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VOL. 131 | NO. 120 | Thursday, June 16, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Fragile Compromise, Late by Train and NY Times on Chips Moman

By Bill Dries

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It looks like there is a deal to fully fund the Shelby County Schools system’s budget. But don’t look at the deal too long because it is very fragile.

It unraveled a bit within an hour after this got thrashed out in marathon Wednesday committee sessions by the Shelby County Commission.

We’re talking about eight-and-a-half hours – most of it hard bargaining designed to bring an end to the county budget season with votes by the full commission on Monday.

“Our minds can only absorb what our seats can bear,” commissioner Heidi Shafer said toward the end of the day at the county building.

Here are the basics of the deal. As we predicted, allowing the school system to use the other half of the wheel tax revenue for operating expenses instead of capital expenses was central to the compromise.

This got more complex when some long-standing friction from last year between the administration and commissioners surfaced. In this case, it was excess revenue from revenue streams devoted to funding schools that some commissioners felt could be tapped to bridge the $27.4 million gap and fully fund the SCS budget plan.

Meanwhile, when SCS got more from the county in the compromise, the Sheriff’s Office was in chambers within minutes arguing for about $4 million more for more deputies and more cars. Commissioners had already listened closely as corrections center officers made their case for bringing their pay up to that of deputy jailers Downtown.

“Monday will be the showdown at the O.K. Corral,” said budget committee chairman Van Turner.

You’ve heard about the building. Now what about the parking for ServiceMaster’s HQ relocation? Turns out that was a big factor and the Downtown Parking Authority put in place some of the measures for that part of the ServiceMaster move.

The days of being late because of the train at the University of Memphis are numbered. The school has an architect for the land bridge and parking garage at Southern and Echles.

Haizlip Studio also did the University Center.

Unfortunately, I sometimes find myself wondering where the painting of John Gunn that used to hang along a stairway in the old UC went.

The new director of Big Brothers Big Sisters is a White Station alum and came back to teach at Rhodes – all of which are elements in what she wants to do with the “bigs” and the “littles” at a time when there is so much urgency and discussion about the needs in Memphis and what happens when those needs aren’t met.

Sam Stockard, in his View from the Hill column, reminisces about Jim Neal and the Tennessee State Racing Commission of the 1980s.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery in Memphis this week to talk to the Memphis Rotary Club about judicial selection.

Bank3, a community bank, is making acquisitions in the region toward its founder's goal of “a fairly good-sized community bank.”

The Memphis Real Estate Recap includes a law firm moving to Oak Court Office Building, one of four recent leases there. The 50-year old music building at the U of M is about to undergo some modernization work. A flex warehouse on Whitten Road sells for $2.6 million and a $500,000 building permit for the Starbucks in Lakeland.

In Digest, plans for a family banquet room at the Children’s Museum of Memphis that will be part of the building for the restored Grand Carousel that returns to the Fairgrounds in about a year.

Elsewhere in Digest, Mallory Alexander has opened a Houston office and three Tigers football games are on the ESPN schedule in addition to two on CBS. Navy and Cincinnati on CBS. Temple, Southeast Missouri and Kansas on ESPN. The Ole Miss away game this coming season is slated for an SEC network. Expect more TV games to be announced.


No change in interest rates Wednesday by the Fed. And the search for clues on the timing of future interest rate hikes begins anew

On Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, congressional advisers recommended major changes to Medicare’s outpatient prescription program.

Other Reading:

The New York Times on Chips Moman.

PROPERTY SALES 0 263 9,865
MORTGAGES 0 246 10,862
BANKRUPTCIES 0 256 6,219