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VOL. 132 | NO. 88 | Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Budget Books and Line Items, Top of the Road List and Silencers

By Bill Dries

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The comforting thud of reams of bound printed paper hitting a wooden table top. The sound of pages turning as Power Points are read aloud. Yes, fellow citizens of the republic, it is budget season in Shelby County. The gavel fell on Memphis City Council budget hearings Tuesday at City Hall. And Wednesday morning Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell takes his budget proposal to the County Commission. A note about the city budget deliberations. Tuesday’s opening session saw the return of council member Janis Fullilove to City Hall after being out for a while due to an extended illness.

Meanwhile, Shelby County Schools officials are having a pretty great budget season. Well, maybe great isn’t the term. But the fiscal year fortunes of the school system are certainly better than they have been in the last seven years with more revenue than expected after winning more funding from county government last year at this time.

And with that in mind, Germantown’s city and school system leaders sat down across from SCS leaders Tuesday and put a $25 million offer to buy Germantown Elementary, Middle and High School on the table. The 3 Gs, as they are known, have been a pursuit of Germantown leaders since the 2014 demerger of public education saw Shelby County Schools officials decide to keep those three schools in the system to meet student enrollment growth in southeast Memphis.

This is a two-track process for Germantown which has a contract on land for a new elementary school that has a drop dead date of later this month. Thus the May 22 deadlne in the proposal for SCS to agree or make a counter offer or turn it down.

In other dollar figures from Tuesday, FedEx was awarded a $2.35 billion package delivery contract by the Department of Defense. This isn’t just a defense department contract. It’s government-wide representing a shift in federal philosophy that is a method of buying in bulk to leverage better rates.

Take a look at the 20 Shelby County road projects included in the recently-passed state gas tax bill and you will find Lamar Avenue at the top of the list, specifically Shelby Drive to the Raines/Perkins interchange followed by the segment from that interchange to Getwell Road and a few places down on the list from the Mississippi state line to Shelby. It is the first installment of an ongoing series about Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature piece of legislation in Nashville this year.

This week in Nashville, a move by Memphis Democrat Joe Towns in the House to remove references to slavery from the Tennessee Constitution got rolled to next year but in the process picked up some important Republican support in the chamber.

And our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard on a gun bill that permits silencers under the title “The Tennessee Hearing Protection Act” is on its way to the governor for his signature.

It is legal for police to hold someone in custody for 48 hours without charging them. But the Tennessee Supreme Court is again calling on the MPD to drop the policy when it means someone is on the clock behind bars for 48 hours as police try to make probable cause to charge them with a crime.

More on Monday’s Day Without Immigration march in Memphis and what it says about the state of protest in the city.

One of the panelists at our Thursday Money and Markets Seminar at the Brooks, Jay Healy of Century Wealth, sees an economic rut courtesy of slow GDP growth possibly with more of that to be seen in forecasts that hit Friday.

Don Wade takes a break from the NBA/Grizz free agent speculation to look at the NFL draft’s focus on SEC talent.

PROPERTY SALES 207 263 9,865
MORTGAGES 197 246 10,862
BUILDING PERMITS 138 686 21,643
BANKRUPTCIES 0 256 6,219