@Barf - two quick things.
1) Density alone isn't the issue - density compared to the infrastructure is. Memphis has built infrastructure to support much higher density, and is stuck paying for that infrastructure even though it is operating significantly below capacity.
2) Density/capacity is just one factor in a city's success. It can help or hurt, but it won't make a break a place on its own. I know this is a simple and obvious point, just throwing it out there because so often people can only consider one variable at a time (e.g. taxes,) and fail to comprehend that there are myriad factors that contribute to the success of a city or state.
When I visited Memphis and GDI on the River - Names that come to mind are David Daponte and his partner ( ? ), Christopher McKell ...
If anyone knows where these people are today ..please let me know .. firstname.lastname@example.org - Australia
@ArlingtonPop - I generally agree this is the root of the problem. And I'm fine with passing the buck to the county, which essentially accomplishes the same thing as consolidation without the political costs or the efficiency gains. And maybe avoiding the political costs of consolidation is worth it for that, but this is all assuming that de-annexation is even legally (and politically) possible.
Ultimately, I think the only way Memphis can ever compete on taxes is by spreading the costs of sprawl out - either through de-annexation or consolidation. And I don't have any problem asking the county to pitch in, because even though it was annexed by Memphis, the entire community has contributed to it (especially the county commission during the desegregation era).
But even if we spread the cost, there is another problem. We still have too much housing for too few people. We need to do whatever we can to discourage new suburban development and encourage infill development. We also need to coordinate on economic development to help create more demand for housing. The problem is, most suburbs are not interested in this because it limits their growth. They are focused on their own short-term interests (which benefit them the most politically and financially,) and the potential long-term problems caused by sprawl and Memphis' decline is either ignored or written off as not their problem. Again, it all comes back to recognizing that having a declining Memphis is bad for the entire region and committing to act in the best interests of the region even if it means a short-term loss for suburbs and a short-term gain for Memphis. We as citizens of this community have a lot of work to do to repair the damage caused by our predecessors, and we need to focus on that rather than simply fight amongst ourselves for scraps of what we inherited.
I visited GDI on the River with guest performer HOLLY BROWN around 1988, does anyone remember this time and does anyone remember me "John" from downunder Australia ?
Most reports, so far, on charter schools have shown that they do no better than the public school system in large urban areas. Similar reports also have shown that state takeovers of schools does not increase the performance of the same schools in question.
Vouchers, as it applies to Tennessee will probably never become a reality. It is a minefield when you try to navigate the waters of diversity in certain counties, especially Shelby County.
You have to understand, AP, that unless the underpinning reasons for mediocre education performance is not adequately addressed, you are not going to solve the problem.
To some people that equate the quality of a school district to the high school graduation rate, that is a simplistic mistake. The attendance ages for students is codefied in state law. If a student reaches the age of 17 and, for whatever reason, it is really not the fault of the school.
Actually, student performance is more tied to the family structure, socio-economics, than to what happens or doesn't happen in the classroom. Even before Brown v. Board of Education, school systems all accross the nation have tried different schemes to improve performance by poor, urban kids and none have worked. What the nation has not done is to work on improving the condition of the parents stuck in poverty and dispair.
So, AP, stop doing what you often say I am doing, being overly simplistic.
The relevance of Kevin Kane being the "father of three young children" is what exactly?
Maybe the State of Tennessee would move up considerably in the rankings if Memphis and Nashville improved their performance?
The legislature believes that, anyway. Which is why they are busting up, and will continue busting up, the old MCS system. Metro Nashville Schools are in the crosshairs, too.
Wait a couple of years when charter schools proliferate and thousand of Memphis and Nashville kids have vouchers to private schools.
Lets see if Tennessee might creep up in the rankings.
You have to know the circumstances of the low density. There are some cities that have low densities, like Jacksonville, Fl because they have a lot of rural land included in the municipal boundary.
Such land requires little infrastructure, does not have to be policed or provided with anything more than minimal fire protection, does not require sewers, and so forth. We in Arlington have a lot of rural land in our boundary and thus we have a low density per sq. mile. Not a problem, very little cost to our town.
Now when I-69 is completed, and that land becomes occupied, it will be a different story. We will have to be sure our tax structure is sufficent to offset our costs.
Not so in Memphis. They are way behind the power curve.
Partners, Kevin, Bud, Charlie plus stip club owner Steve Cooper. Need i say more.
I agree, sorry to have missed the original point.
City taxes are high for several apparent reasons, mismanagement among the rest.
When you have such a large physical infrastructure to maintain, with so few people to pay for it, higher taxes are the result. There has been a lot of talk, all too true, about Memphis losing population. Fewer taxpayers? Then taxes must be increased on the rest, unless you drastically cut back your costs. Which Memphis is not willing to do, and in many cases cannot. It would be nice if Memphis could start regaining those people it lost. That would mean increased demand for housing, more sales taxes collected, and things would not be so bad.
But no, Memphis refuses to make itself more attractive for those families. Much more politically expedient to blame those racist suburbs for not paying their "fair share." Lots of votes to be had that way.
Lots of unoccupied and unkept housing? the value goes down on those houses and less taxes are collected on that property. The rest of the property owners must pay more. Larger physical area to police ? More physical fire coverage needed? Same principle. Higer costs/Less taxpayers= Higher taxes.
