundtable said that its quarterly index, which measures the economic outlook of CEOs from the largest U.S. companies, fell to 79.1 in the third quarter from 84.3 in the previous quarter. Any reading above 50 suggests expansion.

The group said that 50 percent of the CEOs surveyed said the stalemate in Washington is having a negative impact on their plans for hiring additional employees over the next six months.

Of the CEOs surveyed, 32 percent said that they expect to increase hiring in the next six months. That’s unchanged from the survey in the previous quarter. Forty-four percent said that there will be no change in their hiring plans, up from 42 percent in the second quarter. And 24 percent said that they expect to decrease hiring, down from 26 percent in the previous quarter.

– The Associated Press

Tennessee Tourism Leaders Release Strategic Plan

Tourism leaders from around Tennessee are hoping a new strategic plan will attract more visitors to the state and turn it into one of the nation’s top 10 travel destinations.

The Tennessean reports the plan, which was to be released Wednesday, was put together by the Tennessee Tourism Committee, which was formed by Gov. Bill Haslam shortly after he took office in 2011.

Some recommendations in the plan include establishing a Tennessee-specific brand for tourism attractions, developing a market plan that focuses on key markets and encourages longer stays, putting together a network of festivals and events that focus on music and targeting the youth sports market.

– The Associated Press

Obama Asks CEOs to Help Ease Budget Fight With GOP

President Barack Obama, facing a budget showdown with Congress, called on some of the nation’s top corporate executives Wednesday to use their influence with Congress to avoid a potentially damaging confrontation over the nation’s debt ceiling.

Obama reiterated his vow not to negotiate with Republicans over raising the borrowing limit, which the government is about to hit as early as next month. And he blamed “a faction” of the GOP that he said is trying to eliminate his health care law by threatening a government shutdown or a default on the debt.

“We’re not going to set up a situation where the full faith and credit of the United States is put on the table every year or every year and a half and we go through some sort of terrifying financial brinksmanship because of some ideological arguments that people are having about some particular issue of the day,” Obama told members of the Business Roundtable.

He argued that the modest economic recovery would be hurt if Republican lawmakers can’t work with Democrats to pass a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 81 217 5,290
MORTGAGES 94 276 6,985
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 22 72 1,628
BUILDING PERMITS 384 712 12,691
BANKRUPTCIES 66 241 5,541
BUSINESS LICENSES 27 85 2,146
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 52 234 7,292
MARRIAGE LICENSES 10 53 1,511

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