Taxpayers could pick up tab for Liberty Bowl improvements - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Taxpayers could pick up tab for Liberty Bowl improvements

By Ben Watson - bio | email

The City of Memphis needs money, and it seems taxpayers might be picking up the tab.
A federal court ruling against the city will require Memphis to pour millions of dollars into the Liberty Bowl to make it more accessible to those with disabilities.

When all the math is done, the price tag could add up to nearly $100 million in taxpayer dollars from the city's already tight budget. 
Despite being ordered to pay $57 million to the Memphis City Schools district, Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery says it's not time to panic.

"The school case is being appealed, and while it's being appealed, we will not have to pay that judgement as it relates to the federal government," he said.

And Lowery says a judge's order to make improvements to the Liberty Bowl is also being appealed. 

Budget committee chairman Kemp Conrad says city attorneys are currently working on a plan to ask the justice department to allow more time to make the improvements. "The administration are working with the Department of Justice on what I understand is the original timeline, which gave us several more years to be full ADA compliant."

But what happens if the city's plan to appeal the judgments fails?

"It may go to the Supreme Court if the city loses," said Lowery. "At the Supreme Court level in the state, the City of Memphis would be required to pay the judgment. We are discussing ways for how that could be done."

Lowery says one possibility is the city could levy a special tax assessment. He says it would be a one-time deal, and would only be for the amount of the judgements.

And Lowery said that if the city absolutely had to levy that one-time asessment, that money would be paid by all the citizens in Shelby County.

Presently, no one is talking about a property tax increase, especially since council members voted down Mayor Herenton's call for one last year.

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