In a nut shell ...
In Mayor A C Wharton's City of Choice presentation last week, he presented two population maps. The first was population distribution in 1960, and each dot represents 300 people. (This map was actually created for a Memphis Flyer story on I-269 and the cost of urban sprawl.)
"You can see it's clustered in the core city," Wharton said. "Service delivery wasn't that difficult."
The second was population distribution in 2000.
"Keep in mind, revenue has peaked. The population has dropped but look where they are," Wharton said. "This is what's really straining us."
I'll be writing more about this in my weekly column for Wednesday.
In the meantime, here's something to consider: The police department accounts for almost 40 percent of the city's operating budget, while fire services are just above a quarter of the budget. That leaves 35 percent of the budget for everything else.