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VOL. 133 | NO. 108 | Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: SCS Budget Travels, Carlisle on One Beale and Hickman's Comeback

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County Schools officials are Downtown Wednesday to formally present the school system’s budget proposal to the Shelby County Commission. The budget committee hearing Wednesday morning won’t see any decision just yet. But the school system’s ask of county government is a big part of the commission getting to a more complete view of county government’s budget since north of $400 million of the county’s $1.3 billion consolidated budget is funding for public education across seven school districts in the county.

And that county funding is divided among the seven school systems based on their average daily attendance with SCS being the lion’s share of that. The SCS board approved the school system’s $1.05 billion general fund budget and a $90.2 billion capital budget proposal. The budget totals include state and federal funding along with the county funding. The “ask” by the school system is about $12.7 million more than the school system’s current fiscal year budget.

This is a pretty smooth budget process in recent years. So smooth that here’s the earlier rundown of the dollar figures we did earlier this month with superintendent Dorsey Hopson. The only differences are that the capital ask went up about $10 million from Hopson’s estimate then and the school system would use $49 million of its reserves, not $35 million.

While the county commission approves a total dollar amount for the school system budget as well as the county’s substantial share of that, the county has no line item control over what the school system spends the money on. The other side of that equation is that the school board has no taxing authority of its own to create a revenue stream that comes directly to it. Those two facts of life create the relationship that each year is the critical part of county budget deliberations.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has vetoed a second version of a resolution approved by the Shelby County Commission appointing Julian Bolton as their legislative policy advisor.

Another veto at the county building. And like the previous one in April it involves the county commission’s move to reappoint Julian Bolton as its legislative policy advisor with some lawyerly duties. It is the legal work that caused county mayor Mark Luttrell to affix his veto stamp again.

President Donald Trump stumping for presumptive Republican U.S. Senate contender Marsha Blackburn in Nashville Tuesday. And Trump doubled down on his use of the term “animals” to characterize MS-13 gang members. He also devoted much of his remarks to linking Democratic Senate contender Phil Bredesen to Democratic Congressional leadership, which has been Blackburn’s drumbeat in a campaign that is already in general election mode. Here is The Hill’s account of the evening with links to other aspects of the rally.

Bredesen’s campaign stuck with the message Bredesen is pushing in blanket television ads – if Trump proposes something good for Tennessee or has a good idea, Bredesen will support it regardless of party lines and if he doesn’t think it’s good he will oppose it.

Meanwhile, Ikea calling off plans for a store in the Antioch area of Nashville as part of a larger shift in plans by the home retailer that has seen plans for other stores in other markets scrapped in the last week. The corporate shift is to more online shopping.

After decades in limbo the Hickman Building at Madison and Fourth is coming to life again.

Chance Carlisle talking a lot Tuesday before the CCRFC about the One Beale project’s shift to the east. One Beale got an extension on its tax breaks Tuesday contingent on some more hoops to jump through for the ambitious project.

A look around the Hickman Building as it is well on its way to becoming The Commonwealth after decades vacant and deteriorating. The nine-story building at Madison and Fourth took three years to get this on the road to mixed use tenants – office space, residential and retail.

One of several hotel projects locally by a California group that recently reformed after its one time leader was indicted in Palm Springs on bribery charges is moving again. The Arrive Hotels project in South Main where the Memphis College of Art graduate school was pulled a $7.1 million building permit that came across our desk as the short work week began.

The races for local offices in five of the county's suburban towns and cities are just starting to take shape past Memorial Day.

Meanwhile Sedgwick pulls a permit to begin renovation of its new HQ in what was Thomas & Betts. And the St. Jude expansion pulls a $21 million permit for the foundation of its $412 million advanced research center.

Roll Call on U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s considerable role in negotiating the release of an American held in Venezuela for years. And Corker followed up Tuesday with a call to use the release as an opening for further talks with Venezuela.

The races for local offices in five of the six suburban towns and cities are taking shape. We recap the pulling of petitions so far in the November races in Bartlett, Germantown, Lakeland, Collierville and Millington.

Classic American Hardwoods, the North Memphis hardwood business, has been honored by the Export-Import Bank as a small business exporter. About 60 percent of what the company does in North Memphis is sold in the export market.

Social Distortion’s fall tour announced Tuesday includes an Oct. 23 date at Minglewood Hall with Will Hoge and Pony Bradshaw.

The U.S. Supreme Court says Arkansas’s new abortion restrictions take effect while the court is hearing and deciding the legal challenge to the new law.

Atop our Memphis Newsmakers segment, Wesley Paraham, the new social media coordinator at DCA, on the perspective of bouncing around.

PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028