VOL. 132 | NO. 103 | Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Last Word: Sticker Shock Questions, Council Day Recap and Mueller's Move
By Bill Dries
It’s not the final vote on the county property tax rate. But Monday’s acceptance by the Shelby County Commission of the state-certified property tax rate is an important insight into how the state and local governments get together on setting a tax rate that takes into account changes in overall property values from the countywide property reappraisal to set a tax rate that produces the same amount of revenue as the current rate.
This is the kind of thing that keeps those with a bad case of sticker shock from the most recent reappraisal up at night.
And Tuesday at City Hall, city chief financial officer Brian Collins said Memphis was the “test case” of sorts with Nashville on the point that led the state to say comparisons to the 2013 reappraisal were out because of how unusual that reappraisal was. It took in the effects of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Waiting on the answer to the question were all of the municipal leaders in Shelby County and in other counties and cities across the state.
Meanwhile, council day at City Hall Tuesday saw the council keep the train on the tracks to finish up its budget season at its June 6 meeting. There were plenty of potential hurdles to that on a very full agenda. That included Beale Street, Railgarten and an across the board pay raise for city employees that managed to resolve all six impasse proceedings before the council had to make the call. Just a preview, Railgarten lives and advances to the Board of Adjustment Wednesday, which we will be watching and updating as events warrant.
AutoZone got downgraded Tuesday after the Memphis-based company posted a second consecutive quarter of slow earnings and sales. The Raymond James note on the performance put this in perspective saying it remains “sufficiently patient” but can’t support rating it as a strong buy. Before these last two quarters, AutoZone had 41 straight quarters of double-digit earnings per share growth. AutoZone CEO Bill Rhodes pointed to “sluggish” consumer demand and said at the end of the quarter it looked like sales had started to stabilize.
City & State – the locally-owned coffee shop with retail – plans to open a second location next year in the old Memphis Cycle and Supply Co. building on Monroe, between Downtown and the Medical District. City & State’s original location in the Broad Avenue Arts District, meanwhile, will be joined by a new restaurant, The Liquor Store, in August.
In Collierville Monday, approval of a decade-long tax abatement for the move of Mueller Industries HQ from Southwind. Mueller, which makes piping and tubing and is a bellwether of housing trends, is moving to Schilling Farms with a $14.8 million investment.
The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Thousand Oaks sells for $4.3 million.
Some local fitness centers want the same sales tax exemption that larger fitness center get under state law. And one of the ideas being tossed around as the legislation went nowhere fast in the recently-ended session of the Tennessee Legislature is eliminating the sales tax for everyone – big and small. That seems a longshot given the reluctance of legislators to dam up a revenue stream. Divert, yes, stop – rarely.
Nashville and the Stanley Cup – not something that really goes together, is it – or is it? The Predators are in the National Hockey League playoffs and Don Wade wants to know which you care about less – Nashville making it or hockey. Okay, I might have taken some liberties there but some of you stopped reading as soon as you saw the word Nashville. But he really does want to know, Buehler?