MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis City Council took care of a lot of business at this week’s meeting.
Street repaving is a hot button topic for Memphians. Mayor Jim Strickland plans to hold a news conference about it on Wednesday after the council helped by approving $12.9 million for two new paving contracts.
The city’s budget for repaving has more than doubled in the last few years, to nearly $20 million a year to fix the city’s pot-hole filled streets.
The following roads are included on the 2019 paving list: Airways between I-240 and Frisco, Highland between Central and Summer, and Walnut Grove from Germantown Parkway to Forest Hill Irene.
In a vote that spoke volumes, council members voted 12-1 to deny Waste Connections request to expand its trash processing facility in Whitehaven. Neighbors who live nearby have long complained about the noise and the smell.
“I had hoped that they would have negotiated something that would be of more benefit to the community,” said Memphis City Council Vice-Chairwoman Patrice Robinson, “But that’s not what Waste Connections wanted, and we’re here for the people.”
In other council news, after months of back and forth, the council approved Graceland's request to try and get a bigger share of a special tourism tax to develop around the King's castle in Whitehaven. Elvis Presley Enterprises agreed to honor Memphis' non-compete agreement with FedExForum or forfeit $75 million in bond funding.
EPE previously promised 1000 new jobs for Memphians, but so far has only delivered 300. Councilwoman Robinson asked EPE officials about that during Tuesday night’s meeting.
"They are looking at buying property, the old Graves Elementary School, from the Shelby County School board," said Robinson, "and putting a school there to teach people what they need to do to participate on the sound stages at Graceland and to work in that facility."
Robinson said EPE is also moving forward with plans to build a warehouse where novelty items are made for the gift shops. The warehouse would create more jobs at Graceland.
And finally, Memphis Police confirmed Tuesday that its officers don’t have the authority to issue tickets under the state’s new Hands Free law that prohibits using a cell phone with your hands while driving in Tennessee. An MPD spokesperson says the department needs a local ordinance passed first. Memphis City Council members did not give a time frame on when that would happen.