Tuesday, March 18, 2014

City Council Hears Plans for Memphis Music Hall of Fame and More

Posted By on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 2:22 PM

The Memphis City Council heard about some important issues and projects Tuesday afternoon but pushed debate on them back two weeks as they were pressed for time in their committee meetings.

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- The Memphis Rock and Soul Museum asked the city council for $250,000 Tuesday to help them build a physical home for the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

John Doyle, the museum’s executive director, told council members the Hall of Fame has no physical home and that a location could serve as an interpretive center and a visitors center for tourists on Beale Street.

Doyle said his group has already raised $550,000 and expects to have an additional $150,000 this fall. The city money would come from the $250,000 left in the Midtown Corridor Study Fund.

The council will discuss their portion of the funding in their next scheduled meeting in two weeks.


- Council chairman Jim Strickland wants to cut the city’s Weights and Measures Department from next year’s budget.

Weights and measures employees inspect scales at businesses around the city to ensure that, for example, when citizens pump one gallon of gas at a station, they actually get one gallon of gas.

State inspectors do much of the same work as the Memphis unit. But state inspections are random both in their location and the scales they test. City inspectors can also show up at random businesses but when they do, they inspect all of their scales.

The city unit was placed on the chopping block during last year’s budget talks but was saved at the last minute. Council members said then that the city department duplicates the efforts of the state and that the city needs to save money.

Strickland made the same argument briefly Tuesday, noting that cutting the department would save the city between $400,000 and $500,000. The need for the cuts are intensified this year, he said, as the council begins to fill the multi-million-dollar gap in the city pension fund.

The department employs nine and if the department was cut, those employees would lose their jobs, though some of them qualify for involuntary retirement.

The topic will be discussed in the council's next meeting on April 1.

School Litigation Fund

The council did begin the process Tuesday to establish a fund to pay the $57.5 million a court ordered the city to pay the Shelby County Schools system for the 2008-2009 school year.

The resolution to establish the fund also asks Memphis Mayor A C Wharton to put $4.8 million in the fund next year. That payment would be the first of 12 installment payments to the fund.

The issue will also come back before the council during their next meeting on April 1.

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