Archive for the ‘Riverfront Development’ Category
April 7, 2014
What Memphis Must Do
We are coming down to crunch time at the City of Memphis concerning the 2015 budget. I have researched and written on the City finances ad nauseum. Now is decision time. Do we kick the can down the road (the past favorite for many years) or step up to the plate?
Shelby County is the model for what should have been done in past years. However the leadership from the past and present city mayors and city councils has been abysmal. Too many people on the pension rolls (remember the January 2001 pension resolution which gave pensions to elected and appointed people with just 12 years of service regardless of age), too many people on retiree health care, too many people with line of duty disabilities, too many people on the payroll, too many days not working due to excessive sick days, vacations and paid days off. The county and the city have much the same governmental formats (except in the case of line of duty disability) but in the past, the county just made the hard unpopular decisions and had a clear vision of what future costs would be. The City’s vision was the next election, not future cost control.
Here is what must be done at The City. Health care reform for active and retired employees by lowering the city’s costs dramatically. Pension reform by going to a defined contribution plan for all unvested employees. Turn line of duty disability (more…)
December 4, 2013
The Convention Center
I have been out of town visiting my daughter, son in law and grandson in San Francisco. It is a lovely town but not much fun getting there and returning by air from Memphis. I picked up a recent morning paper and found that the flights from Salt Lake to Memphis and back were being cut further. In past years there were nonstop flights from Memphis to San Francisco but now we have to fly to Timbuktu to get there and the price is out of sight.
I spent the first day back visiting with Kevin Kane, President and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was a pleasant visit and he is very knowledgeable about the Convention Center and visiting Memphis in general.
What I was after was the annual financial statements of the Cook Convention Center. I had tried to get these statements directly from the Convention Center office but either they were never in or they refused to answer calls. I had the June 30, 2007 financial statement but none later. The 2007 statement showed a loss of $3.5 million dollars.
After discussions with Kevin he promised me that he would get the 2008 through 2012 statements to me and that since 2007 the losses have been cut at the convention center. He sent the statements later and the 2012 loss at the Cook Convention Center was cut to $2.8 million dollars. We discussed the future of convention centers in general and the new costly one in Nashville and the old Cook Convention Center and the possibility of a new one for Memphis. He said that all convention centers lose money but the purpose is to develop tourism for the city and make money on tourism generated sales taxes and hotel, motel and car rental taxes. I speculated that internet advertising and electronic face to face meetings might eventually diminish convention trade but he contended that face to face meeting were still important.
September 12, 2013
As I start reading through this massive document I have to start with the introduction and rationale of the plan. Here are the first 26 pages of the draft plan.
To be a successful urban area, Memphis has to do the following.
- Increase property values
- Decrease poverty
- Ensure government efficiency
- Improve neighborhoods
- Invest in human capital
- Grow the economy
Wow!! What great ideas. Why did I not think of those?
January 22, 2013
The City of Memphis has decided to go ahead with the Pyramid/BassPro/Pinch project to the tune of $192 million dollars. The following is from a 2011 article in the Commercial Appeal.
While acknowledging that the project carries risks, Memphis officials and financial planners say the deal to fund The Pyramid’s transformation into a Bass Pro Shopsdestination store has been structured to provide several layers of protection fortaxpayers.
Conservative estimates regarding the major financing component — state sales tax revenues from a Tourist Development Zone covering all of Downtown and the MedicalCenter district — indicate that there should be ample funds to repay bonds issued forthe project, they say.
The CA yesterday was filled with articles telling the taxpayers that they need Memphis and should not be afraid of becoming part of Memphis. Well I have been part of Memphis for years and have paid my fair share or more in taxes and I am here to say that I am fed up with the argument that we need to shell out more to save downtown and the fairgrounds and etc. etc. etc.
I would like to point out the millions and millions that have been wasted by past and even present administrations who have run the (more…)
My emails and website (memphisshelbyinform.com) have taken a two week vacation as my wife, my daughter, my son in law and I have been visiting relatives in various parts of Germany.
Germany is a beautiful and prosperous country and is the cornerstone of a somewhat shaky European union.