Weekly Update: Moving Memphis forward by working together


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Sunday morning, as Gov. Bill Haslam and I were out spreading the message of opportunity in our city, I couldn’t shake this recurring thought: The only way we move our city forward is by working together.

Think about it. At the City of Memphis, we’re raising awareness of the 15,000-plus open jobs in Greater Memphis and the free workforce training we provide. And there’s a critical piece to that: the free community and technical college education that Tennessee residents can now receive thanks to Gov. Haslam pushing forward the initiative a few years ago.

So thank you, Gov. Haslam, for Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect.

And thank you, members of the Shelby County delegation, for voting for each. For Tennessee Promise (2014), that means: Reps. Raumesh Akbari, Karen Camper, Jim Coley, Barbara Cooper, John DeBerry, G.A. Hardaway, Ron Lollar, Larry Miller, Antonio Parkinson, Joe Towns, Johnnie Turner, and Mark White; former Reps. Steve McManus and Curry Todd; Sens. Brian Kelsey, Mark Norris, and Reginald Tate; and former Sen. Jim Kyle.

And for Tennessee Reconnect (2017), that means: Reps. Akbari, Camper, Coley, Cooper, DeBerry, Hardaway, Lollar, Miller, Parkinson, Dwayne Thompson, Towns, Turner, and White; and Sens. Lee Harris, Kelsey, Sara Kyle, Norris, and Tate.

Also, thanks to U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, who as a state senator championed the creation of the Tennessee Lottery, the funds from which helped make this happen.

The leaders I mention above are from both sides of the political aisle. They’re from the city and they’re from the suburbs -- and in Gov. Haslam’s case, all the way from Knoxville! Yet they all worked together to make something happen that’s changing lives in every corner of our state.

That’s government at its best -- working together for the common good. That’s what we strive to do every day at City Hall.

Mayor with Gov. Haslam

Opportunities abound: Speaking of Sunday, it was simply another moment to share the message that Memphis really is an opportunity city. With everything we mentioned above, plus privately-funded expungement fees, high school equivalency diplomas and so much more, you can find your opportunity in Memphis.

Visit opportunitymemphis.com, our one-stop shop for links to opportunities. Better yet, send this email or just the link to someone, or a group of people, who could benefit from the resource.

Also, thanks to the clergy and members at New Sardis Baptist Church, Greenwood CME Church (where we took the above photo while meeting with the media), St. Paul Baptist Church and Mt. Vernon Baptist Church-Westwood for allowing us to share the message Sunday.

We’re on it: We’ve been working to keep you abreast of how we’re helping Inland Waste recover from what is an absolutely unacceptable backlog of solid waste pickup in its service areas — like Cordova and Hickory Hill.

I want to reiterate what I said last week: This is not the level of service you should be receiving. The buck stops with me. I apologize. No excuses.

Beyond simply the current recovery, we know that there’s a service issue with solid waste pickup all across our city. For example, we inherited a system that says you should give us 21 days to pick up items like yard waste. This doesn’t make much sense to you, and it doesn’t to me, either.

So we’re going to fix it for good. I’ve tasked our team with digging in on the issue from the root and proposing how to overhaul it with one goal in mind: delivering you better service. We’ll get this right.

We’ve done it before. Our 911 system was broken when we took office; we’ve fixed it. The Memphis Animal Shelter wasn’t living up to its potential when we took office; we’ve fixed it. Our police recruiting structure was antiquated when we took office; we’ve fixed it.

We will fix this, too. Stay tuned.

Back to the budget: I’ll leave you this week with another look at our 2018-19 budget proposal. It’s a budget that strengthens public safety by hiring more police officers and EMTs, makes key investments in City assets like parks and libraries, paves more streets, and keeps our tax rate low — among many other items.

I encourage you to learn more by reading my budget speech and the full rundown of the proposal we posted on the City website. I look forward to working with our partners on the City Council to deliver a strong, efficient budget.

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