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VOL. 131 | NO. 110 | Thursday, June 2, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: South Main and Main, More Wheel Tax Mileage and City Hall Shark Tank

By Bill Dries

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When we talk about South Main these days and all that is happening in that area, we aren’t talking about Main Street Memphis further south of that, even though it’s the same road.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is working on the gap between the two and its leader, Terence Patterson, talked about it recently on WKNO’s Behind The Headlines.

And Patterson talks about avoiding any kind of barrier between South Main and the rest of Downtown running all the way to Crump.

Also on the program is developer Brock Holliman who is doing single-family homes on South Main as part of what he sees as an influx of families coming Downtown’s way.

Lots of discussion Wednesday in county commission committee sessions – I know, I wish it had a better name too. Maybe if I throw in an “ad hoc.”

Anyway, talk but no decisions on the commission’s chief task this budget season – funding Shelby County Schools.

Some commissioners clearly want to let the school system use its share of half of the wheel tax revenue that comes off of county debt payments in the new fiscal year to fund its operating budget.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell recommends it go to capital needs of SCS and the six suburban public school systems.

But SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson says he doesn’t need it for capital. He needs it for operating.

This doesn’t have seven firm votes just yet but it’s getting there. Even so, there is still a gap with that revenue for operating and the total SCS operating budget. It might be bridged by better revenue projections the county administration has been using. The school system has been using more conservative revenue projections.

So at Monday’s commission meeting, don’t look for a final vote on this. However you can look for a vote on a stable $4.37 county property tax rate on the first of three readings.

More behind the scenes on Hopson’s decision to pass on a collaboration with the state-run Achievement School District on a Raleigh middle school. Hopson said the new school year is too close to make that middle school an I-Zone school instead of an ASD school. But there may be talks in the future. That doesn’t sit well with the SCS board member whose district includes Raleigh. But another board member has a different opinion.

The issue of the Raleigh school may be settled for another school year. But there is a much larger debate with a stronger undercurrent that you will continue to see.

We will have much more to say about that in the cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, which hits on line Thursday afternoon. No peaking!

Staying on budget season, more on the city council’s budget committee work including a grants process that has turned the 9 to 10 council members showing up for these sessions into what amounts to a political version of Shark Tank.

The Memphis Real Estate Recap: Seritage pulls permits for Poplar Commons where Sears Laurelwood recently closed; Laser Quest’s lease in Poplar Plaza ends after 20 years; Clark Tower’s lobby gets a $6 million facelift; a new $2.4 million doctor’s office in Arlington and a Collierville shopping center sells for $3.5 million.

In his View from the Hill column, Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard on UT’s rough year in Nashville.

It’s not manufacturing by the strictest definition of that economic sector or what your image of manufacturing is. It’s closer to being an artisan perhaps.

It’s being called the local maker economy and it is being recognized this month at different places around town.

A Memphis dentist who pulls more than teeth. Tim Messer is on the pro truck pulling circuit.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047