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VOL. 132 | NO. 93 | Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Council Day Issues, 'A Man Of Color' and East Memphis 'Novel'

By Bill Dries

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A busy day at City Hall Tuesday by the City Council agenda and by at least one completely unplanned moment during council budget committee sessions. It was so busy that at the start of Tuesday’s council session, chairman Berlin Boyd couldn’t find his gavel and technical glitches prompted him to ask for a can of WD-40. Throw in a visit to City Hall by civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson and you have our comprehensive same night rundown of how it went and for whom it went.

Specifically to the budget committee deliberations Tuesday, there was a routine question about how much business the City Court Clerk Kay Robilio has done with black-owned businesses and Robilio’s reply that her office had a $30,000 contract with “a man of color” resulted in a quick committee vote to reject Robilio’s budget that left Robilio sitting at the committee table wondering what happened.

The council and the city court system have never been close friends. The annual trip to City Hall by the clerk and the judges just about always has some level of tension to it because of the archaic, unreasoning bureaucratic morass that the system of traffic and parking tickets is for many citizens. And those citizens usually turn to council members to complain. But this had nothing to do with that on this particular Tuesday.

Across the Main Street Mall, Shelby County Commission budget committee chairman Steve Basar tells us the votes aren’t there for a property tax roll back he and several others favor. But Basar has his eye on a three-cent shift in the tax rate for a capital pay-as-you-go fund proposed by County Mayor Mark Luttrell that could instead get Basar's $8 million proposal to hire 100 more Sheriff’s deputies most of the way there.

You say you want more big numbers but don’t want to go near a budget book or a committee session? And while we're at it, who needs those accounting principles? We present the Bates case from Memphis federal court – a fraud scheme totaling more than $18 million with more than 300 victims that took a jury five weeks to work its way to guilty verdicts on dozens of counts.

We have a name for the new locally-owned bookstore to open in Laurelwood“Novel” and more details about how this is going to work. Look for an opening in August, book browsers. And construction on the smaller space begins in two to three weeks.

New residential real estate numbers from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc., show homes sales in the Memphis area dropped but prices went up. What that means according to one Realtor we talked with is homesellers shouldn’t assume they can get whatever they want. That said, Arlington and Eads are the hot markets locally followed closely by Bartlett and Cordova. The Eads ZIP has the highest average price at $371,843. The Arlington ZIP has the most new homes sales for the month with 13.

The Chandler Reports mortgage numbers for April showed a slip in total volume there but still better than a year ago. One of the mortgage advisers we talked to with Pinnacle, the top lender by purchase mortgage volume for April, says this area remains a seller’s market because of a lack of inventory.

The Coulabaritsis Brothers talk about their Mid-South Realty, which turned 25 years old last year, and buying houses as a business when they were in their 20s before the recession and charting a new course during the recession.

For all of the attention on JUCO transfers to rebuild the Tigers basketball program, here’s the story of a Tigers football JUCO transfer who was recently signed to the New Orleans Saints. For Arthur Maulet it has been a return home to a city where he grew up a Hornets fan instead of a Saints fan.

In the Tennessee Legislature:

Lingering questions now that the state Senate has approved a state budget about the Copeland amendment of the Tennessee Constitution. Our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard says state Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris of Memphis is raising the point and state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville is defending the budget approved.

In the move to end the legislative session for the year this week, a proposed requirement that elementary school students be required to take an hour of physical education a week got tripped up in House committee over technical questions about how the vote was taken.

And the House started the process toward a statewide vote on a Constitutional amendment that would say liberties comes from “Almighty God” and not governments.

PROPERTY SALES 57 57 1,266
MORTGAGES 48 48 964