Last Word: County Budget Compromise, MEM After 5 Years and Elvis

By Bill Dries

There is nothing like the end of a term for those holding elected office. That’s what gets most of the credit for the Shelby County commission’s smooth ending to its budget season Monday. A final reading of the revised county property tax rate of $4.05 still awaits. But the commission went a long way toward locking that in with the approval of everything else at the Monday session.

There was none of the on-the-floor bargaining that has defined county budget season over the last eight years. There was, however, a lot of weekend bargaining chiefly around the school funding compromise. That compromise is essentially what Mayor Mark Luttrell outlined a couple of weeks ago on “Behind The Headlines.”

The commission stuck with the $427 million in total school funding across all seven school districts proposed by Luttrell. He keeps the county’s maintenance of effort at the $7.9 million increase. And the school system can come back in the new term of the new mayor and a county commission with a new majority to make the case for up to $6.6 million in new nonrecurring funding. The nonrecurring part is key to the compromise. It is one-time funding that doesn’t increase the county’s maintenance of effort -- the bare minimum of local funding required by the state. Whatever the school system seeks on the back end comes from a surplus in education funding when revenue streams that go to education are more than budgeted for. In this case and at this point, the surplus looks to be around $10 million at the June 30 end of the fiscal year.

"Shared mobility" -- Bird scooters and Explore Bike Share -- are the topic of the day at City Hall Tuesday.

From there across the Main Street Mall, Tuesday is council day and the council is all about “shared mobility” after Bird scooters made a big splash in summertime Memphis.

Bank of Bartlett consolidates in Germantown.


The founder of Bye Student Loan Debt talks about going deeper into the college student loan debt issue – beyond the popular book of the same name to online books. And Dan Mendelson says the origin of the issue is the large amount of cash involved.

The stats for Memphis International Airport say 75 flights a day – give or take. And the tendency is to compare that to the more than 300 flights a day at MEM before Delta dehubbed the airport five years ago. Except, given the changes in seats and move toward bigger jets than 2013, it is more like 125 flights a day in terms of the passenger count. From there airport president Scott Brockman tells us it’s not unreasonable to expect the coming consolidation into the B concourse might one day handle as many passengers as the airport handled at the peak of the Delta hub experience. And about that New York Times article on MEM this month…

The chief of the Knoxville Police Department is the choice of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to be the new head of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. And Haslam announced the appointment Monday just as word was breaking in Nashville that acting TBI director Jason Locke has been accused by his wife of misusing state funds.

In the race for Tennessee Governor, specifically the Democratic primary, state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh delivers on his promise of television ads in the primary skirmish with former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.

In the Republican primary, a campaign finance complaint against Bill Lee that mirrors ones filed against primary rivals Randy Boyd, Diane Black and Beth Harwell.

Our monthly Tennessee Press Association package with the major contenders for governor and the U.S. Senate continues with the issue of health care. Here is the overview by Frank Daniels. And here is the Q&A with the candidates.

There is another race underway among Republican legislators for who will replace Harwell as speaker of the House come January. And Chattanooga Republican Gerald McCormick, a Germantown High alum, says he is out of that race and is also resigning his house seat before his current term is up to take a private sector job in Nashville.

Effective Tuesday, the Main Street Trolley will run every 20 minutes per MATA.

NF booked for an Oct. 28 show at the Mud Island Amphitheatre. This is a continuation of the rapper’s Perception tour.

And Elvis Costello & The Imposters booked for Nov. 19 at the Orpheum. This is a tour in support of Costello’s first new album in five years that kicks off a new deal with Concord Records.