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VOL. 130 | NO. 77 | Tuesday, April 21, 2015

City Hall Budget Season Begins

By Bill Dries

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Memphis Mayor A C Wharton takes an operating budget proposal of more than $622 million to the Memphis City Council Tuesday, April 21.

The proposed budget will be larger than the current fiscal year’s budget, reflecting Wharton’s belief that the city has enough of its fiscal crisis behind it at this point to slowly begin reinvesting in areas such as public safety and street paving.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. will propose an operating budget of more than $622 million to the Memphis City Council Tuesday. 

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

As expected, Wharton will not be seeking a property tax hike in this election year.

Hearings before the council’s budget committee run May 5-26, with a review of the capital budget proposal April 28-29.

The council meets Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St., and Wharton’s budget address is the first item on the agenda.

Follow the council meeting as well as updates from committee sessions earlier in the day on Twitter at @tdnpols.

Council members will get their first look during a 1:45 p.m. executive session at details of a tentative deal for the city to buy the Donnelley J. Hill State Office Building from Tennessee government for $1.5 million.

The administration wants to move the Memphis Police Department, the Memphis Housing Authority and the city’s Housing and Community Development Division to the building on Civic Center Plaza.

HCD director Robert Lipscomb will brief the council on the deal, which would pay the state $150,000 in each of the first two years of the transaction and the $1.2 million balance in the third year.

Council members had a lot of questions two weeks ago as Police Director Toney Armstrong talked of moving in.

Armstrong also plans to move 150 police officers from the South Main Street precinct at Central Station to the Memphis Area Transit Authority’s North Terminal in September as the train station begins its redevelopment

Council members will discuss $1.3 million in funding during Tuesday’s executive session for the renovation of the North Terminal to handle police operations there.

The council is slated to vote Tuesday on the Whitehaven planned development that would move two of Elvis Presley’s jets off Graceland property to a lot at 3850 Elvis Presley Blvd., on the other side of the southern boundary of property owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises.

OKC Partnership, which owns the “Lisa Marie” and “Hound Dog 2,” has a contract with Elvis Presley Enterprises for their current display on the opposite side of Elvis Presley Boulevard from the gates of Graceland. But during contract renewal talks this year, EPE requested that OKC remove the jets from its property.

Also on the council’s agenda is the second of three readings of an ordinance establishing the Graceland Tourism Development Zone tourism surcharge – 5 percent added onto anything bought on the 120-acre Graceland campus. The surcharge is to pay the debt from the coming redevelopment of Graceland, including the $90 million, 450-room Guest House at Graceland resort hotel north of the mansion.

The council will also vote on Wharton’s 13 nominees to the newly created Beale Street Tourism Development Authority, which will oversee the next phase of the development of the entertainment district and hire a firm to take on day-to-day management of the district.

Back on the council’s agenda after numerous delays are ordinances that would overhaul taxi regulation and establish rules for Uber and Lyft ridesharing services in the city. Council member Kemp Conrad delayed the ordinances earlier this year in anticipation of the Tennessee General Assembly’s action on ridesharing legislation, which is still pending.

PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474