When you lose population while still continuing to expand your physical footprint, it is a very bad thing for your finances. As Memphis, and their leadership is learning. But don't expect the City Council to de-annex anybody. Lots of voters in Hickory Hill , Frayser, and Whitehaven.
The burden may indeed shift to the county, but that is OK. Memphis needs to get a handle on its cost/revenue structure and I don't see any other way. At least not while Memphis is losing population. They must find a way to get more people to move back.
As a Thunder fan, I just wanted to drop in and say "Congratulations" to the Grizz. Always a hard-fought series and the best of luck to you on your journey.
You know, a lot of comments here focus on the city’s low population densities as playing an overwhelming factor in our annual budget crisis. No, no doubt our exceptionally low population density does play a large role as lower densities can correlate with the collection of lower property taxes and often results in the generation of lower taxes from retail and commercial activity. However, a quick check of the following cities (some thriving, some not) shows our density is nothing remarkable, especially for the south and there are cities with much higher densities than ours that are faring far worse (all numbers are residents per square mile):
Little Rock: 1665.4
Oklahoma City: 983.1
Shelby County graduates 90% of its students with A's and B's. MCS graduates 70% of its students with, shall we say, less than stellar grades. If you choose to pretend like those aren't facts, that's on you.
Your first comment was about racism in relation to the school board, and that's what I was referring to. What does that have to do with racism in jobs and promotions? Once again, you show yourself to simply be bitter and vindictive, seething with spite.
You are missing the point: the question is why are taxes in Memphis higher than the County? We need a specific answer to this, not just generic attacks about mismanagement, etc. I think, but can't say definitively, that much of it is structural because of the decades of expansion and then flight. And that is seriously damaging the entire region and we need to address it as a community rather than simply chiding Memphis. Simply de-annexing isn't going to fix it, because that will just shift the burden to the County.
It is even more urgent to fix if it really is the #1 reason that causes people to live elsewhere. This region cannot survive if we leave the core city to rot. The suburbs may be doing just fine now, but the same could have been said about Raleigh decades ago.
Get off of the school poor grades thing. IT IS A WELL ESTABLISHED FACT THAT THE TENNESSEE SCHOOL SYSTEM RANKS 47TH OUT OF 50 STATES IN PERFORMANCE. I hate to shout but you don't seem to get it in a normal tone of voice. Until you can move up the ladder, nationally, you should leave the school performance off of the table.
What good was it to have a charter, pay higher taxes when with one county-wide district, we will still be in charge!
Oh yes, about that race thing. I just can't seem to give it up. When I see good jobs that take no special skills going predominately to whites, practically all of the promotions going to whites in disproportinate numbers compared to the qualified pool of blacks, I find it hard to not bring up race. I think that you get the picture even though you don't want to acknowledge it. If you don't like race brought up in my posts, then stop making veiled racist statements!
Back to the original topic for one second: comparing Memphis to Detroit is simply lazy. There are similarities, but many of those similarities apply equally to most other cities, including cities that are much more similar to Memphis than Detroit is. Off the top of my head, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Louisville, Kansas City, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Little Rock are all better comparator cities. They have the same problems listed in the article (public finances, sprawl, urban schools, crime, politics, etc,) but they are more like Memphis than they are Detroit. Detroit is an extreme. It is one of a very few major metro areas that has had a flat or negative population growth between 1990-2010. The Memphis metro on the other hand has had a 25% population growth since then, which is roughly the median for all metro areas.
The CITY of Memphis has been struggling with problems that every similar city is dealing with, along with some unique problems (the sprawl is worse in Memphis because of the period of major growth coinciding with the automobile age and followed shortly by desegregation). But the Memphis metro is far from the complete failure that Detroit is, and awful articles like this do a major disservice to this city by fueling the inferiority complex here.
When you have a respectable name you should ensure that you have a respectable business. How can one claim ignorance when there have been over 120 complaints in a little over a year?
Gee, those are not hard questions.
Taxes are higher because Memphis imposes its own taxes over and above the county taxes those residents pay before annexation. In some cases, the tax burden almost doubles.
People flee because they do not see any significant benefits they are going to receive for those increased taxes.
At least, that is why I fled.
But the problem is that your double taxation produced poor student grades, poor school grades, poor graduation rates, rampant truancy, unprepared graduates, no-fail policies, tenured moron teachers, gang problems, bloated central office, and an out-of-touch superintendent with a posse. Your $96 million a year contributed by Memphis never made it to the classroom; you had higher student:teacher ratios even though you had $2,000 per student more to spend. You had short-sighted me-first politicians running the show.
And you say in the next budget you will have "a truly representative board." That's what you had when you gave up the damn charter! What makes you think it will be any different? You are a piece of work. Every damn post you mention race. You are the only racist here. I'm against idiots and public-trough politicians being in charge, color be damned.
Let us all know when your Memphis taxes go down, will you?
You feel better paying an overall higher tax bill since you are not being "double taxed"?
You did realize that those extra "double tax" dollars only went to MCS schools?
Thank Martvious when you write that bigger check this year.
By Hannah Sayle, Chris Herrington, Chris Shaw, Louis Goggans, Greg Akers and Bruce VanWyngarden
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