Report on Memphis metro gov. listening tour released - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Report on Memphis metro gov. listening tour released

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A listening tour to hear citizens' thoughts on city-county consolidation has come to an end.

With Memphis electing a new mayor for the first time in nearly 18 years, consolidation efforts have hit fever pitch.

And while talk of forming a metro government has met mixed reactions, Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery says the 15-stop listening tour produced some positive results.

"People have mixed reactions regarding metro government, but the bottom line is everyone realizes we have to live and work together," he said.

Lowery's listening tour report says dual government has caused a brain drain. The area lost 48,000 people over the last decade.

"We're losing our talent. Young people are leaving," he said. "We're losing our tax base because those people are leaving and other people are moving to DeSoto County and to Fayette County, so, we pay a steep price."

The report also calls dual government a broken business model.

"We have two governments that aren't always on the same page as it related to economic growth and development," the mayor pro tem said. "We need one government for all of our people."

Still, the report shows some people are concerned the current consolidation model caters to the suburban mayors who are against consolidation. Those leaders will be able to vote on metro government matters, but their governments will remain untouchable. 

"Germantown will keeps its government, as will Collierville. We did this only so this would have the opportunity of passing," said Lowery.

He says Memphians would not lose autonomy because Memphis makes up 70 percent of Shelby County.

"We're going to be a stronger community with one government - one government with a single vision, one tax rate. And we'll stop the fighting between the city and county," he said.
Voters may eventually have the final say on consolidation if it makes it onto a ballot.
The Shelby County Commission approved a measure to form a Metro Government Charter Commission to draft a charter combining the city and county, but the measure is currently stalled in Memphis City Council.

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