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Re: “Roland vs. Lenoir: Next Year’s Mayoral Battle Flared Up in County Budget, Tax-Rate Debate

As with all reappraisals, thousands of homeowners in the county will receive tax increases. some will pay the same taxes and many, perhaps thousands, will get tax cuts. That would have been true wherever the rate was set. Since a reappraisal affects each property owner individually, it is impossible during a reappraisal year to set a rate that would give everybody a tax cut without bankrupting the county. It is possible to calculate mathematically the
percentage of appraisal increase that would result in a homeowner's paying the same property taxes this year as last year. At the adopted $4.11 rate, it's 6.3 percent. Had the rate been set at $4.13 it would have been 5.8 percent. Homeowners whose appraisals went up more than 6.3 percent will pay higher county property taxes in the coming year than they did in the past year. Those whose reappraisals went down or increased less than 6.3 percent, will have a tax cut. If you want to know whether you and your neighbors will be paying higher or lower taxes or the same, go to the county assessor's website and check the reappraisal values compared to last year's values. jcov40

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by jcov40 on 07/20/2017 at 6:03 PM

Re: “New Budget Lowers Taxes, Hires Cops, & More

At the $3.27 tax rate, homeowners whose appraisals went up more than 3.9 percent will have tax increases and those whose appraisal increases were less than 3.9 percent will have tax cuts. jcov40

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Posted by jcov40 on 06/07/2017 at 4:28 PM

Re: “Council Recap: Beale Street Bucks, Railgarten Get New Ways Forward

If the council's chairman wants to move ahead and put the new Beale Street Bucks program into effect as soon as possible, all he has to do is move the matter ahead to the mayor as soon as possible and get the mayor to sign it. This would make the council's approval of the minutes a moot issue. The council has misled the public for decades about approval of the minutes being required. jcov40

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Posted by jcov40 on 05/24/2017 at 11:04 PM

Re: “Disunity

The dispute on county surplus funds is quite a bit more complicated than some county commissioners would have you believe. The 2015 disagreement on the amount of county surplus funds centered substantially on the results of a practice the then county administration and a group of commissioners developed in 2007 to cap the amount of property tax revenue that schools received each year at the figure approved in the county budget for schools. Commissioners at that time added a sentence to the county tax rate ordinance that calls for any excess revenue (surplus) collected from property taxes for schools to be held back and applied to school funding in the following year. This may sound all good and proper but what it did in many years was to create a major surplus in the year the taxes were collected and apply the funds to the next year's budget. This amount, which was $10.8 million in the 2015 fiscal year, was subtracted from wheel tax revenue that had been originally designated for schools. Officials said the $10.8 million was then used to pay debt service on school bonds. Funding of school bonds is an obligation of the general county government and cannot come from county property taxes designated for schools. It is all very complicated and hard to follow and the holding back of county property tax funds by the county trustee appears to ripe for a legal challenge by school officials. Some school officials know about the practice but so far there has apparently been no move to take the issue to court. This $10.8 million in "excess school property tax revenue" appears to be a major factor in the difference in surplus figures presented by county officials in 2015. In the 2016 fiscal year, that ended last June 30, the "excess" totaled only $318,567 and that is the amount of funds what were shifted. It will be interesting to see if school supporters on the county commission allow the sentence on "excess" collections to remain in the tax rate ordinance. There may be legal question about whether the commission has the authority to place the sentence in the tax rate ordinance. And does the wording bind the county trustee, an independently elected official, to holding back the funds? jcov40

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Posted by jcov40 on 04/20/2017 at 4:21 PM

Re: “Flat City

The numbers in the estimates report show that Shelby County had a net domestic (within the United States) out-migration loss of 7,554 from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016, while the nine-county metro area's net domestic out-migration loss was 6,502. DeSoto County's domestic net in-migration gain was 1,580. Some of the other counties in the area are having smaller out-migration losses. If these estimates are anywhere near correct, the area as a whole is experiencing significant losses from people moving elsewhere in the country. DeSoto County and Shelby County outside Memphis are the major growth areas in the metro area. City population estimates will be released in a few weeks. Past patterns have been that DeSoto County and Shelby County outside Memphis have been offsetting only a small part of the losses in Memphis. jcov40

Posted by jcov40 on 04/07/2017 at 7:10 AM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

The key statement in the above editorial is that "the dominant economy of Memphis, focused on our much-vaunted status as a distribution center, is not one that generates appreciable numbers of either high incomes or skilled jobs." Detailed figures in this latest census estimates report appear to support that statement. Two components bring about population change in an area--births compared to deaths and the net gain or loss for the area from people moving into an area compared to those moving away. Census officials refer to this second component as migration. The figures that should be of major concern to leaders of the area are those that show that several thousand more people are leaving the the entire nine-county Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area each year than are moving in. I think a reasonable assumption is that many of these people who are leaving are skilled people who are doing so for higher paying jobs elsewhere in the country. The estimates report reflects that the nine-county Memphis area had a net loss of 6,502 to domestic (within the United States) migration from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016, and that the net loss has been 36,854 since April 1, 2010. These are really big numbers which primarily reflect the losses within the city of Memphis itself.
They are somewhat offset by a net gain from international migration--1,404 from 2015 to 2016 and 8,729 from 2010 to 2016. It is obvious that births exceeding deaths are keeping the entire area from losing population. The report shows that the entire area had 6,405 more births than deaths from July 1, 2015, to July 1,2016, and 46,840 since 2010. Taken together these figures produce the area's 888 population gain from 2015 to 2016 and an 18,018 gain since 2010. Just reporting that the area's population has increased 888 over a year's time may leave an impression that not much is happening with the population. But that figure is a product of thousands of people moving away and fewer thousands of people moving in plus other thousands of people being born and fewer thousands of people dying. jcov40

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Posted by jcov40 on 04/06/2017 at 7:25 PM

Re: “Shelby County Commission Broadens Reach

It appears to me that commissioners face something of a problem in the days ahead in pursuing their effort to gain a regular independent attorney to represent the commission. I am not an attorney and don't presume to speak on the legalities of things, but just based on the history of things that have happened in local government here: Would individual commissioners have to dig into their own pockets or would Julian Bolton or some other attorney agree to represent individual commissioners for free if a lawsuit is filed to challenge the position of the mayor that he will not sign a contract to hire Bolton as the commission's special attorney under the conditions set forth by the commission? It doesn't appear that the commission has any way of using public money to file a lawsuit on the issue or carry it through whatever appeal levels that would likely follow. Of course, if individual commissioners did put up the money to file the lawsuit or an attorney agreed to do it without charge, undoubtedly the money could be recouped if the commissioners prevailed in the lawsuit. But if they didn't prevail, somebody would be out some money.
Another question, has the commission had any type of closed door attorney-client meetings with Bolton without the public and the media being notified and being allowed to attend the meetings? Under the Sunshine Law, can Bolton meet with a quorum of commissioners behind closed doors without an attorney from the county attorney's offce being present? Just some things to think about and perhaps for news reporters to ask about.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by jcov40 on 11/26/2015 at 2:07 PM

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