January 9, 2013
The City of Memphis recently published the latest (June 30, 2012) CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report). I decided to go through it and give you at look at some of the more interesting points. It is quite long, but this is where most of the facts about the City of Memphis are found.
In the cover letter, Mayor Wharton referred to the Bloomberg grant of which I was not aware. Here is a description of the grant from a local news story.
The neighborhoods, South Memphis, Binghampton and the Madison Avenue and Cleveland Avenue corridors, will receive part of the three-year, $4.8 million grant that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s private foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, awarded Memphis last year. The Bloomberg grant is designed to tackle two specific problems, gun violence and economic vitality and development in the core city.
Mayor Wharton also spoke about his pride in the Legends Park project and other Hope VI and other revitalization projects. Legends Park is described below when former Mayor Herenton talked about public housing being his top concern.
“One of the first bold decisions I made in 1992 (when first elected) was to fire the entire Memphis Housing Authority board,” Herenton said. “I fired every member of that board, its whole leadership, fired them all, because I was not pleased with the condition of public housing. I said to the God that I serve that, ‘If you make me mayor, I will transform these old dilapidated public housing to dwellings that are fit for human habitation.’”
City Council Chairman Myron Lowery said the $122 million in Hope VI money that Memphis has received puts it among the most successful cities in using the federal grant money.
“We’re putting federal dollars to good work,” Lowery said. “It’s not done simply because we have a good mayor with vision. It’s not done simply because we have a council that shares that vision. It’s done because of people like the religious community, the banking community. It’s done because of people like you.”
He addressed a turnout of federal and local housing officials, representatives of nonprofit organizations, bankers and construction bosses.
Legends Park will consist of 134 units of multifamily housing apartments, a 45,000-square-foot mixed-use building with commercial space and 24 other apartments along Poplar Avenue. The apartments will be ready for occupancy by late 2009. If Memphis were not so poor, we would probably not receiveso much federal money or grants like those from Bloomberg, Gates and other non profits.
Another interesting fact in the CAFR was the following chart of general revenue trends. This shows the trend of general revenue fund proportions which shows local sales taxes and state taxes declining while at the same time residential property taxes taking a huge jump (30% to over 40%) while commercial and industrial property taxes went up only 6% to 8%.
Obviously home owners are paying the brunt of the Pilot programs and all the downtown development has not brought in the promised sales tax increases.
There are many other items in this CAFR that are worth noting and I will cover them in future posts.