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VOL. 131 | NO. 123 | Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Budget No Go, Largest Home Sale of 2016 and Crosstown Moves

By Bill Dries

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The Shelby County Commission probably has enough votes to approve the funding in the county budget the Shelby County Schools system wants, which includes $24.7 million on new funding.

Yet after about four hours of discussion, the commission didn’t take votes on any budget resolutions or the county property tax rate resolution Monday.

Instead they will meet in committee next week and have a special meeting that same day to try to end their budget season.

Some on the commission want a unanimous vote on school funding. It’s part of a longer range desire to see the school funding debate that happens year after year change.

First things first.

But before you get to those first things – which means they really aren’t first things – how about a Germantown schools deal. That surfaced during Monday’s budget discussions.

On the other side of the Main Street Mall, the City Council meets Tuesday at what should be a more leisurely pace with the city budget season put to bed earlier this month. One of the highlights of the agenda is a transfer of an old steam engine locomotive to the city of Collierville.

That’s not to say all things budget related are in City Hall’s rear view mirror.

There may be an attorney-client briefing in the offing during committee sessions Tuesday because of late word Monday of a city court victory.

The city’s hybrid pension plan approved last November during the administration of Mayor A C Wharton is no longer on hold with a Chancery Court ruling that does away with a temporary injunction.

And its just in time to begin the hybrid plan with the start of the fiscal year next week, as scheduled. Some of you have now realized the goal of a lifetime with the words hybrid, fiscal year and scheduled in the same sentence. Personally, I'm a bit dismayed that it has come to this. But it's really late and I haven't eaten all day.

Five municipal unions sued the city to stop the change, specifically the move to put new hires and those already on the city payroll but with less than seven and a half years of service in the hybrid plan.

The plan is a combination of a market-based retirement account and a defined contributions plans.

The unions contested the city’s ability to put existing city employees in the hybrid. And the unions continue to contest that. The temporary injunction has been lifted but the case continues in court.

A statement from city Chief Legal Officer/City Attorney Bruce McMullen said the city is “pleased” with the decision.

“However, this case is not over,” he added. “We understand change can be difficult, but the city is doing everything possible to make the transition smooth for our affected employees.”

While Germantown was buzzing Monday evening about the proposal to get two of the three Gs in the city’s school system, the city was busy defending its unofficial designation as the county’s most populous city in terms of pizza parlors.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria a pizza place in Saddle Creek, in part of the outparcel that includes J. Crew, had its grand opening Monday evening.

The Chandler Reports Neighborhood Report: New homes sales across Shelby County up 53 percent in May compared to a year ago. And the Fountain Brook subdivision in Cordova had the most new home permits for the month.

Largest home sale of the year so far in Fountain Brook is on Forest Hill-Irene Road.

We’ve been spending a lot of time recently at Crosstown Concourse where tours are taking place for various groups before the basic structure of the concourse begins to fill in with walls and doors and similar definitions of space.

What better time to get a look at how the designers have taken this from drawing board to reality.

The UrbanArt Commission, meanwhile, has its sights set on a space in Crosstown the area, not the Concourse itself, which is the goal of the Concourse – to have an impact on the surrounding area.

Also in the Crosstown area, Kroger has pulled a building permit for some of the land it bought last year that had been assembled for a mixed use development, which was crushed by the recession and went into foreclosure. It’s the area across Poplar Avenue from the newly renovated Kroger at Poplar and Cleveland.

Meanwhile, we hear the confessions of an engineering firm, Ledford Engineering and Planning, about what can happen when a client’s dream meets local government.

A Memphis design firm, Haizlip Studios, has an interesting out of town project. The company is converting a NASA satellite tracking station in North Carolina into a “science resort” that includes research space and room and board. SCIENCE.

After a bit of a vacation, the whole question of what to do with the Fairgrounds is starting to move again. And if you can find any trace of the old plan to turn it into an amateur sports tournament center, you must have a telescope from that place in North Carolina. We talked with some of the movers on our WKNO show Behind The Headlines. We also talked about the Grizzlies noncompete clause and what the inside of the Coliseum looks like structurally after about a decade of dormancy. The short answer is not too bad.

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396