State of the City: Mayor says public safety is number one priority

State of the City: Mayor says public safety is number one priority

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Mayor A C Wharton held his annual State of the City Address on Thursday, talking about issues that matter to most residents and their families.

The mayor says a retail boom helped the city turn a corner. He says the recession is over in Memphis and thousands of more jobs are on the way, but crime is still a problem.

Wharton says there's still a lot more work to do in 2015.

"We are adding in-car video, automatic vehicle locators and body cameras this year," said Wharton.

Wharton's plan for 2015 is to increase the force from 2,114 to 2,500. Residents say they support the mayor's crime-fighting vision.

"The things he's suggesting sound like a good idea to me," said Kathy Buford.

With six major corporations moving in and community revitalization underway, Wharton says jobs will be plentiful. He says government bloat has been deflated with 662 fewer city employees, and a city reserve over $82 million.

However, other residents say they need more convincing when it comes to how tax dollars are being spent.

"The money, I think, is not utilized properly. I'm a college student and I don't feel like there are enough educational opportunities here," said Tanja Brown.

With only 1 percent of the city's business now going to minority contractors, the mayor hopes to launch a new Division of Minority Business Services. Many residents say they support that idea.

"It can bring more unity and diversity," added Rodney Johnson.

Wharton's 50-minute speech also had some humor, and ended on a high note.

The mayor says Bass Pro Pyramid will open in the Pyramid in May, Beale Street will expand to river and the Beale Street Authority is attracting more private dollars. Also, $2 million will go toward youth summer jobs.

For the full transcript of Wharton's speech, click here.


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