The task force didn't accomplish much in its brief first meeting. Members introduced themselves, and task force chair/City Councilman Bill Morrison set out some hopes for future meetings. Morrison said he'd like the task force to determine the positive and negative impacts of de-annexation, so the group can take their findings to Nashville and say "we've got this. This is what is best for our city and county."
The task force was created back in April as a way to evaluate the cost of de-annexation, after a state bill was introduced that would have allowed de-annexation referendums in areas annexed since 1998. That bill passed the state House, but it was sent to summer study after it reached the Senate. At the time, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland staunchly opposed the bill, saying de-annexation of certain areas would cost the city $28 million in residential property taxes. Proponents of de-annexation argued that the bill would save Memphis money since it would no longer need to provide city services to those areas.
The task force will meet again next Monday, August 18th at 4 p.m. at Memphis City Hall, in advance of a Senate summer study committee meeting on the de-annexation bill on August 22nd. Memphis Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Doug McGowan and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Brian Collins, who were both in attendance at the task force meeting on Thursday, will be present at the Senate committee meeting.
The Strategic Footprint Review Task Force is made up of Morrison and Memphis City Councilman Patrice Robinson, Shelby County Commissioners Terry Roland and Mark Billingsley, State Representative Larry Miller, Shelby County CAO Harvey Kennedy, Memphis CAO McGowan, Memphis CFO Collins, and Kelly Rayne of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce.
Early in the meeting, Roland said he'd like the task force to determine how the city and county can compete with surrounding regions. At the conclusion of the meeting, Roland asked task force members if they remembered the old county license plates that had a number one on them. No one responded, but he replied with "That's what we're going back to. We're going to rival Nashville."
The Strategic Footprint Review Task Force, the city-county body assembled to study the impact of de-annexing some Memphis neighborhoods, held its introductory meeting on Thursday afternoon at Memphis City Hall.