VOL. 130 | NO. 198 | Monday, October 12, 2015
County Commission Weighs Apartment Conditions
By Bill Dries
After a tour last week of three apartment complexes owned by Global Ministries Foundation, Shelby County Commissioners vote Monday. Oct. 12, on a resolution that asks GMF to show what it is doing to improve conditions at Goodwill Village Apartments, Tulane Apartments and Warren Apartments.
Shelby County Commissioners vote Monday. Oct. 12, on a resolution that asks Global Ministries Foundation to show what it’s doing to improve conditions at Goodwill Village Apartments and two others.
(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)
For several hours last week, commissioners visited each complex, where they knocked on doors to talk with tenants about the conditions.
At the end of the tour, many commissioners expressed dissatisfaction with the progress GMF is making as inspectors with the city of Memphis and the federal Department of Housing and Community Development continue to assess the conditions.
GMF relies on federal HUD rent subsidies to operate the apartments, and also receives some Shelby County government funding. The commission is considering a resolution from Walter Bailey that would withhold the county funding if GMF doesn’t improve conditions.
The commission meets at 3 p.m. at the Vasco Smith Administration Building, 160 N. Main St. Follow @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, for live coverage of the meeting.
Also on the agenda Monday is a long-discussed move for the commission to hire its own attorney, an arrangement that would be similar to the one Memphis City Council members have.
The commission currently relies on the county attorney for all legal advice, but in the last budget season several commissioners said they wanted independent counsel.
County Attorney Ross Dyer has said that under the county charter he is the legal representative of both the mayor and the commission.
However, commission chairman Terry Roland has argued that because the county attorney is appointed by the mayor, whoever holds the position is unlikely to go against the mayor’s wishes in a dispute between the mayor and commission.
Shelby County commissioners visited Goodwill Village and other apartments, talking to tenants about conditions.
Dyer has said he doesn’t feel any pressure to side with the mayor in such disputes.
The commission also votes Monday on a resolution that would require any county contract greater than $50,000 to come to the commission for approval before the mayor can sign off on the agreement.
The current threshold for commission approval is a contract of $100,000 or greater.
The two measures signal a change specifically in the relationship between the current commission, which is a year into its four-year term, and county mayor Mark Luttrell.
Luttrell has called for a budget summit with commissioners to try to reach a consensus on budget priorities as county revenue projections improve in the post-recession economy.
That follows revenue collections that came in $22 million more than expected for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Roland has said the commission will participate in the summit, but first he wants the body to meet with its own financial consultant to get independent advice on the county’s fiscal condition.