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VOL. 132 | NO. 90 | Friday, May 5, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: RiverPlay, New City Property Tax Rate and House Republican Rift

By Bill Dries

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The Memphis In May International Festival arrives Friday with the Beale Street Music Festival and hopefully with warmer temperatures than the Thursday chill. Meanwhile, RiverPlay, the conversion of Riverside Drive between Jefferson and Court to a pop-up park linking up Memphis and Mississippi River Parks, makes its debut Friday afternoon.

Back on the other side of the weekend, cuts at the state-run Achievement School District – 13 positions at the school level and 16 in the central office. This is the most significant change to the ASD since its debut in 2012.

Meanwhile, SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson is outlining next steps in his system for the equivalent of the ASD – the I-Zone schools. Hopson is now saying they are a model he wants to take broader across the system.

The first major compromise of the budget season is over a cut in police overtime pay. Pretty interesting how this cut proposed by council chairman Berlin Boyd failed twice in budget committee Thursday but after a break, the administration agreed to it. The full council still votes on this but with 10 of the 13 council members at the session, it looks like a done deal. The money cut would finance a 1 percent pay raise for all city employees.

Other budget notes: City Chief Financial Officer Brian Collins says the recertified city property tax rate, taking into account the recent reappraisal, is $3.27 compared to the current $3.40. And a penny on that tax rate generates $1.1 million of revenue.

First Horizon buys a North Carolina bank in a $2.2 billion deal.

Memphis to Vegas flights from Frontier coming in August.

When California real estate developer John Wessman was indicted in February on charges he bribed the former mayor of Palm Springs, California, there were a lot of questions about what that meant for the two Downtown hotel projects Wessman’s company is undertaking in Memphis. One of the two, the Arrive Hotel project in South Main, got the greenlight Thursday from the Downtown Design Review Board for their plans. So did a South Main restaurant on Carolina that features repurposed grain silos in its design. Some discussion about the silo plans being too vague. But the board gave its approval with a condition that it will review the construction process. Shades of Railgarten?

More on the continuing changes at The Commercial Appeal.

In our Friday Sports Section:

Don Wade’s Press Box column on Colin Kaepernick.

David Fizdale’s fingerprints.

David Climer on how the NFL draft helps the Titans QB. And again we have to note that if Titans general manager Jon Robinson wants to run for governor or anything else in Middle Tennessee, he’s probably got a base of support there based on his coverage.

Who Is A Democrat? That’s becoming the central consideration through the first two townhall meetings held by the group that is putting the Shelby County Democratic Party back together again.

Meanwhile, House Republicans split over the last major piece of business of the 2017 legislative session, the state budget – our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard reports. On the surface this is about budget amendments by some Republicans that raise spending. Below the surface, this appears to be about some differences left over from the approval of the gas tax bill.

The House had no such trouble with a bill that makes it easier for cities to be sued over gun restrictions. That bill appears to be a reaction to Knoxville’s ban on guns in a park that the city says is technically no longer a park.

Behind The Headlines is a roundtable about the Germantown Schools offer and budget season primarily, featuring Bernal Smith of the New Tri-State Defender. It airs Friday at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.

The cover story by Don Wade in our weekly, The Memphis News, is more about the Grizzlies season that has just ended and what is next for a team with an important off season ahead of free agents, restricted and unrestricted.

The PDF of the entire new issue is up now on this website. The hard copies are on the streets of the city Friday morning and the cover story goes up on this website Friday afternoon.

Clayborn Temple and Wildwood Farms in Germantown are up for nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. HISTORY.

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