Archive for August, 2012

A $3 Million Dollar Mistake

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

August 30, 2012

The City of Memphis and Shelby County require their active employees to pay 30% of the health care costs with you the taxpayer paying 70%. Does this sound complicated?

Well since both the City and the County are self insured, they have to estimate their annual costs. The annual health care costs will vary from year to year. However it seems to me that they could take the annual cost from the year before, add in an inflation factor and bill their employees 30% of (more…)

Politicians promise-Taxpayers pay

Monday, August 27th, 2012

This is a bumper sticker that should be on every taxpayer’s car in America. The national bill is near $16 trillion dollars. But look at the local situation on unfunded liabilities.

Unfunded liabilities are political promises that politicians have made that will probably come due after they are out of office and retired on a pension and health care plan not available to the (more…)

Shelby County 2011 CAFR

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

August 23, 2012

On Monday I talked about the City of Memphis 2011 CAFR. Today I will look at the 2011 Shelby County CAFR. As of June 30, 2011 both the City of Memphis and Shelby County had similar amounts of reserve funds, $81 million for Memphis and $85 million for the County. Of course after (more…)


Monday, August 20th, 2012

August 20, 2012

CAFR is shorthand for Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Sounds dull and uninteresting until it is time to pay your local tax or utility bills.


Memphis and Shelby County publish these reports annually and they contain most of the vital information about where the money comes from and where and how it is spent. Over the next few (more…)

How Much Do Residential Taxpayers Pay Versus All Others?

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

August 16, 2012

As I was looking at my City property tax bill due at the end of August, I ask myself the question “What is residential property tax total as a percentage of the total property tax?”.

You would think that this is a question that could be easily found online. So I went to the City of Memphis, Shelby County and the Shelby County Trustee for the answer. As of right now only the Trustee answered and I thank him and his staff for the outstanding job that they do and their (more…)

The Latest MLGW Financial Report

Monday, August 13th, 2012

August 13, 2012

The MLGW just published their latest annual financial report in July 2012 for the year ended December 31, 2011. It has some interesting figures in it which I will recap.

I have been complaining for some time about two things at the MLGW.

  • That the MLGW is supposed to operate as a non profit but over the years they have piled up a lot of profits.
  • That they have used these profits to finance their pensions, health care and OPEB funding which are much richer and more generous than the City of Memphis and especially Shelby County.

Well maybe these complaints have had some effect when I look at the new financial statement. I (more…)

What Is The Personalty Tax?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

August 9, 2012

The Personalty tax is a tax on Personal Property, tangible and intangible, used, or held for use, in a business. Businesses include Partnerships, Corporations, other business associations not issuing stock and individuals operating for profit as a business or profession in Shelby County Tennessee.

There are 10 groups of Tangible Personal Property:Group 1 Furniture, Fixtures, General Equipment, and all other Property not listed in any other Group. Group 2 Computers, Copiers, Fax Machines, Peripherals, and Small tools. Group 3 Molds, Dies, and Jigs. Group 4 Aircraft, Towers, and Boats. Group 5 Manufacturing Machinery. Group 6 Billboards, Tanks, and Pipelines. Group Scrap Properties. Group 8 Raw Materials and Supplies. Group 9 Vehicles. Group 10 Construction-in-Process.

This group of property is taxed the same as real estate and those paying are responsible for reporting their value. It does not matter whether they are (more…)

And The Winner Is?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

August 6, 2012

With the Olympics going on I decided to find out the winners in the LONGEST PILOT CONTRACTS CONTEST. I went to the latest County Trustee’s Annual Report and listed the longest lasting tax abatement contracts. Here is what I found.

Owner                                               Location                                Length of Contract

Court Square Partnership                        128-130  N. Court              40 years

Cotton Ex Bldg                                 65 Union                               40 years

123 S Court LLC                              855 Ridge Lake Blvd          40 years

Winchester Bldg LLC                      179 Madison Ave               40 years

Main Monroe Partners LP           110 Monroe                                    40 years

Sanderlin Place                               80 Monroe-20 S Front     40 years

Three Sisters Ltd                             81 S Front 76-88 Union   40 years

Wesley at Millington Inc               7917 Cole                             40 years

Peabody Place-Gold LP                123-135-137 S Main         40 years

Peabody Place-Hav lp                   151 S Main                           40 years

Hotel Peabody LTD                                    149 Union & 122 Second            40 years

Peabody Pl Htl Hampton Inn      0 Third                                   40 years

Knickerbocker Properties                        0 Mud Island                       40 years

These all get a gold medal. There are many others from 20 and 30 Plus years. Check it out for yourself. Most of these are downtown properties.

Finishing dead last, as usual, is the shrinking, depleted and aging team, MemphisTaxpayers.





Are Pilot tax abatements really $75 million plus rather than $48 million?

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

August 2, 2012

Home owners (property tax payers) are carrying the bulk of the local tax burden. We have heard reports of the PILOT program (payment in lieu of taxes) which gives local companies tax abatements for a period of time. We have heard that this runs up to $48 million dollars per year. At the end of the PILOT contract period they are supposed to go back on the tax rolls (City and County) at the full amount of the tax abatement.

This piqued my interest so I decided to investigate the PILOT subject and the amount of the tax abatement. I found out from the County Trustee that the $48 million dollar annual tax abatement reported in his annual Pilot report was only for the County and does not include the City Pilot abatement. This (more…)