Memphis Mayor Defends Sports Stadium Spend

As Memphis crime skyrockets, the city’s mayor on Friday took to his weekly email update to justify spending nearly $700 million to upgrade its sports stadiums and build a new professional soccer stadium.

“I would like to clarify a few things on that potential financial support,” Mayor Jim Strickland (D) said, noting that residents of the city had asked about the planned expenditure.

“The funds we are requesting from the state are one-time funding, meaning no recurring dollars will be granted to the city (i.e., public safety employee salaries),” he said. “The majority of local dollars we are proposing to use can only be spent on specific items. For example, the FedExForum sales tax and county car rental tax extensions can only be spent on the FedExForum. If we are allowed to increase the hotel/motel tax, that money can only be spent on Tourism related items.”

He continued:

As it stands, 64 percent of the roughly $700 million city budget is allocated to public safety–$286 million to MPD (38 percent) and another $196 million to MFD (26 percent).

In addition, the citizens of Memphis in 2019 passed a tax on themselves with all of those funds being dedicated to public safety, street maintenance, and Pre-K. From those funds, we have allocated more money for public safety employee bonuses and recruiting efforts, and we recently gave the option to restore public safety employee pensions to the 1978 legacy pension plan.

Still, Strickland appeared to acknowledge that crime is a major issue in the city.

He said he will be requesting funds from the state’s new “Violent Crime Intervention Fund” to bolster local law enforcement.

“We are also currently in the process of working with MPD, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Juvenile Court, Memphis Shelby County Schools, Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission, and Youth Villages to submit an application for funding from Governor Lee’s recently announced Violent Crime Intervention Fund,” Strickland said.

According to Gov. Bill Lee’s office, that funding can be used for “evidence-based crime intervention models, hiring and training of specialized violent crime units, purchase and application of technology and equipment, and law enforcement-led partnerships with community organizations to disrupt and prevent violent crime.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jim Strickland” by Mayor Jim Strickland.

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One Thought to “Memphis Mayor Defends Sports Stadium Spend”

  1. Randy

    Taxes by any other name will spend just as sweet. This bag of rocks is as bad as the mayors in Nashville and Knoxville/Knox County. of course Knox County Mayor Jacobs along with his pal Bill started the tax ball rolling by getting the governor to fork over State Tax dollars (the public’s trust) for their boondoggle. The floodgates are open,. My mother asked me when I was a child. If Johnny jumps off the bridge does that mean you should too? Of course my answer was no. But hey its others people money and they are giving it away, why not let everyone have some. This is worse than Student loan forgiveness. .