Friday, April 7, 2017

Some Citizens Could Get Vote to Leave Memphis

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 11:38 AM

click to enlarge study_overview.png

South Cordova, Rocky Point, Southwind, Windyke, Riverbottoms, Eads, and parts of Frayser, should all be considered for de-annexation, according to a task force studying how Memphis could and, maybe should, shrink.

The task force was formed last year after state lawmakers pushed a bill that would allow citizens in some areas to vote on whether or not they wanted to stay in cities that have annexed them.

The task force, comprised of city and county officials, has studied certain areas for months. Those areas were selected because they weren’t heavily populated, were hard to cover with city services, or their residents had asked to be de-annexed.

The task force made its first formal recommendations after a meeting Thursday. All of the areas above - South Cordova, Rocky Point, Southwind, Windyke, Riverbottoms, Eads, and parts of Frayser - were considered. However, a swath of Raleigh was studied but was, ultimately, dropped from consideration.

“I think it’s a great day for the city moving forward on the plan, and I look forward to the council getting it done,” said Memphis City Council member and task force chairman Bill Morrison.

The plan shrinks the area served by the city of Memphis by 8 percent. It shrinks the city’s population by 1.2 percent and, with that, shrinks the size of the city budget by 1.1 percent.

Here’s the task force plan in full:

The task force’s recommendations will have to get city council approval before referendums would be established. Those votes would only be for the citizens of the targeted areas and would not be city-wide.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said he supports the plan, which came “after an intensive, locally-driven study of data, and much public feedback.”

“By de-annexing these areas, we will right-size Memphis — making ours a more densely populated city, which makes service delivery more efficient,” Strickland said in a statement. “It’s the right action to take for the long-term health of Memphis.”

Strickland fought hard against the state bill, which, Strickland said, would have eliminated as much as 17 percent of the city’s population and 12 percent of the city’s tax revenue. Those impacts would have been “catastrophic,” Strickland said.

“But since then, we did exactly what we said we would do,” he said. “My administration worked with citizens, the legislature, members of the city council, and county government representatives to reach an outcome that’s responsible and driven by Memphis.

“Today’s recommendations are the fruits of what happens when we work together — and when Memphians decide what’s best for Memphis.”


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